One of the biggest storylines from the Dodgers Summer Camp last season seemed to be a change for Cody Bellinger. The reigning NL MVP came into came looking a little different at the plate, and the results were troublesome.
Bellinger reportedly was unhappy with the second half of his MVP season, so he worked on adjustments going into 2020. He came into Summer Camp moving his bat around a lot and seemed to be on top of the plate more, also standing pigeon-toed. As expected, he didn’t show much for the Dodgers during camp.
The Dodgers All-Star outfielder started off the 2020 season by going 5-for-36 in the month of July. He kept playing with his swing throughout the season and eventually seemed to work back toward his normal 2019 approach, bringing much better results.
When the postseason rolled around, Bellinger found his swing often when it mattered most. The slash line for all of October wasn’t indicative of the value that he brought the Dodgers as they headed for their first title since 1988. But a homerun he hit in Game 7 of the NLCS might cause some issues entering the 2021 season.
When Bellinger took Martin deep to take the lead in that game, the celebration was to slam arms into Joc Pederson and Kiké Hernandez. The shoulder bump with Kiké dislocated Cody’s shoulder, causing him to wear and shoulder brace for the World Series.
Bellinger also had to have surgery during the offseason to address the “loose shoulder” that caused the injury. And according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Bellinger still has not been able to work on the swing that slowed him down last season. As the Dodgers approach Spring Training, Bellinger is still unable to swing a bat and get his mechanics locked in.
It might mean nothing, but Bellinger not swinging a bat this late in January can be a concern. That would mean that the last time he took a swing was in Game 6 of the World Series, way back at the end of October. Most players have at least started taking swings in cages or off of batting tees by this point.
Something to keep an eye on as we head into February.
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