Since making his MLB debut in April, Cody Bellinger has been integral to the Los Angeles Dodgers storming to the best record in baseball. The 22-year-old slugger has also accomplished plenty on an individual level along the way.
The latest milestone Bellinger reached was breaking Mike Piazza’s Dodgers rookie record for most home runs in a single season. Bellinger’s solo homer off San Diego Padres closer Brad Hand was his 36th this season and came one day after he tied Piazza’s mark.
What’s more, the 11th home run off a southpaw is most among all left-handed batters this season. Bellinger admitted to being mindful of Piazza’s record and is honored to now hold the franchise mark, via Spectrum SportsNet LA:
“It feels great. It was kind of in the back of my mind. To be in the same sentence as Piazza, and to now pass him, it feels pretty special. But like I’ve said, it’s a team game, so hopefully we can get out of this and start winning some games again.”
Now that Bellinger has ownership of the Dodgers’ rookie record, he can turn his attention to the National League rookie record. That’s shared by Wally Berger (1930) and Frank Robinson (1956), who each hit 38 homers.
Albert Pujols (2001) is second among all NL rookies with 37 home runs, while Mark McGwire holds the MLB rookie record with 49 home runs hit during the 1987 season.
Bellinger produced six multi-home run games within his first career 57 games to shatter McGwire’s MLB record (97 games). Bellinger also became the fastest player in MLB history to hit 21 home runs and have five multi-homer games.
He leads the Dodgers in home runs, RBI (82) and slugging percentage (.614). Bellinger is on pace to become the Dodgers’ first player with at least 40 home runs in a single season since Adrian Beltre hit 48 in 2004.