I’m Out on Belli…

Friday was the Tender / Non-Tender MLB deadline. While there were an egg carton’s full of moans and groans on various decisions, I think the most eye opening may have been this one….

Former NL MVP

Cody Bellinger clubbed his way to the 2019 NL MVP award slashing .305 / .406 / .629, with 47 HR, 115 RBI, 121 Runs and 15 Stolen Bases, good for 8.6 bWAR and 7.7 fWAR. A nice book-end to his 2017 NL Rookie of the Year Campaign in which he bashed 39 HR on his way to a unanimous selection. That’s the good news when evaluating a recently non-tendered 27 year old outfielder / first baseman. The Bad News is everything that has happened since.

The weird 2020 COVID season was a down year for Bellinger, but nothing alarming, batting average was down a bit (mostly due to a poor BABIP) and so was his power some. Then the Dodgers hit the expanded playoffs that year, a season that would give them their first World Series title since 1989. Bellinger would hit 4 home runs in the playoffs, including a go ahead shot in Game 7 of the NLCS vs the Braves.

That’s when everything changed, his post home run celebration with Kike’ Hernandez turned out overzealous and he injured his right shoulder. He played through the injuries in the World Series, but ended up getting surgery in the off-season. Since then he just hasn’t been the same.

That 2021 season was an unmitigated disaster. The type of season that had pundits near and far scratching their got-damned heads as to how it got so bad. 2022 was less bad, but not enough less bad to remove substantial doubt from the skeptical of us in the peanut gallery.

Substantial Doubt? I’m Out on Belli

It’s not that Bellinger isn’t still a reasonable major league baseball player, it’s just the various things that surround him. Joe Flacco was good for a hot minute and ain’t nobody been happy paying him since. That’s Cody Bellinger. A quick breakdown below….

ONE – He’s high priced

The aforementioned tender offer that didn’t happen with the Dodgers was projected at $18 million. He made $16.1 million last year. I know, the market will bear the price, but I would still be pretty surprised if this became a bargain bin type situation like Josh Nelson suggests below.

TWO – UPSIDE!!

The most common retort to my dismissal of interest in Belli is that he’s still young and has upside. Below is a definition of upside. You tell me if a guy who has had 3 subpar years in a row and a potentially career altering surgery lobbed in the middle fits this bill. You know my answer.

Steamer projects him at a 98 wRC+, which is not only below average, but also 15% higher than what he did last year. There’s your upside. Yikes!

THREE – The Kiss of Death……”He’s a good defender”

This is actually true, but it’s always used when you know deep down that this mufucka will not hit.

This chart is cut from Baseball Savant

Above is a chart of top Outfielders by Outs Above Average on Baseball Savant for 2022. Bellinger is a good defender. Right next to him though is Jackie Bradley Jr. equally good defender and he’s available for…..

Brett Phillips is also up there and he’s available for….

Let’s just not with Cody Bellinger. Okay.

-BeefLoaf

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