It did not take Cody Bellinger long for him to become a star in the MLB. During his first season with the LA Dodgers, he took the league by storm and quickly made a name for himself. The 25-year-old has already received numerous awards during his career, and he now has an opportunity to win his first World Series.
Bellinger struggled during the 2020 regular season and in the playoffs. He received a strong message from his father during the playoffs, and after that, he started playing like himself.
Cody Bellinger had a breakout season his rookie year
The Dodgers selected Bellinger in the fourth round of the 2013 MLB draft. He originally committed to play college baseball at the University of Oregon but signed with the Dodgers for a $700,000 signing bonus. During his time in the minor leagues, Bellinger established himself as a top prospect in the Dodgers organization. In April of 2017, he was called up to the MLB.
He made his MLB debut on April 25, 2017, against the San Francisco Giants and had one hit in three at-bats. During his rookie season, he became the first Dodgers player to hit five home runs in his first 11 games. He made the All-Star team as a rookie and quickly became a fan favorite. Bellinger broke the record for most home runs by a Dodgers rookie when he hit his 39th homer on September 22, 2017, against the Giants.
Bellinger played in 132 games in his first season and finished with a .267 batting average, 39 home runs, and 97 RBIs. He was named the NL Rookie of the Year after an impressive performance. Bellinger had a rookie season to remember, and he set himself up to have a successful career in the big leagues.
Bellinger continued to have success in 2018 and 2019
The Dodgers star continued to have success following his impressive rookie season. During the 2018 season, he led the team in hits (145) and multi-hit games (41). He finished the season with a .260 batting average with 25 home runs. Bellinger stepped up in a big way for the Dodgers during the 2018 Playoffs. He was named the NLCS MVP after hitting a walk-off single in the 13th inning in Game 4 and a go-ahead two-run home run in the second inning of Game 7 against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In his first two seasons, Bellinger played in the World Series. Bellinger had the best season of his career in 2019. He finished the season with a .305 batting average and hit 47 home runs. Bellinger was named the NL MVP and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award.
Cody Bellinger struggled during the 2020 season, and his father offered words of encouragement
Looking to capitalize on a strong 2019 season, Bellinger went into the 2020 season with high hopes. During the shortened season, Bellinger hit a career-low .239 with 12 homers and 30 RBIs in 56 games. The reigning NL MVP was not looking like the MVP throughout the season. Though he struggled during the season, the Dodgers finished the season as one of the league’s hottest teams.
Bellinger continued to struggle in the playoffs, and something needed to be done. His father, Clay Bellinger, noticed that his son was struggling offensively. When the Dodgers went down 3-1 to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS, Clay sent a message to Cody. “Get in the box, be the man, see what happens.” That’s the message Clay sent to his son.
“Hitting’s the hardest thing to do in sports, and when you’re taking one swing an at-bat, it’s super hard,” Clay said in an ESPN article. “I told him, ‘Get back to being aggressive the way you are. And if you get to two strikes, take that aggressive swing.'” At the plate, Cody is not afraid to take aggressive swings, no matter what the count is. After his father sent that message, he stepped up in a big way. In Game 7 of the NLCS, Cody hit a go-ahead solo home run that advanced the Dodgers to the World Series. He will have the opportunity to play at a high-level during the World Series, and he will be a key factor for the Dodgers.