It’s been a historic season for Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, who established himself as one of the game’s best hitters in a short amount of time.
Though his promotion in late-April was originally planned to be brief, the 22-year-old forced himself into the Dodgers lineup on an every night basis with his offensive production and solid defense at first base.
Among his many achievements in 2017, Bellinger clubbed 39 home runs during the regular season — a National League record for rookies — and is viewed as the consensus favorite for Rookie of the Year honors.
Now, Bellinger is experiencing his first taste of October baseball. “It’s stressful. It’s fun. Everything matters a little more, every at-bat matters a little more,” he explained. “But you try to treat it like a regular season game.”
Through five postseason games, Bellinger is hitting .286/.438/.476 with one double, a home run and two RBI in 23 plate appearances. He’s tallied at least one hit in four of five games, and has a pair of multi-hit performances.
Since his call-up to the Majors, Bellinger credits veterans in the Dodgers clubhouse for impacting him positively and helping him make the adjustment.
“I would say the number one guy for me was Andre Ethier, lockermates,” Bellinger said. “He goes about it in a different way, but it’s awesome having him next to my side.”
Ethier, the longest-tenured Dodgers player, keeps Bellinger in check in a unique way.
“It’s a lot of smack talk,” the young first baseman said. “Once you start getting a little confident in a bad way, he’ll kind of smack you around and tell you.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts agreed that Bellinger has benefited from the advice of his fellow teammates.
“I think the veterans on the team have helped him immensely, and how to go about preparing and how to handle success, struggles, how to handle this market, how to handle being a Major League player,” Roberts said.
“Cody himself is really in his make-up, his DNA, just is really even keeled, and he knows he belongs here, and knew that early on. He has the talent.”