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Dodgers: MLB Analyst Feels Cody Bellinger’s Rough Season Due to Swing Tinkering



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.”

Final Thoughts

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.

NEXT: Garrett Cleavinger’s Season Done, Says Dave Roberts

Written by Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.

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  1. Roberts has outdumbed himself for today.
    5. Bellinger .161
    6. Souza .179
    7. McKinney .194 (,150 with Dodgers)

        • Delete it Brother, unless you wanna see Bellinger strike out down on one knee, or better yet, pop up with the bases loaded. he’s only stranded 4 SO FAR……… Painful Paul, brutally painful to watch..

          • I just saw that Bellinger strike out laning on his knee. I guess they just can’t do anything with him but he needs to be removed from this lineup by the time October gets here. His defense in CF no longer justifies him being in starting lineup but maybe it’s the FO’s call IDK.

        • Looks like the Dodgers are throwing in the towel by continuing with their Belliringing BS. Enough already with this joke gone bad. Ship this guy down now and get Beaty back. Not only has Belli’s ability to hit disappeared, but his defense has not been overwhelming to say the least. Roberts inability to manage this team especially in their countless 1 run defeats and his mindless bull pen changes are plain to see and difficult to watch. And whatever happened to the All Star CT3? What’s going down with this do nothing offense?

    • I think MLB knows the Dodgers have far superior talent than any other team, so they’ve mandated the D’s they must keep Roberts as the manager to level the playing field.

    • Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…. in addition, we have:

      8. Barnes
      9. Pitchers spot

      3 at bats per slot, per game… 18 outs are pretty much a given based upon those slotted in todays lineup.

      2.5 games behind SF later today….

  2. Tired of hearing about Bellinger’s problems with his swing. Just send his butt down to the minors and be done with him for this season. The way he is trending he might be the first position starter to bat less than .100 to end the season.

      • Ok but stupid ignorant Roberts does not have to start him every day unless he’s being told he has to. But then again Roberts is nothing more than a puppet anyway for the FO.

      • Mr. Eulau is exactly correct. I thought the same thing two years ago when he said he’s revamped his swing after winning the MVP. My first thought was what the heck are you thinking and sure enough he has not been the same.

      • Do you have that clause in writing somewhere? Or a link where that information is published. I’d like to see it. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times suggested back in July that sending Cody Bellinger back down to AAA is one option (he suggested three options). Unless Dylan Hernandez had the wrong information. Didn’t most Dodgers players went to the minors for rehab after injury this season? I.E. AJ Pollock, Kershaw both have over 10 years of MLB service. Players on the 40 man roster get sent down to minors all the time for rehab assignments. I had never read about Cody Bellinger can’t be sent down to the minors.

  3. I think it is a ‘head’ problem. Hitting is mostly about confidence, and once that confidence is lost, and others get involved to ‘help’, then it is very difficult to bring confidence back to what it was before. Going back to basics and starting over, can some times work, but that takes time and patience and even then it some times fails.

      • Believe he is to arrogant to listen to any advise. He has the most gawd awful stance, doesn’t use his legs, swings under ball or swings late.

        • i agree to a point. his swing problems are mostly mental. however, it ALL starts with health. a BODY problem turns into a HEAD problem, all the time in sports. it’s why most players don’t have immediate success coming off a surgery, esp. a major one like shoulder surgery.

          different sport, but i encountered this during my junior year of college basketball. after 12 games out w/a torn ligament & avulsion fracture in my foot, my #s suffered my first 10 games back. i was technically healthy, but i didn’t have the confidence to really cut loose. one night i got into a blowout (down almost 30 w/1:30 left in 1st half) and got RED HOT (3/3 threes/10 pts in 1:30). started the 2nd half, finished w/27, w/1 missed FG. we came back, won by 18. played great the last 12 games, scored no less than 19. of course i tore my ACL & lost my whole senior year, so i lost my small window for the NBA (NAIA is tougher in that respect). overseas was more likely, but shooters who can defend are NEEDED.

          point is, i was “healthy” but my brain wouldn’t let me just cut loose and play free and easy. it’s why i identify w/CB’s issues this yr…given that he didn’t get to do normal strength training last offseason b/c of the shoulder surgery, THEN he fractured the fibula…how was he expected to just bounce back & be at 100% this yr? his brain did not trust his body, so he messed w/his swing to lessen reliance on the leg AND the shoulder. i hoped he’d go to AZ in august to strengthen & to rediscover that old brilliant swing. now he’s horrible. NEVER struck out so much, walked so little. his confidence? in the crapper. even now i wish he could just get some phys. therapy, go on IL or just PH. CB needs confidence in his body to get his head right, & lots of BP. but the bench is short. unless he goes on the IL, they’re stuck. sadly, it’s LOSING him fans, most of whom can’t understand that there are legit reasons for this. they think he’s arrogant (i’d argue that arrogance wd make him work HARDER to get back right).

  4. Just another no-nothing MLB analyst.

    The primary problem is the injury. Every player that has had this injury has taken 2 years or more to recover.

    His exit velo is the best sign of this. And his swing mechanics haven’t changed enough to alter his exit velo this much. It’s because he’s not getting the same torque he used to because of the shoulder and leg. Anyone who knows anything about baseball will tell you this.

    It took 2 years for Kemp to recover from this same injury, and people were saying all the same things about Kemp during that stretch that they are about Cody.

  5. The primary problem is the injury. Every player that has had this injury has taken 2 years or more to recover.

    His exit velo is the best sign of this. And his swing mechanics haven’t changed enough to alter his exit velo this much. It’s because he’s not getting the same torque he used to because of the shoulder and leg. Anyone who knows anything about baseball will tell you this.

    It took 2 years for Kemp to recover from this same injury, and people were saying all the same things about Kemp during that stretch that they are about Cody.

    • John you’re correct but as I said before nobody expected 1st half 2019 numbers from Bellinger after his shoulder surgery. But nobody expected him to be THIS BAD with a .160. BA either.

    • I’ve been saying it all along. Practice hitting off a tee is the best way to level your swing and generate more “barreled” contact. Today, the Cards pitched around JT, and loaded the bases, so they could pitch to Cody. He hit a routine fly ball for the third out.

  6. I believe it was Tony Gwynn that took 100 swings off the tee, everyday. Correct me if I am wrong. Cody… What do you do?!?

  7. There are currently 26 NL pitchers who have at least 25 plate appearances and have a higher batting average than Bellinger. That includes Julio Urias and Clayton Kershaw. Get him out of the lineup, let him fix whatever is wrong at a lower level, and then be a pinch hit option in the playoffs.

  8. The only part of 2019 season he was great at was about 90 days in April and May. Other than that he was barely avg. Then he went to the elevated and swing for the fences no matter the pitch count. Stopped hitting to the opposite field and started hitting popups, into the shift of SOs.

    • I agree. I have never felt good about Belly coming to the plate in a clutch situation since the All Star Break in 2019.

    • Meanwhile in yet another futile limp offensive performance by Roberts line up, Matt Beaty is hitting 357 —-471 on base — 464 slugging—— 935 OPS….. in OKC, which is best on the team…….. In case anyone was wondering

      • Kirk. unfortunately that appears to make no impression on Roberts. Every fan on here as well as the media members has talked about this and dummy Roberts has to know that but he just doesn’t care all that much .

  9. Wow — the nastiness toward Dave Roberts is, I suppose, the product of frustration and disappointment. But this mean-spiritedness is uncalled for. It’s not as if we’re where the vaunted Padres are: We’re in the toughest division in MLB, and we’re in second place. When the Dodgers right this ship — and they will — you’ll all be singing Dave’s praises again. He’s a quirky — but very
    successful — manager, and a hell of a good guy, to boot. Calling him a stupid idiot reflects poorly upon the name caller, not upon Doc.

  10. I believe its partial swing but more not fully recovering from his shoulder injury.. He’s young and a heck of a athlete. I know its frustrating but Cody will be alright.

  11. I know the recovery time takes a year or 2 to heal from that shoulder surgery but even with that Bellinger should least be able to hit .200 and not like he’s doing now at .160

      • And I just heard Oregon and Joe say that Dodgers have no choice but to continue to ply him. That’s totally ridiculous. CT3, and even Betts, if he feels good enough can play CF. They really don’t have to play him. But at this point Bellinger is really hurting this lineup, even when most of the other every day players are in yhere.

        • It’s obvious what they’re doing….The moves, or Lack of by Roberts are those of a tanking strategy. Have you seen the Pads schedule Paul? The idea to save their top 3 and try and bury the Pads HAS to have only 1 explanation as they don’t value these other games as much. The pads play L.A. 6 times, the Vagiants 10 more, etc…The Pads have a ludicrous final stretch and if the Dodgers do their best and the Reds slip in there they won’t have to worry about Snell…..It’s the ONLY SPOCK Roberts reasoning i can come up with….Your right just forget the division now 2.5 back but that really means 3.5 because the vagiants own the tie breaker….Pathetic………..

          • You may have ‘something’ there with your
            ‘bury The Padres’ theory but as you know-
            anything can happen in ‘one game’ for the
            right to play The Giants! When alot of the
            SF key players were injured, I feared their
            return all at once towards ‘season’s end &
            that’s exactly what happened. In regards to
            this- notice they didn’t make any ‘deadline’
            moves to bolster their everyday lineup ’cause
            they were banking on gettin’ the regulars back.

    • seemed like he was rounding a turn earlier this season, then he fractured the leg. shite timing.

      i had a long post elsewhere on this thread, but the abridged version is this: you cannot expect to be confident in your head if you have pain or worry that you’ll get reinjured. CB has clearly lost ALL confidence at the plate. thing is, people are writing him off, like this will last forever. there’s this whole, “oh, he’s just arrogant, he’s not even trying to work through this” narrative. but he WILL get healthy next year, then he’ll rediscover his swing, and then his confidence will return. to cut losses now almost guarantees that we’ll have to watch him have AT LEAST a paul konerko-level career, elsewhere. add to that the fact that he is not on an expensive deal, and his trade value will never be lower than NOW. but if we ride this out, we WILL be rewarded. just not this season, i don’t think.

      the rest of the reg. season is a wash. i think he should be on the bench, and concentrating on strengthening the shoulder and calf. MAYBE he can rediscover a working swing by playoff time? if not, oh well. i think he’s going to have a great comeback year next year. sure would be nice if he did that here, as a dodger.

  12. The post of John could be right (shoulder injury takes an extended period of time to recover). but that is no excuse for the Dodger lineup today and that is no excuse for the continued demotion of Beaty –

  13. Just wondering if he was suffering from the injury during the world series against Houston? You know the one that saw him set the strike out record that will never be broken?

    • Few games that it happened- even with
      ‘all their studs’ in there- they struggled with
      the bats. I think it goes back to continuity-
      Roberts constantly changin’ lineups prevents
      that! The players have to be ‘so frustrated’ w/
      their manager & they’re probably ‘chomping’ at
      the bit to ‘go off’ together on the count of three
      just outside Dave’s office on BELLINGER being
      in the lineup regularly!

  14. If the batting coaches cannot help Bellinger, it’s time to replace them. Look at all of them, Mckinny, Souza, Mckinstry, Barnes.., automatic out.

    Bellinger doesn’t have lag, like in hitting the golf ball. He has already snapped his wrist at the ball before contact, so the ball goes nowhere.

    • Anyone can see bellingers problem. He has to go back, then up to generate enough power / Speed to his swing. While upper cutting….This has him open his hips immediately and he pulls his head never even watching the ball…Guessing…..Does anyone remember Brantley’s swing on that Home run against the Dodgers this year at Dodgers stadium? He simply hit the ball flat footed with just his wrists. He just used his arms and rolled his wrists over on the ball…Beautiful thing to watch, and there’s a reason he always hit above 300… The coaching staff should have Bellinger and a few others watch Brantley hit….

  15. As many have already pointed out, Bellinger has been in decline since June 1 of his MVP season in 2019. He was barely a .250 hitter the last 4 months of that season, although his power numbers were still pretty respectable. He was a bust in the NLDS against the Nats and even factoring in the multiple injuries he really has been heard from since.

  16. What a lousy offense! Cardinals are running on our catchers (doesn’t everybody?).Looks like Wild Card Game !!!

  17. The way he’s going they won’t make the playoffs. Bellinger is too stubborn to change and the hitting coaches can’t do anything about it? Who’s the boss here? Oh, it’s Roberts!!!! Dumb thinking!!!

  18. Here’s a thought. Friedman intent on trading Bellinger this off season. He’s told Dopey Dave he has to play because if he’s benched for the rest of the year and finishes at .160, where’s the return. He may accidentally start making better contact for a couple of games. We say he’s finally fixed, then claim he’s hurt and shut him down for the remainder of the year.

  19. It’s not only Bellinger’s fault. Consider the fact that he doesn’t have to swing for the fences every time, but just lay some bat to the ball. Dave Roberts and the coaches don’t seem to like to play ‘small ball’ at all and just ignore the bigger problem.
    With Belli’s speed and the shift they put on him- I can’t remember the last time he laid down a bunt.
    When streaky power bats like Belli, Souza, and even McKinney can’t even get on base, then your 6, 7, 8, 9 hitters are four guaranteed outs every game. Guess it’s something Belli and Roberts both have to wait til the offseason to figure out.

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