Pittsburgh Pirates: Struggling Pitchers Rebound & Other Takeaways From Series Split vs Reds

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 29: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Starling Marte #6 after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 29: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Starling Marte #6 after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 29: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH – MAY 29: Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with teammates in the dugout after hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 29, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Pirates won 7-2. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Josh Bell is the front runner for NL MVP

What else can you say about Josh Bell? Other than Cody Bellinger and maybe Christian Yelich, no one else can make a strong case to be the National League’s MVP through the first two months of the season than Bell.

Against the Reds this week Bell went 7-for-18 with two walks, two home runs, and two doubles. He continued to play a strong defensive first base and drove in four runs.

On the season, Bell is now slashing .345/.409/.718 with a .374 ISO, .455 wOBA, and a wRC+ of 189. Bell’s 39 extra base hits lead the NL, and, as of this writing, his 51 RBIs are tied with Bellinger for the lead league.

Bell’s wRC+, batting average, wOBA, and slugging percentage all rank second in the NL. His OBP is third best in the senior circuit, as is his ISO. Yeah, he good.

At this point in the season a strong, strong argument can be made for Bell as the NL’s MVP. While Bellinger is having the better overall season, Bell means more to his team than Bellinger does. Without Bellinger, the Dodgers are still in first place in the NL West. Without Bell, the Pirates are multiple games under .500 and not within 3.5 games of the NL Central lead and 2.5 games of a Wild Card spot.

Through the first two months of the season, Bell is the NL MVP.

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