It was expected that Cody Bellinger would be called up at some point during this Major League season. The call came quicker than many anticipated after the Dodgers prospect made his debut Tuesday night against the San Francisco Giants. Batting eighth, Bellinger went 1-for-3 with an infield single and a walk.
Joc Pederson was placed on the disabled list with a groin injury and Bellinger is going to play the outfield every day or against most right-handers and will get his chance to show he belongs in the big leagues. Bellinger is a first baseman, but Dodgers veteran Adrian Gonzalez currently resides at that position. Bellinger will get the opportunity to face some left-handers and manager Dave Roberts said he could move up in the batting order.
The prospect, who turns 22 in July, was off to a good start at Triple-A. Bellinger batted .343 with a .627 slugging percentage in 18 games with 15 runs, five home runs, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases.
He played 114 games at Double-A last season and batted .263 with a .484 slugging percentage, 61 runs, 23 home runs, 65 RBIs and eight stolen bases. Bellinger struck out 20.2 percent of the time at Double-A last season and 28.6 percent of the time at Triple-A in 2017, but he works the counts and draws walks.
If your league has open waivers, add him. Leagues using FAAB bucks, it's going to take a lot of money. There are almost always a few people in every league who get really hyped for rookies and overpay. It's likely going to take 30-40 percent of the budget and potentially more to acquire Bellinger. If he plays every day the rest of the season, the transaction will be worth it. That being said, Bellinger needs to show he can hit left-handers. In a small sample size at Triple-A this season, he hit .222.
Bellinger should hit for power, but the average won't be great and the on-base percentage should be decent. He's eligible at first base in most Fantasy leagues now and will gain eligibility in the outfield soon. I will put in bids, but I won't overpay. There's some risk that he struggles over the next few weeks and gets sent back down to the minors. Keep in mind, Bellinger did struggle in the spring, batting .208 in 58 at-bats.
By the Dodgers calling him up so quickly, it indicates to me they want him to stay up. They do have multiple injured outfielders with Pederson, Andre Ethier and Franklin Gutierrez. If Bellinger hits over the next few weeks, he should remain in the majors. The Dodgers don't have a must-play in left field. Pederson will return to center when he's healthy and Yasiel Puig is in right field.
Bellinger has a lot of power, can chip in some stolen bases, but is learning a new position. If he doesn't cost anything to add, do it. If you have to spend FAAB bucks, don't overpay unless you're team is riddled with injuries or struggling badly.