U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 2 mins

Watching Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire video made Cody Bellinger a homer machine

Los Angeles Dodgers slugger Cody Bellinger learned about launch angle back in 2015 without even realizing it. His hitting coach at the time, Damon Mashore, took him aside and showed him videos of Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire hitting. The message was clear: Do that.

Bellinger took to that lesson well. After being called up in late April last season, Bellinger clubbed 39 home runs for the Dodgers en route to a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection.

“I started learning about launch angle two years ago,” Bellinger told Yahoo Sports. “Ever since I learned about it and made some tweaks to my swing, I’ve seen results positively. So I’m kinda in on it. I think I’ve always had a natural, uppercut swing, so it’s a little easier for me to do it. But I’m pretty satisfied with the results so far.”

While Bellinger is proud of what he accomplished last season, he’s looking to make improvements in 2018.

“Obviously, I was proud of what I did last year,” he says. “But I’m kinda hungry this year to keep it going. And just and have a better year.”

After last year’s debut, it’s tough to imagine any scenario where Bellinger adds more power. But his approach is geared for power. In December of 2016, Bellinger re-tweeted a gif of himself hitting a home run in the minor leagues.


The version Bellinger sent out featured a comment, not written by Bellinger, that read, “As you can see, hitting the ball the other way on the ground is highly prized in top prospects in MiLB.”

Bellinger’s re-tweet seemed to imply that he was yet another proponent of the fly ball revolution taking over Major League Baseball. The message behind that strategy is simple: Ground balls don’t lead to home runs, so forget about driving the ball up the middle or going the other way. Always try to hit for power.

Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson has been one of the most vocal players to utilize this strategy. He’s explained his hitting philosophy during in-depth segments on MLB Network. He has simplified that message on Twitter, telling his followers, “Just say NO … to ground balls.” New Boston Red Sox outfielder J.D. Martinez — who also embraces fly balls — has used some more colorful language in regards to grounders.

Those quotes, combined with the league-wide home run explosion, has led to plenty of talk about “launch angle.” It’s become a popular buzzword baseball fans can’t escape. You hear it on broadcasts. You read it in articles. It’s everywhere.

Cody Bellinger hit 39 home runs as a 21-year-old rookie in 2017. (AP Photo)

While Bellinger knows and endorses launch angle now, it wasn’t the explanation of the stat that got him to buy in. It was video. He just saw that approach worked for Bonds and McGwire, and that’s how it clicked.

“I still don’t completely understand the numbers side of everything,” Bellinger says. “It’s not me. I would rather watch video and talk about it, and that’s what I did in 2015 to kinda learn about it.”

Part of the reason Bellinger was convinced to make tweaks to his approach involved his experiences moving up the ladder on his way to the majors. Turns out, professional pitchers are pretty nasty these days, and hitters need to maximize their chances of making contact.

“You watch video of the guys now, and they’ve got leg kicks, or a certain hitch,” he says. “And I think with the kind of velocity that we’re facing nowadays, and the kind of stuff that the bullpens are throwing out, you want to do anything you can to have a consistent load and to try and put the ball on the barrel as much as you can.”

If there’s still room for Bellinger to tap into more power, he’s going to have to focus on retaining his weight throughout the season. He says he lost between 10 or 15 pounds last season.

To combat that, Bellinger came into spring training with a focus on retaining his weight all year. He partnered with MET-Rx, a company that makes sports nutrition products, in order to help fuel his workouts. While nutrition will be a big part of Bellinger’s plan to keep his weight up, he also says he’s planning to spend more time in the weight room this season.

The early results have been encouraging. For the first time in his life, Bellinger says he hasn’t lost any weight during spring training.

Topping last season’s power numbers might be tough. Even in an era where power is abundant, hitting 40+ home runs is still a challenge. But, in studying Bonds and McGwire, Bellinger has the right teachers to make it happen.

Bellinger doesn’t want to set expectations that high just yet.

“Obviously, those are freak talents,” he says, perhaps not realizing he’s the youngest of that trio to flirt with a 40-home run season.

– – – – – – –

Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at christophercwik@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

More from Yahoo Sports:

The Texas Rangers’ new food menu is obscene, frightening and maybe mouth-watering
This 2-year-old Dodgers fan is very concerned about Justin Turner’s broken wrist
Dodgers lose NLCS hero Justin Turner to broken wrist, forced to improvise with season approaching
• Report: Yankees, Red Sox nearing deal to play regular season games in London

  • What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?
    News
    Associated Press

    What happens if you win Mega Millions' $970M jackpot?

    Despite the terrible odds — one in 302.5 million for those keeping score at home — someone will eventually match all six numbers and win the Mega Millions jackpot, which now stands at $970 million. Here are some answers for someone holding that prized lottery ticket for what would be the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. Lottery officials recommend winners take a deep breath, put their winning ticket in a safe spot and consult with a reputable financial planner before popping over to the lottery headquarters.

  • Here's everyone who has dropped out of Saudi Arabia's 'Davos of the Middle East'
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Here's everyone who has dropped out of Saudi Arabia's 'Davos of the Middle East'

    U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tweeted Thursday that he will not be attending the Future Investment Initiative in Saudi Arabia next week. The news comes after prominent members of the world’s business community have been dropping out of Saudi

  • Finding a Cure for Kinder Morgan’s Frustration
    Business
    Bloomberg

    Finding a Cure for Kinder Morgan’s Frustration

    Rising profits – Ebitda was up 6 percent, year over year – and that Canadian pipeline sale have helped address Kinder Morgan’s biggest problem, its crushing debt. Thankfully, it provided a strong signal on Wednesday evening that it would.

  • The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs
    News
    MarketWatch

    The ‘smart money’ says it’s time to buy the Chinese internet giants and the U.S. FAANGs

    When the media and investors turn negative on stocks but the “smart money” is bullish, it’s a good time to think about buying. After all, exactly what is the smart money, and how do you know? Lately, several fund managers who pass this test have been pounding the table on Chinese internet names.

  • Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Zombies guide | Tips, tricks and all you need to know about surviving the horde
    Business
    The Telegraph

    Call of Duty Black Ops 4 Zombies guide | Tips, tricks and all you need to know about surviving the horde

    Call of Duty’s co-operative mode Zombies returns in Call of Duty Black Ops 4 and it looks to be the meatiest offering of the mode yet. According to developer Treyarch’s co-studio head Jason Blundell, Call of Duty Black Ops 4’s mode is the ‘most personal and customisable Zombies experience made to date’.

  • Provocateur Stormy Daniels Takes an Unexpected Turn in the National Spotlight
    News
    Time

    Provocateur Stormy Daniels Takes an Unexpected Turn in the National Spotlight

    To understand what it means to be famous like Stormy Daniels, for the reasons she is famous, spend time with her in a public space. On Oct. 15, a California judge threw out the defamation case she filed against Donald Trump. Over the past year, Daniels, 39, has become the Zelig of White House scandals.

  • Cramer's lightning round: For growth and yield, go with V...
    KHC
    CNBC Videos

    Cramer's lightning round: For growth and yield, go with V...

    Jim Cramer speeds through his take on callers' favorite stocks, including his favorite pick for "decent growth with good yield."

  • Business
    CNBC

    Goldman Sachs sees a correction coming for chipmakers but still likes Nvidia

    "We foresee a cyclical correction approaching and recommend investors to stay selective in Semis," Goldman Sachs said in a note Thursday. Nvidia is Goldman's top choice in the industry. Goldman Sachs warned clients about a downturn coming for the semiconductor sector, but still recommends some chip stocks.

  • Finance
    CNBC

    China's stock market is getting pummeled and history shows that is bad news for US markets

    U.S. stocks are lower about 70 percent of the time in periods when there are big drops of 10 percent or more in Shanghai stocks, according to analytics firm Kensho. The main U.S. indexes lose about 5 percent when Shanghai stocks fall 10 percent or more in a 30-day period. Big blue chips, like Goldman and Caterpillar are among the losers, but copper and oil also fall hard when Shanghai sees a big decline.

  • Aurora Cannabis Gets License for Aurora Sky Facility
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Aurora Cannabis Gets License for Aurora Sky Facility

    Key Updates from the Cannabis Sector after Legalization in Canada (Continued from Prior Part) Aurora Sky license On October 17, Aurora Cannabis (ACB) (ACBFF) announced that it received sales licenses from Health Canada. Aurora Cannabis stated that with

  • 7 Stocks Warren Buffett Can’t Stop Buying
    Finance
    InvestorPlace

    7 Stocks Warren Buffett Can’t Stop Buying

    Sometimes identifying the best stocks to buy can be difficult, but you could do a lot worse than checking out the stocks selected by one of the world’s savviest hedge fund managers — Warren Buffett. Buffett’s stock picks are a popular source for investors, and for good reason. The billionaire Buffett is many things: He’s among the world’s most successful fund managers, a legendary philanthropist and owns more than 60 companies.

  • Robinhood fires back after criticism
    SPY
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Robinhood fires back after criticism

    When Robinhood launched in 2015, it was touted as an app that allows commission-free trading for everything from stocks to ETFs to cryptocurrencies. But a report from Bloomberg says Robinhood makes more than 40 percent of its revenue from selling its data to high-frequency trading firms. Yahoo Finance's Seana Smith, Dan Roberts and Adam Shapiro talk with Robinhood co-founder Vlad Tenev.

  • Markets think the midterms could be as big as the presidential election
    Finance
    Yahoo Finance

    Markets think the midterms could be as big as the presidential election

    President elect Donald Trump reacts after giving his acceptance speech at an election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in New York. The midterm elections are less than three weeks away. According to strategists at Barclays, the options market is pricing in a 1.6% swing on election night, a modest swing given the recent volatility we’ve seen in the stock market.

  • Uber driver charged with kidnapping New York woman
    News
    Associated Press

    Uber driver charged with kidnapping New York woman

    An Uber driver in New York City kidnapped a woman who fell asleep in his vehicle, groped her in the back seat and then left her on the side of a highway in Connecticut, federal authorities said Tuesday. Harbir Parmar, 24, of Queens, was charged in U.S. District Court with kidnapping. "The presumption of innocence remains with my client," Parmar's lawyer, Susanne Brody, told The New York Times at the courthouse after the hearing.

  • Netflix needs lower prices to woo India
    Business
    Reuters

    Netflix needs lower prices to woo India

    MUMBAI/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Netflix Inc's (NFLX.O) Indian operation drew attention in a surge of international subscribers in the third quarter, but it faces fierce competition and a difficult cultural conundrum to make inroads with the country's more than one billion TV viewers. In a few short months, the world leader in video streaming has launched a blockbuster Mumbai-based crime thriller, been sued over comments about a former Indian Prime Minister and seen the future of two of its hit shows threatened by the #MeToo movement in India. Helped by a roster that includes top-grossing movie franchise "Baahubali", it has won fans among a young, tech savvy middle class and Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings has said India could deliver the service's next 100 million subscribers.

  • Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Why American Airlines Group Stock Jumped 6% -- Then Gave Most of It Back

    Shares of American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) popped 6.4% in early trading Wednesday before retracting to close the day up less than 1% -- just 0.9%, to be precise. An upgrade assigned to the stock by Deutsche Bank appears to be the primary reason for the move. A Deutsche Bank analyst upgraded American Airlines stock from "hold" to "buy" on Wednesday, as we're told by our friends at StreetInsider.com.

  • Jamal Khashoggi's brutal death brings to question an era of Bay Area tech investment
    Finance
    American City Business Journals

    Jamal Khashoggi's brutal death brings to question an era of Bay Area tech investment

    New details have emerged about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents — involving his beheading and dismemberment upon entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey — thanks to audio files described by Turkish officials. As evidence mounts of the Washington Post columnist’s gruesome death tied to Saudi Arabia, Bay Area tech companies, which have gobbled up billions in funding from the kingdom in recent years, could see that money river dry up as Saudi investment becomes increasingly toxic. President Donald Trump has criticized those rushing to condemn the nation, telling the Associated Press: "You know, you’re guilty until proven innocent." Yet even still, Japanese investor Softbank isn’t stomaching the brutal killing tied to its major investment fund so easily.

  • Intel restructures manufacturing organization
    Finance
    American City Business Journals

    Intel restructures manufacturing organization

    Chip giant Intel is restructuring its technology and manufacturing business group as it chases more connected device markets and grapples with delays on its next chip generation. In a memo to employees, reviewed by the Business Journal, Group President and Chief Engineering Officer Murthy Renduchintala described splitting the technology and manufacturing business into three groups. The three new groups are technology development, manufacturing and operations and global supply chain.

  • Is Tilray a Better Marijuana Stock to Buy Than Aurora Cannabis?
    Business
    Motley Fool

    Is Tilray a Better Marijuana Stock to Buy Than Aurora Cannabis?

    Marijuana users are cheering the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Canada, but it's not just pot advocates who are excited. Investors are also upbeat because the recreational market for marijuana represents a massive opportunity for sales growth for leading Canadian cannabis companies, including Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) and Aurora Cannabis (NASDAQOTH: ACBFF). Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada for years, and while medical marijuana sales total in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually, the potential market opportunity associated with recreational use is significantly bigger.

  • The same question that can chart a path to early retirement is the one Warren Buffett used to build Berkshire Hathaway into a powerhouse
    Business
    Business Insider

    The same question that can chart a path to early retirement is the one Warren Buffett used to build Berkshire Hathaway into a powerhouse

    Inversion is a mental model that involves flipping your outlook to prevent the opposite of what you want to happen from happening. Warren Buffett and his business partner Charlie Munger employed inversion as a business strategy to build Berkshire Hathaway into a powerhouse. In a recent podcast with Brandon of the Mad Fientist, who retired early at 34, productivity expert James Clear said the same strategy Buffett used can help set someone on the path for early retirement.

  • Kinder Morgan Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates, Improves Leverage
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Kinder Morgan Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates, Improves Leverage

    Kinder Morgan Beats Q3 Earnings Estimates, Improves Leverage Kinder Morgan’s third-quarter results Kinder Morgan (KMI) announced its third-quarter results on October 17 after the markets closed. The company announced an adjusted EPS of $0.21—up ~40%

  • Pfizer Offers Early Retirement to U.S. Employees Ahead of Layoffs
    Business
    Fortune

    Pfizer Offers Early Retirement to U.S. Employees Ahead of Layoffs

    Pfizer is offering U.S. employees early retirement ahead of company cuts that will hit around 2% of its 90,000 workers worldwide, CNBC reports. In an internal message to employees Tuesday, the company said the layoffs are a part of restructuring that aims to “simplify the organization to avoid duplication, create single points of accountability and reduce the number of layers within teams,” the New York Business Journal reports. “As we prepare for growth we are creating a simpler more efficient structure which will affect some managerial roles and responsibilities,” a Pfizer spokeswoman told CBNC.

  • Business
    Reuters

    Steel market nerves weigh on Nucor after tariff boost

    Steelmaker Nucor Corp fell just short of analysts' forecasts for profit in the third quarter, a one-off charge and concerns the U.S. market may have peaked offsetting gains from President Trump's tariffs on imported steel. The imposition of the tariffs on steel imports raised futures prices for U.S. hot-rolled coil steel from $660 a ton in January to $924 at the start of June, but they have since fallen back to $834. "Hot rolled coil prices continue to grind lower and our channel checks suggest large size orders at $800/ton or below," said Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth, who has previously downgraded the sector on concern over a glut in U.S. supply.

  • Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know
    Finance
    Zacks

    Alibaba (BABA) Dips More Than Broader Markets: What You Should Know

    Investors will be hoping for strength from BABA as it approaches its next earnings release, which is expected to be November 2, 2018. On that day, BABA is projected to report earnings of $1.16 per share, which would represent a year-over-year decline of 10.08%. Investors should also note any recent changes to analyst estimates for BABA.

  • Bears in for a Tough Ride after Alcoa’s Third-Quarter Earnings
    Finance
    Market Realist

    Bears in for a Tough Ride after Alcoa’s Third-Quarter Earnings

    Alcoa (AA), the leading US-based aluminum producer, released its Q3 2018 earnings yesterday, October 17, after the close of markets (XME). Alcoa’s Q3 earnings were better-than-expected, and the stock was trading sharply higher in after-market trading yesterday. Alcoa reported revenues of $3.39 billion in the third quarter.