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The current top prospect in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ system is first baseman Cody Bellinger, and reportedly they are so high on him that they refused to include him when they were trying to trade for all-star second baseman Brian Dozier.
It looks like collectors are even more in love with Bellinger because over the past three months his rookie card has almost doubled in value. We tracked online selling price of his 2015 Bowman Chrome 1st base auto (BGS 9.5) and charted the number below.
In early December you had a realistic shot at buying Bellinger’s rookie for just over $100. Now, it looks like you will have to pay up just under $200. So why are collectors so interested in Bellinger?
First, it is important to point out that it is not uncommon for certain players to see a huge spike in their value during the offseason. Because there is less new information in the off season (since no games are being played), collectors and analysts have time to focus in depth on particular players and prospects and make predictions about who is primed to take a step forward. Based on the data above it looks like big things are expected of Bellinger.
The first thing to like about Bellinger is that he has potential to both hit for power and a high average in the majors. He shows patience at the plate, is able to draw walks, and cut his strikeout percentage from 28% to 20% last year. These are qualities you like to see in an up and coming prospect.
The power component to his game is especially exciting because overall among the current top prospects there are not too many power hitters. We mostly see a lot of strong defense, high average, with modest power hitters among the top 10-20 range.
What is unique about Bellinger is that he has scouts excited with his defense too at the 1B position. It is unusual to be excited about gold glove candidate 1B since it is not a key up the middle position that tends to be more important.
Bellinger, however, has an exceptional feel for the position and dig poorly thrown balls out with ease. He can even play solid outfield defense as well man the corner and centerfield spots during his time in the minors.
The one barrier for Bellinger is that his position is blocked at the majors by Adrian Gonzalez. He will need to prove in spring training that he can handle the outfield at the majors level or else he’ll have to wait until he has his shot at the big leagues.
It’s probably too late to buy in on Bellinger right now, but if he does not make the Dodgers big league roster right out of spring training keep an eye on him. A long stint in the minors may depress his card value to a more attractive price point that is worth investing in.