TO BEllinger or Not to BEllinger? That is the Question.

All of what Mike Petriello of writes in criticism of Bellinger is good. There are many reasons to doubt him after his recent poor seasons and some of his poor underlying metrics.

But let's add that Bellinger still has that ability to get the bat to the middle of the ball with his clean swing (86% sweet spot), and few misses of the ball (87% K%). Thus his xBA is still .270, well above average (79%). So he's getting clean hits, just not with so much pop.

Yankee stadium is a good place for a lefty pull hitter without much pop who gets to the sweet spot. Let's just look at Didi for comparison, using relative ranking percentages:

Bellinger23: sweet spot (86%), K% (87%), hard hit (10%), barrel (27%), xBA .270 (79%), xwOBA .331
Didi17: sweet spot (66%), K% (98%), hard hit (3%), barrel (21%), xBA .262 (57%), xwOBA .294
Didi 18: sweet spot (35%), K% (93%), hard hit (18%), barrel (24%), xBA .257 (59%), xwOBA .318

Those two seasons in NY Didi hit 25 and 27 HR, .287 and .268 BA, .796 and .829 OPS. So is Bellinger's downside .800 OPS and 25 HR? Sounds pretty darned good for a fine defensive CF. And now remember that lack of shifting helps Bellinger, not Didi, and that Bellinger even post injury has more power than Didi ever did.

As for power, since the swing is there now, is it not possible that Bellinger starts to regain a little more of his lost swing power? Shoulder issues are tricky. But he is still young and apparently healthy now. So his upside might be that he can sustain a reasonably high BA, say .265 to .290, with about 30 HR for five or six years. I don't expect it, but it could happen in YS.

I suspect someone will get overly excited and throw a 200M+ contract at Bellinger because of the upside. In that case, I don't think he's worth it. But if the team can get him around the 20M AAV that some project, which may happen due to all the legit concerns, the Yankees should jump all over him. He should (big error margin here) continue to be a very good CF with good, probably not great, production at the plate, and good base running. The team really could use that.

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