Josh Bell’s Deadly Offensive Potential for the 2017 Season


Josh Bell is poised to be a deadly offensive weapon for the Pirates in 2017.

For a couple of years now, Pirates fans have been anxiously awaiting top prospect Josh Bell to navigate through the Minor League system.

Last year, Bell got called up to play at PNC Park and it didn’t take him long to impress fans at the Major league level. One of the most memorable moments of the 2016 season was when Josh Bell hit a grand slam with his second Major League at bat.

But just how good is Josh Bell’s bat? It’s good, trust me.

If you don’t trust me, here are some statistics to whet your palate. Josh Bell had some impressive numbers last year in the Majors. With 128 at bats Bell logged 21 walks, 3 home runs, 19 RBIs, and a .368 on-base percentage. To get a better picture of what a full season with 450 at bats would look like, the aggregated numbers are 74 walks, 11 home runs, and 67 RBIs with the same OBP. These numbers show that Bell is an incredible all-around hitter with above average plate presence and patience.

A 450 at bat season accounts for one or two minor injuries, but generally assumes that a player will be starting most games that he is healthy. Over the last ten seasons, many Pirate’s players have reached the 450 at bat mark, and a good number have even eclipsed 550, but only one player that has had 450 at bats in a season compares to Bell’s offensive numbers, Andrew McCutchen.

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Cutch is the only Pirates player in the last ten seasons to reach the 74 BB, 11 HR, and 67 RBI mark with at least 450 at bats (2011, 2013, 2014, and 2015). No other Pirate even comes close, especially in the walks category (which is not surprising seeing that the Pirates seem to think that there is a correlation between striking out and winning games).

The numbers show that Bell has the potential to be the second best all-around batter for the Pirates this upcoming season, and when the holder of first place is a past NL MVP, Pirates fans should get excited.

Some questions could be raised about the small sample size of 128 Major League at bats, but I would encourage skeptics to take a gander at Bell’s Double-A and Triple-A numbers to calm these fears.

At Double-A Altoona, Bell averaged a walk every 8.8 at bats, a home run every 92 at bats, and a RBI every 6.9 at bats. When he transitioned to Triple-A Indianapolis, his numbers got better and Bell improved to a walk every 6.9 at bats, a home run every 33.9 at bats, and a RBI every 6.9 at bats.

Bell’s aggregated 450 mMajor League season would contain the following, a walk every 6.1 at bats, a home run every 42.7 at bats, and a RBI every 6.7 at bat, which is very consistent with his performance in both Double-A and Triple-A.

Next: What Is The Future Of Jose Osuna?

An incredible offensive season is in the cards for Josh Bell. He has the potential to take the Pirates offense in 2017 to a whole new level that will allow the team to compete for a playoff run. Last year Pirates fans feared the three-punch that the Cubs had in Rizzo, Bryant, and Zobrist, but if Josh Bell lives up to his potential, a three-punch of Bell, Cutch, and Marte will be just as deadly.

Let’s go Bucs.

*All statistics from Baseball Reference