3 Takeaways From The Pittsburgh Pirates Series Victory In D.C.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Pitcher Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after a 4-3 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 14: Pitcher Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Francisco Cervelli #29 after a 4-3 victory against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /
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WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 14: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning run in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 14: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning run in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on April 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images) /

Josh Bell and Colin Moran may be turning a corner

One of the biggest positives of the first five series of the season has been the play of Josh Bell and Colin Moran. In order for the Pirates to return to the postseason it was vital that both players take the next step as hitters in 2019. So far, both have.

Bell’s hot start comes after a good four month stretch to finish 2018. From June 1st through the end of the season he slashed .267/.378/.422 with a .155 ISO and a 122 wRC+. The biggest difference so far this season has been the power.

60 plate appearances into the season Bell is slashing .314/.390/.627 with a .314 ISO and a 157 wRC+. Additionally, his extra base hit rate is a career best 16.9%. If Bell continues to hit this way, the Pirate lineup will be a lot more fierce than many expected this season.

Joining Bell on the breakout train so far this season is Moran. After losing the third base job to Jung Ho Kang in spring training, Moran has bounced back and capitalized on Kang’s slow start to the 2019 season.

Moran is slashing .308/.400/.615 with a .308 ISO and a 157 wRC+ 30 plate appearances into the season. Like Bell, Moran’s hot start comes after a strong finish to the 2018 season. During the final six weeks of the 2018 campaign Moran slashed .321/.375/.513 with a .192 ISO and a wRC+ of 137.

Due to the way they finished their 2018 campaigns there is reason to believe that Bell and Moran’s hot starts may be them turning the corner as hitters. If this proves to be true, then that will go a long way toward catapulting the 2019 Pirates into contention.

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