When Cody Bellinger was leading the world in offense just 20 games into the season, many well-versed fans of the Dodgers knew there was little chance those types of numbers would hold up through the entirety of the 23-year-old’s 2019 campaign.
Yet, now that the 54-game mark has come—one-third of the way through the regular season—Bellinger’s pace has held relatively steady, and any fan who follows baseball even remotely is wondering how long the Los Angeles superstar can maintain his current rate of production.
It’s tough to dig up new statistics about the Scottsdale native that haven’t already been published. Entering Tuesday’s games, he’s leading the entire majors—not just the National League—with a .383 batting average, a .469 OBP, a .761 slugging percentage, a 1.229 OPS, a 222 OPS+, 143 total bases, 48 runs, 72 hits and 49 RBI.
If that isn’t enough, his 19 long balls are second in the NL to Christian Yelich‘s 21.
It’s hard to break down the exact recipe that is credited for Bellinger’s new found terror at the plate, but what we do know is that he’s making more contact. Last year, he struck out 154 times, which was second on the team to Chris Taylor‘s 178. This season, he has punched out only 31 times—sixth on the team—putting him on pace to strike out less than 100 times in a season for the first time in his career.
Speaking of paces, if his power stroke holds true, his current rate will see him surpass the 39 home runs, 26 doubles and 97 RBI that were key is sealing the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award.
At the beginning of the year, Bellinger’s odds of winning the NL MVP Award were more than 25 to 1 on most betting sites. At this juncture of the season, some outlets have his odds at about 5 to 1.
For those of you who appreciate WAR, after registering marks of 4.2 in each of his first two campaigns, his pace this season is monumental. Thanks to J.P. Hoornstra of the Southern California News Group, we learned that Belli racked up 0.3 points of WAR in Monday’s game against the Mets, giving him a 5.2 mark already this year.
On top of everything else, the caliber of defense that Bellinger is playing in right field is beyond fantastic. As the season progresses, he’s been seeing less and less time at first base, which makes sense, because his performance in right is much more valuable to the club.
Aside from his outstanding range, here’s a sample of the strength and accuracy of his arm, causing some fans to forget about the guy who held down the right-field fort for the Dodgers so many years prior.
Also, in Monday’s game, Bellinger became the first Dodger player to record a home run and multiple outfield assists since Gary Sheffield in 1998. What’s more, there was this tidbit that put Cody in the record books with Babe Ruth.
Of course, to think that Bellinger will be able to maintain this rate of production through 162 games is absurd. However, many of us thought his pace would suffer tremendously once he cooled off offensively after opposing pitchers “figured out” his new approach at the plate.
Needless to say, he’s still sizzling 55 games into the season.