Evaluating 4 Pittsburgh Pirates Batters And Predicting Their Future Performance Through DRC+

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Pittsburgh Pirates, Josh Bell
(Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Josh Bell

Last year, Josh Bell had an outstanding breakout season. The switch hitter blasted 37 home runs and doubles. In 613 plate appearances, Bell slashed .277/.367/.569 with a 135 wRC+. Bell’s wRC+ ranked 22nd among all MLB players last season and tied for 4th among first basemen. His wOBA of .378 ranked 5th among all first basemen as well.

Josh was the anti-Newman in terms of batted ball results. Bell had a hard hit ratio of 45.4% and a soft hit rate of 13.2%. Like his wRC+, his hard-hit percentage ranked 22nd in baseball last year. He also tied with National League MVP Cody Bellinger in terms of percentage of soft hit contact. His average exit velocity of 92.3 MPH was the 13th best in the MLB. Bell barrelled up the ball 53 times last year, which also tied him with another impressive bat. This time being Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez.

Bell was given a 131 DRC+ in 2019, which places him just above Josh Donaldson, and tied him with Max Muncy. Overall, that seems fair. Going forward, I think Bell is going to be closer to his August to September 2019 self than what we saw earlier in the year. He batted .258/.377/.516 with 13 extra-base hits down the stretch of 2019. That’s very close to what star third baseman Josh Donaldson batted in 2019, and he posted a 132 wRC+. Also very close to Bell’s 131 DRC+.