The Los Angeles Dodgers are on pace for one of the best seasons in franchise history, with rookie phenom Cody Bellinger deserving significant credit.
On April 25, the date of Bellinger's MLB debut, the Dodgers were 9-11 and five games back of the Colorado Rockies in the NL West. Since then, the Boys in Blue are 34 games above .500, lead the division by 7.5 games and hold the best record in baseball at the All-Star Break. Bellinger is batting .261 with a team-high 25 home runs and 58 RBIs -- and has set a handful of MLB and Dodgers records throughout his electric start.
On Monday, Bellinger delivered a Home Run Derby moment for the ages before falling to eventual champion Aaron Judge in the semifinals. And as Bellinger prepares to make his first career All-Star Game appearance on Tuesday in Miami, there is no doubt his 2017 campaign will go down as one of the greatest rookie seasons in franchise history.
Now, here is a glance at some of the best Dodgers rookies to come before him...
The Dodgers selected Mike Piazza in the 62nd round of the 1988 MLB draft out of Miami Dade Community College. Although he was a first baseman, manager Tommy Lasorda advised him to learn how to catch.
In 1993, Piazza was named the National League Rookie of the Year after batting .318 with 35 home runs -- the most ever by a rookie catcher -- and 112 RBIs. He was also chosen to the All-Star Game that year.
Piazza would win five Silver Slugger awards during his tenure with the Dodgers.
Eric Karros was selected by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1988 MLB Draft, and three years later would make his debut as a pinch runner against the Chicago Cubs in September of 1991. The talented first baseman made his first career start three days later against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Karros became a starter during his first full season with the Dodgers in 1992, compiling 20 home runs and 88 RBIs in 149 games. With his performance that season, kickstarted with his first career home run in the season opener against the Padres, Karros was named the National League Rookie of the Year. He would go on to receive the Silver Slugger Award in 1995.
Fernando Valenzuela was signed by the Dodgers in July 6, 1979 out of his home country of Mexico, and made his MLB debut in September 15, 1980. The left-handed ace immediately grabbed the attention of the Latino community, becoming a local icon.
Valenzuela's legend grew during the Dodgers' 1981 World Series title run, as Valenzuela won the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young awards. He would go on to provide Dodgers fans with countless memories -- including an unforgettable no-hitter.
Shortstop Corey Seager had committed to attend University of South Carolina, but the Dodgers had other plans -- drafting him in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft.
Seager made his MLB debut on September 3, 2015 against the San Diego Padres, and would make Dodgers history by reaching base safely in his first 16 starts.
At 21, he became the youngest shortstop to start a playoff game, as well as Opening Day, for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Seager was also the youngest Dodger to hit a home run in the postseason and the first Dodgers rookie to hit 40 doubles in a season.
In 2016, Seager was named the NL Rookie of the Year after finishing the season with a .308 batting average, 26 home runs and 72 RBIs. He also received the Silver Slugger Award that year, and finished third in MVP voting.
Legendary Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson's rookie season in 1947 marked one of the most influential social moments in American history, as the multi-sport UCLA star broke down baseball's color barrier.
Robinson played in 151 games as a rookie, compiling 12 home runs and 48 RBIs with a .287 batting average. The 28 year-old rookie also held a slugging percentage of .427 and led the league with 29 stolen bases. on his way to winning NL Rookie of the Year honors.
Robinson was also a league MVP (1947) and World Series champion (1955) with the Dodgers.
The Rookie of the Year award has been renamed to the Jackie Robinson Award. His number, 42, has been retired and every April 15 is celebrated as Jackie Robinson Day.
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