October 23, 2017

By now the story is familiar: the son of former Yankees utilityman Clay Bellinger, a fourth-round 2013 draft pick, wasn't expected to make more than a late-season contribution to the Dodgers in 2017, having barely grazed Triple A by late 2016. A slew of injuries led to an April 25 call-up, around 11 weeks before his 22nd birthday, and he wound up doing nothing less than setting an NL rookie record with 39 homers, participating in the Home Run Derby and supplanting Adrian Gonzalez (who missed most of the season due to a herniated disc in his lower back) at first base. He's a lock to win NL Rookie of the Year honors.

With an uppercut swing that produced a higher fly ball rate than any Dodger besides Justin Turner, Bellinger has excellent bat speed and tremendous power, mostly to his pull side. He's a disciplined hitter who battles deep into counts, an approach that makes him vulnerable to strikeouts (his 26.6% ranked second among Dodger regulars), though his 11.1% walk rate is certainly respectable. He's plenty lethal against lefties (.271/.335/.568 with 12 homers in 173 PA), so don't expect him to be particularly targeted by situational matchups. An athleticism that would play in centerfield shows up all around his game; he's a decent baserunner who stole 10 bases in 13 attempts, and an above-average fielder at first base (+2 DRS in 93 games) who has made several outstanding plays during the postseason.

The overlooked piece in Houston’s homegrown infield, Gurriel—a superstar in his native Cuba who wasn’t able to leave the country until two years ago at the age of 31—is making up for lost time. After a so-so regular season, he’s exploded in the playoffs, hitting .366/.409/.512 in 44 plate appearances. A free-swinger of the highest order, Gurriel walked only 22 times in 564 trips to the plate in 2017, but his contact-oriented approach and natural power have made him an invaluable part of the middle of Houston’s order. Defensively, he’s just about average, but the Astros will take that given his hot bat.

Edge: Dodgers

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