Cody Bellinger became the eighth Los Angeles Dodgers player to take part in the Home Run Derby, and the organization’s fourth rookie in as many years named to the event. Like others before him, Bellinger failed to win the Derby.
He nearly was eliminated in the first round by Colorado Rockies center fielder Charlie Blackmon, but earned 30 seconds of bonus time with a 13th home run during the initial four-minute period. Bellinger then slugged two homers to advance to the semifinals.
That’s where he was eliminated by eventual champion New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, which Bellinger sensed would be the case per, Anthony DiComo of MLB.com:
“I knew I had no chance,” Bellinger said. “At that point, I’m just glad I won the first round. It was pretty tiring. I was just trying to get out as many as I could.”
The 21-year-old rookie joined the ESPN set during Judge’s time to hit and responded “negative 12” when asked what were the odds he’d advance to the finals. Judge exceeded the 12 home runs Bellinger hit with one minute to spare.
Although he came up short, Bellinger called the Home Run Derby one of his most memorable experiences:
“I didn’t know what to expect, but that was more than I expected,” Bellinger said. “That was probably the best time I’ve had playing baseball.”
Bellinger’s decision to participate in the Derby was contingent on his father, former Major Leaguer and current firefighter, Clay, being granted time off from his firehouse in Arizona. The Home Run Derby was an undercard of sorts for Bellinger.
He’s among the Dodgers’ six All-Stars and is the first in franchise history to reach the Midsummer Classic in his first year. Joc Pederson and Corey Seager were also rookie All-Stars, but each gained MLB experience the season prior to receiving their nod.