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Cody Bellinger Is Still a Shell of His Former Self

Ryan Phillips
Cody Bellinger, Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers
Cody Bellinger, Detroit Tigers v Los Angeles Dodgers / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Cody Bellinger has had one of the more fascinating career trajectories in MLB history. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder's first three seasons are among the best first few campaigns anyone has ever had. Then he completely fell apart. So far in 2022, it looks like more of the same as he's struggled mightily. Here's our latest check-in on how he's doing.

As a reminder, Bellinger took MLB by storm as a rookie in 2017, belting 39 home runs and posting an OPS of .933. He followed that up by dropping off a bit in 2018 but still put up 25 home runs and an OPS of .814. Then he exploded in an NL MVP campaign in 2019 when he launched 47 homers and slashed .305/.406/.629 with a 1.035 OPS and a 7.7 fWAR.

Since then he's been a mess. Bellinger bottomed out in 2021, slashing a woeful .165/.240/.305 (.542 OPS), and a -1.0 fWAR in 95 games. He's been better this year, but that's not saying much.

So far through 33 games in 2022, Bellinger is hitting .202, with a .261 on-base percentage, while slugging .419. His OPS is up to .681 which is a positive development, but he's also struck out 44 times against only nine walks. His strikeout percentage is up to a career-worst 32.8 and his walk percentage is a career-low 6.7 percent. Meanwhile his isolated power is .218, down from a high of .324 in 2019. Bellinger's fWAR is 0.6, due mostly to his excellent defense. His wRC+ is 95, which is below league average.

Lest you think things might be improving as the season goes along, they aren't. In 13 May games, Bellinger is slashing .196/.241/.392 (.633 OPS) with one home run, and 18 strikeouts against three walks.

While there are signs that Bellinger's 2021 numbers were the lowest he'll ever go, 2022 hasn't been the bounce-back the Dodgers have been hoping for. He's a really good defender who is, at best, a replacement-level hitter at this point. There are no signs of an impending breakout.

This is truly one of the most incredible regressions we've ever seen an athlete have. It has been swift and staggering.

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