Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers All-Star Cody Bellinger was ranked among the top-10 center fielders for the 2020 season by MLB Network’s The Shredder, behind only the L.A. Angels’ Mike Trout. It’s the second consecutive year in which the two MVP winners placed first and second in the rankings.
The rest of the list, in order, consists of the Houston Astros’ George Springer, the Oakland Athletics’ Ramón Laureano, the Kansas City Royals’ Whit Merrifield, the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Starling Marte, the Milwaukee Brewers’ Lorenzo Cain, the New York Yankees’ Aaron Hicks, the New York Mets’ Brandon Nimmo and the Yankees’ Brett Gardner.
In 156 games last season, Bellinger batted .305/.406/.629 with 121 runs scored, 34 doubles, 47 home runs, 115 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 20 attempts. He led all of baseball with 351 total bases and was one of six qualified players to post an on-base plus slugging percentage of over 1.000.
Bellinger significantly improved in against left-handed pitching, hitting .280/.386/.596 with seven doubles, 18 home runs and 44 RBI across 228 plate appearances.
Among qualified hitters, Bellinger’s .629 slugging percentage was the fourth-best in all of baseball. He additionally ranked fifth in both on-base percentage (.406) and wRC+ (162).
Bellinger thrived defensively as well, leading all qualified players in right field with a 4.8 Defensive Rating and 19 Defensive Runs Saved during the 2019 season. Bellinger has recorded 30 DRS since 2018, which is the fifth-most for outfielders.
Bellinger accumulated a Major League-best 9.0 WAR (Baseball-Reference) last year, pushing his total to 17.4 over the past three seasons. That’s good for fifth among qualified outfielders since the start of 2017, trailing only Trout (25.0), Mookie Betts (24.1), Aaron Judge (18.9) and Christian Yelich (18.9).
Having excelled at the plate and in the field, Bellinger became the 12th player in Dodgers history to win the National League MVP Award, receiving 19 of 30 first-place votes. Other hardware he earned this offseason include the Silver Slugger Award and his first career Gold Glove.
Bellinger is the first player in Dodgers franchise history to earn MVP, a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove for the same year.
Bellinger became eligible for salary arbitration for the first time this winter and was expected to be a beneficiary of his outstanding MVP season. He reportedly agreed to a one-year, $11.5 million contract, which broke Kris Bryant’s record of $10.85 million for first-year eligible players.
Bellinger embracing peculiar season
Bellinger has downplayed feeling any pressure to match his MVP production and instead is focused on being himself. With that has come an early understanding that the 2020 season will be unlike any other players have experienced.
“It’s just going to be so weird,” he recently said. “It’s going to be fun, could be a once-in-a-lifetime thing so I just got to take it and run with it. Roll with it and just take advantage of what we got.”
|Rank||The Shredder||Mike Petriello||Sarah Langs||Ben Lindbergh|
|1||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)||Mike Trout (Angels)|
|2||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)||Cody Bellinger (Dodgers)|
|3||George Springer (Astros)||George Springer (Astros)||George Springer (Astros)||George Springer (Astros)|
|4||Ramón Laureano (Athletics)||Starling Marte (Pirates)||Lorenzo Cain (Brewers)||Ramón Laureano (Athletics)|
|5||Whit Merrifield (Royals)||Whit Merrifield (Royals)||Whit Merrifield (Royals)||Lorenzo Cain (Brewers)|
|6||Starling Marte (Pirates)||Byron Buxton (Twins)||Starling Marte (Pirates)||Byron Buxton (Twins)|
|7||Lorenzo Cain (Brewers)||Ramón Laureano (Athletics)||Byron Buxton (Twins)||Starling Marte (Pirates)|
|8||Aaron Hicks (Yankees)||Lorenzo Cain (Brewers)||Víctor Robles (Nationals)||Whit Merrifield (Royals)|
|9||Brandon Nimmo (Mets)||Víctor Robles (Nationals)||Ramón Laureano (Athletics)||Luis Robert (White Sox)|
|10||Brett Gardner (Yankees)||Brandon Nimmo (Mets)||Jackie Bradley Jr. (Red Sox)||Víctor Robles (Nationals)|
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