Just three years ago, Cody Bellinger won an MVP with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ever since then, he has been trending downward. After six seasons in Los Angeles, he now heads to the North Side of Chicago. New York Post columnist Jon Heyman reported that the Cubs are signing Bellinger to a one-year, $17.5 million contract.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2022
A Tale of Two Cody Bellingers
Bellinger’s time with the Dodgers is the story of a tale of two halves. Bellinger was a rookie sensation in 2017, earning a Rookie of the Year award and an All-Star appearance. He led a 104-win Dodgers club with 39 home runs and 97 RBIs at age 21. Bellinger followed up with a .260/.343/.470 campaign with 25 home runs and 76 RBIs. He followed up with a career year. Bellinger hit .305/.406/.629 with 47 home runs, 115 RBIs, 15 stolen bases, and an 8.6 WAR. He won the 2019 MVP award in a close race against Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich.
However, Cody Bellinger’s production soon declined from there. Over the next two seasons, Bellinger only hit .187/.252/.345 in 239 games. His 2021 season was especially ugly, where he hit under the Mendoza line with a .165 clip in 95 games. It is the only season in which Bellinger posted a negative wins above replacement rating, with a -1.5.
A big culprit for Bellinger’s dip in production is his hard-hit percentage. When Bellinger was at his best, his percentages were in the 40s, where they were in his first four years. However, in the last two years, they have dropped to the 30s, 34.5% in 2021 and 38.2% in 2022.
Bellinger, 27, now joins a retooling Chicago Cubs team. Cody Bellinger offers versatility as far as where he can play in the outfield, although he primarily plays center field. He expectedly joins an outfield of him, Ian Happ, and Seiya Suzuki.
David Ross found out about Cody Bellinger live on TV lol pic.twitter.com/aJWxtRcDIV
— Starting 9 (@Starting9) December 6, 2022
Young outfielders Christopher Morel and Nelson Velazquez are also options if needed. Although Morel will likely see more time in the infield, where he started 54 games split between shortstop, 2nd base, and third base.