Josh Bell’s Bat Has Come to Life in May
By Marty Leap
The Pittsburgh Pirates’ clean up hitter has come to life this month
After hitting a National League switch hitting rookie record 26 home runs in 2017, the bar was set high for Josh Bell entering 2018. Bell was going to be looked upon to be the big power threat in the middle of the Pirate lineup while helping to carry the offense for years to come.
Unfortunately for Bell and the Pirates, 2018 did not get off to a good start. But after a miserable month of April, Bell’s bat has come to life in May and there are a few factors driving his strong month at the plate.
In the month of April, Bell walked just 8.1% of the time while striking out 20.3% of the time. This is unlike Bell who entered the season with a lifetime 11.3% walk rate and 17.6% strikeout rate.
In May, Bell has tracked the ball better at the plate and been a more patient hitter leading to both a 15.9% walk and strikeout rate. Bell’s increased walk rate has fueled his .444 on-base percentage this month which is third best in the National League for the month of May.
Bell is also making better contact this month. He made hard contact just 29.6% of the time in April, that number has jumped to 34.9% in May. He is also hitting significantly less ground balls – 52.9% in April, 39.5% in May. These two factors have led to a power surge for Bell this month.
|Month||ISO||Slugging Percentage||Extra Base Hit %|
Bell has the tools to possess the ability to hit for above average power while also be a high on-base player. This month he has been that hitter.
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During May, Bell has not just bounced back from a terrible April he has actually been even better than he was during his rookie campaign of 2017. If he can continue to track the ball the way he has this month, keep making hard contact, and continue to keep the ball off the ground then there is no reason he can not continue this success throughout the remainder of the 2018 campaign and beyond.