LOS ANGELES — Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger spent the first three weeks of the 2017 season in the minor leagues. On Monday, he took home a major award, unanimously winning the National League Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Bellinger received all 30 first-place votes in winning the award, beating out Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong and Pirates first baseman Josh Bell for the Dodgers’ second straight Rookie of the Year honor.
Shortstop Corey Seager won the award in 2016. Bellinger gives the Dodgers 18 Rookie of Year awards, nine more than any other team.
After starting the season in Triple-A Oklahoma City, Bellinger was called up to the majors on Apr. 25.
“I thought I was going to be a September call-up, maybe mid to end of the season. I had no expectations to get called up at the time I did,” Bellinger said in October. “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.”
He hit .267/.352/.581 in 132 games, setting a National League rookie record with 39 home runs while leading the Dodgers with 97 RBI and 87 runs scored. Bellinger’s 39 home runs were the third-most by a player in his age-21 season or younger, behind only Eddie Mathews (47 home runs, in 1953) and Mel Ott (42, in 1929).
In addition to starting 83 games at first base, Bellinger’s speed and agility allowed him to start 43 games in the outfield as well, including starts at all three outfield spots.
“His DNA, he just is really even keeled, and he knows he belongs here, and knew that early on. He has the talent,” manager Dave Roberts said during the postseason. “Defensively he will win a Gold Glove at some point.”
Bellinger this season was also named the top rookie in the National League by both the Sporting News and in the MLB Players Choice Awards.
Bellinger is one of 23 unanimous Rookies of the Year, along with fellow Dodgers Mike Piazza (1993), Raul Mondesi (1994) and Seager. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge took home the American League ROY honors this year, also unanimously.
Unanimous Rookie of the Year Award winners
|Carlton Fisk||1972||Red Sox||AL||24|
|Sandy Alomar Jr.||1990||Indians||AL||28|
|Nomar Garciaparra||1997||Red Sox||AL||28|
|Jose Abreu||2014||White Sox||AL||30|