Pittsburgh Pirates: MLB Pipeline Top 10 First Base Prospects


It is that time of the year again! MLB Pipeline is starting to put out their top prospect lists, which includes their positional rankings.  The Pittsburgh Pirates will have plenty of prospects from their minor league clubs making appearances on these lists.

After having Tyler Glasnow rated as the number two overall right-handed pitcher, and Mitch Keller receiving an honorable mention, the Pittsburgh Pirates did not have any prospects on the catcher or left handed pitcher top ten lists. However, they did have a prospect make an appearance on today’s list.

MLB Pipeline has put out their Top Ten First Base prospect list.  In 2016, the Pittsburgh Pirates had the number two overall rated first base prospect in Josh Bell.  Bell was behind Houston prospect A.J. Reed.  Bell made his big league debut in 2016, and he made an impact right away.  With that being said, Bell did not lose his prospect status yet.  So for the 2017 Top Ten list, Bell is still eligible.

Josh Bell finds himself ranked as the number two overall first base prospect in baseball once again.  Ranking at number one overall was Los Angeles Dodgers prospect Cody Bellinger.  Bellinger had a monster year in 2016, smashing 26 home runs, and this was a year after belting 30 in the previous season. Bellinger has a ton of power upside and projects to be a 35 home run type guy with solid defense.  Bell, on the other hand, might be more of a 20-25 home run guy when it is all said and done.  Plus, as many Pittsburgh Pirates fans know, Bell has not proven he is capable of playing an adequate first base.

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Regardless, Josh Bell looks like he is going to be the most productive first baseman the Pittsburgh Pirates have had in a long time.  With overturn almost every season, the Bucs can at least plan on getting great offensive production from the spot.  Here is what MLB Pipeline believes Josh Bell can provide going forward:

"“Bell continued to show the ability to be a plus hitter, both in Triple-A and the big leagues. When facing a shift as a left-handed hitter, he was able to poke balls the other way to beat the shift with regularity. He draws walks and doesn’t rack up a ton of strikeouts, all while his power continued to improve. Bell’s work at first base, a position he started to play in 2015, continues to be a work in progress, and it was rough at times. The Pirates also moved him back to the outfield, playing right, to get his bat into the lineup.Bell is ready to be an everyday big leaguer, one who will continue to learn to drive the ball and be the run producer the Pirates initially envisioned, regardless of his long-term defensive home.”"

Next: Mitch Keller Top Ten?

“Ring the Bell” should be used a lot in this upcoming season.  Josh Bell is just 24 years of age, and he has already proven to be one of the more advanced hitters to come through the Pittsburgh Pirates system in a long time.  If Bell can continue to improve on the defensive side of the game, he will be a future all-star.  This is something fans should expect from the number two overall prospect at first base.

*Josh Bell will lose prospect status after his first or second game this season.