Dodgers News: Cody Bellinger Wanted To Prove He Could Play Right Field At Elite Level In 2019
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger cuts off a ball in the outfield
Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

In addition to slugging his way to many franchise records for the Los Angeles Dodgers this season, Cody Bellinger equally impressed with his overall defensive efforts.

The 2019 National League MVP candidate flexed his versatility by appearing at three different positions, receiving the majority of his playing time in right field. Bellinger had very little experience at the position entering the year, but his seamless transition was evident early on.

He was responsible for a plethora of web gems in right field, finishing the 2019 season with a 4.8 Defensive Rating and 19 Defensive Runs Saved — pacing NL qualifiers in both categories.

Bellinger’s all-around play resulted in his first career NL Gold Glove Award, where he bested the likes of Jason Heyward and Bryce Harper in voting. Bellinger became the first Dodgers player to win one since Zack Greinke in 2015.

During an interview with ESPN, Bellinger noted that he wanted to prove to everyone he could play the position at a similar level to his peers:

“I don’t think you go out there trying to compete against those guys defensively, like, ‘I’ve got to be better than them.’ I think I just try to go out there and make every single play that I could. Obviously, with the talent out there — Yelich, Harper, Heyward — those guys have done it year after year. So for me, my first year out there, I just wanted to show what I could do and I tried to do it well.”

Bellinger also revealed that winning a Gold Glove had always been a longtime goal of his. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts forecasted the possibility back in Spring Training, believing the 24-year-old was capable of earning one at either first base or in the outfield.

The young star was further recognized for his defensive success this season with a pair of Fielding Bible Awards. He became the first player in MLB history to win two in a single season; one took into consideration his elite play in right field and the other highlighted Bellinger’s “multi-positional excellence.”

Bellinger was also in the running for the Rawlings Platinum Glove Award, though Colorado Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado ultimately took home the honor.

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