LOS ANGELES – Cody Bellinger batted second on opening day – in Oklahoma City, that is. He got three hits in his first game, 10 in his first five games.
He was 21 and in triple-A. The Los Angeles Dodgers had five-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Bellinger envisioned making it to Los Angeles this season, but pretty late in the year.
“Honestly, I thought I was going to be a September call-up,” he said last month.
He turned out to be an April call-up, and he emerged as perhaps the Dodgers’ most dominant position player this season. Bellinger was honored Monday as the unanimous winner of the National League rookie of the year.
Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager was the unanimous winner last year. The Dodgers have won the award 18 times, more than twice as many as any other franchise. The award since has been renamed in honor of its first winner, Dodgers Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson.
Josh Bell of Pittsburgh and Paul DeJong of St. Louis were runners-up for the award.
Bellinger hit 39 home runs, breaking the N.L. rookie record set by Wally Berger with the Boston Braves in 1930 and tied by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956. Bellinger batted .267, and his .933 OPS (on-base-percentage-plus-slugging-percentage) ranked among the league’s top 10.