While Cody Bellinger is not entirely struggling, he has certainly experienced a decline in performance. If you expected him to bat .370 this season, that might be an issue. While there is no reason to overreact to Bellinger’s latest faults, it is definitely something to keep an eye on being so close to October.
While his batting average has dipped in recent weeks, his production has not entirely gone by the wayside. He is still walking and he is still not striking out a ton. He is still crushing baseballs and maintaining his footing in the race for the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
In a recent column by Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, Bellinger’s recent stretch was discussed by multiple members of the organization and all expressed their faith in a bounce back:
"…we’ve expressed to him, when he wasn’t trying to be that guy, he was that guy. When he’s trying to be that guy, he’s not that guy.”https://t.co/0jKkjfg6ud
— Jorge Castillo (@jorgecastillo) September 6, 2019
Trying to Do Too Much?
After reading the column, it is fair to question: “Is he trying to do too much?”. According to Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and hitting strategist Brant Brown, this might be the case to a certain degree.
Bellinger, just 24 years old, provided a simple response regarding his approach when asked by Padres’ first baseman Eric Hosmer:
“Keeping it simple. I would say that’s pretty important for me. Just trying to keep it simple and not trying to do too much.”
Right there, is the baseline for success. Baseball is a mind game — a strenuous race that lasts for 162 games. It is fair to question Bellinger possibly pressing, but his recent performance could be a simple result from the grueling season. If the latter is the case, full confidence in Bellinger’s ability should be restored in no time; if it was not already.
When Dodgers hitting strategist Brant Brown was asked about Bellinger, he provided an interesting response:
“I get it all. You want to be able to be that guy. But at the same time, like we’ve expressed to him, when he wasn’t trying to be that guy, he was that guy. When he’s trying to be that guy, he’s not that guy.”
It sounds like the key to success for Bellinger down the stretch is to not press and to stay within himself. With his immense talent and upside, there should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that he can turn it around, especially after witnessing his display across the first half of the season.
Roberts on Bellinger
Manager Dave Roberts’ comments fell perfectly in line with those of Bellinger and Brown’s comments:
“The thing I see is, with Cody coming into this season, his mind-set was to be a really good hitter and be consistent with his approach, his mechanics and his work,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “And for me, when you try to slug, there are pitches and at-bats you miss. Whether you foul them off, you pop them up, you swing and miss. And so I think that getting him back to the mind-set of being a good hitter and appreciating the fact that his swing has built-in loft that he’ll in turn slug.”
Bellinger, regardless of his recent performance, has full confidence in himself — as he should.
“I’ve put myself in a good spot,” Bellinger said, “so hopefully I can ride it out and keep going.”