Josh Bell

Position: 1B
Level: Triple-A
Affiliate: Indianapolis Indians
Age: 23 yrs, 11m
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 240
B/T: Both / Right
Acquired: 2nd Rd., 2011 MLB First-Year Player Draft (PIT)

Prospect Spotlight

Bell is back in Triple-A after a short but successful weekend trip to the big leagues in early July. A second round pick in 2011, Bell is listed as the best power-hitting prospect in the Pirates organization, and the third-ranked prospect in the system according to In my short look, he only swung from the left side, where he hits from an open, crouched stance with the bat almost flat on his shoulder. He uses a leg lift with a slight hover at the top, getting his lower half into a strong hitting position. His hand load includes a violent upward motion that gets the bat to almost vertical.

While he gets into a good hitting position, the pre-pitch approach has a lot of moving parts, and the extreme bat head movement may be a cause for slight concern, as he showed some trouble handling good fastballs on the inner half. He showed gap-to-gap power in BP, making loud contact to all parts of the field. For a power hitter, the swing is flat through the zone, and he does not generate much loft, but the ball shows carry to all fields. For the season, he’s slashing .305/.391/.485 for Indianapolis, and showing fairly equal success from the left side of the plate (.316/.396/.502 in 275 ABs) and from the right (.280/.381/.448 in 125 ABs).

While Bell is close to having a major league-ready bat – if it’s not there already – his defense is not yet where it needs to be. He made the transition to first base in 2015 after being drafted as an outfielder. His footwork around the bag is sloppy at times, and he can be tentative when taking a ground ball. In my viewing, he missed a chest-high pickoff attempt that turned into a two-base error. However, if he can get himself to even close to average as a defender, the hit tool and plus pop will have him back at the big league level soon.  Here’s some scouting video on Bell from April 10, courtesy of 2080’s Burke Granger.