Cody Bellinger is more than just another LAD ROY

As expected Cody Bellinger unanimously won the National League Rookie of the Year award for 2017.  Like Corey Seager he is more than that, he should be a top ten MVP candidate going forward.

Given their ages, it can be expected that improvement will follow and that by the time they have played five seasons for the Dodgers they will already be considered among the best Los Angeles Dodgers to ever play the game.

In only two years I think you could easily argue that Corey Seager is the greatest LAD shortstop of all time. And that includes a MVP shortstop in Maury Wills.

I expect the same from Cody Bellinger.  I think he’s better than Corey Seager in that he can impact the game in more ways.  He’s also started his major league career one year earlier.  Who cares who is better? The important thing is that they are both Dodger infielders with years of cheap team control. The stuff general managers and baseball fans dream of for their respective teams.

Below are the bWAR totals for Los Angeles Dodgers by the age of 21. Adrian Beltre is headed for the HOF but his age 22/23 won’t be as kind for him.

Player           WAR/pos From   To   Age   PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
Adrian Beltre        7.4 1998 2000 19-21 1403 .272 .344 .438 .782    *5/H6
Cody Bellinger       4.2 2017 2017 21-21  548 .267 .352 .581 .933 /*379H8D
Bill Russell         3.7 1969 1970 20-21  542 .245 .302 .355 .657  *9/8H76
Willie Davis         3.4 1960 1961 20-21  474 .267 .322 .457 .779     *8/H
Tommy Davis          2.2 1959 1960 20-21  375 .275 .301 .425 .726  /*8H795

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

I expected Corey Seager to be the NL Rookie of the Year in 2016. I never expected that from Cody Bellinger.  I felt he was the best option for left field back in March when fans laughed at Jim Bowen for suggesting such a thing, but I was a believer. What I didn’t believe is that he’d break the all-time NL home run record for a rookie.  I expected struggles, was hoping for something along .240 / .320 / .480 and someday morph into Anthony Rizzo. What we got was prime time Anthony Rizzo from the get go.

One of the things lost in my tracking Cody’s race to break the NL home run record for a rookie was the fact he was doing this at age 21.  So without further ado, here is the list of every major league player to hit at least 30 home runs at the baseball age of 21.

Of course Eddie Mathews is on the top. Eddie Mathews was one of the greatest young players to ever play the game.  This is a crazy list of absolutely some of the greatest players to ever play the game.   Cody Bellinger is 2nd on this list.

Player              OPS+ HR Year Age  Tm  PA  AB
Eddie Mathews        171 47 1953  21 MLN 681 579
Cody Bellinger       142 39 2017  21 LAD 548 480
Albert Pujols        157 37 2001  21 STL 676 590
Hal Trosky           150 35 1934  21 CLE 685 625
Giancarlo Stanton    141 34 2011  21 FLA 601 516
Jimmie Foxx          173 33 1929  21 PHA 638 517
Bob Horner           135 33 1979  21 ATL 515 487
Miguel Cabrera       130 33 2004  21 FLA 685 603
Jose Canseco         116 33 1986  21 OAK 682 600
Andruw Jones         116 31 1998  21 ATL 631 582
Ruben Sierra         101 30 1987  21 TEX 696 643

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

Bellinger, basically blew our minds from day one, and continued to blow our minds all the way into November.  He was batting cleanup in game seven of the World Series and even though at times had been over-matched in the postseason, I fully expected him to lead the team to the World Championship.  With each at-bat I felt he would light the candle at the Ravine.

It didn’t happen

It may have been the only time in a full season of baseball that Cody Bellinger didn’t deliver. He delivered so often that the expectation I put him was not unreasonable.

Think how ridiculous that is. I had expectations that a 21-year-old rookie would prove to be the difference in a game seven championship game, and it was not unreasonable.

Cody Bellinger is going to become the greatest Dodger to ever play 1st base. I feel very comfortable in saying that.

Which means going forward the Dodgers will have two of the greatest players of their franchise in their infield.

And they are only going to be 22 and 24.

Player            WAR/pos From   To   Age   PA  OBP  SLG  OPS      Pos
Willie Davis         20.2 1960 1964 20-24 2347 .314 .421 .735     *8/H
Adrian Beltre        13.8 1998 2003 19-24 3161 .320 .428 .748    *5/H6
Corey Seager         13.5 2015 2017 21-23 1413 .374 .502 .876   *6/H5D
Tommy Davis          12.9 1959 1963 20-24 2191 .346 .467 .813  *758/9H
Yasiel Puig          11.3 2013 2015 22-24 1383 .371 .487 .858  *9/8H7D
Matt Kemp            10.2 2006 2009 21-24 1801 .346 .480 .826   *89/H7
Jim Lefebvre          9.8 1965 1966 23-24 1241 .335 .415 .749    *4/5H
Bill Russell          9.0 1969 1973 20-24 1908 .303 .348 .651 *69/H847
Russell Martin        7.6 2006 2007 23-24 1088 .366 .454 .821    *2/HD
Mike Piazza           7.1 1992 1993 23-24  676 .361 .534 .895    *2/H3
Willie Crawford       7.1 1964 1971 17-24 1401 .326 .401 .727    7H9/8

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

Hot damn.

Just for fun here are all the major league players since 1958 to have at least 30 home runs by the age of 21. I’ll look at this in more detail later on and add the all important home run per plate appearance which is where Mr. Bellinger really shines.

Player              HR From   To   Age   PA  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
Tony Conigliaro     84 1964 1966 19-21 1657 .339 .508  .847   *9/78H
Alex Rodriguez      64 1994 1997 18-21 1523 .366 .534  .900    *6/HD
Mike Trout          62 2011 2013 19-21 1490 .404 .544  .948  *87/9DH
Ken Griffey         60 1989 1991 19-21 1805 .367 .479  .847    *8/HD
Giancarlo Stanton   56 2010 2011 20-21  997 .344 .525  .869   *9/H8D
Bob Horner          56 1978 1979 20-21  874 .332 .547  .879    *5/3H
Bryce Harper        55 2012 2014 19-21 1489 .351 .465  .816   *78/9H
Andruw Jones        54 1996 1998 19-21 1211 .319 .472  .791   *89/H7
Orlando Cepeda      52 1958 1959 20-21 1291 .349 .517  .866   *3/75H
Ruben Sierra        46 1986 1987 20-21 1107 .302 .472  .774  *9/78HD
Miguel Cabrera      45 2003 2004 20-21 1031 .352 .497  .850   79/5HD
Justin Upton        43 2007 2009 19-21 1157 .350 .485  .836    *9/HD
Carlos Correa       42 2015 2016 20-21 1092 .354 .475  .829     *6/H
Adrian Beltre       42 1998 2000 19-21 1403 .344 .438  .782    *5/H6
Johnny Bench        42 1967 1969 19-21 1292 .323 .444  .767     *2/H
Vada Pinson         41 1958 1960 19-21 1523 .355 .483  .837   *8/97H
Boog Powell         40 1961 1963 19-21 1002 .317 .433  .750   *7/3H9
Cody Bellinger      39 2017 2017 21-21  548 .352 .581  .933 /*379H8D
Cesar Cedeno        39 1970 1972 19-21 1651 .338 .461  .799  *8/97H3
Jose Canseco        38 1985 1986 20-21  782 .320 .461  .781  *7/9H8D
Ed Kranepool        38 1962 1966 17-21 1848 .301 .371  .671  *3/9H78
Albert Pujols       37 2001 2001 21-21  676 .403 .610 1.013  /5379HD
Manny Machado       33 2012 2014 19-21 1266 .313 .434  .747       *5
Jason Heyward       32 2010 2011 20-21 1079 .362 .427  .789     *9/H
Juan Gonzalez       32 1989 1991 19-21  758 .312 .465  .777  *8/7D9H
Ron Santo           32 1960 1961 20-21 1037 .343 .453  .796     *5/H

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 11/15/2017.

Advertisements

5 Comments

  1. Ajo Knoblauch

    I love Bellinger’s as the best LA Dodger 1B, but he’s got a ways to go to pass Gil Hodges.

    Like

    • Definitely, but he’s got a hell of a head start. Gil was 27 before he had a season like Cody had at age 21. The one thing Cody has over just about every other first baseman is the speed factor. He’s not just a fast 1st baseman, he’s a fast player period. That translates into all sort of advantages that you normally don’t get from a 1st baseman.

      Like

    • Also, I should note that everything I write about is Los Angeles Dodger based. I usually point this out like

      “In only two years I think you could easily argue that Corey Seager is the greatest LAD shortstop of all time. And that includes an MVP shortstop in Maury Wills.

      I expect the same from Cody Bellinger. “

      Like

      • Which is why 99% of my baseball reference lists start with the year 1958. Sometimes I’ll fudge when players like Drysdale, Koufax, Hodges, Snider, Podres had significant careers on both coasts but mostly it is just LAD.

        Like

        • 68elcamino427

          “Bring On Home”

          – Led Zepplin

          Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: