What would have seemed a pretty insane notion just months ago, doesn’t seem so crazy now. At the current time, Cody Bellinger has a 5.4 bWAR. While this puts him on pace for over a 15 bWAR in a full season, it trumps Mike Trout (3.4 bWAR) and any other player by a large margin.
So, is it fair to at least have the conversation? Kevin Millar of MLB Network is calling Cody the most dominant player in baseball, but has Bellinger moved ahead of Trout as baseball’s top all-around player right now?
Many on twitter – such as national writer Joel Sherman – have began to delve into this topic. Interestingly enough, the responses seem mixed.
Wrote in column few weeks back that Bellinger might have moved to top of list to succeed Trout as best player in MLB. It actually might be happening this year #Dodgers.
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 29, 2019
However, the topic is on the mind of those who cover the Los Angeles Dodgers on a daily basis too. For example, Pedro Moura writes about it at The Athletic. Within an interesting read, Moura talks to a former teammate of Trout’s who has watched Bellinger up close recently.
At his current pace, Cody Bellinger is "probably passing Trout" in all-around greatness. That's coming from a pitcher who shared a clubhouse with Mike Trout for three seasons. @pedromoura breaks down Bellinger's brilliant 2019.https://t.co/eISUaYUu3M
— The Athletic (@TheAthleticLA) May 29, 2019
That player is New York Mets reliever Hector Santiago. While the Mets have been at Chavez Ravine to play the Dodgers this week, he’s had a scouting eye on Bellinger. Here’s his initial response.
“If he can keep up what he’s doing right now, he’s probably passing Trout,” Santiago said of Bellinger. “I don’t think Trout has kept up a .380 average. And, watching those two throws last night, Bellinger has a better arm than Trouty.”
Furthermore, it isn’t just Bellinger’s raw physical talent that impresses Santiago. Santiago gave mention to an at-bat when Bellinger popped out with the bases loaded on Memorial Day. The manner in which Bellinger seemed to handle failure impressed his fellow big league veteran.
“Guys get out, they run down the line kind of upset,” Santiago said. “He got out yesterday with a couple of guys on base, and he was like, ‘Yeah, I missed that. That was my pitch. I was right on that. The way I’m going right now, that should be a double into the gap or a homer over the wall.’”
Finally, Santiago compared Trout during a hot-stretch to what the Dodgers outfielder has been doing. And if you’re wondering, he says the high average won’t hold up.
“When Trouty was locked in, if there was a pitch in his zone, he didn’t miss it,” he said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Trouty hit .380 for two months, but .330 or .340, and there were two-week stretches where he was hitting .450. It’s still tough to keep a .380 average, I don’t care who you are, for two months. This close to .400, obviously it’s not going to hold up that long.”
Obviously, to come to any type of conclusion on this subject at the current time would be next to impossible. The jury is out on Bellinger – and while I have my own personal feelings on the subject – more time for observation is needed.
Bellinger has done things on a regular enough (almost nightly) basis to ponder the question without sounding insane. There are two different conversations that this subject often branches into as well.
First, is the matter if Bellinger is the top player in baseball at the current moment. The second I see people debate is if Bellinger will have a career that mirrors that of Mike Trout. It’s important not to confuse the two.
Sound Off: Bellinger/Trout Debate
So what do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section. And I won’t leave you hanging with my feelings on the subject. Indeed, I think in a year’s time; Bellinger could be baseball’s top player if what we are seeing currently is close to real. How could he not be? However, we are a long ways from that. And once he reaches that zenith – is it for a year? Two years? It’s a hard title to claim and then define.
Equally important, I don’t see Bellinger sustaining the longevity of success that Trout has for various reasons.
That’s no knock on Cody. It’s within the realm of possibility which makes this all exciting. But few players in any lifetime will ever morph into the monster that is Trout.