Breaking down Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger's resurgent start to 2023

Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs
Seattle Mariners v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages

Three weeks doesn't mean much over the course of a 162-grind that spans six months of a calendar year. But Cubs outfielder Cody Bellinger has been impressive early on this year, playing a key role for Chicago, a team off to a surprising 11-6 start that's spurring postseason hopes.

Entering Thursday's series opener against his former club, Bellinger carries .284/.347/.463 slash line with three doubles and a trio of home runs on the year. He's been a major improvement in center field over what the Cubs fielded in 2022 - and as a former Gold Glover, that should hardly come as a surprise.

Cubs hoping Cody Bellinger finds his form, carries the offense in 2023

What he's done so far has been a dramatic improvement over what he's done in recent years with the Dodgers. From the start of 2021 through the end of the 2022 campaign, Bellinger mustered only a .193/.256/.355 line. Injuries took a toll and led to the Dodgers cutting ties with him at the end of last year.

"It wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t bad at all. I think that … obviously, it didn’t end how anyone really expected it to end, but that’s life. "

Cody Bellinger on leaving the Dodgers

Finally healthy and at 100 percent, Bellinger has showed flashes of his old self - even turning in the first five-hit game of his career already this year. What's even more encouraging, though, is the fact that there's a ton of room for him to improve on his hard-hit rate and average exit velocity, which could allow him to really start taking his game to the next level.

Next. As Nico goes, the Chicago Cubs go . dark

After robbing former Cub Jason Heyward of a home run (and hitting one himself) in his return to Dodger Stadium last weekend, Bellinger will see his former club again this weekend, with Los Angeles visiting Wrigley Field for a four-game set. The next two series will undoubtedly be measuring sticks for the Cubs, who have the toast of the NL West in town in the Dodgers and Padres - and Bellinger could play a key role in how both of those matchups go.