While Cody Bellinger was drafted and developed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as a natural first baseman, versatility was instrumental to him making his MLB debut in April 2017. It came at a time when the Dodgers’ outfield depth took a hit because of multiple injuries.
After playing the outfield, Bellinger remained entrenched with the club as Adrian Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list for the first time of his career. Bellinger finished his Rookie of the Year season having played first base (93 games; 83 starts), left field (39; 37), right field (five; three) and center field (four; three).
He made 85 starts at first base last season and another 50 in center field. He was squeezed out of the infield by Max Muncy’s emergence, and now heads into the 2019 season figuring to be the Dodgers’ everyday right fielder.
Regardless of which position he plays, Bellinger is confident in his ability to win a Gold Glove, according to Pedro Moura of The Athletic:
“I love center field. I love first,” he said. “I will play right. I will do that. Getting in the lineup is important. Because if I play consistently, whether it’s left field, center, right, first base, I know for a fact I would win a Gold Glove anywhere. And they know I’m a Gold Glove anywhere I go. I just need to be in the lineup every day.”
During 2017 Spring Training, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts lauded Bellinger as being a ‘Gold-Glove caliber first baseman. The 23-year-old goes into this season ranked a top-10 center fielder by MLB Network’s The Shredder.
Zack Greinke (2015) was the last Dodgers’ player to win a Gold Glove Award. Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, both in 2011, were the organization’s last outfielders to receive the hardware.
While Bellinger and the Dodgers are confident in his ability to play stellar defense across the diamond, production at the plate figures to be more of pressing topic. Bellinger regressed last season, particularly struggling against left-handed pitching in what was a change from 2017.
He spent the offseason working with new Dodgers hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc and hitting strategist Brant Brown on refining his approach and swing mechanics.