Long and lean, significant physical projection remaining; slightly sloped shoulders, long neck and limbs; frame can handle another 10-15 pounds comfortably without compromising athleticism, more if he settles at first.
9 games May - July 2015
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (High A, Dodgers)
Slow heartbeat player, maintains loose demeanor regardless of situation; will take poor at-bats into the field with him; engaged pre-game and with teammates.
40/versatile bench bat
Upright starting point; noise in his top half, torso leans forward and drifts in towards the zone; moderate load with deep, low hand position; hips fire quickly, above-average bat speed, leverage has increased markedly this season; hole at top of the zone, cuts off inner-third coverage, significant swing-and-miss; highly aggressive against fastballs in and out of zone; raw approach, expands against velocity and soft stuff alike; below-average tracking against same-handed pitching.
Digs out of the box, five clocks averaging to 4.12; fluid stride, low-effort runner; quick breaks off first, aggressive baserunner, looks to take the extra base; picks up coach consistently on first-to-third opportunities; above-average closing speed in center but presently limited by raw routes.
Athletic around the bag, plus agility and first-step quickness, reads hops and gets low; presents a firm target, length and hands to corral bad balls.
40 in center; speed to develop average range, lacks instincts and experience at the position; raw tracking and finishing routes; can fake it while prime athleticism holds; athleticism and arm allow for above-average corner outfield projection.
Potential for playable versatility with plus defense at primary position.
Plus velocity with accuracy, controls body and gets behind his throws in center; footwork is sound on the dirt, works angles, gets himself into proper throwing position to second
Bellinger's combination of youth, physical projection, and unique position split between first base and center creates significant volatility in his profile. His current physicality allows projection for a part-time centerfielder at the highest level, but he's extremely raw at present. A first base future offers plus defense balanced out by a fringe-average offensive profile.
I have concerns with his offensive development. Bellinger has fallen victim to the California League as the season has worn on, gradually developing considerably more leverage and pull-side tendency as he's looked to jack every fastball he's seen. He frequently forfeits his balance and collapses on his back side, compromising his barrel control and creating an inconsistent path through the zone.
There's ample raw material here to develop into a useful Major League roster piece, even a regular. The remaining physical projection and raw offensive approach make for a high degree of variability.