Yesterday was a big game for Cody Bellinger at Coors Field, going 3-for-5 with a homer, double, and a single, giving off some of the most positive energy that’s surrounded him this year to the point where Alanna Rizzo even asked him about in the post-game.
Of course, the struggle for him in 2020 has been maintaining that performance and turning it into something sustainable, and he did make a subtle change yesterday that may have that goal in mind.
As you may remember, back on September 13 in a home game against the Astros, Alex Rodriguez relentlessly talked about Cody Bellinger crowding the plate and how it led to a cascading effect on his swing.
Not much changed immediately after that, perhaps he moved a few inches back, but nothing major. However, whether spurred by the criticism or not, on September 18 at Coors Field, I began to notice early on that Bellinger not only moved off the plate some but also started to get some bend in his knees.
I realize the camera angles are different, but it’s quite clear that in the former picture his knees are almost locked out while in the latter picture there’s now a bend. Less clear is that he’s no longer on the chalk in the box but just behind it.
Currently, there’s no real sample to show whether this has actually been for the better or not. Bellinger has had good games before and then slumped, plus the great game was at Coors. However, it was definitely something that just started yesterday, as the game before he still was upright (as seen below).
Certainly the change seems aimed at getting him into a more athletic starting position, and perhaps also trying to limit his vertical head movement as he unleashes his swing. Hopefully that gets his swing on plane more consistently. That said, he has had massive success with being straight up and down before, so it’s not like that would be the only factor in his success or failure.
One thing to account for is that it’s getting late into the season and the playoffs are under two weeks out. Therefore, this may be more about dealing with the reality that he doesn’t have the time to find his best swing anymore like he would in a 162-game marathon, and it’s now about finding a stance/approach/swing that can provide more consistent results and getting used to that before the playoffs so he can help the team.
Well, so far so good. Whether it works or fails, it’ll definitely be something to watch in the final games, as the Dodgers are surely going to need Cody at some point in their 2020 playoff run if they’re to win it all in the end.