Video: What to Expect From Dodgers' Cody Bellinger in 2020
Before I hurl a bunch of numbers at you, let's stipulate that baseball prognostications, a crap-shoot to some degree under normal circumstance, is a full-on shot in the dark this year. Bang!
Major League Baseball, in its infinite wisdom, and the Major League Players Association, coming from a better-but-not-by-all-that-much place, agreed to play a 60-game season. They've agreed to try, anyway. Whether it actually comes to fruition this 2020 coronavirus season is anyone's guess. And I have my doubts.
But as long as there is a plan in place, as long as the poison pens have been exchanged for bat and ball, I'm happy to get with the program. Stoked to have some actual new baseball to write about. Pleased as punch to dream my dreams away, "visions of sugar plums" (see Vin Scully) and Dodger baseball dancing in my head.
OK, now I'll hurl some numbers at you. Cody Bellinger, 25 next week, has produced two glorious seasons out of a possible three, earning a National League Rookie of the Year Award and an MVP in the process. His lifetime stats are these: 450 games, 1595 at bats, 443 hits, 88 doubles, 14 triples, 111 home runs, 288 RBIs and a .278/.368/.559/.928 slash line, which is better than his minor league mark of 362 G, 1335 AB, 362 H, 255 R, 77 2B, 17 3B, 66 HR, 288 RBIs and a .271/.352/.503/.855. You don't see a prospect better his minor league numbers in the majors from the minute he arrives and continue to do so every day.
Yes, Bellinger's postseason stats (.178/.234/.326/.560) leave something to be desired, but since this is a regular season forecast (and because I don't want to go there), that's a discussion for another day.
In my February projections piece, I suggested the following for Bellinger: 520 AB, 122 R, 144 H, 40 2B, 38 HR, 119 RBIs and .277/.372/.569. That's a fine season. Better than fine, but I think in a 60-game sprint instead of a 162-game marathon, with the presence of Mookie Betts in the lineup ahead of him and a designated hitter in the mix instead of the pitcher, more opportunities to produce will lead to a better set of numbers. And I believe that the 25-year-old Belly will benefit from the three years of big league experience that the 24, 23 and 22-year-old version of the man couldn't possibly.
A few more numbers. L.A.'s center fielder, right fielder, first baseman was at .431/.508/.890, 14 HR, 37 RBIs through April in 2019. He hit .319/.413/.585, with 6 HR and 15 RBIs in May. He managed a .235/.336/.582, with eight and 21 in August and a .263/.371/.546, 17 and 44 after the All-Star break, when he was said to be slumping. He hit .400 through games of May 7 last year and was at .370/.456/.721, with 20 and 54 through 60 games.
Since you're a baseball fan, I assume you're not yet tired of numbers. So here is my 2020 short-season projection for Belly: .310/.385/.595/.980, 20 HR, 50 RBIs and a second consecutive NL MVP.
Don't forget to watch the video at the top of the page. Starring me. And remember, glove conquers all. Gloves and masks help.
Howard Cole has been writing about baseball on the internet since Y2K. Follow him on Twitter.