Last year Cody Bellinger failed to meet the standard set during a unanimous Rookie of the Year campaign, though still had a productive 2018 season by several metrics. Bellinger spent the winter refining his swing mechanics and has reaped the benefits of that work thus far in 2019.
Bellinger’s prolific production at the plate has matched that from his rookie season and helped him make Dodgers and MLB history in the process. A grand slam off Madison Bumgarner gave Bellinger 69 career home runs, which broke Mike Piazza’s Dodgers record for most through the first 300 games of a career.
Two games later he reached six home runs and 16 RBI, putting Bellinger in elite company the with Atlanta Braves’ Eddie Mathews (1953) and New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez (2007) as the only players in Major League history to do that in the first eight games of a season.
The 23-year-old clubbed his ninth home run of the season on Saturday night and in the process became the first player in Dodgers franchise history with 22 RBI in first 16 games.
Bellinger was proud of his latest accomplishment but kept his focus on the team and moving forward, via SportsNet LA:
“It feels pretty good. Just means I got to keep going, though. Those stats are cool but just got to come out tomorrow and keep playing, do what you can to keep going and keep feeling good.”
Making his home run and record all the more memorable was it came on Cody Bellinger Bobblehead Night at Dodger Stadium. Bellinger caught the ceremonial first pitch from his mother, and his father and sister were also in attendance, making for a special moment:
“It’s definitely special. It’s always nice when the whole family can come out; obviously still missing my brother out here but yeah, it was great. It’s always cool having your own bobblehead and seeing a bunch of little yous in people’s hands. It was pretty cool tonight.”
Bellinger is leading the Majors in total hits (27) and is tied for the lead in RBI. He paces all National League players in in batting average (.422), home runs and on-base plus slugging percentage (1.401).