2. Cody Bellinger
Will Cody Bellinger stay in LA beyond 2022? Did the MLB’s shift rule possibly save him?! The slugger stands to make close to $20 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility, but it’s unclear if the Dodgers will pay that price for someone who’s been good for a 1.1 bWAR since the start of 2020. He’s basically been a borderline major league player over that span.
Though Bellinger’s offensive issues and mechanical struggles go beyond getting robbed of hits in the shift, perhaps the defensive change helps with his mental game. Knowing he’s more free to pull the ball could improve his approach at the plate.
When you look at the numbers (per Roto Baller), like Freeman, Belli stands to see a 14-point increase in his wOBA. Is that enough to convince the Dodgers to pay a hefty price and bank on what feels like an unforeseen turnaround? Are they willing to gamble on that, though, because of how good Bellinger’s defense is?
Bellinger’s 23 doubles and 17 home runs in 2022 are a start. Perhaps an increased chance to reach base, no matter how small, will be something the Dodgers value greatly with their homegrown former star.