Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger was named a finalist for the 2017 Hank Aaron Award, which is presented annually to the top offensive player in each league. All 30 teams is has one nominee selected.
The Dodgers were represented last year by Corey Seager, who lost out to Cubs third baseman and 2016 MVP Kris Bryant. Seager went on to be named National League Rookie of the Year, which Bellinger is favorite for this season.
After making his MLB debut on April 25, he batted .267/.352/.581 with 26 doubles, 39 home runs, 87 RBI, a .380 wOBA and 138 wRC+ in 132 games. Bellinger filled the void for the Dodgers at first base in Adrian Gonzalez’s absence, and earned his way to an All-Star Game selection.
The 22-year-old became the first Dodgers player to receive such an honor in his first season. Bellinger was the fastest player in MLB history to 21 home runs and five multi-homer games, and he broke broke Mike Piazza’s Dodgers rookie record with a sixth multi-home run game.
By doing so in 57 career games, it shattered Mark McGwire’s MLB record (97 games) for fastest to accomplish that feat. What’s more, Bellinger’s 25 home runs during the first half of the season were most by an NL rookie since 1933, the first year the MLB All-Star Game was played.
He also hit the most home runs in the first half of a season by a Dodgers player since Shawn Green slugged 26 in 2002. Although there was a dip in production during the second half, Bellinger still managed to make a bit of history.
His 39 home runs broke the NL rookie record that was previously held by Wally Berger of the Boston Braves (1930) and Frank Robinson of the Cincinnati Reds (1956), who each hit 38 homers. Bellinger was recently named one of the three finalists for the Players Choice NL Outstanding Rookie Award.
The Hank Aaron Award is voted on by a panel of Hall of Famers, led by Aaron and including Roberto Alomar, Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Eddie Murray and Robin Yount. Fan voting can be conducted exclusively online at MLB.com and club websites through Friday, Oct. 13.