According to multiple media outlets, the Pittsburgh Pirates have promoted top hitting prospect Josh Bell to the Major Leagues.
The influx young talent to the Pittsburgh Pirates continues. According to multiple outlets, the Pirates are set to promote first baseman Josh Bell from Triple-A Indianapolis for this weekend’s series against the Chicago Cubs. Josh Bell is not just the Pittsburgh Pirates top hitting prospect, but also one of the top prospects in all of baseball.
Entering the season, Josh Bell was ranked as a top 50 prospect by ever Major outlet. Josh Bell entered the season as the 39th best prospect in all of baseball according Baseball America, and the 49th best according to Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. Now, Josh Bell is a Pittsburgh Pirate.
The 23 year old Josh Bell is a switch hitter that was selected by the Pirates in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. If you remember, Bell had signed a letter of intent to play college baseball for the University of Texas and he told teams not to draft him. As a result, despite being a top 10-20 pick talent, Josh Bell fell to the supplemental round where the Pirates selected him.
Even though Josh Bell was adamant he would not sign a professional contract, well, money talks. The Pirates offered Josh Bell a five million dollar signing bonus, which he accepted, and this in turn changed the Major League Baseball Draft forever. It was due to this, and some whining and complaining by the Red Sox who coveted Bell, that Major League Baseball implemented the new signing pools we see in the draft each year.
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As for the season Josh Bell is having, well let’s just say he has been pretty good. In 356 plate appearances at Triple-A Josh Bell owns a .327/.410/.540/.950 slash line, and that is just scratching the surface. Josh Bell also has a .214 ISO, 12 home runs, a .421 wOBA, and a 174 wRC+.
Josh Bell’s patience at the plate is also very impressive. This season Josh Bell has a 11.5 percent walk rate and a 15.2 percent strike out rate. Throughout his Minor League career Bell has always been a player that has walked a lot and not struck out very often at all. This is a great trait for any hitter to have.
Josh Bell is as complete a hitter as you will see. He walks a lot, does not strike out much, hits for average, can hit to all fields, and he has elite power. I fully expect Josh Bell to become a player who regularly hits 30+ home runs, while posting an on-base percentage north of .350. The Pirates have a special one in Josh Bell.
The one knock on Josh Bell is his defense. The Pirates drafted Bell as an outfielder, but moved him to first base due to an organizational log jam in the outfield. His history of knee issues played a role in this, too.
While Josh Bell is far from Pedro Alvarez levels of bad at first base, he is not exactly Keith Hernandez either. However, Josh Bell’s defense at first base should at least be decent. And the amount of offense he will provide should help make up for any defensive woes.
Josh Bell is, finally, a Pittsburgh Pirate. Yay! And I am going to the game tomorrow and will, hopefully, get to see him in the lineup. Double yay! The amount of depth and talent Neal Huntington has filled the Pirate system with is incredible. Yet, some idiots still think he is a #TeflonGM.
The Pirates have yet to announce a roster move to make room for Josh Bell. However, my guess is Tyler Glasnow is returned to Triple-A. But, I expect he will only be down for 10-14 days before returning to the Pirates around July 20th or so and returning to the rotation.
Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Tyler Glasnow, and now Josh Bell. The future is now in Pittsburgh, and with these four players combined with other young core players such as Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, and Josh Harrison said future could not be much brighter.