As the Dodgers continue to get healthier and rosters will expand soon, that means fewer AB for some players. 2019 National League MVP Cody Bellinger could be one of them.
Bellinger hasn’t been anywhere close to his former self this season and seems to be the odd man out of the lineup right now.
Dodgers skipper Dave Roberts recently announced that Bellinger will be sitting against left-handed pitching. The Dodgers faced a left-hander yesterday in Drew Smyly. Bellinger didn’t start but did see time in the outfield.
Currently, on the roster, the Dodgers have five regular outfielders along with Bellinger in Pollock, Betts, McKinney and Taylor.
Taylor was an All-Star this year and has been one of the best hitters for the Dodgers all year along. Pollock as well has been very consistent, although Betts isn’t having a season like last year he still has a good year despite lingering hip issues.
Bellinger has struggled since the beginning of the season when he suffered a left calf contusion, which kept him out for nearly two months. Then after being activated, he also was kept out of the lineup briefly with a left hamstring issue.
So far this season, Bellinger has posted an average south of the Mendoza line at .171 along with nine homers and 32 RBI. His OPS is at .566. Not to forget that he also had offseason shoulder surgery.
Many fans continue to ask the question of when he’ll hit full stride, but amid his hitting struggles, his role has been downgraded. Bellinger will surely be on the postseason roster barring any injury, as his glove is too valuable. It will still be interesting where his at-bats come.
With the stacked lineup, the Dodger have several players who’d easily be starters on other teams sitting on the bench.
Throughout social media, I’ve seen several fans float around the idea of trading Bellinger this winter, which is intriguing, but I don’t think the Dodgers pull that off just yet. He is still only 26 years old and is a former Rookie of the Year and MVP.
He still has two years of arbitration left and isn’t due to be an unrestricted free agent until 2024, so the Dodgers still have time to figure out how he will unfold in their future plans. Although he could very well have a great postseason or end up having a fantastic 2022. He figures to be the odd man out as of right now until he can get it going, which hopefully could be soon.
Luckily the Dodgers face a right hander in Charlie Morton Tuesday so Bellinger very well can be in the lineup. Morton is 12-5 with a 3.60 ERA and will try to help the Braves even the series at one apiece. They will have no easy task, however, as they will have to face arguably the best pitcher in the Majors in Walker Buehler.
Buehler has the league’s lowest ERA at 2.02 and could possibly bring it under two.
The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Pacific.
3 thoughts on “How Should Dodgers Handle Struggling Cody Bellinger?”
Roberts said yesterday that Bellinger is not going to be facing any lefty pitchers. Meaning he will most likely play tonight against Morton and then will sit tomorrow against Freid.
While I have advocated sitting Bellinger against any lefties and any right-handed pitchers that can throw an inside fastball I still think he is a talented player. Bellinger has incredible potential and I do not think the Dodgers or anyone that follows baseball would give up on him. With that said I would rather see Beaty up in a RISP situation than Bellinger. Bellinger looks absolutely hapless against any pitcher able to spot an inside fastball and especially ones that can then throw an outside breaking pitch.
I believe Bellinger must start the winter by reimagining his batting stance and approach. He is easy to jam and lunges at breaking pitches on the outside. His swing is too long as Nomar said the other night Bellinger has power he needs to cut down on his swings and make contact rather than swinging from his heels. He tries to pull every pitch it’s maddening. Bellinger’s batting stance and approach right now is the definition of insanity.
I would sit him down and use him for defensive purposes only. We need a lineup like last night where every batter is able to make contact and drive up the pitch count. The line-up the other night with Bellinger, McKinney, and Barnes gave the pitchers an easy 1/3 of the line-up and time to regroup not good in a pennant race where every game is important.
Rosters expand by two players tomorrow and Doc said that he expects they will add 2 pitchers. That means Lux and Beaty may remain at OKC.
I understand that McKinney is a lot better defensively than Beaty but Beaty is a much better bat off the bench. The thought of having McKinney pinch hit is really scary. If it’s me, I sacrifice the potential defense for the offense that Beaty brings as a lefty pinch hitter. He’s probably a better option as a pinch hitter right now than Bellinger also.