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Dodgers: MLB Insider Awards Cody Bellinger a Very Un-Prestigious Honor

MLB insider gives injury-riddled Cody Bellinger an uncelebrated award from his performance this season.



In his most recent article for the Athletic, MLB insider, Jayson Stark awarded Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger the “NL LVP” award. That is the Least Valuable Player award. Stark based the honor on Cody’s Wins Above Replacement numbers in 2021, per Baseball-Reference.

Baseball-reference also tells us Bellinger has been worth minus-1.7 Wins Above Replacement! And that makes him the least valuable player in the National League — literally. If we’re going to use WAR to decide who’s most valuable, might as well use it the other way around, too, right?

Understandably, if you look at Bellinger’s season on paper, it does not look great. Again, as Stark mentions Bellinger has had “historically” low records this year, which is true. However, let’s not forget that Bellinger has been fighting injuries all season.

It is all about the injuries

Before the season started, Bellinger had to undergo shoulder surgery to repair a damaged labrum. Even though Stark mentions this, he didn’t really grasp the difficulty that is healing after something like that. Granted, every player is different and there are some that can bounce back easily. That was clearly not the case for Bellinger. The goal at the beginning of the 2021 season was to allow Bellinger time to readjust his swing and find a new rhythm to get on base.

However, that goal changed quickly after about five games into the season when Bellinger suffered a hairline fracture in his left fibula. Bellinger was put on the 10-day IL and once he was back in the lineup, he was nowhere near where he used to be.

When it comes to players getting injured over and over again throughout the season, it is going to be harder to bounce back each time. Players put their bodies through a lot of physical training and rehab just to regain the same kind of strength back. To brush off an offseason surgery along with multiple injuries seems unfair, no matter how small the injury is.

Not only has Bellinger had to make a comeback multiple times this season, he just suffered a broken rib injury and missed eight games.

Cody Bellinger did not perform to the status of his 2019 MVP year, but with the season he had, fans should be proud that he has been able to keep coming back.

NEXT: Mini Power Surge May Not Be Enough to Win Cody Bellinger Back Starting Role

Written by Brenna White

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    • LOL, but true. Uncle DRRRRRRRR will perhaps let Bellinger start in the PS but wss. He will be in each game at the very least as a defensive replacement for Lux, should Gavin get that start in CF..

  1. At a -1.7 WAR, it seems the Dodgers and Giants would be tied at this time if Bellinger had just stayed out of the lineup all year.

    He has a chance to redeem himself if he will spend the offseason at the Arizona facility getting instruction to fix his mechanics and then devoting himself to the correction next year. It can’t be forgotten that after his MVP season he arrived at spring training proclaiming to have a new batting stance. The look on Robert’s face was priceless.

    If he won’t take instruction, then the Dodgers should clear his payroll to sign their free agents.

    • “At a -1.7 WAR”

      An odd stat…

      Is WAR saying that playing practically ALL year @ .159 BA only cost LA, LESS than TWO games for the whole year??

      if so…WOW How bad do you have to be, to actually do serious damage???

  2. WAR…..what is it good for? Absolutely nothing! Bellinger playing in the playoffs? He doesn’t deserve to be in there. Yeah, injuries are tough, but if he had some marbles under that helmet, he could have avoided them. Such is life. The team moves on w/o him. If he wants to really make a difference, he should drop the golfing and stick to playing baseball or, vice versa. Spend the winter learning how to hit again would be a good start, but not now when they have to win.

  3. Jayson Stark has slowly devolved into a hack over the decades, because as we all know while Belli has been abysmal at the plate, his fielding has still been great. The flashes he’s had at the plate as he has been trying to tweak his swing mechanics are a result of that shoulder surgery, but show he still has what it takes deep inside him – he’s likely just trying too hard up there. I’d rather take my credibility source from people like Jerry Hairston, Jr. – an actual former baseball player (and Dodger!), who has said significant shoulder surgeries like Belli had take up to one year to fully recover from. When Cody goes into the next off-season, I’m sure we can all be confident he will come back into 2022 Spring with a fully healed body – and corrected swing physically and mentally (shorten it, Cody! Go oppo more!) and will be the Belli-bomber of old.

    • @David: Yours is easily the most rational & accurate reply to this story. Bellinger’s CF defense is so brilliant that it doesn’t matter how poor his offensive production might be. No insult intended to Lux, but he’s not an adequate defensive replacement for Bellinger. The most reasonable alternative to an outfield alignment of LF Pollock / CF Bellinger / RF Betts is LF Pollock / CF Taylor / RF Betts. And of course Taylor’s too valuable to be coming off the bench, but he’s much better suited for that role than Bellinger.

    • Your comment is BS. He’s Bellidud. What did another fan suggest? I believe it was “shoot him into the sun”.

  4. I take no pleasure in saying that Bellinger should not play until he reinvents his swing, and learns how to hit a baseball again. It’s just a fact. I wish him the best in the off-season and next year. But let him sit for the rest of 2021. We have a WS to win. The Giants lost in extras today so Urias can go for 20’wins which is huge for a first year full time starter. If the Giants had won, I would have started Mitch White, if he’s officially available. Individual accomplishments are trumped by a WS championship. And Urias has thrown a lot of pitches. And done it very well. I expect him do the same tonight.

  5. In the last 30 days Lux has hit .367, Bellinger .125 and Taylor .104. Clearly, Lux should be starting assuming he is over his neck stinger.

  6. So tired of all these so-called baseball writers making excuses for the 16 million dollar man. The shoulder injury was because he was showboating. A fist bump would have been just as good instead of the leaping elbow bump. (OK, 50% Kiki’s fault). The fractured fibula, if he would have been running down the line and touched the bag on the outside which is taught he probably would have avoided that. The guy, except for about 45 days in the 19′ season has been completely avg. at best and his defensive skills although good does NOT make up for rally breaking .160 avg. He needs to lose the ego/attitude and actually change his batting style and stop going for the fences on every swing.

  7. Watching him uppercut every swing and strike out over and over again was very tiring! He is a great defensive centerfielder, but he can’t play if he bats .160.

  8. Ummm…. The Dodgers should never have a player hitting under .200 (.160 in Bellinger’s case) in the starting lineup other than the pitcher. Bellinger in the lineup causes big problems for the hitter batting in front of him…

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