The last two seasons for Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger really parallel the last two years for the world. They’ve kinda sucked. For all of us, we’ve been mired in wave after wave of pandemic nightmare. And for Cody, he’s hit just .195 while posting career lows across the board with the bat.
Sure, he has some reasonable excuses with a shoulder injury and fractured leg ruining his 2021 campaign, but 2020 wasn’t all that much better. Coming off of an MVP season in 2019, Bellinger struggled to a .239 batting average and .789 OPS during the shortened 60 game sprint.
In the eyes of many, including MLB analyst Eno Sarris of The Athletic, there’s serious worry about whether we’ll ever see an elite Cody Bellinger again.
We might never get the peak version of this player again. He’s projected for an .811 OPS, more than 50 points lower than his career number and more than 200 below his peak, because he hasn’t played well for the past couple of seasons.
FanGraphs/Steamer is projecting a bit of a bounce-back for Bellinger — of course, really there was nowhere to go but up for the 26-year-old — .243/.331/.469, 27 HR, 79 RBI over 134 games. Certainly a far cry from his 2019 breakout season. However, he’ll be another year removed from shoulder surgery and hopefully still riding high after an October resurgence that saw him become the Dodgers’ best offensive threat in the postseason.
As Sarris notes in his article, Bellinger showed signs of life with increased exit velocity toward the end of the year, but we’re looking at a very small sample size.
Cody will need to be ready to shoulder the weight of losing Corey Seager in the middle of the LA lineup. Unless Andrew Friedman pulls off some post-lockout magic and brings Freddie Freeman to the team, we’re looking at a reasonably worse product on the field on paper.