Chasing: 500 home runs, Dodger record in home runs
In just three seasons, Cody Bellinger has already accumulated 111 home runs while playing for the Dodgers. He is coming off an historic season at the plate when he hit the third most long balls in Dodger history (47) and won the National League MVP Award.
His impressive power numbers so early in his career place him on a path that could end with over 500 home runs. That is, if he has enough opportunities to get there. The left-handed slugger would see his chances of reaching 500 HRs decrease from a flip of a coin (51%) to only 41 percent if the 2020 season is lost. He needs 389 more home runs to reach the Hall-of-Fame power benchmark. To put that number in perspective, it would require him to hit at least 39 home runs over the next ten seasons, a tall task. Losing a season in his prime would surely put a damper on his chances.
From a Dodgers perspective, the 24-year-old needs 279 more homers to surpass Duke Snider as the all-time leading power hitter in Dodgers history, a realistic goal for a young player who is off to an impressive start. Assuming Bellinger plays until he is 36, so thirteen more seasons, he would need to average 21 home runs each year to reach the record. If the 2020 season is lost, and we use the same assumptions about his playing time, he would need to average 23 dingers each season, still realistic, but a bit more difficult.
In reality, Bellinger will probably see his home run totals follow an uneven path over the course of his career, spiking during his prime playing days. After hitting 39, 25, and 47 over the last three years, it would seem 2020 would represent another opportunity for him to add a large number to his home run total.
Could a lost season interrupt his momentum and slow him down? Possibly. But the fact he is so young, and can realistically play for another 12-15 seasons, he has plenty of time to slowly build towards 390 home runs.
The bigger question might be whether he does it while remaining a Dodger. While you wouldn’t expect the front office to part ways with their rising star, it’s impossible to know what lies ahead in terms of contract negotiations and injuries that could slow him down or set him on a different path. Another reason why every year of his prime wearing a Dodger uniform is important toward climbing all-time lists.