An all-around fantastic season culminated with 2019 National League MVP honors for Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger, who received 19 of 30 first-place votes, holding off other finalists such as Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich and Washington Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon.
Bellinger became the 12th different player in Dodgers history to win NL MVP, joining Jake Daubert (1913), Dazzy Vance (1924), Dolph Camilli (1941), Jackie Robinson (1949), Roy Campanella (1951, 1953, 1955), Don Newcombe (1956), Maury Wills (1962), Sandy Koufax (1963), Steve Garvey (1974), Kirk Gibson (1988) and Clayton Kershaw (2014).
In 156 games, Bellinger batted .305/.406/.629 with 121 runs scored, 34 doubles, 47 home runs, 115 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He led all of baseball with 351 total bases and was one of six qualified players to post an on-base plus slugging percentage of over 1.000.
The 24-year-old additionally thrived on the defensive side of things en route to winning a pair of Fielding Bible Awards and his first career Gold Glove in right field.
Bellinger led all qualified players at the position with a 4.8 Defensive Rating and 19 Defensive Runs Saved during the 2019 season. He additionally appeared at first base and center field — grading out positively at those positions as well.
When reflecting on all of his accomplishments and the hardware he has earned this offseason, Bellinger explained he is even more inspired to continue improving, as seen on SportsNet LA:
“Yeah, absolutely. I think this just makes you more hungry. The feeling I have right now, you don’t want it to end. You don’t receive this and take a backseat. You take this award and keep going further and further with it. That’s what I plan on doing.”
Bellinger previously noted an inconsistent sophomore campaign in which he struggled against left-handed pitching especially motivated him to bounce back for the 2019 season.
Bellinger hit a paltry .226/.305/.376 against the same split during the 2018 campaign, which reduced him to a platoon role in the second half of the season.
He significantly improved in that department this past season, hitting .280/.386/.596 with seven doubles, 18 home runs and 44 RBI across 228 plate appearances.
Bellinger is now in line for a significant raise this offseason as he is one of 12 Dodgers players eligible for salary arbitration. He is projected to earn $11.6 million in 2020, according to MLB Trade Rumors’ model.
That would set a record for first-year arbitration-eligible player. It currently is held by Kris Bryant, who signed for $10.85 million in January 2018.
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