There was a player who tied for 5th in the ’10 batters who improved most noticeably after the All-Star break’ posted on the 23rd (hereinafter referred to as Korean time) by the Major League homepage (MLB.com), Cody It’s Bellinger.
Bellinger, who was loved in Korea as a ‘helper’ for Ryu Hyun-jin during his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers, is playing for the Chicago Cubs this year.
He jumped and caught Kyle Tucker’s right-middle home run in the bottom of the 7th inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on May 16, and was injured when his left knee hit a fence railing while coming down. Bellinger, who thought he would recover with a few days off, was on the injured list for a month.
Prior to his injury, he had a batting average of .271 (39 hits in 144 at-bats), seven home runs, 20 RBIs, and an OPS of .830. Compared to the batting average of 0.193 and OPS 0.611 for the two years from 2021 to 2022, it was a’perfect resurrection’.
However, his bat got hotter after his return. Bellinger, who reported a weighty comeback with a timely double against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 16, hit 13 consecutive games from June 25 to July 8, raising his batting average to 30%.
Local media evaluated that the accurate and powerful hitting was reminiscent of 2019, when he was named NL MVP. Eventually, he was selected as the ‘NL Player of the Month’ and hit his second heyday. Bellinger, who had been absent for a month and lacked the number of at-bats, recently filled the required at-bats and placed his name at the top of each category of NL offense.
Bellinger led a 6-4 victory against the Detroit Tigers on the 24th with 1 hit and 2 RBIs in 4 at-bats. As of this day, he ranks 4th in NL batting average (0.320) and 5th in OPS (0.920) and wRC+ (145), the highest among Cubs hitters. Since he missed it for a month, he stays outside the 20th place in home runs (20) and RBIs (67), but these figures are expected to rise significantly for the rest of the season.
What the hell caused Bellinger to ‘awaken’ after falling to the floor?
The Dodgers released Bellinger as a ‘non-tender’ after consideration in November of last year. ‘Non-tender’ means ‘our club will not re-sign you next season, so we will release you as a free agent’. After Bellinger reached his peak as a major leaguer by winning MVP in 2019, he fell sharply. The following year, in the 60-game shortened season, his batting average dropped to 0.239, and in 2021-2022, it fell to the 10% range.온라인바카라
Conversely, Bellinger’s annual salary, which has earned qualifications for annual salary adjustment as his annual leave accumulates, increases exponentially, reaching $17 million in 2022. The conclusion of the Dodgers is that it will be difficult for him to regain his former skills, but there is no need to have expectations again, even with an annual salary of more than 17 million dollars.
Bellinger’s sudden slump is because he injured his shoulder in the 2020 postseason. In Game 7 of the National League Championship Series against the Atlanta Braves, after hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the 7th inning, he injured his left shoulder while celebrating with his teammates. In the winter of that year, he underwent surgery.
But Bellinger’s agent, Scott Boras, had a different idea. I persuaded the clubs that if only my shoulder healed, I would recover my former skills, and in fact, 3-4 teams presented specific conditions. Boras’ strategy was to play for only one year and become a free agent again, and Bellinger was also confident in his revival this year. Eventually, the Cubs, who offered a $12.5 million annual salary in 2023 and a $12.5 million mutual option in 2024 with a buyout of $5 million, will hold hands.
Boras said in an ESPN interview, “There is something I emphasized to Cubs officials, including President Jed Heuer. For three years, the OPS has never gone below 0.800, and while maintaining the 0.900-1.000, the player who became the Rookie of the Year and MVP suddenly had an OPS of 0.550-0.650. If it falls to ., then it’s definitely not a skill (skill) problem,” he said. “Cody just lost his strength after shoulder surgery. Jed agreed. A healthy Cody is a 5-tool MVP.”
As Boras explained, Bellinger, who got rid of the shoulder injury, recovered his career-high skills throughout the season. It is expected that he will get a certain level of votes, if not first place, in this year’s NL MVP voting.
It refers to team contribution. While Bellinger was out for a month due to injury, the Cubs struggled with an 11-15 record, and the Cubs’ lineup deteriorated by 112 points from 0.763 to 0.651 OPS. The Cubs, who finished the first half with a record of 42-47, are now 66-60, 2nd in the NL Wild Card. The postseason looks promising. It is no exaggeration to say that it is thanks to Bellinger.
Let’s look at it from the technical point of view. Bellinger’s average exit velocity this year was 87.2 mph, the lowest in his career. However, the difference between the batting average (0.262) presented by ZiPS, a prediction program of Fan Graphs, and the actual batting average is the largest among all hitters in the major leagues. The reason can be found in the fact that the in-play batting average (BABIP) is 0.333. That means hitting the ball right. Bellinger’s strikeout rate has nearly halved from 27.3% last year to 15.7% this season.
Bellinger said, “If you can control the bat, you can hit more balls.”
Another is the help of helpers. According to ESPN, Bellinger’s revival project was led by his father after he was released from the Dodgers at the end of last year. Then, during spring training camp, he met with the Cubs coaching staff to hone his technical side. Dustin Kelly and hitting coach Johnny Washington were friends when Bellinger was with the Dodgers. These are the coaches who know Bellinger well.
In the current atmosphere, Bellinger is likely to give up next year’s option and go back to the market. That was the original plan. Born in July 1995, a 10-year contract is expected to be possible. If it’s Boras, it could be $300 million in total.