After bursting onto the scene and slugging his way to a unanimous 2017 National League Rookie of the Year Award, Cody Bellinger was confident he would avoid a sophomore slump with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
That’s not how the 2018 season unfolded, however, as Bellinger was inconsistent and particularly struggled against left-handed pitching. That was a far cry from his rookie season when Bellinger produced a .903 on-base plus slugging percentage against southpaws.
As a result, Bellinger was among multiple players the Dodgers platooned down the stretch of last season and throughout their run to the World Series. Bellinger spent the offseason working to improve his mechanics and have a bounce-back year.
His 2019 debut was delayed some due to back soreness. Bellinger appeared in just his second Cactus League game on Thursday, slugging a home run in his second at-bat.
While it’s been a small sample size of workouts and games, the 23-year-old is pleased with his current standing, via Rowan Kavner of Dodger Insider:
“I feel great right now,” Bellinger said. “We’ve got two really good hitting coaches that are going to help us maintain when we feel good and really smart and good at communicating.”
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has already made it clear he intends for Bellinger to play on a daily basis and lead the team in plate appearances this season. Though, a change will be in the bulk of his playing time coming in right field.
The position change is one Bellinger is open to. He’s also receptive to being in the lineup essentially every day, confident that even if struggling some, he is capable of making an impact.