Was it shocking? No. Was it at least a little surprising? Absolutely not. I’m happy to announce that Cody Bellinger is the 2017 National League Rookie of the Year! He became the second straight Dodger to win this award by a unanimous vote, following last year’s ROY Corey Seager.
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) November 14, 2017
Now, I want to be fair to the other finalists for the award. Although Bellinger was the obvious choice, Pirates’ first baseman Josh Bell and Cardinals’ infielder Paul DeJong were also terrific this year. Bell was the only player who seemed to be playing well on the Pirates this year. DeJong didn’t debut until May, but he made an impact in St. Louis almost immediately.
So what’s the difference? Without Bellinger, the Dodgers would possibly have been in third or fourth place at the end of the season. They were in third place before the called him up on April 25. He launched his first home run on April 29, a game I still remember. His first homer came in the seventh inning, but that was nothing compared to his second.
Do you remember that game? The Dodgers were trailing by three runs when Yasiel Puig hit a solo home run in the ninth inning with no outs. So that was cool, but nobody could imagine what would happen next. Bellinger was the next batter and he smashed a home run. So now, the Dodgers were just one run away with no outs. Justin Turner then tied the game with a solo home run, going back-to-back-to-back with Puig and Bellinger. The Dodgers then won the game on a walk-off single. You can read my report on the game here.
The Dodgers absolutely dominated baseball for most of the summer. Then in August, Bellinger got hurt. He sprained his ankle and took his first trip to the DL. The Dodgers were good but not great without him. Then he returned but wasn’t himself. When Bellinger slumped, the team slumped…badly. Then, Bellinger started hitting and the team started winning. His impact was incredible.
Take a look at what he said about winning the award:
And now, if you want to see some pretty awesome GIFs of Bellinger, click here.