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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger Rated Best Defensive Outfielder by SABR

SABR Defensive Index rates Cody Bellinger second best overall defender in the NL.

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 16: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after making a catch during the tenth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers in Game Four of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium on October 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Through June 16th, 2019, SABR’s defensive index (SDI) has Dodgers right fielder Cody Bellinger as the 2nd best defender in the National League. Moreover, SDI has NL All-Star starter finalist Cody Bellinger as the best defensive outfielder in baseball, and it’s not even close.

NL Leaders (Top 10)

Player Team Position SDI
Nick Ahmed ARI SS 9.4
Cody Bellinger LAD RF 8.3
J.T. Realmuto PHI C 8.1
Paul DeJong STL SS 7.7
Austin Hedges SDP C 7.4
Nolan Arenado COL 3B 6.5
Kolten Wong STL 2B 6.4
Javier Baez CHC SS 6.0
Trevor Story COL SS 5.5
David Peralta ARI LF 5.3

Behind Bellinger as the second best defensive outfielder in baseball by SDI is Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton in the AL, who has an index of 7.1.

AL Leaders (Top 5)

Player Team Position SDI
Marcus Semien OAK SS 8.4
Byron Buxton MIN CF 7.1
Jake Marisnick HOU CF 6.2
Mookie Betts BOS RF 6.2
Willy Adames TBR SS 5.4

The numbers above are pretty stunning. Cody Bellinger’s 8.3 SDI rating is more than one point above the next best defensive outfielder in baseball, and easily 3 whole points above the next NL outfielder. With all the talk about Cody Bellinger’s extraordinary offensive season he’s having, it’s even more mind blowing that there are more things to marvel at.

You Want Your Eye Test?

If sabermetrics are not your cup of tea, why would you not trust your own eyes? Cody’s flashes of brilliance defensively are not new. It was a matter of position switching. First base is not kind to most players when it comes to defensive metrics, and he wasn’t playing enough outfield to accumulate the kind of top-tier metric output he is now. Feast your eyes on some of Cody Bellinger’s defensive gems from the last two years.

MVP Season

Cody Bellinger’s expected regression doesn’t mean he’s not still the favorite to win the MVP. If you combine the incredible numbers he’s putting up with defensive contributions–it’s pretty exciting to think about. Every game is brings the possibility of something spectacular happening, and therefore me subsequently running out of superlatives to describe it.

Cody Bellinger is the real deal. And the fans love him.

Written by AJ Gonzalez

AJ is a lifelong Dodgers fan who grew up in California. His whole family are also lifelong Dodgers fans. He lives in Tennessee with his wife, daughter, beagle, and strat.

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