Most. Valuable. Player.
Can you believe it? Who could have guessed heading into the 2019 season that Cody Bellinger would make a jump like this? Yes, it was evident he had the ceiling of a decade-long All-Star and 50-home run power, but the idea that he would put it all together at the age of 24 is absolutely astonishing.
While playing multiple positions and appearing in 156 games, Bellinger hit .305/.406/.629 with 121 runs, 34 doubles, 47 home runs, 115 RBI and 15 steals. He added 10 outfield assists and 26 defensive runs saved for good measure.
When you see the numbers lined up next to each other, it almost makes it more astonishing. You could have brought three or four of those categories down to league average and it still would have been an amazing year.
And, well, Bellinger was rewarded for it. Not only was he voted National League MVP, but he also took hold a Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger as well. Bellinger became the first player in Dodgers franchise history to win all three in the same season.
Did we mention he’s only 24 years old?
With four years of team control remaining, it will be interesting to see whether the Dodgers consider a long-term deal that buys up some extra years of control (or whether he’d even be interested in it).
For now, though, the Dodgers have a bonafide superstar on their hands — and one who enters his fourth season with mighty big shoes to fill.
Rather than picking one game, it’s worth recognizing the first month-plus of the season — a stretch in which Bellinger was on a tear unlike anything ever seen. Between the months of March and April, Bellinger played in 31 games and logged 109 at-bats.
Over that stretch he hit an astonishing 14 home runs, scored 32 times and knocked in 37 runs — all while hitting .432 with an on-base percentage over .500. Again: for over an entire month of the season.
While Bellinger slowed down from there (how could he not?), it was never enough to take him out of the driver’s seat for the league’s MVP.
It’s a legitimate question to ask what is realistic to expect from him next year. This past season featured career highs everywhere you look — even despite a definite down-turn in the second half of the year (when he hit 75-points worse than the first half).
To expect a repeat of the 2019 season (or even 85% of it) seems like it might be far-fetched barring another jump forward coming to fruition. Then again, the extent of his surge in 2019 was not predicted by just about anyone, so who knows?
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