Dodgers Nation will be writing about ‘Bellinger Bombs’. The Dodgers have one of the best young power hitters in the game under contract for the foreseeable future. Writers like Sam Miller have asked the question ‘What if Cody Bellinger is going to break the all-time home run record’. As the career home runs continue to pile up, we will examine each one in greater detail. We will allow you; the fan, to savor each one as they should be. Because what’s more fun than a home run? (You can look back at the collection here).
This was the big one, the one that killed off the dinosaurs. It was the home run that we have been waiting on in 2018 from Cody Bellinger. A grand slam on a Friday night during a nationally televised MLB Network game was just what the doctor ordered.
It had been a little while since the last time Cody Bellinger left the yard in Los Angeles. Creeping in were whispers of a new slump. Bellinger looked over-powered along with the rest of the Dodgers lineup by New York starting pitcher Zack Wheeler.
Let’s walk it backwards and take a look at the blast that helped the Dodgers beat the Mets in a series opener 5-2.
The Home Run
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) June 23, 2018
What a thunderous blast into the upper deck at Citi Field. You don’t see balls hit there often unless you’re playing a video game.
A quick look at the Baseball-Reference home run log: Bellinger’s 52nd career home run was his 27th in a road park. It was his 40th as a first baseman and 36th against right-handed pitching. This was Bellinger’s third career home run in the Big Apple at Citi Field. It was his 25th shot to straight-away right field.
Bellinger is still alone in 58th place on the Dodgers’ all-time home run list, creeping up on Corey Seager and Russell Martin quickly who have 54 each.
How Bellinger’s Home Run Impacted The Game
When Bellinger homered, the game was a scoreless pitcher’s duel in a 0-0 tie. Los Angeles was actually a 65 percent win expectancy before this ball left the yard, partially because they had done work to load the bases prior to the at bat. When the dust settled and the ball landed in some lucky fan’s glove, the Dodgers moved to 93 percent win expectancy. Bellinger had given the Dodgers a 4-0 lead, crushed the souls of the Mets, and had his largest impact home run of the year. A 28 percent swing in win percentage expectancy adds to what was Bellinger’s biggest home run of 2018. Los Angeles would not trail again on this night.
Zack Wheeler is a pitcher who once had high pedigree, and he was throwing very hard on Friday night. He was selected in the first round (sixth overall) in the 2009 MLB Draft by the San Francisco Giants. Wheeler has only appeared in big league games as a Met though, and has a 23-29 career record. Working his way back from arm injuries, he hasn’t shown the same polish he did during his early career despite still having an electric fastball. Wheeler has allowed 48 home runs in his big league career. Ironically, three of them have been to Cody Bellinger. This was not the first time these two have crossed paths.
Exit Velocity, Distance, Pitch Data, and Angle
Exit velocity: 109mph
Angle: 32°? pic.twitter.com/SqCDHrwNaY
— Home Run Tracker (@DingerTracker) June 23, 2018
Wheeler had been successful blowing hard fastballs past Bellinger all night long in this one. Nevertheless, in the sixth inning with the bases juiced; Bellinger had the look of a hitter who was looking for one pitch. In an 0-2 count, Wheeler unleashed a 96.2 mile per hour fastball that was letter high. Bellinger connected right on the barrel, and this left the park at 109 miles per hour exit velocity. It reached a Bellinger-esque angle of 32 degrees at it’s apex. The official measurement checked in at 401 feet – but it truly looked like this ball traveled further. This was a majestic tape-measure shot.
Overall Bellinger-Bomb Prominence Score
All things considered, this was the biggest home run that Bellinger hit in 2018. In many ways, it reminded me of many of his 2017 home runs in terms of appearance, impact, and a hitter who you can’t beat with a fastball. Bellinger’s second career grand slam had all the fixings: a national television audience, a pitcher who was in control, and it was a true beauty.
We’re going to give Bellinger his first perfect score of the 2018 season. His 52nd career home run is one we will all remember for a long time. Congrats on your first perfect dive of the year, Cody.
Dodgers’ Nation Prominence HR Score: 10.0 !
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