Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman/outfielder Cody Bellinger tied the National League’s rookie record for home runs in a single season on Saturday afternoon with his 38th blast of the year off Washington Nationals starter A.J. Cole in the second inning. He now creates a three-way tie between Frank Robinson (1956) and Wally Berger (1930) for the record.
Bellinger seems to be a near lock for the NL’s Rookie of the Year award, an award that teammate Corey Seager took home last season, en route to a third-place NL MVP finish.
He did not make his major league debut until April 25, coming on the scene like a house of fire by clubbing 25 home runs in the first half. By virtue of his home run on Saturday, he has now hit 38 home runs in his 118 major league games. Veteran Adrian Gonzalez has been virtually usurped at first base after hitting the disabled list with a herniated disk earlier in the year.
Prior to the start of the season, Bellinger was ranked as high as the No. 7 overall prospect in the game by Baseball Prospectus. He needed just 21 total games at Triple-A before earning the call-up to Los Angeles, before hitting his way into the everyday lineup and eventually both the All-Star Game and the Home Run Derby.
Bellinger will need an especially hot final few weeks of the season to catch not only New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge for the rookie lead this year, but Mark McGwire for the all-time single-season rookie record, when he clubbed 49 home runs in 1987.