Finally, It Is Time To Ring The Bell
On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Pirates promoted highly touted first base prospect Josh Bell. Finally, it is time for Pirate fans to ring their bell.
Finally, Josh Bell has been ‘freed.’ Due to Jung Ho Kang being placed on the disabled list, Josh Bell is now the Pittsburgh Pirates’ everyday first baseman. It is now time for Pittsburgh Pirate fans to get ready to ring the bell.
By now everyone knows of Josh Bell’s Minor League achievements. The former supplemental round pick has done nothing but hit throughout the Minor Leagues. However, poor defense at first base kept him in the Minors longer than he would have liked. But Josh Bell’s time has now arrived.
Josh Bell made his first career start against the Miami Marlins on Sunday. In that game Bell went 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. This was Josh Bell’s first career start, but not his first Major League at bats.
Back in July, Josh Bell had a four game stint in Pittsburgh. In those four games Bell went 2-for-2 with two walks, three runs scored, and a grand slam. After Sunday’s game he now owns a .572 wOBA and a 269 wRC+ through his first eight career plate appearances.
The Pittsburgh Pirates are in the thick of a postseason race. The Pirates currently find themselves three games behind the St. Louis Cardinals for the second National League Wild Card spot. Adding Josh Bell to the everyday lineup can only help the Pirates in their pursuit of a fourth consecutive postseason berth.
Josh Bell has the potential to be an elite hitter in the Major Leagues. Bell has incredible plate patience, he rarely strikes out, he can hit for average, and he should develop above average power. Ultimately, when it comes to hitting, there is nothing Josh Bell can not do.
While there are still questions and concerns surrounding his defense, Bell should be okay in the field. Even if he struggles, I do not believe it will be so bad that his offense fails to make up for it. He would have to be Pedro Alvarez levels bad for that to happen.
One of the most impressive things about Bell at the plate is his presence and patience. Bell never looks over-matched at the plate, and is always extremely patient. This has always been the case throughout his Minor League career, too. In the Minors, Bell had a walk rate over ten percent and a strikeout rate under 17 percent in each of his professional seasons.
As a result of this plate patience, Bell often times finds himself in a good hitter’s count. Therefore, he is able to get good pitches to hit. And when Josh Bell gets a good pitch to hit, he does not miss it.
First base has been a revolving door for the Pittsburgh Pirates in recent years. However, Josh Bell should change that. I fully expect Josh Bell to be the Pirates’ everyday first baseman for a very long time.
There are few teams in Major League Baseball with a better young core than the Pittsburgh Pirates. Players such as Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte, Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, Chad Kuhl, Felipe Rivero, Josh Harrison, and Francisco Cervelli should help lead the Pirates to a lot of wins in the coming years. Now, Josh Bell is also part of this group.
Even if the Pittsburgh Pirates fail to reach the postseason in 2016, watching Josh Bell in the coming weeks will be a lot of fun for Pirate fans. Josh Bell has the potential to be one of the best all-around hitters in all of baseball. We could very possibly be watching the beginning of a remarkable career.