Beyond the Los Angeles Dodgers jumping out to a strong start this season, Cody Bellinger has garnered national attention behind a historic stretch of production. His success even caught the eye of Milwaukee Brewers outfielder and reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich.
Given that Yelich got off to another great start of his own this year, there were a lot of comparisons between the two when the Dodgers and Brewers recently played. Clayton Kershaw, among others, even named them two of the top-tier players in all of baseball.
On a recent appearance on teammate Ross Stripling’s “Big Swing Podcast,” Bellinger revealed the advice Yelich shared and voiced his appreciation to be given the insight:
“I wouldn’t say we’re close but I have gotten closer with him. He’s an unbelievable guy. He told me what he did last year, he said, ‘You have to be so focused in the cage and batting practice every day. Don’t ever think that it’s easy, because it’s not, once you start thinking that, that’s when the slumps happen.’ Honestly it was like a pep talk. Like, ‘Dude, you can be good but you’ve got to stay with it.’ It was pretty cool for him to come out and say that.”
Bellinger and Yelich traded places atop MLB’s home run list this season, which now is in favor of the Brewers start. Bellinger leads the Majors in some other major hitting categories or ranks near the top.
Even with a recent slump, his .353 batting average is the best overall. Bellinger has also accumulated 5.5 wins above replacement already this season, per baseball-reference. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels is the next closest with 2.9, while Yelich has 2.3.
Trout’s highest single-season WAR total is 10.5, which he reached in both 2012 and 2016. In both years, he reached top-two in MVP voting. Bellinger, meanwhile, is on pace for roughly 17 WAR if he keeps producing at this level.
Regardless, Bellinger’s performance has earned the attention of his superstar peers, and judging by Yelich’s words to the Dodgers outfielder, he has also earned their respect.