#MLBPlayers411 | Cody Bellinger
On the way to winning four straight NL West titles, the Dodgers have had big-time contributions from talented young players like Yasiel Puig, Julio Urías, Joc Pederson and Corey Seager. Cody Bellinger, today's #MLBPlayers411 player, is continuing in that tradition in the early part of the 2017 season.
The top prospect in the club's system, Bellinger was brought to the majors ahead of schedule on April 25 after injuries to Andre Ethier, Frank Gutierrez, Rob Segedin and Pederson depleted the Dodgers' outfield, and he's playing like he intends to stay in the majors. The 6-foot-4, left-handed slugger is batting .308 with seven home runs and 20 RBIs through his first 21 games.
A Scottsdale, Ariz., native, Cody played high school ball at Hamilton High School in Chandler, which is a little less than 20 miles away. A 2013 Rawlings-Perfect Game 2nd Team All-American, Cody also pitched during his high school years. In a national tournament, he threw a four-hit complete game shutout, striking out 10.
The son of former Yankees and Angels pitcher Clay Bellinger, Cody had a verbal commitment to play collegiately at the University of Oregon, but that changed after the Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.
Cody struggled early in his professional career, striking out 46 times in his first 47 games, but began to find his groove in 2014. Despite injuring his shoulder midway through the 2014 season, Cody batted .328 with the advanced-rookie level Ogden Raptors. In 2015, Cody showed power, hitting 30 home runs with 103 RBIs for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. His efforts earned him an appearance in the California League all-star team as well as the post-season all-star team.
After splitting 2016 with Double-A Tulsa Drillers and Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, Cody began the 2017 season once again with OKC, where he was hitting .343 with five homers over 18 games before making his big-league debut against the Giants.
Bellinger, who was named the NL Player of the Week in the first week of May, might be more comfortable than most first-time big-leaguers given that his dad was a player and he grew up in a ballpark environment.
"In the minor leagues, I was the bat boy whenever I went out to see my dad," he told USA Today. "I was always in the clubhouse. With the Yankees, they allowed me in the clubhouse during and after the games. It was awesome. When I look back on it, it was really special."
Bellinger has a distinctly different hitting approach from his dad, though.
"He just wanted to make contact, hit it the other way. That's not me," he said. "I swing to do damage on the ball, that's the biggest thing. Not always home runs, but I want to make hard contact. That's my goal."
A moment Cody will never forget was breaking the news to his father when he was called to the major leagues.
“I called him and he didn't talk for, like, five seconds. I think there were some tears. It was a cool experience.''
Check out some photos of Cody here.