Cody Bellinger's incredible struggles at the plate continue. The Los Angeles Dodgers' former National League MVP has been in a protracted, two-year slump and it shows no signs of abating. He's opened the 2022 season 2-for-11 at the plate.
We've discussed Bellinger's struggles before. Last summer we detailed how bad he'd been at the plate midway through 2021 and things never got better. We checked in again during spring training and he continued to be awful. Now that has carried into the regular season, as he started things off 0-for-8 at the plate with two strikeouts before going 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk on Sunday. One of those hits was an infield single and he added another strikeout.
In 95 games during the 2021 season, Bellinger hit .165 with a .240 on-base percentage while slugging .302. That gave him a horrendous OPS of .542. He hit 10 home runs, drove in 36 runs and had 94 strikeouts against 31 walks. His wRC+ of 48 was horrific, as was his -0.8 fWAR. If he hadn't been a plus defender, those number would have been even worse.
This spring in 13 games, Bellinger was 5-for-36 at the plate (.139), with 18 strikeouts and one walk. All five of his hits were singles and he slashed a laughable .139/.162/.139. It's difficult to even make a joke about how bad that is.
It's hard to remember Bellinger is the same guy who slashed .305/.406/.629 in 202 with 47 home runs, 115 RBI, a wRC+ of 161 and a 7.7 fWAR in 2019. That seems ages ago. In 2021 his strikeout rate jumped to 26.9 percent as compared to 16.4 during his MVP season in 2019.
Bellinger is only 26 years old, so this drop off has been stunning. He's not some older guy whose career has slowly fallen off. He should be entering his prime right now.
Maybe Sunday's two hits will spark him a bit, but they were both singles and when Bellinger was at his best he had enormous power. It is utterly shocking what has happened to him because in 2019 some experts believed the Dodgers had found their answer to Mike Trout and developed one of MLB's best players. No one believes that now.