‘I didn’t think he’d be this good!’ Resurrection of ’19 MVP who left for 700 million, what the Dodgers didn’t see coming

Cody Bellinger (28) of the Chicago 바카라 Cubs was selected as one of the most surprising players this season. 

MLB.com, the official major league media, said on the 26th (Korean time), “Players always surprise us with their amazing performances. However, expectations are subjective, so we compared pre-season expectations and current performances from ZiPS, the performance prediction system of Fan Graph, a baseball statistics website.”

The first to be mentioned is Bellinger, who won the National League MVP in 2019. Bellinger, who emerged as a Dodgers star by winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 2017, peaked by winning the 2019 MVP. However, Bellinger, who seemed to be walking on a solid road, started to decline after that, and last season, he recorded a batting average of 2.1 (106 hits in 504 at-bats), 19 homers, 68 RBIs, and an OPS of .654 in 144 games.

After the end of last season, the Dodgers released Bellinger, who had an estimated salary of 18 million dollars (about 23.9 billion won), as a non-tender. After leaving the Dodgers, Bellinger signed a contract with the Cubs for $17.5 million (approximately 23.2 billion won). The size of Bellinger’s contract was only $500,000 (about 700 million won) different from the expected annual salary. 

Bellinger, who moved to the Cubs, succeeded in reviving splendidly. He has a batting average of 3.1 6 Lee (116 hits in 367 at-bats), 20 homers, 68 RBIs, and an OPS of .906 in 97 games this season, showing performance comparable to his prime. The pre-season fangraph ZiPS predicted Bellinger’s win-to-replacement ratio (WAR) was only 2.5, but Bellinger is already recording a WAR of 3.8 this year. 

MLB.com said, “Of course, Bellinger recorded a WAR of 7.8 and a wRC+ of 161 in the MVP-winning season. But considering how tough the 28-year-old has been through the past few years, he can’t dismiss pre-season expectations. Still, now Bellinger’s resurrection is in progress. And there is no sign of stopping. When the batting performance of most batters improves, it often improves as the quality of contact improves. But Bellinger is different. His hard hit percentage (percentage of bats above 95 mph batting speed) dropped. But he also dropped his swing rate. Bellinger was in the top 33 percent of swing misses last year, but now it’s down to 82 percent. And after struggling with breaking pitches and off-speed pitches over the past few years, he is hitting non-fastballs better than ever this year (batting average .321, slugging percentage .584).”

Toronto’s Japanese pitcher Yusei Kikuchi was also on the roster. Kikuchi was expected to post a 0.5 WAR before the season, but he is actually posting a 2.0 WAR. 

MLB.com said, “Kikuchi, who played an active part in Nippon Professional Baseball, only recorded an ERA of 5.09 in four seasons in the major leagues. Last year, his first season in Toronto, he was sluggish with an earned run average of 5.19. Still, ZiPS predictions looked optimistic. If one pitch helped Kikuchi rebound, it would be the slider. Slider has a .219 batting average and .399 slugging percentage. Toronto’s batting line is not living up to expectations, but Kikuchi is playing a good part in Alec Manoa’s sluggish starting rotation.” 

In addition, MLB.com has Bryson Stott (Philadelphia), Bobby Witt Jr. (Kansas City), Christian Yelich (Milwaukee), Lane Thomas (Washington), Blake Snell (San Diego), Kyle Bradish (Baltimore), etc. We also picked players who were active.

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