Cody Bellinger has had some of the highest highs and the lowest lows for a Major Leaguer. Bellinger took home the 2017 Rookie of the Year title after a dazzling start to his career. Only two years later, he performed once again and secured the 2019 National League MVP award. But after a shoulder injury sustained during the shortened 2020 season, his numbers at the plate suffered. This slump led to a couple years of going up and down from the minors and ultimately being released from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Cody Bellinger signed a one year, $17.5M contract with the Chicago Cubs after being non-tendered by the Dodgers. This contract was much higher than anyone was expecting a team to pay for a non-tendered player, but it is paying off so far for the Cubs.
So far in 2023, Bellinger is batting .300/.368/.567 with seven home runs and 19 runs batted in. These numbers are night and day for the former MVP who struggled in recent years. Between 2021-2022, Bellinger batted a quiet .193/.256/.355 with 29 home runs over the two seasons.
Cody Bellinger is Showing Signs of His Former Self
While the bat is certainly surprising everyone to be back, Bellinger’s defense remains top tier in the outfield. The star outfielder is currently 90th percentile in outs above average and is already making a difference in a struggling Chicago outfield.
It’s clear the talent is still there from his former MVP self, all it took was some change in scenery. This is huge for Bellinger because he is due to become a free agent if he opts out of his mutual option at the end of 2023. If he is able to keep up this production at the plate, Bellinger may land a big contract this winter entering his age 28 season.
If this pans out, Bellinger’s idea of taking a one-year contract with the Cubs may have been his best bet. There is still a lot of season left for Bellinger’s production to take another downturn. But at this point, he is playing at the all-star level that we have known him for most in years past.
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