Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger was named the unanimous winner of the National League Rookie of the Year award Monday, beating finalists Josh Bell of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Paul DeJong of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Bellinger won the National League honors in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, announced Monday night on MLB Network. His award gives the Dodgers a record 18th Rookie of the Year winner.
Bellinger is also the second straight Dodgers player to win Rookie of the Year. Shortstop Corey Seager did so last year.
“The future is bright in L.A.,” Bellinger said. “I know that I’m excited, as well as the other teammates. Obviously, we didn’t have the end goal this year, but we’re going to try and take it to the next level next year.”
The 21-year-old Bellinger broke the NL rookie record for home runs with 39 and finished second in the league behind only Giancarlo Stanton in homers. Bellinger led the Dodgers in RBIs (97) and runs (87) and supplied a left-handed bat in the heart of the order of a club that fell just one game short of winning the World Series.
Bellinger made his big league debut in late April. By the time he turned 22 on July 13, he had 25 home runs. The 6-foot-4 first baseman is an appropriate counterpart to this year’s American League Rookie of the Year winner, Aaron Judge. They also hit from opposite sides of the plate: The Yankees slugger is a righty, and Bellinger swings left-handed.
This is the first time both Rookie of the Year award winners were unanimous since 1997, when Nomar Garciaparra of Boston and Scott Rolen of Philadelphia won.