Josh Bell is looking like a MVP candidate
Josh Bell is really damn good. After some ups and downs and inconsistency since debuting in July of 2016, the team’s former top prospect is starting to put it all together and show why he was once one of the top prospects in all of baseball. For Pirate, this has been a lot of fun to watch.
Sunday afternoon Bell collected a hit in each of his first four at bats. This included a 2-run double in the top of the 1st inning, and a game-tying home run in the 6th. Wisely, the Cardinals intentionally walked him in his final plate appearance of the day.
After his performance on Sunday, Bell is slashing .319/.389/.659 with a .341 ISO, a .425 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 171. Bell has already hit 10 home runs and has collected 25 extra base hits. He is currently on pace to hit 44 home runs and 57 doubles. Bell is currently play at a MVP level.
For comparison. 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich owned a .422 wOBA, 166 wRC+, 1.000 OPS. So far this season, Bell has been better than all of these. So, yeah, he’s performing at a MVP level.
Bell’s home run on Sunday left his bat at 111.9 MPH. He owns a 53.9% hard contact rate and has an average exit velocity of 94.6 MPH. Both of these numbers are well above league average, and they both suggest that he is not going to slowdown any time soon.
So far this season Bell has played like a MVP candidate. If the season ended today, the Pirates would be the second Wild Card team in the National League. As the season progresses if the Pirates continue to be in contention for a postseason berth, Bell should find himself receiving MVP consideration.