Cody Bellinger got pitched to differently and struggled initially. The month of May was coming to an end, the batting average was down in the low .200s and anxiety began to set in. The swing changes became constant and the answers remained elusive. Along the way — throughout a season that was superior to most but disappointing for himself — Bellinger realized he spent most of his life hitting without purpose. The “how” came so easily that the “why” never mattered.
This offseason was about changing that.cheap nike nfl jerseys china
It was about getting back to the mechanics that made him the National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, but also about understanding the elements that made all of it work so well.
“It’s an old Navy SEAL training technique,” Brant Brown, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ assistant hitting coach, said before a recent workout. “In times of stress, you don’t rise to the occasion — you revert back to your training.”
Bellinger finished the 2018 season with 4.2 Baseball-Reference wins above replacement, a mark that was topped by only 30 position players. He reached base 34 percent of the time, displayed Gold Glove-caliber defense in center field and was among the game’s most effective baserunners. But his OPS dropped by 119 points, from .933 in 2017 to .814 in 2018. His slash line against lefties fell from .271/.335/.568 to .226/.305/.376, turning the left-handed-hitting Bellinger into a platoon player for the final two months of the season.
“Going forward,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said, “Cody’s gotta be our guy.”
Bellinger will return to an everyday role in 2019, spending most of his time in right field while also filling in at his more natural position of first base.nike nfl jerseys for cheap
“That’s big,” he said, “but I also have to go out there and prove it.”
Brown initially pushed Bellinger away when he approached him about improving in 2019. The 2018 season had not yet concluded, and Brown wanted Bellinger to focus on finishing. Bellinger touched base again at the onset of the offseason, then took a month off and got to work in December, alternating his work with Brown in Arizona and new hitting coach Robert Van Scoyoc in Los Angeles.
They uncovered video of Bellinger’s plate appearances from the 2016 Arizona Fall League and throughout the 2017 season, then split-screened it with those from 2018 and analyzed the differences. They found that Bellinger was no longer applying enough pressure to the ground. He was standing too tall and straight-legged, making it difficult for him to halt momentum once his swing began. He also wasn’t efficient enough getting into his swing path. “Too elbowy,” as Brown put it.