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Dodgers: Cody Bellinger’s Struggles Discussed by Organization

Belli will get back to hitting bombs in no time.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JULY 05: Cody Bellinger #35 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks back to the field during the game against the San Diego Padres at Dodger Stadium on July 05, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

While Cody Bellinger is not entirely struggling, he has certainly experienced a decline in performance. If you expected him to bat .370 this season, that might be an issue. While there is no reason to overreact to Bellinger’s latest faults, it is definitely something to keep an eye on being so close to October.

While his batting average has dipped in recent weeks, his production has not entirely gone by the wayside. He is still walking and he is still not striking out a ton. He is still crushing baseballs and maintaining his footing in the race for the National League’s Most Valuable Player.

In a recent column by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, Bellinger’s recent stretch was discussed by multiple members of the organization and all expressed their faith in a bounce back:

Trying to Do Too Much?

After reading the column, it is fair to question: “Is he trying to do too much?”. According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and hitting strategist Brant Brown, this might be the case to a certain degree.

Bellinger, just 24 years old, provided a simple response regarding his approach when asked by Padres’ first baseman Eric Hosmer:

“Keeping it simple. I would say that’s pretty important for me. Just trying to keep it simple and not trying to do too much.”

Right there, is the baseline for success. Baseball is a mind game — a strenuous race that lasts for 162 games. It is fair to question Bellinger possibly pressing, but his recent performance could be a simple result from the grueling season. If the latter is the case, full confidence in Bellinger’s ability should be restored in no time; if it was not already.

When Dodgers hitting strategist Brant Brown was asked about Bellinger, he provided an interesting response:

“I get it all. You want to be able to be that guy. But at the same time, like we’ve expressed to him, when he wasn’t trying to be that guy, he was that guy. When he’s trying to be that guy, he’s not that guy.”

It sounds like the key to success for Bellinger down the stretch is to not press and to stay within himself. With his immense talent and upside, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can turn it around, especially after witnessing his display across the first half of the season.

Roberts on Bellinger

Manager Dave Roberts’ comments fell perfectly in line with those of Bellinger and Brown’s comments:

“The thing I see is, with Cody coming into this season, his mind-set was to be a really good hitter and be consistent with his approach, his mechanics and his work,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And for me, when you try to slug, there are pitches and at-bats you miss. Whether you foul them off, you pop them up, you swing and miss. And so I think that getting him back to the mind-set of being a good hitter and appreciating the fact that his swing has built-in loft that he’ll in turn slug.”

Final Outcome

Bellinger, regardless of his recent performance, has full confidence in himself — as he should.

“I’ve put myself in a good spot,” Bellinger said, “so hopefully I can ride it out and keep going.”

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 18 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

22 Comments

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  1. Here is the issue I brought up a few times before… a HUGE part of Bellinger’s struggles at times results in who Roberts and Co. bat in the 5th spot to ‘protect’ him in the lineup. To me that is VERY important and if the hitter behind him isn’t much of a run producer or is in a current struggle himself, then Bellinger is going to be pitched around. Notice the amount of walks he has been given lately too. If I am the opposing pitcher, I am not going to give him any strikes to hit if Dodgers have some sub par performer batting 5th behind him.. Notice, as I have that when Muncy was batting 5th earlier this year before Roberts started shuffling him around, Bellinger was a rock solid performer. I am not saying that because of that he would still be batting .370, but who bats behind him is crucial IMHO.

    • Excellent post Paul, I was kind of thinking Bryce Harper is the guy that could have, would have been protection but we couldn’t spend that much. Since the D’s weren’t willing to let Joc go, and instead of Harper got Pollock, couldn’t AFFORD Machado, Belli has done a awesome job being that guy. Let’s just hope Friedman starts to realize big time players need to be paid if you want to keep them. Belli is now a Big time player and deserves a huge pay day..

      • Thank you, Kirk. Pollock was signed because as I am sure you know Dodgers are very left handed heavy as far as the run producers go and the team, as you probably saw last year was extremely vulnerable to LHP. It’s a big reason for the platooning going on because Dodgers feel there are players who just don’t have even enough splits against RHP and especially LHP. Notice how most of the run producing offense this year has come from the lefty hitters and only Turner, a RHB will have 25+ HR’s this year as far as the RH bats go.

  2. Bellinger came back this year with a new short scoop up compact swing which got him a lot of singles early in the season. Now he’s back trying to hit homerun on every pitch, not making good contact with the ball that’s why he popped out a lot. At this point Bellinger should just forget about hitting homeruns, focus on getting hits. It’s ashamed because he could have had a much better second half but poor plate discipline destroyed his chances of getting the MVP this year.

    • Bellinger has a WAR of 8.3. Ketel Marte is second at 6.7. Cody is the MVP frontrunner by a considerable margin. Think before you post.

  3. I would love to see Dave Roberts Use David Friese more. Friese is deadly as a pinch hitter and I would use him as a daily pinch hitter and an alternate right handed first baseman.

    He also needs to sit Bellinger, Seager and Pederson every once in a while and use other right handed hitters like Garlick and even Rios

  4. How many discussions is it going to take? He doesn’t seem to listen. Bases loaded and he swings out of his shoes and flies out. I miss when he was taking great swings not trying to do too much. Seems like the whole team has strayed from that in the second half. Better get back to it in October or you won’t survive

  5. Putting Muncy behind Belli makes a big difference, but it also seems he is not using the whole field the way he did in April/May. I think he is looking for HR’s too much instead of just making contact.

  6. Bellinger needs to go back to the approach he had at the beginning of the season. Stay on the ball. Watch the ball come off the bat. Swing at the ball, not at a location. Focus on making solid contact. Don’t over swing and stop sitting down or pulling his butt out as he strides. Step to the ball not always towards first base.

  7. Bellinger is exhausted and playing a different position every night does nothing but detract from his hitting.

  8. Roberts needs a set Battling Order
    Especially at the leadoff spot
    Taylor was a pretty good leadoff
    Let the players settle into the same batting order most of the time
    I understand the Righty Lefty thing
    Pollock could settle into the 5 hole
    Seager in the 2 slot
    Joc has done well with Power but I think an sold Fashioned Spark kind of guy that makes things happen would open up the Offense

  9. All I hope is that when Belli wants to be paid what’s he’s worth, Friedman doesn’t instead replace him with Garlick and Belli goes to the Astros.

    • The Dodgers aren’t willing to pay outsiders and I have a bad feeling they aren’t going to want to pay their own either. Maybe just the first guy to hit free agency and that’s it

  10. one great month does not make a season. He has tailed off each month and now is no more than an average hitter. As stated before he needs to stop swinging for the fences and start hitting to the opposite field. Learn to bunt to beat the shift. Do the little things you were doing in that 1st month and you will do a lot better.

  11. Read what Chris had to say about Bellinger having to play a different position almost every night, and that goes for many of the rest of the Dodgers who are not named Seager and Turner. This forum had a similar page a while back about just that… the constant shuffling around of players, being in and out of the lineup, in different spots in the order almost daily.

  12. From: A Dodgers fan in New York
    Belli’s problem, in my opinion, is that he is badly affected by the spotlight. His steep decline began (and has only accelerated) on the very day the Wall Street Journal published an article stating that he could hit .400 this year. That article, plus all the MVP hype, caused him to force himself to live up to the hype, and the result is just too obvious. Some players simply perform much better when there isn’t a big spotlight shining on them — it’s really too bad because he is an enormous talent.

  13. My opinion is stop playing him at first base. He was settled in the outfield and doing great but then started playing first – for no apparent reason – and he started to struggle. We have multiple options for first so the move was inexplicable.

  14. Cody’s decline started when he assigned cleanup and stayed in that spot which includes today
    When he was moving around in the lineup he excelled
    He is the only a select player in Roberts lineup with a consistent spot.
    4th is not where he belongs
    He actually should be the lead off batter
    He hits all over
    Walks a lot , has speed and his K’s are down
    He is LA’s best hitter and Should be up more than anyone , with being lead off is the ideal spot for him
    Get with it Robert’s
    If LA wants to improve his stats
    Get him out of the 4th spot

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