Cody Bellinger has competed in a Home Run Derby before, two years ago at the California League vs. Carolina League All-Star Game.
“I swung and missed twice,” he said with a chuckle. “I’m not the greatest BP hitter.”
Bellinger’s modesty does not hold up under closer inspection.
“Have you watched him take BP?” teammate Corey Seager said. “He’s lying.”
Bellinger hit his 18th home run Thursday. Only one player in major-league history has hit more home runs in his first 47 big-league games than Bellinger – Gary Sanchez had 19 last year for the New York Yankees.
If he keeps hitting them at that rate (or maybe even if he doesn’t), Bellinger could get an invitation to compete in the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game next month in Miami even though he might not be selected for the National League team.
“I’ve thought about it. … I haven’t been asked yet so I haven’t thought too much into it,” Bellinger said. “It’d just be fun whether I hit any or not, just for the experience. Hopefully I’d do well. We’ll see.”
If invited, Bellinger would be the third consecutive Dodgers rookie to participate in the Derby. Two years ago in Cincinnati, Joc Pederson reached the final round before losing to Todd Frazier. Last year in San Diego, Seager hit 15 home runs in the first round but was eliminated in the head-to-head format when Baltimore’s Mark Trumbo followed with 16.
“I would tell him it’s fun,” Seager said when asked what he would tell Bellinger about the experience. “It’s a lot of fun if you have someone special throwing to you. My experience with my dad was awesome. It’s a fun moment, an exciting experience.
“I would tell him – go for it.”
Bellinger has given it enough thought to know he would also ask his father to throw to him in the Derby. In his case, that would mean a return to a major-league field for Clay Bellinger, who spent parts of four seasons (1999-2002) with the New York Yankees and Angels.
“He’s thrown to me my whole life in the offseason. He throws good BP,” Cody Bellinger said. “I think it’s a cool moment. It’s the big leagues again and for him to experience it would be awesome.”
By Bill Plumkett