Mike Trout gets all the love, but there’s another young slugger in Los Angeles who’s quickly becoming one of the biggest fish in Major League Baseball. Cody Bellinger, named Rookie of the Year in 2017, is tearing the cover off the baseball in his third season with the Dodgers, and a swing adjustment could be a big reason why.
Following the 2018 season, the 23-year-old began working with the Dodgers new hitting coach, Robert Van Scoyoc, after he was hired away from the Arizona Diamondbacks in November. Bellinger spent two weeks with Van Scoyoc at Dodger Stadium digging into his swing to determine how his body and mechanics are best suited to create leverage. That deep dive included 3D-mapping Bellinger’s swing, according to FiveThirtyEight.
After the offseason work, Bellinger has taken a more relaxed approach at the plate and is taking smarter, rather than larger, hacks at the plate.
“You are a lot better when you are calm in the [batter’s] box, in the mind and the body,” Bellinger said. “It’s about feeling good, having confidence. Just trying to lock it in every single time.”
The results have been there, as Bellinger is hitting .377 with 20 home runs and 52 RBI compared to just 31 strikeouts. With a 5.4 WAR (wins above replacement) in 55 team games, the third-year outfielder could break the all-time single-season record of 14.1 which was set by Babe Ruth in 1923. As of now, Bellinger is on track for a WAR of about 16.0.
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