Dodgers: What’s Wrong With Cody Bellinger’s Swing in 2021?

Cody Bellinger has not set the world on fire thus far in 2021. The 2019 NL MVP has missed significant time due to injury and has yet to his stride this season.

The primary problem? Bellinger hasn’t been able to make consistent contact at the plate. Once again, he’s struggled with pitches on the inner third. He’s hitting well below .100 on pitchers high and inside and low and inside. One would have to credit the 2017 Houston Astros with exposing Bellinger in those specific zones. In total, Bellinger owns a .187 batting average and a meager .604 OPS through Thursday.


Bellinger By the Numbers

Even when Bellinger has made contact, he’s not driving the ball. According to Statcast, he has the lowest hard hit % of his career (34.2%) and the second-lowest average exit velocity (89.6 MPH). Of his 20 hits through Thursday, only five have been for extra bases.

The silver lining? It’s a small sample size.

Including Friday’s game against the Diamondbacks, Bellinger has appeared in just 32 games for the Dodgers. That total is the equivalent of a cold March and April. Plenty of high-caliber players have had a tough start to the season. The difference for Bellinger is that it’s July, not April.

Final Thoughts

There’s no doubting Bellinger’s immense talent. When he’s making consistent contact, he’s hitting .305 and winning an MVP. When his inherently long swing gets even longer, he’s below ordinary at the plate.

That being said, his .243 BABIP shows that the 25-year-old has been less than lucky when putting the ball in play.

The small sample size, bad luck, and talent level all provide reasons for optimism that he can turn it around this season.

Considering the Dodgers’ sudden starting pitching shortage, the offense will have to pick up the slack.

Bellinger will need to be front and center.

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Eric Eulau

Born and raised in Ventura, not "Ven-CH-ura", California. Favorite Dodger Stadium food is the old school chocolate malt with the wooden spoon. Host of the Dodgers Nation 3 Up, 3 Down Podcast.


  1. So I have to ask: when is he going to make an adjustment to his swing or stance? Move off the plate, hit with more of crouch, go the opposite way, hit up the middle, cut down his swing with two strikes? I realize he has tremendous power and potential but the stats/consistency is just not there. Love his defense but maybe he should bat second and hit like he’s a #2 batter until he finds himself?

        1. He his way higher caliber that AAA, personally I think they should treat him like they did in 2018, hit him 5 or 6 and on a good day 4th.

          1. No, he is most definitely NOT above AAA. That is exactly where they should be putting him until he finds his swing again. He needs a change of pace because it is not getting better, only worse. Just watched him today, again, go 0-4 and not be even close to fastballs right down the middle. It’s embarrassing at this point becuase he is nowhere near the ball. In AAA he is free to completely break down his swing and start over which is apparently what it’s going to take.

    1. All of the issues you mentioned with Bellinger’s approach at the plate and what he needs to do to correct them, are things he did with consistency the first 2 months of 2019. So we know that he is capable of making those adjustments, he just won’t do it now and he is paying the price.
      In yesterday’s game against Az, some of his swings were the longest and hardest swings I’ve ever seen him take and it was ugly.

  2. This is such a simple problem to correct but no one is advising Cody. If you watch ANY good hitter in the history of baseball-making good contact you will see the batter’s head is still and his swing swivels AROUND his head. Watch Cody and HIS head is dropping straight down around 2 feet! How can his concentration overcome all that movement..Obviously it can’t. To prove my point watch videos of Cody when he WAS rocking it in 2019. His head was still (ain’t dropping}-and the occasional slump that year he WAS dropping vertically. So obvious….

    1. I very much agree. keeping the head still is important in baseball just as in golf — and with eyes on the ball (Cody swivels his head too). he has now gone beyond collapsing his back side to going all the way to his knees! and this is just the start of why he can’t hit.

    2. Do you really believe nobody is “advising” him? Wow, come on now. I can almost guarantee they are spending a tremendous amount of time trying to make adjustments and changes to get him hitting again. This isn’t some college team that is afraid of their MVP. This is the freaking Dodgers and the show. They are working hard to get it figured out.

      If only Cody and the hitting coaches would read the comment section of DodgersNation they would find the solutions to the problem!

      1. He’s making $16 mil this year alone. pretty sure he has no concerns!
        Unfortunate for the fans, but is is what it is!

    3. You’re absolutely right, Douglas. Cody has to get his legs in a hitting position to get the bat on the same plane with the pitched ball. He should crouch, now that he’s got his bat level straightened out. His swing is “looping” under the ball because he’s late getting the bat leveled to make consistent contact. Getting beat too often by a good fast ball. Should watch films of Pete Rose.

    4. Correctamundo, Douglas! His head is dropping while the ball is in flight. This is clear when you see his swing from behind the pitcher. (TV view). His coaches probably have not noticed this. Take a shot with your phone off a tv at bat and replay it frame by frame and it’s very clear. His head is moving down. Fatal. I’ve checked lots of hitters and he’s the only one that I’ve seen with this problem. He’s just barely missing pitches. Foul ball rate is very high for this reason. Hope you have access to LA Coaches…

  3. The problem w/ him is he’s hard- headed and refuse to listen to any good advice. He’s stuck on what he did in his MVP year and got to his head. Figuring he can replicate that has made him stubborn to change, but the league has easily exposed his many holes. You never see any good big league hitter stand straight up and consistently make solid barrel flat in plane to the ball. On swing load his bat is straight up giving that looping swing forcing to have only a small range of barrel contact. With a strong top hand, barrel flat in the plane gives you a wider margin for contact on various pitches. Currently his swing cut is all under the ball to pull, resulting in weak slicing pop-ups. Also I can’t understand why he’s chasing the high fastball out of zone so often. He’ll never catch up to that w/ that long swing. Opponents know he is an easy out.

    1. I could not agree with you more. I can’t imagine any success with that posture at the plate

      1. I couldn’t agree more. I sure hope when Trey Turner is activated, Roberts has the guts to sit his but DOWN!!

    2. What I’m talking about “ margin of contact” is his looping swing is like a windmill, the ball is coming in on a plane or trajectory line, the timing on point of contact must be perfect to have a cylindrical windmill blade to hit a round ball. W/ a strong top hand, his left hand will bring his bat down on top of ball, where now his wrist is facing upwards trying to launch the ball. W/ the top hand and staying back on the ball gives you wider margin of making contact w/ the barrel flat line into the flight plane of the ball. This will also give you more opportunities in getting a hit on different type of pitches. Of course you have to attack strikes only. W/ his current swing it’s more miss than hit, you have to be lucky like last night. I like him, he has the talent to do great things but he is stuck on the launch angle craze taught by the Dodgers hitting coaches. He should study videos on guys like Nomar and Muncy were they consistently hit line shots w/ power. Also w/ his physique and statue study Ted Williams.

      1. What a great breakdown ! A lot of very good comments here today, hopefully something will spark a change. It will take a lot more than just than Max, JT, & CT3 maybe AJ in the post season if they even get there. Hopefully the Dodgers as a team will be more consistent in the second half !

        1. BTW, I didn’t mean to sound like a Mr. Know-it- All, but I was coached by a very smart hitting guru ( he’s since retired) back in club & travel ball. It takes dedication to listen and buy in to believe. It will take hours and hours of hard work and tons of reps. He had made everybody into a hitting machine. Belli might need an overhaul but he has the talent to work on it. There’s also a book by the great Ted Williams on hitting that I found interesting because Belli’s physique and statue remind me of him.

          1. I like what you shared a lot. Getting Cody to realise this must be something else. Once Corey is back at #2, Max goes to #4, then Cody drops to #6 hitter so that might wake him up.

    3. How on earth would you know any of that? Why would you assume he is refusing advice? I think a lot of people are assuming he is such a great player that all he has to do is make this tiny adjustment or that and he will be hitting again. Well, I think he IS listening and I think he, and the coaches, cannot get it figured out. Why? Pitchers know how to pitch Cody now and he has lost just a tiny bit of speed and reaction time and all that because he is 2 years older then his stellar season. I truly believe he is not the all star he was and will probably never be again. Some guys peak early.

      1. First of all, 2 yrs. older from a 24 yr. old to a 26 yr. old does not make an athlete to lose speed or reaction time unless he had a major injury.
        Secondly, if he was listening and buying in to advice you would see noticeable adjustments made. For instance, for a while last year he took his hacks until his 2 nd strike, then he would spread out a little, go into the 2- strike approach and shoot the ball up the middle or to left side gap. He is not buying in and rather take the hacks w/ cuts all under the ball to launch only. He has not made the adjustments to cover his holes, which I know the staff through videos are trying to correct.

  4. Little mention of offseason shoulder surgery. I’m wondering if he rushed back and isn’t fully healed. I think he needs patience to get back to form. But, there isn’t anybody available to replace his glove in CF right now.

  5. He’s got to STOP swinging with his looping upper cut swing and just meet the ball with a level SWING. He’s An easy out and No help for the Dodgers if he dosent change!! Maybe a trade for a front line pitcher– his trade value should be good being old 25.

    1. He’s been swinging like that his whole life. If that is the approach that needs to be taken (And I agree with you) then he needs to go back to AAA and rebuild the swing from the ground up. No way he can pull off an entirely new swing while playing in the show day after day.

    1. Yep, before the hamstring injury, after he came back from the leg injury, we saw Cody have several AB’s when he went into protect mode with 2 strikes, crouching down and just flicking his bat at the ball with a 3/4 swing, for base hits. This is exactly what he did with consistency in the first 2 months of 2019 when no one could get him out. Now, since he’s come back from the hamstring injury, as you mentioned, he’s back to the upright stance and long, uppercut swing, no matter what the location of the pitch is or what the situation is. You would think that, Pujols and his approach, especially with 2 strikes, would be something Bellinger could learn from and emulate more often.

  6. I’m glad to see how many other people can see these obvious flaws. Cody is a one dimensional hitter that must make solid contact with power to do one thing, hit it far. When he doesn’t make solid contact or misses he’s an out.
    We’ll no doubt hear about how his shoulder was weaker after the surgery blah blah blah.
    He is one player that should not be resigned and maybe used as a trade chip.

  7. I am just a fan not a batting coach but should Bellinger set up in batting box further away from home plate so as to have more opportunity to extend his arms and drive the baseball?

    1. No way any of us could know that. He had a ton of success being on the plate. It looks and seems weird I think to us watching but hard to argue with his past numbers. I’d like to see him try something, anything, different at this point, but if it’s going to be a massive change then going back to AAA would be a better place to work on it. Tired of seeing him go 0-5 every night when we could really, really use a hit.

  8. Bellinger stopped hitting in the second half of 2019.seems to me he might need some guidance from outside the organization.but what do i know?

    1. Agreed, this is a really, really long cold spell. It’s a bigger issue than it seems most want to admit.

  9. With Cody’s batting stance,it takes to much effort to position yourself to hit the inside pitch.He’ll hit them sometimes but not consistently because of all of his moving parts.I’m not a Giants fan but every hitter should study Barry Bonds hitting mechanics.Keep the hands low,closer to the strike zone.Keep it simple!

    1. yeah Tony Gwynn broke down Barry’s swing once on video, and practically drooled with every clip. As much as I hated/hate the gnats and Bonds, I must admit his swing was perfect. Cody’s does everything opposite what Bonda and Tony did for that matter

      1. With all due respect to 2 great hitters in Gwynn & Bonds, they are two different styles of hitters that are not suited for Belli, although they had one common theme and that was a strong top hand. Gwynn was a great spray hitter for average that Belli would never be. Okay now Bonds was great power hitter….on PEDS. Just joking. Bonds had hands low, choked up on bat because he was super quick to the pitch w/ tremendous bat speed, on a very short compact swing. He could wait on any pitch and explode w/ such a high velo. @ times higher than what the pitcher throws. You wonder how that happens? Just saying….. Belli would never choke up and his swing is swooping w/ extended long arms. So IMHO this 2 great hitters Belli would have hard time to adjusting to.

        1. exactly. I never thought Cody should try to emulate them. Just a reference. If you see video of Cody in Little League he has the exact same swing today.

      2. He needs to take lessons from the man who has put some life into this team as of late. ALBERT PUJOLS!!! He has hit well and can teach this stubborn little ‘POP UP’ boy how to HIT…

        1. Ron, great advice. Cody needs to check his attitude when entering the stadium. Then let Pujols
          go to work with him as teacher and team mate.

  10. Why not try the simple adjustment of setting up in batter’s box further away from home plate – this will allow Bellinger more opportunity to extend his arms and drive the baseball – also he should work at batting practice w making contact with the fastball at the top of the strike zone

  11. The same thing that has been wrong for the last 2 1/2 years, he is a great fielder and baserunner, but no more than at best a major league hitter that should be in the bottom third of the lineup.

    1. exactly – he’ll have to drop below .150 before the Dodgers stop playing him even if he hits #8 in the order. His defense is too good for him not to be in there every day!

      1. Thankfully, playing in the outfield is one of the easiest positions to replace. He is now hitting .160. We/he/Dodgers can’t keep this up for much longer.

  12. Remember the second half of his MVP year was nothIng to write home about. If he doesn’t change his stance and swing no good will come. Once in a while he will hit a HR with that wild swing. He still one of the best outfielders in both leagues!

  13. I believe the talent is still there but there has to be some adjustments in Bellinger’s set up and/ or swing mechanics – he is like a golfer who can drive the ball 300 plus yards but can’t hit any fairways – sometimes a simple change in either the set up or swing mechanics is all that is needed

  14. as much as we have all analyzed Cody’s issues at the plate, we fail to mention his legs, arm and glove in CF are why he will be in the line-up every night! He’s that good defensively. He and Betts together are the best CF/RF combo in MLB!

    1. True. But the subject is about Belli’s swing. If he can turn it around offensively along w/ his defensive talents he would be another superstar out there along w/ Betts !

    2. That’s what is so frustrating about Bellinger. He has elite speed and an elite glove in CF or even at 1st base and he has been an elite caliber hitter for 2 month stretches, as in the first 2 months of 2017 and 2019. That’s what makes his offensive struggles so frustrating–he just can’t sustain it.

    3. I don’t agree. Sure, he is a GREAT outfielder, but it really doesn’t matter how great he is if he is hitting .150. He is curently hitting .168. Most of our PITCHERS are hitting better than Cody at this point. Are we just going to concede two at bats, one from Cody and one from our pitcher, every go around??

  15. I agree 100% with all the analysis relative to his struggles since late ‘19 and his seemingly refusal to adjust his stance/swing. He’s gotten way worse and really should not even be starting. However, one thing nobody has mentioned is the fact he just doesn’t look like the same guy to me anymore appearance wise. He looks like he’s on drugs to me. Sure he’s not, but looks like he’s in a daze and just sloppy. Wondering if his new personal life has affected his focus and his eagerness to succeed. I see he’s been dating Giancarlo Stanton’s ex and she’s pregnant. Reputation wise, she’s never going to be mistaken for Mary Tyler Moore (I’m old) ? Just say’n

    1. Well, after dozens of comments trying to analyze this guy, someone finally Figured out Bellinger, circa 2021.
      Best get his stuff together or some new club will have his services in the future.

  16. Keep swinging for the fences. God forbid you just try to make contact and get on base.This may be the time to move him and see what you can get for him.

    1. Probably not much. He’s an inning killer. Today he was 0-4 but I see he’s still batting cleanup. There is no justification on placing him 4th in the lineup. Roberts and the higher ups doing the analytics are just idiots. Roberts needs to go and soon. They just squeaked by today because the diamondbacks decided to intentionally walk Betts. Hand it to Pujols for getting on base. He should probably manage the team.

  17. Whoa! Muncy’s swing on today’s walk-off HR is what I’m talking about! That strong top hand, barrel flat to the ball on a middle- middle pitch and explode the hands will give you a solid line drive rocket w/ backspin to the moon. Mookie is also slowly getting back to that swing where his hit balls are much more on the line and hard. Keep it up guys!

  18. Cody is the best thing that has happened to the Dodgers. Cody in the line up is always going to be to a excellent chance for a hit or homer or a great play. Gota have him, please

    1. Must be a Padre fan. Cody is always going to be an excellent chance for an out. Kershaw and Urias have a higher batting average than Cody

      1. Yes Bellinger is hitting under 200 right now (didn’t Bill Parcels say “you are what your record says you are) but I absolutely believe the talent is there despite his ridiculously low batting average – Bellinger needs to use all star break to get together with a hitting coach or a teammate and figure out some adjustment in his set up or swing mechanics

        1. Agree. Bellinger has incredible talent but he’s had 2 years to make any adjustments and refuses to change. He plays excellent defense and at one time was a threat to steal but if he can’t get on base he becomes a one dimensional player. Pujols approach and batting stance is what Bellinger needs to replicate.

        2. I’m from the future, the all star break didn’t help at all. In the last two games Bellinger went 0-8 with 3 strikeouts and looks worse than ever.

  19. Well, after dozens of comments trying to analyze this guy, someone finally Figured out Bellinger, circa 2021.
    Best get his stuff together or some new club will have his services in the future.

  20. Ron, great advice. Cody needs to check his attitude when entering the stadium. Then let Pujols
    go to work with him as teacher and team mate.

  21. Great comments all but unless Belli changes it’s moot. It’s up to him and Dodger management to force change. Maybe it’s time to trade him before we have to pay him a zillion dollars.

    1. No way the Dodgers pay him another big year like this one ($16 million) much less a huge contract like Betts or even Turner. I think they’ve already seen enough to know better. Even if he gets back to average that is exactly what he would be, average.

  22. I read that Bellinger was unhappy with his production in the second half of 2019 and changed his swing at the beginning of 2020. Has hit poorly ever since. Maybe it’s time for him to change back. Who changes his swing after an MVP season?

  23. Really good hitters adjust their swing. He is of no value ifs he keeps doing what he’s doing.If hecwould step back from the plate or choke up an inch or two, he would have better control

    1. He needs to sit. It’s not just the low average, light contact and swing-throughs that’s the problem. It’s clear Cody is not interested in helping the team win as much as it’s about hitting the ball over the fence, and for that, he needs to sit his add down. I love him to death so it”s a tough love situation.

  24. There’s nothing wrong with his swing. It’s the anti-Cody baseballs they’re using! ; )

  25. I think that Cody Belinger is now a menace to the team. The other players are hitting pretty well and then we see Belinger with a batting average of 165. Is the manager Roberts trying to win? I would sit him for at least 2 weeks and get someone to help him with his swing. With him at that batting ave the team is bound to fail.

  26. I think the biggest issue with Bellinger is his continued crowding of the plate. Move off the plate a bit and I bet things begin to turn around. No idea why his crowding is not talked about more often.

  27. There is only one answer for Bellinger, and that is to send him down to AAA Oklahoma City. If he’s so stubborn that he won’t listen to good coaching, then he doesn’t belong on the team. Until he proves that he can hit again, he should be gone. Also, in the month of July, this year, he’s hitting 0.081, going 5-62 after last night’s loss to the Giants. He’s hurting the team badly, and should not only not be in the starting lineup, he should not be on the team at all. Enough is enough. The Dodgers just brought up Zach Reks from Oklahoma City. I’d put him in for Cody. he was hitting .325 for OKC; he certainly can’t be any worse than Bellinger.

  28. Bellinger is not making adjustments in his swing- it’s home run or bust. Something is wrong here. If I were the Dodgers I would send him down to Triple he is hurting the team now. He had similar problems last year. To me Bellinger looks like he is playing stoned out there

    The Dodgers are in big trouble!!- The injuries, but the big blow was losing Bauer. Would I trade Bellinger for Max of the Washington Nats definitely. I hear the Dodgers want Cole Hammels who has not pitched in two years, and not the correct fix in a pennant race. I like Tyson Ross of the Nats also in a trade because you won’t have to give up as much.

  29. In all honesty CB has been average or below avg since the 2nd half of the ’19 season. Only finished .305 in ’19 because of a HUGE 1st half of season when he hit .350+. He’s been figured out by opposing teams and like a few others here have said, he is not adjusting. Part of that is on him and part of their batting coach.

  30. Bellinger swing, its great. Last night game was back to business. Every one in the lineup with eyes opened as the slo mo replay showed. With 13 hits good things happen. This was the best game I have seen all year. I hope everyone is vaccinated, please. I was just getting back to normal when I just assume everyone would get. What a mistake. Look at the Nationals 2 players.

  31. Unfortunately Belli has a big problem. After five years as an everyday player, if you take away his MVP year he’s a .248 hitter. Lot’s of power but a terrible, long, “sit-and-lift launch angle” swing. Launch angle is an all or nothing approach that has led to an average 18.2 strike-outs per game and an ML-wide batting average under .250. It’s caught up to Belli. The hole in his swing has been exposed and he has made zero adjustments. Watching his approach over the past two years with a bit over 400 plate appearances and a .206 average he has either never been taught how to break a slump or he’s not coachable. I’m leaning on the latter based on his very early career behavior.

    He’s got about 18 months (maybe less) to cure this or he will be a once again be a with Yasiel Puig somewhere in the Mexican League. Right now he’s sunk to the level of a “AAAA” (four-A) player – can probably kill AAA but can’t hit a lick in the Show (see Baseball Reference Steve Bilko and Chuck Connors for prime examples of the 4-A player).

    The other problem with his swing is Dave Roberts. Come on, Dave. It’s been 400 plate appearances and you’re still hitting him in the 4 or 5 hole hoping he will break out of it. Let him hit in the 7 hole at Oklahoma City until he finds a way out of the ditch he’s dug.

  32. Fans want dongs!

    Agent want dongs!

    Only dongs count!

    Me swing everytime for dong!!
    Greetings from Ven-CH-ura, CA.

  33. I love Cody. He has meant so much to the Dodger’s success and I think he will again. However, at this point, for whatever it’s worth, think he needs to go to AAA, out of the bright lights, and start over with the basics on his swing. I think leaving him in the show is just destroying his confidence. Go to AAA, get the swag back and correct the many problems in his swing right now. He swings with his back leg collapsed, his head is flying out, he’s missing pitches right down the middle and can’t hit high cheese on the inner third, or outer third of the plate. That’s a lot of holes to just leave him in the Majors flailing like he is right now.

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