Just how great was Cody Bellinger

I think we are underappreciating just how great Cody Bellinger was last year.  The reason being that Cody missed almost a full month of major league ball and still broke the National League home run record.

If we look at what every twenty – one or younger MLB player did in history maybe we can appreciate his truncated season even more.

With that in mind I went to baseball reference and created a list of every major league player 21 or younger who amassed 550 or fewer plate appearances in their rookie season.  To help prune the list I only included players who earned at least 3 bWAR during that season.

Twenty – Five players in the entire history of major league baseball made the cut.

I love Willie McCovey being number one on this list for three reasons.

  1. I loved Willie McCovey the ballplayer
  2. Willie is my favorite comp for Cody Bellinger
  3. Willie was a smooth large 1st baseman who also first played the outfield. Willie would play 275 games in LF, all of those games coming before he turned 27. HOF Orlando Cepeda was in his way at 1st in the beginning.

HOF on this list includes Willie McCovey, Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby (age 20), Tim Raines, Richie Ashburn, Willie Mays (age 20), Ken Griffey (age 19), and Joe Tinker.  Joe Torre is also on the list though he made it more as a manager even though he had a career that would justify the HOF.  Barry Bonds is a HOF in most books just not the crazy voting books.

Some notes from the list below.

  • Cody had the 5th highest OPS+  at 142
  • Cody hit 17 more home runs than anyone else on the list
  • Cody led the list in runs scored
  • Cody led the list in runs batted in.
  • Cody was second in slug%
  • Cody was 3rd in walks
  • Cody was 2nd in strikeouts (oops). Thank you, Addison Russell.

Cody Bellinger had a rookie season that stands up to Stan the Man.

Player                       OPS+  PA Year Age  R   H 2B HR RBI BB  SO  SLG
Willie McCovey (RoY-1st)      188 219 1959  21 32  68  9 13  38 22  35 .656
Brett Lawrie                  153 171 2011  21 26  44  8  9  25 16  31 .580
Stan Musial                   151 536 1942  21 87 147 32 10  72 62  25 .490
Rogers Hornsby                151 550 1916  20 63 155 17  6  65 40  63 .444
Cody Bellinger (RoY-1st)      142 548 2017  21 87 128 26 39  97 64 146 .581
Carlos Correa (RoY-1st)       135 432 2015  20 52 108 22 22  68 40  78 .512
Tim Raines (RoY-2nd)          135 363 1981  21 61  95 13  5  37 45  31 .438
Darrell Porter (RoY-3rd)      133 416 1973  21 50  89 19 16  67 57  85 .457
Tom Brunansky                 129 545 1982  21 77 126 30 20  46 71 101 .471
Richie Hebner                 127 532 1969  21 72 138 23  8  47 53  53 .420
Jeff Francoeur (RoY-3rd)      126 274 2005  21 41  77 20 14  45 11  58 .549
Richie Ashburn (RoY-3rd)      123 530 1948  21 78 154 17  2  40 60  22 .400
Francisco Lindor (RoY-2nd)    121 438 2015  21 50 122 22 12  51 27  69 .482
Willie Mays (RoY-1st)         120 523 1951  20 59 127 22 20  68 57  60 .472
George Burns                  119 545 1914  21 55 139 22  5  57 32  56 .389
Ken Griffey (RoY-3rd)         108 506 1989  19 61 120 23 16  61 44  83 .420
Joe Torre (RoY-2nd)           106 441 1961  20 40 113 21 10  42 28  60 .424
Edgar Renteria (RoY-2nd)      103 471 1996  19 68 133 18  5  31 33  68 .399
Barry Bonds (RoY-6th)         103 484 1986  21 72  92 26 16  48 65 102 .416
Willie Randolph               103 499 1976  21 59 115 15  1  40 58  39 .328
Milt Stock                    103 414 1914  20 52  96 17  3  41 34  21 .340
Joe Tinker                     98 545 1902  21 55 132 19  2  55 26  61 .333
Andruw Jones (RoY-5th)         93 467 1997  20 60  92 18 18  70 56 107 .416
Addison Russell                91 523 2015  21 60 115 29 13  54 42 149 .389
Elvis Andrus (RoY-2nd)         82 541 2009  20 72 128 17  6  40 40  77 .373

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/12/2018.

 

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1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    I feel that we will appreciate Bellinger more and more, year by year.

    Whatever “IT” is, Bellinger has got it.

    Watched him from behind home plate on a mid-season Sunday afternoon with a scout.
    The scout the Twins had earlier sent to evaluate the players they would ask for in the Dozier trade talks. He said that after watching Bellinger in CF in a couple of minor leauge games that Bellinger would be a Gold Glove CF if he played there. Bellinger is that good.
    Read last week that Bellinger is bulking up during this off-saeson.
    BIGGER, BETTER, STRONGER.

    It is gonna be a pleasure watching this kid play in 2018.

    Like

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