Pittsburgh Pirates: What has Josh Bell Shown Thus Far on Defense

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Pittsburgh Pirates prized position prospect entering the year was Josh Bell.  Bell came up early in July and become an every day member in early August.  The biggest question surrounding him was how he would play defensively. Let us analyze how he has done:

As well all know Josh Bell made an immediate impact for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  When he came up in July he stole the show as he was on base in his first six at-bats When Josh Bell was sent back down many fans were upset.  The key decision to sending him down was mostly because they did not have the roster space.  However, also with the idea of continuing to get him regular at-bats and let him to keep working defensively at first base.

When Jung Ho Kang went on th disabled list in early August, Josh Bell received the call to rejoin the Pittsburg Pirates.  This time the Pirates announced that he would be here to stay.  Now of course, many were excited after seeing his first stint in the major leagues.  However, many new there would be ups and downs with him, especially on defense.

In his first two games, Bell was charged with two errors at first.  Many started to speculate that all the reports were right and that he really would be a defensive mess at first base.  However he has played 16 more games at first base, and he has only made one more error there since.  That gives him three total errors in 18 games which is not good.  With that, the first two errors charged to him were tough plays.  Also they were his first two games, he no doubt was feeling the extra pressure playing first.  He is not deaf, he knows that he is not viewed as a very good first baseman.  This definitely led to him pressing at the position.  When a player presses, it can lead to more mistakes than positives.

What are some positives for the Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman?

Bell has looked much more comfortable at first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  He has made a few nice diving plays on hard hit balls.  He also seems to be in better position also when making plays. We have also seen him make a few plays on double play balls hit to him.  One thing that is usually tough for a first base man is making the throw to second base.  We saw this with former Pittsburgh Pirates Garret Jones and Pedro Alvarez.  Bell has been able to make the throw so far, which is great news.  With that if you look at his ultimate zone rating it is zone very good.  It currently is sitting at -1.3, which is considered below average.

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Josh Bell still has a ways to go defensively. He has to work on his footwork at first, and needs to do a better job of just learning the position. However, he has shown enough to suggest that he can be an adequate first baseman.  He is a very good athlete who has been able to make so high level plays because of it.  Josh Bell is a great hitter, we have already seen that.  If he can continue to develop into his third season at first base, then there is a lot to be excited for in the future.