When the Chicago Cubs signed outfielder Cody Bellinger to a one-year deal this past winter, it’s fair to say that management hoped that the former Dodger could find his pre-2021 stroke at the plate. We’re still early in Spring Training, but on March 1 Bellinger showed off that his new approach just might work this year.
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Bellinger in Spring Training
In his first game of Spring Training, new Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger went 0-2 on February 25. A few days later against the Mariners, Bellinger went 2-3 with a double and three total bases. That double came off a middle fastball against Seattle starter and 2021 AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray that was shot to left-center field.
It’s important to keep in mind that it is early, but it’s a positive sign that Bellinger is healthy and making good contact this early in Spring Training.
In February, Cubs hitting coach Dustin Kelly spoke to MLB. com and highlighted some of the adjustments that Bellinger has made in his swing. Kelly stated that the Cubs want to be more “athletic” in the box, which includes lower-half adjustments and work in the gym to improve his core and lower half.
If the Cubs can unearth what made Bellinger a former NL MVP in 2019, it’s can be a huge boon. Chicago didn’t get much left-handed hitting production last year, as much of the offense last year’s revolved around Seiya Suzuki, switch-hitter Ian Happ, and now-former Cub Willson Contreras. This year’s team is relatively right-handed hitting heavy as well, thus making Bellinger a key piece in 2023.
We don’t need to state again how tough the past three seasons it’s been for Bellinger. But, a healthy and tuned Bellinger could be pivotal for a Cubs team that will look to make waves in the NL Central