Much of baseball’s attention for slugging rookies has focused on Aaron Judge, and understandably so—a major-league leading 22 home runs will do that, along with a 6'7" frame and playing for the New York Yankees and everything else the 25-year-old has to offer.
Give the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger a few more weeks, though, and he very well might be close to catching up. Bellinger hit two home runs tonight to make a total of 17 since he was called up to the big leagues on April 25—more than anyone else has hit in that time frame. This was Bellinger’s fourth multi-dinger game, making him the first rookie ever to achieve that feat in his first 50 games. (He did it in 45.) Potentially even more impressive there? One of tonight’s home runs came off of Andrew Miller, the first that the strikeout-machine reliever has allowed in more than 30 innings this season.
Bellinger’s power has always been his calling card, but the rest of his skill set—surprising speed, capable and versatile defense—is shiny enough that he was regularly considered among the top 10 or 15 prospects in baseball before his call-up. The main problem area from his minor-league scouting reports was his strikeout rate, which has stayed high in the majors but hasn’t proved too worrisome with a .335 OBP. And when he’s showing off this sort of power, really, who cares so much?