The 2012 season was supposed to be the first full pro season for top outfield prospect Josh Bell. Instead, the outfielder went down early in the season with a knee injury. After undergoing MCL surgery, he was expected back by August. Some swelling in the knee held him out longer, causing him to miss the remainder of the season, as well as the instructional league games. The outfielder underwent Platelet Rich Plasma therapy to speed up his recovery, which finally allowed him to get back on the field.
“It’s cool what technology can do for you. It’s definitely different. I had never heard of it before, but I was glad I could get it done,” Bell said of the procedure. “It definitely sped up the healing process for me. I got to the point where everything was kind of stagnant for a little bit, so it sped things back up and now I’m good to go.”
His knee is totally cleared now. The outfielder started hitting again off and on during instructs, and started everyday work in early December. He has been out on the field for the last two months, working at the IMG Academy with Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker.
“It was awesome,” Bell said of the experience. “IMG is an awesome facility. They have all the bells and whistles. Push you hard everyday. It was cool being out there with Andrew McCutchen, Pedro Alvarez, and Neil Walker. Just seeing what they do, how they go about their day, and learning from them.”
Bell worked with the major leaguers doing speed workouts, baseball workouts, strength training, and vision work. He also got some words of wisdom from the group.
The top prospect was out on the field today taking batting practice, and his swing still looked good (video below). I spoke with him at the end of the day and he mentioned that he was able to add some muscle weight while he was hurt, getting up to 240 pounds at the end of last year (he was listed at 195 when drafted).
“I guess one advantage of getting hurt, if there are any, is that I could put on some weight last year, and I feel like the ball’s popping off a little better this year,” Bell said of the added weight.
Check out the video below for some of Bell’s swings during batting practice.
**Most of the work so far has been batting practice and bullpen work. It’s hard to get a read on players this early in camp. So keep that in mind with these notes.
**The players are usually in groups of four during batting practice. Probably the most interesting group I saw today was Stetson Allie, Luis Urena, Dilson Herrera, and Eric Wood. There was a lot of power in that group, and a lot of hard hit balls. Allie hit a few homers during the free swinging section, including one over the 410 sign in center field. He definitely has some raw power, but his plate patience issues are still a concern.
**Bell’s batting practice looked good. He was making good contact and hitting to all fields, which is always what you want to see. Last year I was impressed with how Bell was crushing the ball during batting practice. He doesn’t look like he’s lost anything after a year off.
**Alen Hanson took some grounders at shortstop, and had trouble playing a few. Most of his troubles came with glove work, trying to scoop up the ball after charging in after it.
**Oscar Tejeda, who the Pirates claimed off of waivers last year, was also taking reps at short and second base. Tejeda has spent most of the last two years in left field, but has played second and short early in his career. He looks a little too big to handle short at this point. He also has struggled at the plate, with a .653 OPS in 857 Double-A at-bats. The one benefit he has is that he’s young, having just turned 23. At this point he’s looking more like an upper level utility player.
Video of the Day
Josh Bell taking batting practice at Pirate City.