Cody Bellinger didn’t exactly have a season for the ages in 2021. The Dodgers lefty slugger struggled mightily. When the regular season dust settled, Bellinger owned a .165 batting average.
“As Bellinger foundered last summer and some agents began to speculate whether the Dodgers might not tender him a contract, a highly ranked executive shot that idea down quickly. No matter how bad Bellinger looks now, the exec said, he has too much talent for the Dodgers to not bet on the young slugger to figure out something…”
Bellinger had the second worst OPS (.542) in the majors for players with a minimum 350 plate appearances. He had the third lowest WAR (-0.8) and second lowest wOBA (.237).
It was a big step back for a former NL MVP.
To be equitable, Bellinger underwent shoulder surgery prior to the 2021 season. He was not at full strength for the first few months of the season. The 26-year-old also suffered a leg injury in the Dodgers fifth game of the year. He missed 46 games with the injury.
His putrid performance in the batter’s box can’t solely be blamed on injury and post-surgery recovery. There’s no way to hide from it – Bellinger was one of the worst hitters in baseball in 2021.
That being said, was Bellinger’s prodigious playoff production in 2021 a sign of things come?
He went 12-for-34 (.353) and posted a .906 OPS in October. Bellinger also singled in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth in Game 5 of the NLDS to help push the Dodgers past the archival Giants.
Dodger fans are hoping Belli’s 2022 looks more like October and less like July.