Dodgers News: Cody Bellinger Mindful, But Not Overly Concerned By Potential ‘Sophomore Slump’
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

While the Los Angeles Dodgers methodically brought along Joc Pederson and Corey Seager, with each making their respective MLB debuts the September prior to assuming a full role, Julio Urias and Cody Bellinger were not afforded the same luxury.

Injuries forced the organization’s top pitching and hitting prospects into arrivals that came much earlier than anticipated over the past two seasons. In Bellinger’s case, he joined the Dodgers last April, when the team was a mere 9-11.

It was anticipated that Bellinger’s time with the club would be brief, but he played his way into remaining on the roster for the duration of the season. Bellinger supplanted Adrian Gonzalez as the everyday first baseman behind a historic campaign.

He’s successfully spent the offseason focused on adding muscle mass to his frame in preparation to withstand the rigors of playing a full year in the Majors.

In an interview with Alanna Rizzo on SportsNet LA, Bellinger said it was also under the notion of some regression likely being ahead:

“When you have some success, kind of living out a dream, you kind of want to have more success. For me, the sophomore slump is obviously going to be there, everyone is going to say it. I just wanted to put my body and mind in the best position to succeed.”

Although he’s aware of the stigma, Bellinger isn’t concerned about the possibility:

“Like I said last year, if I were to start struggling, we’ve got the right guys in the clubhouse to give me the right advice, the right coaches to get me out of it. I’m not too worried about it. I’m going to go out and have fun like I did last year.”

That Bellinger might not consistently meet the standard he set in 2017 is hardly inconceivable. His 39 home runs broke a National League rookie record, and he surpassed records held by the likes of Mark McGwire and Mike Piazza.

It culminated with Bellinger being unanimously voted NL Rookie of the Year, like Seager was in 2016. The All-Star shortstop followed it up with a season similar to his award-winning year, which Bellinger has all the tools and makings to match.