Dealing with a rash of injuries early into the 2017 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers promoted Cody Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City for his MLB debut. Bellinger was initially slated to help fill the void in the outfield and only remain with the club for a brief stretch.
Instead, he never returned to the Minors and has gone on to become the organization’s 12th different player to win National League MVP. He impressed and earned several accolades along the way, including a Rookie of the Year Award.
Bellinger was a unanimous selection, which added to a year that additionally saw him participate in the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game as a rookie.
While the 24-year-old has long been pegged as having a bright future, Bellinger told Alanna Rizzo his first season in the Majors was a key springboard to his career success thus far, via SportsNet LA:
“It was a big confidence help in ’17. To understand that I do actually belong here. There’s a lot of moments in baseball where you’re like, ‘Oh man, this is not going my way right now.’ Just to always look back and see you can actually do this, that keeps you going forward.”
Bellinger hit .267/.352/.581 with 26 doubles, 39 home runs and 97 RBI over 548 plate appearances as a rookie. He also scored 87 runs and successfully stole 10 bases, while tallying a total of 128 hits and 64 walks.
Bellinger the Dodgers’ all-time home run record for a rookie by surpassing Mike Piazza’s total of 35 in 1993, and he broke the long-standing NL rookie home run record of 38, previously held by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1960). New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso now holds that record.
As for his MVP campaign, Bellinger batted .305/.406/.629 with 121 runs scored, 34 doubles, 47 home runs, 115 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He led the Majors with 351 total bases and was one of six qualified players to post an on-base slugging percentage of over 1.000.
His success at the plate was complemented by stellar defense at first base, center field and right field. Bellinger joined Johnny Bench, Fred Lynn and Dustin Pedroia as the only players in MLB history to win Rookie of the Year, Gold Glove and MVP Award before turning 25 years old.
Moreover, Bellinger became the first Dodgers player to win a Gold Glove, Silver Slugger and MVP in the same season.
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