Los Angeles Dodgers fans, who watched with envy as an outstanding outfielder named Mike Trout conquered the major leagues in the neighboring LA Angels, cheered for the emergence of an outstanding talent called Cody Bellinger (28, Chicago Cubs). did.
Bellinger, who debuted in the major leagues 바카라in 2017 and recorded 39 homers, 97 RBIs, and an OPS (on-base percentage + slugging percentage) of 0.933 in 132 games and won the rookie award, exploded in 2019. He appeared in 156 games and was named the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) with a batting average of .305, 47 homers, 115 RBI, and an OPS of 1.035. At least in terms of records in 2019, it was a number that was not inferior to Trout.
Dodgers fans expected Bellinger to grow into Trout’s rival, as did the vehement LA press. However, this evaluation cooled down too quickly. The slump that started in 2020 went on for three years despite the Dodgers’ patience, and the Dodgers eventually released Bellinger, who had one year left in his free agent (FA) qualification.
He is a player with a very high peak, but looking at his 3-year performance, there was nothing to say even if he was released. His batting average remained at 0.203 in 295 games over three years, and his OPS (.648) fell 26% from the league average during this period, even with long hits. However, his salary was high. He got as much as 18 million dollars. Release was natural.
The team that took this Bellinger was the Chicago Cubs. He paid a rather expensive salary of $17.5 million and held Bellinger in his arms. Even though he couldn’t return to his prime, he expected an active performance that could be worth this much money. It is also the result of his confidence that he has the ability to do so and that he can fix it. Some are even picking Bellinger as a potential candidate for the Re-Wise Award.
Bellinger, who participated in the demonstration game with such high expectations, left a confused result. His batting average is still disappointing with a fairly large sample of 51 at-bats in 17 demonstration games. But the long hit came soon.
Bellinger’s exhibition game batting average remains at 0.200. This is better than 2021 (.179) and last year (.139), but it is not a satisfactory figure. But other than that, there is something to look forward to.
First, there were three home runs. More than half of the total nine hits, five were long hits. And strikeouts went down. In 2021, Bellinger struck out a whopping 11 in 28 at-bats. Last year he was 18 strikeouts in 36 at-bats. Half of all at bats ended in strikeouts. But he’s definitely less this year, going 8 strikeouts in 45 at-bats. In the meantime, he picked 5 walks. The walk/strikeout ratio, which is considered a leading indicator for batters, has definitely improved compared to the past three years.
Bellinger is expected to get a chance as a starter. In the end, the most important thing is to break the recent sluggish cycle at the beginning of the season. If he rebounds, he will be able to show his mettle in situations that are a bit more comfortable psychologically as well.