Cody Bellinger won the Players Choice National League Outstanding Rookie of the Year Award, adding to his being named Rookie of the Year by Sporting News, and expected to follow is a Rookie of the Year Award from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
“It’s a huge honor. I just tried to go out there every day and do what I could to help my team win,” Bellinger said in his MLB Network interview after being announced a Players Choice Award winner.
“At the end of the day, things started to stack up a little bit. To have the players recognize you is pretty special.”
The 22-year-old is being rewarded for what was a stellar season after an earlier-than-expected call up in April. At the time of joining the Dodgers, they were an underwhelming 9-11. They finished the season an MLB-best 104-58.
“I kept seeing since I got called up, ‘this is our record and all that kind of stuff.’ For me, it was a team effort. We had an unbelievable team. Maybe I helped a little bit, but that was it.”
Bellinger reiterated he was not expecting to join the Dodgers from Triple-A Oklahoma City until active rosters expanded in September. Adjusting to a newfound role with the organization was relatively seamless, and he found a sense of belonging a mere five games in.
“At home against Philadelphia, it was the game where I hit my first and second career home run,” Bellinger explained. “And in the ninth inning I hit the back-to-back-to-back with J.T. and Puig.
“For whatever reason, it kind of gave me some confidence and made me realize I was here for a reason. I just tried to take that and ride with it as long as I could.”
Bellinger finished the year batting .267/.352/.581 with 26 doubles, 39 home runs, 97 RBI, a .380 wOBA and 138 wRC+. He broke multiple records this season, including hitting the most home runs by an NL rookie.
The mark was previously held by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1960). Mike Piazza’s 35 home runs in 1993 stood as the high for a Dodgers rookie.
Bellinger led the Dodgers in home runs, RBI and slugging percentage, tied for second in triples, was second in on-base plus slugging percentage (.933) and fifth in doubles.