The term ‘Video Game Numbers’ is used often these days, but so far in 2019, Cody Bellinger is putting up production more commonly found in “MLB: The Show.” The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder currently leads all players in nearly every hitting category.
Entering play Sunday, Bellinger’s 29 runs scored, 42 hits, .420 batting average, .500 on-base percentage, .890 slugging, 1.390 on-base plus slugging and 259 OPS+ were leading the Majors. Additionally, Bellinger’s 89 total bases broke an 11-year-old MLB record held by former teammate Chase Utley.
Bellinger’s 13 home runs were tied with Christian Yelich for the MLB lead, and his 3.2 Wins Above Replacement, per Baseball-Reference, is a full win higher than the next-closest player, which belongs to Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels.
Bellinger’s white-hot start to the season has garnered national attention as his numbers refuse to come down to within the realm of normalcy. He homered again on Friday night, giving the Dodgers the MLB record for most consecutive home games with a home run.
Although conventional wisdom suggests Bellinger will eventually regress some, manager Dave Roberts pointed to his consistency as a key to avoiding a steep drop off, via SportsNet LA:
“Honestly, the trajectories, the swinging at balls in the strike zone, the not trying to expand, using the whole field. All these things, that these boxes are being checked that lend itself to consistency. I don’t think Cody is concerned about the numbers, I’m not concerned. I just think that the quality, the intent every time he steps in the batter’s box has been very consistent.”
The advanced statistics look slightly less impressive for Bellinger, but back up Roberts’ praise. Bellinger’s swing percentage at pitches outside of the strike zone, for instance, is 18th-lowest in the majors, behind several superstars such as Trout and Mookie Betts.
Regardless, as long as his approach remains as Roberts describes, Bellinger is set for a special season in 2019 that could bring him some more hardware when all is said and done.