A historic rookie campaign for Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger was capped off with 2017 National League Rookie of the Year honors. Among many other accolades for Bellinger include being named Sporting News’ NL Rookie of the Year and earning the Players Choice NL Outstanding Rookie Award.
The 22-year-old made his MLB debut on April 25 and instantly impacted the middle of the Dodgers lineup with his potent offense. In 132 regular season games, Bellinger hit .267/.352/.581 with 26 doubles, 39 home runs and 97 RBI over 548 plate appearances.
On the defensive-side, Bellinger posted above-average metrics at first base and saw time at all three outfield positions. He also stole 10 bases — the third-most for any first baseman in the league — and scored 87 runs on the base paths.
In the wake of being named the 18th Rookie of the Year in Dodgers history, Bellinger revealed to Spectrum SportsNet LA how he hopes to improve in 2018.
“There’s a lot of things. Baseball is such a complex sport. There’s so many things to get better at,” Bellinger said. “For me, I want to be consistent and that guy in the lineup to help contribute and produce every day.”
Bellinger struggled in his first taste of postseason action, with the exception of his performance in the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs. He struck out 29 times in 64 at-bats — with 17 of those coming in 28 World Series opportunities.
In addition to finding more consistency at the plate, Bellinger also hopes to hit more home runs as a sophomore. He clubbed 39 homers during the regular season and added three more in the postseason — surpassing Mike Piazza’s total of 35 in 1993 and setting the Dodgers’ all-time rookie home run record.
What’s more, Bellinger also shattered the long-standing NL rookie home run record of 38, previously held by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1960). With a full slate of action next season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Bellinger reach his goal.