It took Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger took all of 51 career games to hit 21 homers. His two blasts last night against the New York Mets vaulted him into history. No one in the seemingly bottomless annals of the game has ever homered so often so quickly. Bellinger bested the previous record of 20 homers in 51 games set way back last year by New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez.
These remarkable starts, plus the one Aaron Judge has put together, leave one wondering if there’s something in the water running through the minor league pipeline allowing players to excel with great ease upon arrival in the big leagues.
There’s making an immediate impact and then there’s showing up and dropping earth-shattering bombs with unprecedented regularity. Judge (23 homers) and Bellinger lead their respective leagues in longballs and show no signs of petering out.
It shouldn’t be this easy.
Interestingly, their companions atop the leaderboards are equally green to the mountaintop. Eric Thames has returned from Korea with a torrid bat. Logan Morrison and Justin Smoak have discovered consistency after years and years of spotty production.
The proliferation of new faces in elevated places is good for the game. And I’m on record with my sky-high expectations for both Judge and Bellinger. The former has a higher ceiling while the latter has one of the most picturesque swings in recent memory.
Throw in Sanchez, now healthy, and young professionals have a trio of role models to inspire them to aim high. Experience is not always required, even if it’s preferred.