The past four years must be a blur for Cody Bellinger.
The former Hamilton first baseman and pitcher hit .429 with 27 runs and 36 hits his senior year. After getting drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fourth round, Bellinger quickly became one of the team’s, and Major League Baseball’s, top prospects and made his way up the ranks.
While continuing to grow into his 6-foot-4 frame and develop his power, he found himself on the cover of Baseball America’s preseason issue. MLB.com’s Jim Callis said he was the best power hitter in the minor leagues and had the defensive capabilities to play first base and the outfield and be an above average defender.
? "I think he's the best power-hitting prospect in the Minor Leagues." @jimcallisMLB on #Dodgers' Cody Bellinger: https://t.co/cTlBuOPxOt pic.twitter.com/U7JIre0hQp
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) February 28, 2017
He started the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City and hit .343 with five home runs and 15 RBIs.
Monday, Bellinger was called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
This spring, the young prospect was learning everything he could from his eventual teammates and credits the Dodgers clubhouse as a place for up and coming players to grow tremendously.
“The guys in this clubhouse make it really easy to perform and succeed and be comfortable,” Bellinger said. “Great coaching staff and great players, so I’m just trying to show them what I can do.”
When Joc Pederson, who’s trip to the disabled list opened up a spot for Bellinger on the Major League roster, was asked this spring about helping Bellinger develop, the Dodgers outfielder couldn’t help but laugh.
“Cody doesn’t need help,” Pederson summed up simply.
The son of former big leaguer Clay Bellinger didn’t have the zip code hopping power in high school according to his high school coach, but he is a “baseball rat” and always possessed the tools of a great hitter.
“The power is a little surprising,” Hamilton head baseball coach Mike Woods said. “He was a gap-to-gap hitter, well actually a foul pole-to-foul pole hitter in high school. He just had a beautiful swing.”
Congrats, @Cody_Bellinger! #FromDrillvilleToTheShow #Dodgers pic.twitter.com/oYruXurfXT
— Tulsa Drillers (@TulsaDrillers) April 25, 2017
Hamilton’s 2017 team features plenty of talent heading to programs like Stanford and Arizona State next year, and Cody’s younger brother, Cole, is a commit to Grand Canyon University. Cody credits talent-rich programs like Hamilton for helping him expedite his minor league ascension.
“I honestly think (Arizona) is up there,” Bellinger said. “It’s probably not Texas or Florida yet, but they have great talent coming out. Year-after-year, they have (Division I) guys and they get drafted and they perform. I think it’s getting up there.”
The Dodger fanbase, and Bellinger himself, have anticipated this day for a long time, but the player who many consider to be the next big thumper in Los Angeles has had the same approach when he had opportunities with the big league club.
“For me, I just want to be consistent. I want to go out every day, play and perform, put up good numbers, be a good teammate and all that good stuff.”
Judging how his baseball career has gone so far, it may be great stuff.