Cody James Bellinger (born July 13, 1995) is an American professional baseball first baseman and outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB). He was named an All-Star and the National League's Rookie of the Year in 2017. Bellinger is the son of Clay Bellinger, who also played in MLB.
Bellinger played in the 2007 Little League World Series for the Chandler, Arizona team and played high school baseball at Hamilton High School in Chandler. He was a 2013 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American. While known primarily for his hitting ability, Bellinger also pitched for his high school and threw a four-hit, complete-game shutout with 10 strikeouts in a national tournament.
Bellinger was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round of the 2013 Major League Baseball draft and signed with them on June 13, 2013, for a $700,000 signing bonus, despite a verbal commitment to play college baseball at the University of Oregon. He made his professional debut with the Arizona League Dodgers, batting .210 in 195 plate appearances. He had some difficulty making contact in his first pro season, striking out 46 times in 47 games but scouts said he showed promise and had lots of power potential.
In 2014, he was promoted to the Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League and despite dealing with a shoulder injury early in the summer he hit .328 in 46 games for the Raptors. He played in 2015 with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes and was selected to the mid-season California League all-star team as well as the post-season all-star team. In 128 games, he hit .264 with 30 homers (tied for 2nd in the league), leading the league in runs (97) and RBIs (103). He was given a non-roster invitation to Dodgers spring training in 2016. Bellinger was assigned to the Double-A Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League to start the 2016 season. In 114 games for Tulsa he hit .263 with 23 homers (3rd in the league), 59 walks (tied for 3rd in the league), and 65 RBIs (9th in the league), earning him a late-season promotion to the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, where he had six hits in 11 at bats (.545 average) and three home runs. Bellinger was assigned to the Glendale Desert Dogs of the Arizona Fall League after the season and he participated in the Fall Stars Game of top prospects in the league.
Bellinger began the 2017 season with Oklahoma City and was called up to the majors for the first time on April 25, 2017.
Los Angeles Dodgers
2017: NL Rookie of the Year
Bellinger started in left field in his major league debut on April 25, 2017, against the San Francisco Giants, and had one hit in three at-bats, with an intentional walk. He was just the third Dodgers player in history to be intentionally walked in his debut (Chico Fernández, Dick Nen). Bellinger's first major league hit was an infield single off Neil Ramírez in the ninth inning of the same game. Bellinger hit his first major league home run on April 29 off Zach Eflin of the Philadelphia Phillies and followed that by hitting a second home run in the same game, this one off Héctor Neris. He was just the third Dodgers player with a two–home-run game among his first five starts, joining Charlie Gilbert (1940) and Yasiel Puig (2013). He hit his first grand slam on May 6, off Miguel Díaz of the San Diego Padres, as part of a career-high five RBI day. He was the first Dodgers player to hit five home runs within his first 11 games. Bellinger was named the National League Player of the Week for the first week of May. With nine home runs in May, Bellinger moved into a three-way tie with Joc Pederson (May 2015) and James Loney (September 2007) for most home runs by a Dodgers rookie in a calendar month. He was named the National League Rookie of the Month for May.
Bellinger hit two home runs against the Cincinnati Reds on June 11, then did so again in the Dodgers' next game—on June 13, against the Cleveland Indians—to become the first Dodgers player to hit two home runs in back-to-back games since Adrián Beltré in the 2004 season and he had four multi–home-run games in his first 45 games, becoming the fastest player in MLB history to accomplish that, besting Bob Horner who did so in 63 games in 1978. He again hit two home runs in a game on June 19, against the New York Mets, and in the process tied Wally Berger and Gary Sánchez for the fastest players to hit 20 home runs. On June 20, Bellinger became the first rookie in MLB history with 10 home runs in a 10-game span. He had his sixth multi–home-run game on June 25, against the Colorado Rockies, passing Mike Piazza to set a new Dodgers rookie record. He won his second player of the week award for his work that week. Bellinger was named to the 2017 Major League Baseball All-Star Game as a reserve. He also competed in the Home Run Derby, advancing to the second round before falling to the eventual champion Aaron Judge. On July 15, he hit for the cycle against the Miami Marlins, the first rookie in franchise history to do so. On September 2, he hit his 35th home run of the season to tie Mike Piazza for the Dodgers rookie record. He broke the record the following day. He tied Wally Berger and Frank Robinson for the National League record when he hit his 38th home run on September 16. He hit his 39th on September 22 against the San Francisco Giants.
In his first season in the majors, Bellinger played in 132 games with a .267 batting average, 39 home runs, and 97 RBI. He was selected as the Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year. He played in all 15 of the Dodgers games in the post-season, with a .219 batting average, three home runs and nine RBI. He also struck out 29 times in 64 at-bats. In Game 5 of the 2017 World Series, Bellinger came to bat in the fifth inning, and with two Dodgers on base, hit a home run. The three-run-home run temporarily put the Dodgers in the lead. He set the MLB record for most strikeouts in one postseason with 29 strikeouts, 17 strikeouts in the World Series alone. After the season, he was unanimously voted as the National League Rookie of the Year.
2018: NLCS MVP
Bellinger played in 162 of the 163 games of the Dodgers' 2018 regular season, appearing at first base (110 games, 85 starts), center field (78 games, 50 starts), right field (5 games) and left field (1 game). He led the team in hits (145) and multi-hit games (41), slashing .260/.343/.470 with a .814 OPS and 25 home runs, 7 triples, 28 doubles, 76 RBIs, and 14 stolen bases. He hit his first home run of the 2018 season on April 1, 2018, which was the 40th of his career, a milestone he reached in just 136 games, the third fewest number of games needed to hit 40 home runs, trailing Rudy York (129) and Mark McGwire (110) according to STATS, LLC. During the June 5–7 series against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park, Bellinger hit home runs in each of the 3 games of the series, then hit another home run against the Atlanta Braves at Dodger Stadium the following day, June 8, to complete 4 home runs in 4 consecutive games for the first time in his career. In the 2018 National League West tie-breaker game on October 1, Bellinger hit a 2 run home run in the bottom of the 4th inning. Bellinger appeared in all 12 of the Dodgers' Postseason games and was awarded the 2018 NLCS MVP after his 13th inning walk-off single in Game 4 and his go-ahead 2 run home run in the second inning of game 7 in the Dodgers defeat of the Milwaukee Brewers to win the 2018 National League Pennant.
Bellinger got off to a torrid start in 2019, and on April 26 he hit his 13th home run of the season and set a new MLB record with 88 total bases before the month of May, a record previously set by Chase Utley with the 2008 Phillies. He also passed Matt Kemp for the Dodgers record for most home runs in that span. His 97 total bases, 37 RBI and 47 hits all established new major league records for before May 1, while his 14 home runs and 32 runs scored tied MLB records. He earned his first Player of the Month award in April 2019.
His "hot start" wasn't just a fluke, as he carried a .400 batting average into mid-May and finished the first half in the top 5 in the NL in average, home runs, RBI, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS. He was voted as the right fielder for the National League in the 2019 All Star game and set a new Dodgers franchise record with 30 home runs before the All-Star Game.
Awards and honors
- Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game participant (2016)
- California League Mid-Season All-Star (2015)
- California League Post-Season All-Star (2015)
- Los Angeles Sports Council Sportsman of the Year (2017)
- National League All-Star Team (2017)
- 3x National League Player of the Week (May 1–7, 2017, June 19–25, 2017, April 1–7, 2019)
- 2x National League Rookie of the Month (May 2017, June 2017)
- National League Rookie of the Year Award (2017)
- Players Choice National League Outstanding Rookie (2017)
- Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year (2017)
- Topps All-Star Rookie Team (2017)
- NLCS MVP (2018)
- National League All-Star Team (2019)
Bellinger's family is of French, German, and Greek heritage and his father, Clay, played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees and Anaheim Angels. His younger brother, Cole Bellinger, was the winning pitcher for Hamilton High School (Chandler, Arizona) in both the 2016 and 2017 state-championship games and was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB Draft.