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Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown: Cody Bellinger

Written By: Gabe Dimock

Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown:

Cody Bellinger

This week's Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown showcases Dodgers top prospect, Cody Bellinger who has a rich baseball bloodline. His dad (Clay) played in the MLB during the late 90s and early 2000s, winning two championships with the Yankees in 1999 and 2000. Cody is expected to surpass his father's career success as he is a highly touted prospect who is likely to make his MLB debut in 2017. In researching Cody Bellinger, I came across an interview where his dad was speaking about his son's development. He mentioned that Cody had previously been a line drive hitter and that the Dodgers had overhauled his swing to give him more power. I watched Bellinger's draft tape and thought the term "overhaul" was a bit strong. Cody swung with intent and used his body well to produce a lot of force in his swing just as he does now. That being said, I did notice one major difference in Bellinger's swing. Cody's swing plane changed from flat to more of an upward tilt giving him the ability to lift his velocity more consistently. As Bellinger's launch angle increased, so did his power numbers. He hit 30 and 26 home runs in 2015 and 2016 after only hitting 3 home runs in 2014. Bellinger's OPS also increased significantly. In the video breakdown above, I show how Bellinger creates the space and the angles that allow him to swing in a more upward plane. For those of you who want to see the swing in one fluid motion, skip to the end of the video. Thank you for watching!

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5 thoughts on "Baseball Rebellion Swing Breakdown: Cody Bellinger"

  1. Rob Bolduc says:

    Gabe,
    Really enjoyed the swing breakdown of Cody! As always, you do a fantastic job of breaking things down technically yet explaining in a “non” technical way for others to understand your analysis. My question relates to the comment you made near the end of the swing breakdown when you compared him to Joc Pederson in some ways. Specifically, you mentioned how many of their movements are similar but that Joc gets his bat more “flat” behind him compared to Cody. You mentioned you felt the flatness of Joc’s bat may effect Joc’s ability to perhaps be as consistent. Not your exact words but I think I summarized the gist of it. I went to Youtube and looked at some of Joc’s swings. No doubt, his bat appears flatter than Cody at launch. I also looked at Ted Williams swings from the side, front, and back. Ted, as you know, had a perpendicular bat in his stance with an inward barrel tip during his load/cocking phase. From videos, he than appears to lay his bat down pretty flat behind his rear shoulder. Cody, and many other modern day sluggers appear to “wrap” their bat during the load phase which would appear to not only take the bat longer to get on plane but cause the barrel to be steeper through the contact zone whereas somebody like Joc and/or Williams who appear to have a flatter bat behind their back shoulder without the “bat wrap” I would think could get on plane earlier thereby increasing barrel accuracy. Of course, I realize a couple of things with my comments. First, I am NOT a hitting expert lol! Second, Joc is early in his career and nowhere NEAR the success as Williams. So, my question is specific to the “flat” bat of Pederson/Williams vs. “non flat bat.” of Cody and many others. I have called it a “bat wrap” so those are my words perhaps that isn’t what you were referring to with your comment. Anyhow, I am curious if a “bat wrap” is acceptable and/or preferable compared to the “flat bat?” Pros? Cons? And, it is entirely possible I have COMPLETELY misunderstood your comments and missed the boat on this! Regardless, my son wraps behind his head A TON when executing his back shoulder row (something I have always been aware of but boy oh boy it just seems excessive) and when watching a MLB show on Williams the other night I just noticed how Ted didn’t “wrap” but that the bat appeared very “flat” behind him. Thus, when you mentioned this in your video analysis of Cody it seemed like a good time to ask the question! Thanks….sorry for the length of the question!!! Look forward to your insight!

    1. Gabe Dimock says:

      Rob,

      Great question! My comment about Pederson and his flatness comes from his struggles on pitches down in the zone, which is where almost all pitchers are taught to throw. Players who are steeper like Trout and Bryant are great at hitting the low pitch. I’m certainly not saying that you can’t hit the low pitch when landing flatter but it is certainly more difficult. Anecdotally, pitchers from previous decades of baseball utilized the top half of the strike zone more often. Admittedly I have not looked into the data to back that up. I see many “old-time” videos where catchers are in a quarter squat receiving the incoming pitch.

      As far as a bat wrap, you are correct that it does have further to travel, but also has more room to whip faster. There is a happy medium for each player depending on their size, strength, and swing speed.

      -Gabe

    2. Tiffany Lane says:

      When taking about a flat bat…he is taking about how joc stands in the box… His set up and approach is different than codys. Cody has a taller stance with his bat more elevated while jocs bat is more flat.

      Hope that helped

  2. Ron says:

    U dont talk about his bat tip…all around hitters i notice they all tip their bats before stride seperation i notice it alot from the great hank aaron…is the bat tip necessarily and what angle should the bat be at stride 45 angle or it does matter?? And how much does tje scapula move the bat just like that josh donaldson mlb hitting video

    1. Gabe Dimock says:

      Ron,

      A bat tip is not necessary but can be helpful. At landing, I do like to see the bat around 45 degrees but a tip can allow the barrel to be in motion at landing instead of stopped. The scapula is very important in landing with separation and controlling the tip.

      -Gabe

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