Saturday, May 25, 2024

Preseason Cody Bellinger Prediction Is Correct So Far


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In 2023, the Chicago Cubs took a cheap chance on a one-year deal to sign former MVP Cody Bellinger. They were rewarded greatly by his return. He ended the season with a .307 batting average, 26 home runs, and an OPS of .881. Bellinger won the National League Comeback Player of the Year award and finished tenth in MVP voting.

There was chatter in the second half of the season that the Cubs may be interested in signing Bellinger to an extension, but that never came to fruition. Bellinger hit the free agency market and reportedly received interest from multiple teams. Along with the Cubs, the New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, and others were rumored to be in the running to sign Bellinger.

It took until after spring training began, but the Cubs did reach an agreement with Bellinger on a three-year, $80 million deal with player opt-outs included after each season. So, if Bellinger feels he can receive more than $27.5 million a year elsewhere in either of the next two offseasons, he can test that openly in free agency again.

Chicago felt a sense of relief after the Bellinger deal became official. His return filled a massive void in a lineup that desperately needed a left-handed power bat. The Cubs will undoubtedly be looking for a year close to the return he provided in 2023. However, a preseason prediction felt that was a lot to ask of Bellinger. After a month of play, the prediction has been spot on.

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Preseason Prediction Believed Cody Bellinger Would Struggle

When folks were preparing for the MLB season with their fantasy baseball drafts, Tristan Cockcroft wrote an article titled “Ten Busts To Avoid In 2024” for ESPN. One of the busts he predicted was Cody Bellinger. He called Bellinger’s 2023 “magical” and said the Cubs would be asking a lot from him to duplicate the numbers in 2024. Cockcroft also cited Bellinger’s previous injury ailments and his lack of hard contact.

Cubs fans would scoff at this preseason. But looking at it now, he may be onto something. Bellinger is batting just .182 in 17 games. He has just four extra-base hits to this point in the season. Two of those XBHs were magical home runs that sent Wrigley ablaze, but that has been all the excitement for Bellinger thus far.

Saying all of this, we have yet to reach 20 games in the year. More than 140 games are left to play before this year is said and done. There is no need to hit the panic button and fire off the emergency flares on Bellinger’s season just yet.

The Cubs’ first month of schedule is brutal, filled with top contenders and tough teams. They have a nice homestand coming up, followed by an East Coast visit to Boston and Flushing, New York. Bellinger will be looking to get him back on track and preparing Wrigleyville for Belli Bombs all summer long. The Cubs will likely be patient through another month before they start to worry.

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