Dodgers: Could Cody Bellinger Once Again Be an All-Star in 2022?

Coming off offseason shoulder surgery, we knew there was a chance that Cody Bellinger could have a down year in 2021, but his regular season went just about as bad as anyone could have imagined. On top of trying to gain the strength back in his surgically repaired shoulder, the former MVP dealt with a slew of injuries that forced him to miss significant time.

First, he suffered a hairline fracture to his left leg after being cleated by A’s pitcher Reymin Guduan on a close play at first base in early April that forced him to miss over two months. Then, when it looked like he was finally starting to look like himself at the plate, he suffered a left hamstring injury that sent him back to the injured list in mid June. Then in September, he was sidelined with a fractured left rib after colliding with teammate Gavin Lux in the outfield that led to another trip to the injured list.

It was an extremely frustrating regular season to say the least for Cody Bellinger, where the former MVP posted career-low numbers across the board, slashing .165/.240.302 with 10 home runs, 48 wRC+, and a -0.8 fWAR. But to his credit, Belli turned the page in the postseason where he broke out in a big way. The 2-time All-Star posted a .906 OPS with 1 home run and a 147 wRC+. He also provided two of the most memorable moments for the Dodgers’ 2021 run. First, he came up big with the game-winning RBI single in Game 5 of the NLDS vs. the Giants. Then his late-game heroics were on display again in Game 3 of the NLCS, where he crushed a game-tying 3-run bomb in the eighth inning that helped LA avoid falling into a 3-0 hole in the series.

We break down Bellinger’s nightmarish regular season and his breakthrough postseason and discuss if his strong October will carry over to next season. Plus, how Bellinger overcame his regular season struggles and why the adversity could make him an even better player in the long run.


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Doug McKain

Doug McKain is a lifelong Dodger fan and hosts Dodgers Nation’s “DNpostgame” show online. He also hosts Dodgers DougOut and the LA Sports Report on YouTube. DMAC is also a rabid Lakers fan, and lover of all Los Angeles sports.


  1. IDK either but the emphasis this off season is to re-sign at least a few of those players who are now free agents and IMHO CT3 should be at the top of that list. But starting pitching AND THE BENCH needs fixing for sure.

  2. Really happy to see Cody turn the corner. One thing I noticed after the game in which he stole 2 bases was his SB success rate of his career. 48 -11. Close to 5-1. Better than 4.5 to 1 anyway. It would be extremely beneficial to the team to uptick his attempts. 4-1 is an elite level. This is around Ricky Henderson territory. We have periods where the offense has fallen asleep. With Turner and Cody, we should have at least 30 or 40 steals out of each. Especially with the radical shifting. Speed does not have slumps. Sure like to see us do a bit more running.

  3. PS: Did the math. Cody 81.1% success rate. Henderson 80.9%. I was off a bit in my estimate; but maybe the stolen base could bump us up a tick.

  4. absolutely he will be a terror for other teams next year just like Seager was a year after his surgury,

  5. Cody will be an All Star again. And I fully expect him to compete for the MVP. 35+ HR’s

  6. It’s a business owners make a lot of money and players are the ones people pay to see .stop the bullshit about too much money for players cause it’s not your money they’re spending and if dodgers give Corey 300+ million so be it. You and me we’ll go to work for whoever pays us more money same thing with ball players.Dodgers have to spend a lot of money to compete.

  7. Keep talking about injuries this year. Fact is, since second half of ‘19 he’s been mediocre at best when healthy. He just took mediocre to atrocious this year. You can’t steal a lot of bases if you’re not on base says Confucius. If .165 Cody returns and Doc keeps on putting his name on the card, then what? Luke Raley or some of those other AAA superstars? Big gamble for a guy that just seems to look different in every way from the younger version

  8. Could Cody return to MVP level, of course he could. Will he? Ah, now that’s another story.

    I get the feeling he’s been hurt more than it appeared. The shoulder is an odd joint, not a ball and socket joint, layers and tendons etc. Not an easy fix. I think perhaps he was playing hurt longer and not fully recovered longer than we think. Then a freak broken leg this season. Hairline fracture? Yeah, a hairline keep you out for 2 months? With the best medical treatment available? I think hairline is an understatement.

    On the other hand, .165 makes the Mendosa line look like a star. Even in todays game that’s awful, beyond awful. I don’t see him as a .300 hitter long term, but maybe .260 with a bunch of HR and RBI if he’s healthy. Hopefully. And he’s gold glove caliber in either the outfield or 1st. But .165? not good enough.

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