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Cody Bellinger sets major league record with 21 home runs through first 51 games

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Cody Bellinger boosted the Dodgers’ lead from 1-0 to 4-0 with a three-run home run against Mets starter Zack Wheeler in the first inning. In doing so, he tied the major league record as the fastest to reach 20 home runs. Bellinger, Gary Sanchez (2016), and Wally Berger (1930) each needed 51 games. Bellinger set a new record in the second inning, belting a solo homer off of Wheeler to boost the Dodgers’ lead to 7-0.

Bellinger didn’t make his major league debut until April 25. Still, Monday’s first-inning homer moved him into a tie with the Brewers’ Eric Thames for the National League lead in home runs at 20. His second-inning blast moved him into the NL lead and tied him with Logan Morrison for second-most overall. Aaron Judge leads with 23.

Bellinger entered Monday’s action batting .261/.333/.628 with 43 RBI, 37 runs scored, and four stolen bases in 210 plate appearances. Pretty good numbers from a guy the Dodgers expected to send back to the minor leagues once their other outfielders got back to full health.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.