Back in early February, Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection system pegged the Dodgers to win an MLB-high 98 games thanks to their combination of star power and depth, but almost nobody predicted the stellar contributions from either Bellinger or Taylor, whose opportunities were created by injuries to Logan Forsythe, Joc Pederson and Adrian Gonzalez. Taylor, acquired from the Mariners in June 2016 for former first-round pick Zach Lee, hit just .234/.289/.309 in 120 career games from 2014–16, and began the year in Triple A. When Logan Forsythe broke his toe in mid-April, the 27-year-old carved himself a spot in the lineup at second base, shifted to centerfield when Pederson went down with a concussion, filled in at shortstop when Corey Seager had elbow issues, and kept giving manager Dave Roberts a reason to keep writing his name in the lineup by hitting .288/.354/.496 with 21 homers, 17 steals and a 120 OPS+. His 4.8 WAR ranked third among Dodgers position players behind only Justin Turner and Seager.
Bellinger, the 22-year-old son of the former Yankees utilityman Clay Bellinger, ranked number 7 on Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects list this spring. After spending most of 2016 in Double A, he appeared ticketed for Triple A with perhaps a late-season callup, but in the wake of injuries to Andre Ethier and Andrew Toles in April, the kid (then still 21) was called up to play leftfield. He debuted on April 25, homered twice in his fifth game, twice again in his 10th game, and just kept bopping to the point that he earned a place in the Home Run Derby and set an NL record with 39 dingers while batting .267/.352/.581 for a 142 OPS+.