The curious case of Cody Bellinger continues. A beleaguered Bellinger has yet to find any offensive traction as the Dodgers season hurtles towards October. It’s a hot topic for Dodgers fans right now and for good reason. It’s rare to see a player, two years removed from winning the MVP, look this bad at the plate.
ESPN Baseball Analyst Tim Kurkjian thinks the problems all started with Bellinger tinkering with his swing before the 2020 season.
“He wins the MVP in 2019. Has a spectacular season. Comes in the next year, granted it was a COVID year, it was weird, and he said, ‘I’ve revamped my swing because I know I can get better.’. That revamped swing not only didn’t work, but it’s really dragged him down.”
Pick a stat. Any stat: OPS (.537), WAR (-0.7), wRC+ (49), even batting average for the traditionalists out there (.162). Bellinger is right near the bottom in every single one.
Bellinger’s Lost Bat Speed
Kurkjian continued to lambast Bellinger’s decision to alter his swing from the 2019 one that was so successful. He also didn’t pin Bellinger’s decrease in bat speed on his surgically repaired shoulder.
“…I refuse to believe anyone could lose your bat speed at such a young age unless you made a mechanical adjustment which just isn’t working. That’s exactly what’s happened here. I’m astonished that a player as good as him can struggle like he has this year.”
With AJ Pollock injured, Bellinger should continue to see consistent playing time throughout September. The fact that the Dodgers still trail the Giants in the division only adds to Dodgers fans frustrations with Bellinger. If the Dodgers had a five game cushion in the division, Belli’s struggles would not be so front and center.
Perhaps tinkering with an MVP swing last spring is the root of the problem.