Cody Bellinger is a lanky 6-foot-4, 180-pound left-handed-hitting and throwing first baseman in the Dodgers' organization. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2013 Draft after graduating from Hamilton High School in Chandler, Ariz.
The son of former New York Yankees outfielder and infielder Clay Bellinger, the younger Bellinger was a highly regarded high school prospect who hit .429 in his senior year.
Bellinger had a commitment to attend the University of Oregon, but he instead chose to sign with the Dodgers. A versatile athlete, Bellinger threw a four-hit shutout for Hamilton High in March 2013 in their National High School Invitational victory over Jenks, Okla. But without a doubt, his future awaits as a very good hitting, good fielding first baseman.
Bellinger can hit. Not at all flashy, he has a very uncomplicated, easy swing. Bellinger makes good contact, using the barrel of the bat to consistently hit line drives to the right-center-field gap or down the right-field line. He gets out in front of the ball with quick wrists and above-average, but not elite, bat speed. A disciplined hitter with very good mechanics, it will be very surprising if Bellinger doesn't hit for a high batting average throughout his career.
Once Bellinger adds more upper-body strength, his power may fully emerge and his home runs will increase as well. However, he may be like former Dodgers first baseman James Loney in his offensive game. Bellinger projects to be that type of steady contributor with a solid on-base percentage and a dependable RBI bat.
My first scouting look at Bellinger came at June's Carolina-California Class A Advanced All Star Game in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., his home park. He was a crowd favorite.
Bellinger showed outstanding footwork and soft hands at first base. His reactions and agility were noteworthy. Bellinger made tough plays look easy due to his baseball instincts. I believe he is capable of Gold Glove-type defense.
Bellinger's arm strength is a tad above average, but if needed, he could be a successful outfielder. I don't think he has the speed to play center, but I think he could succeed in right. Bellinger is best suited exactly where the Dodgers are playing him -- at first base.
It appears obvious that Bellinger has an outstanding grasp of baseball fundamentals. Having learned from his father and good coaches along the way, Bellinger has poise, composure and baseball acumen beyond his years. About to turn 20 in mid-July, Bellinger looks and plays like a seasoned veteran.
Bellinger has the type of quick bat that produces a crucial base hit at the right time in the game. He will be a force with runners on base, because he knows the strike zone well and has the patience to wait for a pitch he can drive. Bellinger will get his share of RBIs by hitting the ball from gap to gap.
While I haven't seen tremendous foot speed, Bellinger knows enough about baserunning technique to steal double-digit bases in a full season.
Bellinger may be dependent upon adding strength and muscle to get beyond being a good hitter for average to becoming a dangerous hitter with home run potential. His current weight and thin frame are a concern in long, hot, humid summers. While there is still time for a growth spurt, a solid weight-training program could transform Bellinger to a middle-of-the-order power source.
I find this interesting
Bellinger helped lead his team to the 2007 Little League World Series.
I think Bellinger can become a fan favorite. He hustles, plays extremely good defense, gets important base hits and is a consummate team player.
If Bellinger can develop power, he could become a fixture at first base. Even if he doesn't hit 20 homers a year, his contribution as a run producer will be welcomed.
Bellinger in a word
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.