The Dodgers absolutely had to have Bryce Harper, who is currently leading the league in only one category – strikeouts, in right field, right? Apparently, the front office got it right and the fans got it wrong, because holy cow, do the Los Angeles Dodgers have a right fielder!
Through the first third of the season, Cody Bellinger leads or is tied for the lead, in THIRTEEN CATEGORIES, and not one of them is strikeouts. Let’s run down the list of the statistical marvel Bellinger is at the moment. He currently is at the top of the list for: batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, RBI’s, OPS, OPS+, weighted on-base average, weighted runs created plus, WAR, defensive runs saved, five-star plays on defense, defensive wins above replacement, average home-to-first time, and leads the Dodgers in spring speed, coming in third in the entire MLB. The only players who have had a better start to a season since 1920 are Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, Mark McGwire, Rogers Hornsby, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantle, and Jose Bautista’s season in 2011. You won’t find Bryce Harper anywhere on that list.
Whew, that is a long list to recap. The short story is, this guy is not the 2018 version of Cody Bellinger. This isn’t even the rookie phenom season of 2017. This is better. Los Angeles has been looking for a superstar for decades. The Angels have Mike Trout who is the best player on the planet. Now, the Dodgers have their own elite player in the making, scratch that, he is here.
There was a lot of talk in the offseason of the Dodgers needing to land a generational talent, a staple that will play at such a high level that having the player on the team alone would bring people to the stadium. Not that the Dodgers needed that, they continue to lead the league in attendance. Everyone thought they lacked that one player to build around, for other teams to pitch around in every at-bat, one who can flip a game from a L to a W in one play. Everyone thought, including Bill Plaschke when he wrote the Dodgers swung and missed at a chance to solidify the franchise for a decade, that player was Bryce Harper. Thank goodness they had a couple other swings left.
Ladies and gentleman, that man is here. That man is playing every day. That man is unBELIevable. That man, is Cody Bellinger. And he is ridiculous.
Feature Photo: Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire