Coming off a season in which he helped the Los Angeles Dodgers win their first World Series since 1988, Cody Bellinger was ranked among the top 10 center fielders entering the 2021 season by MLB Network’s The Shredder.
For the third consecutive year, Bellinger placed second in the rankings behind Mike Trout, who takes the top spot for a seventh straight season. Trout has been named the best center fielder in eight of his 10 MLB seasons.
With the 2020 campaign shortened to just 60 games, the 2021 list was compiled by taking into account a three-year sample. It also entailed The Shredder rankings from the past two years, Statcast metrics, and the most weight for defense at any position.
After Trout and Bellinger, the rest of the top 10 in order is rounded out by George Springer, Alex Verdugo, Brandon Nimmo, Kyle Lewis, Ramón Laureano, Trent Grisham, Starling Marte and Byron Buxton.
Like the The Shredder, MLB Network analysts Mike Petriello, Sarah Langs and Vince Gennaro each ranked Bellinger the second-best center fielder behind Trout.
Bellinger struggled for much of the abbreviated 2020 season, hitting just .239/.333/.455 with 12 home runs and 30 RBI in 56 games. However, over the past two seasons, he leads all position players with 10.8 WAR. Mookie Betts is right behind him with 10.6, while Trout accumulated 10.1 during that span.
Since the 2018 season, Bellinger’s xWOBA of .381 is second to only Trout’s .441 among center fielders with a minimum of 900 plate appearances. Using the same criteria, Bellinger’s 137 wRC+ is good for fourth, trailing only Trout, Nimmo and Springer.
While Bellinger’s production regressed during the regular season, he fared much better in the postseason. In 18 games, he hit .212/.316/.455 with four home runs and 13 RBI.
Bellinger came through with some timely hits, most notably in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series when he crushed a solo home run off Chris Martin to give the Dodgers a decided 4-3 lead.
Bellinger also shined with his glove, robbing Fernando Tatis Jr. of what would have been a go-ahead home run in Game 2 of the NL Division Series.
MLB Top 10 center fielders right now for 2021
|Rank||The Shredder||Mike Petriello||Sarah Langs||Vince Gennaro|
|1||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)|
|2||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)|
|3||George Springer (free agent)||George Springer (free agent)||George Springer (free agent)||George Springer (free agent)|
|4||Alex Verdugo (Red Sox)||Trent Grisham (Padres)||Luis Robert (White Sox)||Ramon Lauerano (Athletics)|
|5||Brandon Nimmo (Mets)||Brandon Nimmo (Mets)||Trent Grisham (Padres)||Aaron Hicks (Yankees)|
|6||Kyle Lewis (Mariners)||Byron Buxton (Twins)||Byron Buxton (Twins)||Brandon Nimmo (Mets)|
|7||Ramon Lauerano (Athletics)||Luis Robert (White Sox)||Kyle Lewis (Mariners)||Kyle Lewis (Mariners)|
|8||Trent Grisham (Padres)||Ian Happ (Cubs)||Starling Marte (Marlins)||Ian Happ (Cubs)|
|9||Starling Marte (Marlins)||Kyle Lewis (Mariners)||Ramon Lauerano (Athletics)||Alex Verdugo (Red Sox)|
|10||Byron Buxton (Twins)||Alex Verdugo (Red Sox)||Ian Happ (Cubs)||Trent Grisham (Padres)|
Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in our shows, and more!