Los Angeles Dodgers rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger hit his 34th home run on Saturday, August 12, 2017, at Dodger Stadium against the San Diego Padres. Where does this place Bellinger when comparing him to some current and recently enshrined Major League Baseball stars. Well, according to four comparative players through their rookie seasons, Cody Bellinger is at the least, Rookie of the Year good.
Cody Bellinger (2017, 1B, LF)
Through 96 games played in 2017 (remember he started the season at Triple-A Oklahoma City), Bellinger has scored 67 runs and accumulated 98 hits, 18 doubles, 2 triples, 34 home runs, 79 runs batted in, 43 walks, 105 strikeouts, 8 stolen bases, a .274 batting average, .350 on base percentage, and a .970 on base plus slugging percentage, with 3.8 wins above replacement player (“WAR”).
Bellinger is on pace for 134 games played, 94 runs scored, 137 hits, 25 doubles, 3 triples, 47 home runs, 110 runs batted in, 60 walks, 147 strikeouts, 11 stolen bases, a .274 batting average, .350 on base percentage, and a .970 on base plus slugging percentage.
Mike Piazza (1993, C)
Through 149 games played in his full 1993 Rookie of the Year season, Piazza scored 81 runs and accumulated 174 hits, 24 doubles, 2 triples, 35 home runs, 112 runs batted in, 46 walks, 86 strikeouts, 3 stolen bases, a .310 batting average, .370 on base percentage, and a .931 on base plus slugging percentage, with a 6.8 WAR.
Aaron Judge (2017, RF)
Through 111 games played in his 2017 full rookie season, Judge has scored 87 runs and accumulated 114 hits, 14 doubles, 3 triples, 35 home runs, 78 runs batted in, 85 walks, 152 strikeouts, 6 stolen bases, a .289 batting average, .419 on base percentage, and a 1.026 on base plus slugging percentage, with 5.3 WAR.
Judge is on pace for 156 games played, 123 runs scored, 161 hits, 20 doubles, 4 triples, 49 home runs, 110 runs batted in, 120 walks, 214 strikeouts, 8 stolen bases, a .289 batting average, .419 on base percentage, and a 1.026 on base plus slugging percentage.
Albert Pujols (2001, 1B, 3B, LF, RF)
Through 161 games played in his full 2001 Rookie of the Year season, Pujols scored 112 runs and accumulated 194 hits, 47 doubles, 4 triples, 37 home runs, 130 runs batted in, 69 walks, 93 strikeouts, 1 stolen base, a .329 batting average, .403 on base percentage, and a 1.013 on base plus slugging percentage, with a 6.3 WAR.
The one knock against Bellinger is that he does not have the season bulk compared to Piazza, Judge, or Pujols. On the other hand, Bellinger has hit more home runs and knocked in more runs at a faster pace when compared to the other three. Bellinger like Pujols is a versatile player who can play outfield and infield positions. He even played center field when he was at Triple-A.
With stats like Bellinger’s, he is at least the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year along with Aaron Judge in the American League. With preparation and good health, Bellinger will be on the path to a great career and future Hall of Fame Inductee like Albert Pujols. With some longevity, Bellinger will be entering the Hall of Fame alongside Mike Piazza.