When the Los Angeles Dodgers began playing intrasquad games during Summer Camp at Dodger Stadium, the absence of fans wasn’t the only noticeable changes. Cody Bellinger, the reigning National League MVP, stood at the plate with a different batting stance.
“I’m not making any type of big adjustments. There’s always small things in your swing that you realize what makes you good and you just try to be as consistent with those as you can,” Bellinger said one week into camp.
“I decided with my extra time to work on it in a stress-free environment. So nothing major at all, it’s just like the minor things that I think about throughout the year, just fine-tuning those things.”
Whereas Corey Seager appeared to be in midseason form, Bellinger was much slower out of the gate. He appeared off balance at times and slow when facing velocity.
That changed Sunday night against the Arizona Diamondbacks, as Bellinger led a vaunted Dodgers lineup with a grand slam and five RBI in a 9-2 win. During a postgame interview with Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA, clarified his stance is what has been tweaked:
“It’s not my swing, it’s more of a preset-type thing. I’ve been feeling really good with it. Today was a day I was really comfortable with it, and hopefully I can continue to do that.”
While Bellinger’s grand slam in the first inning made highlight reels, he later lined a base hit into center field that had a 106 mph exit velocity. The 25-year-old also utilized a batting stance that — while still different from last season — more closely resembled it.
“There’s still a little bit of a difference in what he had all of last year,” Roberts said. “I think early on he was a little twisted and too closed off. So the hitting guys got together with Cody and squared him off a little bit, and he’s seeing the ball better.
“To be able to get to velocity, take a ball down below, I think it was a really good night for him.”
Bellinger not focused on replicating 2019 NL MVP campaign
Bellinger has prior experience with facing lofty expectations as he was a unanimous selection for NL Rookie of the Year in 2017. Of course, the following season saw plenty of inconsistency.
Now coming off an MVP season, Bellinger is looking internally rather than attempting to replicate a historic season. “I just want to focus in on myself and what I got to do in order to be good,” he said.
“I’m understanding that a little more and not trying to repeat last year like everyone says. I’m just going to go out and be as consistent as I can, have fun with it, fine tune the things that I know make me really good and remember those and continue to that all year.”
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