On Saturday night, LA Dodgers rookie first baseman Cody Bellinger roared out of the All-Star Break and hit for the cycle in a 7-1 win over the Miami Marlins. Just like watching San Diego’s Wil Myers hit for the cycle, there were some things about Bellinger’s cycle that stuck out to me.
In his first at bat in the top of the first, Bellinger singled on a ball low and away. When I mentioned Bellinger in the Home Run Derby, I mentioned he “swatted” homers. That’s exactly what it feels like he does when he swings the bat. Bellinger has a quick bat that flips through the zone, and his ability to extend his hands with that quick bat gives him his power. In this case, he flipped the lumber across the plate and swatted a single back up the middle off the end of the bat. Quick hands delivered strength up the middle rather than a weak fly ball to left.
Bellinger then ripped a two-run homer to right field off the scoreboard into the Marlins’ bullpen. Again, Bellinger reached down for a pitch low and away. Only this time, his hands were fully extended as his quick bat flipped around and sent the pitch flying high to right. Not an easy thing to do with a ball that far across the plate. Most hitters will go with the pitch here and send that ball the opposite direction.
His double came in the top of the fourth inning. Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider left a pitch over the middle of the plate and Bellinger took advantage. He ripped a line drive to the right field fence to drive in Justin Turner from first, then Bellinger advanced to third on the throw home.
Already 3 for 3 on the night, Bellinger, again, reached down across the plate, flipped his bat out, and ripped the first pitch of the inning to right. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton misplayed the line drive and it sailed over his outstretched glove, which has the immediate making of a triple. Center fielder Christian Yelich corralled the ball at the wall and sent it in to the infield. But by that time, Bellinger was already well on his way to third for an easy triple.
The way Bellinger hits the ball fascinates me. Just by watching these four hits, you can see that his swing is consistent and he’s always trying to pull the ball. Even when he hit a single up the middle, his weight was away from the plate to pull the outside pitch. He might have been fooled a little by the pitch and that’s why he hit the ball off the end of the bat. However, his bat is fast enough that it still went up the middle with some force rather than a blooper to left field. No matter how he did it, Bellinger put on a fantastic display of power and consistency on a 4-for-5 night.
Feature photo by Brigham Berthold