Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman and outfielder Cody Bellinger entered the 2018 season with ambitions of replicating the same success that earned him unanimous National League Rookie of the Year honors.
Those goals proved challenging early on, as Bellinger managed to hit only three home runs in the month of April despite posting a solid .280 batting average. The ensuing month represented his worst statistically, as he slashed a weak .180/.265/.390 in 26 May games.
But Bellinger would bounce back in a big way in June, tallying a season-high eight home runs in the month for the month while compiling a superb .994 on-base plus slugging percentage.
Some of that success has since carried over into July, where Bellinger has continued sporting a .748 OPS even though he has accounted for only one home run in the month thus far.
When discussing his season to date, Bellinger admitted it’s been a learning experience more than anything else, given all the adjustments he was forced to make, via Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times:
“This whole year’s been a learning curve for me, kind of what works for me and what doesn’t work for me with my swing,” Bellinger said. “I’m just trying to learn about everything while trying to compete.”
The 23-year-old believes his early season struggles possibly stemmed from him simply “trying too hard”. He credited fellow teammates Matt Kemp and Justin Turner for helping keep his confidence alfoat in the midst of difficult times.
While Bellinger’s numbers aren’t as impressive as the ones he put up as a rookie, he has still proven to be a valuable part of the Dodgers lineup. In 413 plate appearances, Bellinger has hit .243/.324/.470 with 22 doubles and 17 home runs.
His production on both sides of the ball has amounted to 2.1 WAR, per Baseball-Reference’s calculations. Moreover, his 114 OPS+ indicates he has performed 17 points better than league average offensively.
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