It may be the era of the home run, but even Cody Bellinger has managed to rise above the cacophony of dingers.
After homering twice in Monday's game against the Mets, Bellinger now has 21 dingers in his first 51 games. That makes the Dodger rookie the fastest to reach 21 homers. Previously, Gary Sanchez (last year) and Wally Berger (1930), held the mark with 20 long balls in 51 games.
Bellinger passed his dad's career home run-mark weeks ago and joined Albert Pujols as the only players 21-years-old or younger with 20-plus dingers before the All-Star break. He has five multi-home run games -- putting him ahead of Jay Bruce for the most in the Majors this year.
With Bellinger -- er, I suppose we should call him Belldinger now -- blasting homers at a 67 home run pace over a full 162-game season, let's take a look at our five favorite so far. Yes, we're aware of how strange it is to be writing this just two months into his big league career. But he forced our hand.
5. The first
Where it all began. When Bellinger was first called up to the big leagues on April 25, it wasn't clear how long the slugger would be in the Majors. Was he just be an injury replacement until Joc Pederson came off the DL? Would he be kept out of the lineup against lefties?
Then, on April 29, he hit his first big league homer against Zach Eflin.
Just two innings after his first home run he went deep again -- this time clanging it off the foul pole. Naturally, it was during one of the weirdest endings to a game this season.
"Absolute madness." pic.twitter.com/J2ybjUtpLw- MLB (@MLB) April 30, 2017
4. The longest
For Bellinger's next magic trick, he converted Jhoulys Chacin's offering into a Statcast-projected 438-foot blast. This one was left over the heart of the plate, but Bellinger would soon prove that it doesn't matter where the ball is thrown ...
3. The first grand slam
Listen, a grand slam is impressive, OK? But what's far more impressive is that Bellinger smashed this home run on a two-strike, 95-mph fastball that was up near his eyes. This was no lucky swing that happened to get out. It's as if Bellinger wanted to go behind in the count -- just to maximize the pain the Padres would feel when this ball left the yard.
2. The 12th-inning moonshot
The Brewers and Dodgers went deep into the night on June 2, without many runs to show for it. After Yasmani Grandal homered to send the teams to extra innings in the top of the ninth, Bellinger hit a high arcing shot into the depleted stands in the 12th inning to give the Dodgers a 2-1 victory.
1. Off Andrew Miller
While Bellinger has more than held his own against southpaws -- entering Monday's action with a higher OPS against same-side hurlers than righties -- that doesn't mean you'd expect a rookie to handle Miller. After all, Miller is the relief ace that not only blitzed the Indians to the World Series last year, but has served as the template for other multi-inning stoppers like Chris Devenski.
But even Miller could do nothing but crane his neck skyward and watch as Bellinger rounded the bases. For seemingly nothing can stop the dreaded Belldinger.