Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger was named National League Player of the Month for April of the 2019 season. It’s the first such honor for Bellinger, though he was named NL Player of the Week for the period of March 31-April 7.
Bellinger previously garnered weekly recognition twice during what amounted to a 2017 NL Rookie of the Year campaign. He was the Dodgers’ first player to earn the award since Matt Kemp on June 4, 2018. The Dodgers’ last NL Player of the Month was Justin Turner in August 2018.
The monthly recognition was certainly earned as Bellinger hit with six doubles, one triple, 14 home runs and 37 RBI over 31 games in March and April.
Highlights included Bellinger hitting a go-ahead home run off vaunted Milwaukee Brewers closer Josh Hader in the ninth inning to lift the Dodgers to a dramatic win on Easter. Another of his blasts put L.A. in the record books as it marked a 33rd consecutive home game with a home run. The 1999 Colorado Rockies held the previous record at 32 games.
This past Sunday, Bellinger tied an MLB record by reaching 14 homers in a season before May 1 and eclipsed Rafael Furcal’s Dodgers franchise record with 44 total hits during March/April. Bellinger finished with 47 hits prior to the calendar reaching May.
His 14 home runs this season are tied with Christian Yelich for the MLB lead. In addition to Bellinger and Yelich, Albert Pujols (2006) and Alex Rodriguez (2007) are the only players in MLB history to hit 14 home runs before May.
Bellinger took sole possession of the MLB record for total bases before May with 97. The record was previously held by Chase Utley, who had 85 bases during March and April games of the 2008 season.
In early April, Bellinger joined Eddie Mathews and Alex Rodriguez as the only players in MLB history with six home runs and 16 RBI through the first eight games of a season.
Bellinger’s prolific production has left Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and teammates awestruck. Roberts cited Bellinger’s consistency in preparation and work ethic as one reason why his young slugger won’t necessarily experience fall victim to a sudden drop off.
“It’s been amazing,” Alex Verdugo recently said about watching his teammate. “I joke around about it all the time: he’s got video-game numbers. It’s fun to watch him play. Hope he keeps it going.”
Though Bellinger has feigned being oblivious to his record-setting pace, Corey Seager isn’t sold. “I’m going to go with yes (Bellinger is aware),” Seager said with a laugh.
“I don’t think you can be that good and not know what you’re doing.”