The Los Angeles Dodgers had many unexpected heroes in their 2017 World Series run, but perhaps at the top of the list were Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger.
Both players began the season with Tripe-A Oklahoma City, only to have breakout seasons for the Dodgers. Although, they had very different paths to stardom, even if their arrival this year was due to injury.
Bellinger was the Dodgers’ top prospect, while Taylor joined the organization in an under-the-radar trade with the Seattle Mariners in 2016. He hardly made a ripple with the Dodgers in limited opportunities last season.
Taylor and Bellinger were roommates both in Oklahoma City and Los Angeles and in a recent interview with David Vasseigh on AM 570 L.A. Sports Radio, Taylor reflected on their respective years:
“It was awesome just to see how the year started for both of us in Triple-A and not where either of us wanted to be. But we both got an opportunity very early and we both capitalized. And it was really cool going from living together in Oklahoma City to living together in L.A. and eventually playing at the highest stage in the World Series. Both of us had really good years. I knew all along how good Cody was going to be eventually. I didn’t know how quickly it was going to happen, and fortunately, he got the opportunity and he just ran with it. It was so awesome to watch all his success and everything he did this year. Unanimous Rookie of the Year and all of his achievements, it was definitely fun to watch.”
Taylor played all over the diamond for the Dodgers but eventually settled into the starting center field spot while also batting leadoff. In 140 games, the 27-year-old hit .288/.354/.496 with 21 home runs, 85 runs scored and 72 RBIs while stealing 17 bases in 21 attempts.
Bellinger was also very versatile for the Dodgers, playing all three outfield positions and first base. The unanimous National League Rookie of the Year batted .267/.352/.581 with an NL rookie record 39 home runs to go along with 97 RBIs.
Both players were a big reason why the Dodgers reached their first World Series since 1988, and in 2018 they will both look to prove it was no fluke by repeating their breakout seasons.