Baseball's best power-hitting prospect has gotten the call to the big leagues. With three outfielders on the disabled list and an offense that ranks 19th in the Majors in home runs, the Dodgers promoted Cody Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday.Ranked No. 10 on MLBPipeline's Top 100 Prospects list,
Baseball's best power-hitting prospect has gotten the call to the big leagues. With three outfielders on the disabled list and an offense that ranks 19th in the Majors in home runs, the Dodgers promoted Cody Bellinger from Triple-A Oklahoma City on Tuesday.
Ranked No. 10 on MLBPipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, Bellinger was a fourth-round pick as an Arizona high schooler in 2013, and he broke into pro ball as a line-drive hitter who totaled four homers in two seasons of Rookie ball. He then transitioned into much more of a slugger, adding loft to his left-handed stroke and turning on more pitches. Bellinger launched 30 homers in Class A Advanced in 2015, 26 between Double-A and Triple-A last year, and he had five in 18 Triple-A games this month.
The 21-year-old Bellinger, who was hitting .343/.429/.627 in the Pacific Coast League, is far from just a one-dimensional masher. After adding power to his resume but also striking out 150 times two years ago, he slashed his whiff rate from 28 percent in 2015 to 20 percent last season while also drawing a career-high 60 walks.
Then there's Bellinger's glove. Some scouts say he was the best defensive prospect in the Minors and potentially one of the best defenders they've ever seen at first base. Considered a lock to be a future Gold Glove Award winner, the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder is exceptionally smooth around the bag and excels at digging errant throws out of the dirt.
Los Angeles does have five-time All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez signed through 2018 and a more pressing need in the outfield, where starting center fielder Joc Pederson went on the DL after straining his groin on Sunday. That's no problem for Bellinger, who's exceedingly athletic for a first baseman and has plenty of experience in the outfield.
Bellinger has experience playing all three outfield positions in the Minors, seeing more time in center field than on the corners. He moves well for a big man and has solid arm strength, and he's expected to see action in both center and left for the Dodgers.
Having grown up around the game as the son of Clay Bellinger, a slick-fielding shortstop who earned two World Series rings with the Yankees and played for the 2004 Greek Olympic team, Cody should be more comfortable getting acclimated to the big leagues than most rookies. He's more talented than most as well, capable of producing 20 homers and getting on base at a respectable clip should he get regular playing time in Los Angeles.
The Dodgers didn't promote Bellinger to the Majors to sit on their bench, and he could make it difficult to send him back to Triple-A. For now, he's the youngest everyday player in the big leagues -- supplanting fellow Top 100 Prospect Christian Arroyo, whom the Giants called up on Monday.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.