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Cody Bellinger wins Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year

MLB: NLCS-Los Angeles Dodgers at Chicago Cubs Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger was named the Sporting News National League Rookie of the Year on Monday, a harbinger of things to come in November when the BBWAA awards are announced.

Bellinger received 97 of 102 votes from NL players, joining teammate Corey Seager to give the Dodgers back-to-back winners of the award.

“Just taking notice of what other players think of you, it’s a cool honor,” Bellinger said.

After beginning the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Bellinger was called up to the majors on April 25, and despite missing the first 20 games of the season still set a National League rookie record with 39 home runs. It was a season that exceeded even his own projections.

Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year voting

Player Team Votes
Player Team Votes
Cody Bellinger Dodgers 97
Josh Bell Pirates 2
Paul DeJong Cardinals 2
Ian Happ Cubs 1
Source: Sporting News

“Honestly, I thought I was going to be a September call-up, maybe mid to end season. I had no expectations to get called up at the time I did,” Bellinger said last week. “But when Triple-A season started, I wanted to do everything I could to have the front office trust me if they were to call me up.”

Bellinger hit .267/.352/.581 and in addition to 83 starts at first base also started 37 games in left field, three games in center field and three more in right field. His 39 home runs were the third-most in MLB history by a player in his age-21 season or younger, trailing only Eddie Mathews (47, in 1953) and Mel Ott (42, in 1929).

The BBWAA awards will be announced in November, and Bellinger is the favorite to win NL Rookie of the Year, which would give the Dodgers an 18th such award. No other team has more than eight.