First Pitch: What is Josh Bell’s Future With the Pirates?

Prior to the 2011 draft, Josh Bell sent a letter to every team, telling them not to draft him. He intended to go to college at the University of Texas, despite being projected as a mid-first round pick. Whether that letter was just a negotiating ploy or actually legit will never really be known. A lot of teams — including interested teams like the Boston Red Sox — passed over Bell due to the letter. The Pittsburgh Pirates ignored it, drafted Bell, then gave him a record-shattering $5 M bonus in the second round to sign. The bonus ended up breaking the old draft, with MLB adding new rules to restrict that type of spending.

There was a reason the Pirates broke the draft to sign Bell. He was seen as a guy who could have plus power from each side of the plate, along with plus hitting skills. The combination gave you a bat you could dream on, and a potential impact guy in the majors.

Those dreams were put on hold in 2012, when Bell missed most of the season in West Virginia with a knee injury. He returned in 2013 to West Virginia, putting up a .279 average and an .806 OPS. Those were good numbers, but not great. There was some promise that he hit 37 doubles and 13 homers, and did well from a plate patience standpoint. But he didn’t look close to the guy he was projected to become around draft day.

This year, Bell has looked a lot like that prospect. He finished his time in Bradenton with a .335/.384/.502 line. His strikeout rate is at a microscopic 12%. His .167 ISO continues to show promise, following up on his .174 from last year. He’s also hitting for average, after turning things around against left-handers this year, and dominating right-handers all season.

The big test for Bell will be the move to Altoona. That’s always difficult for hitters, because they start seeing better pitching prospects more frequently. He will have about a month and a half at the level in 2014, which is about a month less than Gregory Polanco had last year. Bell’s emergence this year raises a question of where he fits in with the Pirates in the future.

Bell is a right fielder, and the Pirates definitely don’t have a need for an outfielder anytime soon. They’ve got Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco together through at least the 2018 season, which is the final year McCutchen is under control. All three are much better defensively than Bell, who isn’t a liability, but isn’t strong defensively.

If Bell has a future with the Pirates, it would be at first base. But don’t expect that move anytime soon. Neal Huntington was asked about that last week in his session with the media, and basically said the club had no plans to move Bell to first right now.

“He’s athletically gifted enough that if it comes to that — baseball is a funny game. Depth is fleeting, when you think you have too many players at one position you can very quickly end up not having that many,” Huntington said. “So, we’re going to continue to develop Josh as a hitter. There may come a point down the road, just as it does with every player in our system, when they’re blocked by a pretty good player in front of them, you look at that point. You don’t want to make the move too early because who knows, maybe there is something that presents itself a year from now, or two years from now that we need Josh in the outfield or Player X at position Y and we’ve moved them off of that because we looked three years down the road. So we want to be conservative and make sure we continue to focus on developing the bat, and make sure we continue to develop the overall baseball player. And, if a position change is warranted some time down the road, then we can tackle it at that point.”

This makes sense when you consider the other alternative for Bell — a trade. With the future of the outfield secure, Bell would be the best trade chip the Pirates have. He recently rated as a top 50 prospect, and if he continues hitting in Double-A, he could move higher. Bell could be a big piece if the Pirates wanted to make a big move for a top of the rotation starter.

Such a trade would still leave the Pirates looking for a long-term first baseman. It would also leave them without insurance in the low-probability chance that one of the current outfielders doesn’t work out.

Back when it looked like the Pirates only had Gerrit Cole and Charlie Morton in their short and long-term rotation, a Bell trade would have made sense. However, the emergence of Jeff Locke and Vance Worley in the last two months lessens the need for starting pitching. Add to that the fact that Nick Kingham and Jameson Taillon could be in the majors by this time next year, with Tyler Glasnow soon to follow, and a trade for pitching in the long-term doesn’t seem as urgent. With the first base platoon struggling, one of the long-term needs still remains first base. That’s where Bell could help the most, by possibly making the eventual jump to first, and becoming the starter of the future.

If Bell continues to hit in Altoona this year, then I think the Pirates should give him some reps at first base in the off-season, followed by a switch next year. It’s possible that he could be the Pirates’ first baseman by this time next year, after getting a few months at the position in Triple-A. That’s not far fetched when you consider the path Gregory Polanco took. Bell is a year younger than Polanco, so he’s going through High-A and Double-A at the same age. The numbers in Bradenton were much better for Bell. Polanco was in Double-A at this time last year, and didn’t exactly tear up the level, with a .762 OPS. If Bell progresses quickly, just like Polanco did during Winter Ball, then it’s very possible he could be in Pittsburgh by this time next year.

Links and Notes

**Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Comes Up Big in His Final Game With Bradenton

**Josh Bell Getting Promoted to Altoona

**Minor League Schedule: Nick Hutchings Gets the Start For the GCL Pirates Today

**Pirates Release Duke Welker, Option Jaff Decker to Triple-A

**Pirates Are One of the Teams Who Have Asked About Huston Street

**Top 10 Hitters: Alen Hanson Continues to Hit, But Defense Could Keep Him in Altoona

**Top 10 Pitchers: Pirates Are Seeing New Pitching Prospects Emerge This Year

**Prospect Highlights: Two Cole Tucker At-Bats and Videos of Four Other GCL Pirates Players

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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I just vomited my dinner at this post. I can’t read any more This is the dumbest post I have ever read on any site/topic

Simon Weaver

OPTION 1: MOVE POLANCO TO 1ST BASE. He adds 20 pounds probably pretty easily with that frame, along with it comes more power, and he could still be a 1B that swipes bags, and he is so long hard to imagine anything getting by him. His defense can’t be much better than Bell in the OF. I’ve seen Polanco misplay countless balls already and he had 6 errors in AAA for an OF playing for two months.

OPTION 2: Sorry but Marte’s bat and plate discipline is nowhere near J Bell. Have you seen the slider low and away? It’s no chance. Personally, I don’t like guys that strike out once a game. Alen Hanson will be a better player than Marte and they’re both similar players, so while it would be nice to have both, I’ll prefer Bell, the .300 hitter from both sides of the plate with 25 HRs and 40 doubles. We need as many LH bats as we can get at PNC.

The absolutey only way I move Josh Bell is if I get a corner piece, not some bum like Ian fricken Kennedy. Match ’em up, I’ll take Worley for the stats and the salary. If you want more pitching, which you don’t need, call up Kingham. You don’t just piss away top 50 prospect, going on top 25, for a bag of peanuts. Like a blockbuster move for Goldschmidt, Tulo, SS from the Cubs, Kris Bryant, not some BS Ian Kennedy. That’s how you get better. Preferably, someone disconnects Neil’s phones so no moves are made. You broke the bank on this kid and now you want to dump him when he’s rolling. He would’ve been a junior this year and a junior in AA is pretty rare. Only the best guys like Kris Bryant move faster. And he had an injury. He’s a perennial All-Star in my opinion. Why give up on that? Don’t start thinking you’re rich, because we’re not. One winning season in 20 years.


that’s a ridiculous trade thank god you aren’t a gm. Cam Bonifay wouldn’t even make that trade


A season and a half with a 37-yr old OF with inferior defense. Surely you weren’t serious addict.


You misread the entries Smurph. I commented that Marte may have more value to another team as a CF than he would have to the Pirates in LF, if Polanco replaces him in left and Bell is ready for RF. If that’s the case then the trading partner may be wiling to overpay for Marte. If so great, take the trade. The Pirates are better off with Polanco, Cutch, Bell and the return from the Marte trade then with Marte, Cutch and Polanco in Pittsburgh and Bell in the minor leagues. But that’s two or three years away. I would never argue for trading Marte for Byrd today. Marte could learn the strike zone over the next season and be a much better player then than he is today, and I would be less happy to see him traded. I like Marte, but there are very few players that should be immune from trade talk (Cutch), and Marte isn’t one of them.


okay, that makes more sense. Few teams have,can, or would be willing to actually give us the return Marte is worth. Have Tim calculate the current trade value for Marte just for giggles


This is one of the dumber trade ideas I have seen in a while. The Pirates should trade a 6.3 WAR outfielder (since 2013) under team control until at least 2020 for a season and half of 5.1 WAR outfielder (since 2013) because of home runs.


Like a lot of people, I’d like to think that Marte will learn more Plate dicipline, but I’m not sure… I get more frustrated watching Marte bat, than I do with Pedro.
As of today, Byrd has a better WAR than Marte for 2014. And generally, we’d be a better team right now with Byrd. (By the way, I don’t think WAR takes into account running blunders, does it? If so, the Gap would be even greater between the two).
Finally, I’m not saying a straight-up trade, we’d need something more in return; specially if Marte is viewed as a CF!


Low cost and years of control and declining skills vs age(4 more vs. 1 and 10 years of youth) make this about a 70 million dollar win for the phillies. We’d need their top 3 prospects (who even cares who it is) just to even get close


A quick analysis, using Marte’s current ceiling of 4.6 WAR as each year’s base and a sliding WAR value starting at $5.5 mill this year and increasing $100K each year through 2021, put Marte’s total contract at an excess value of $162.5 mill over the life of the contract (including the two option years). That includes this year, where his WAR will likely be around 3.0 if he plays the rest of the season.

To me that suggests an A and a B prospect or the equivalent.


I looked up the 1st and 3rd basemen on all of the NL teams the other day and it is surprising how few really top players there are at those positions.
I keep reading on different blogs that the Pirates need to trade for a 1st baseman.
Teams that are fortunate to have a very good player at 1st or 3rd are not trading them because there is such a lack quality throughout the league.
If the Pirates need to make Bell a 1B he will not suffer financially as most people here seem to think just because of supply and demand.
Besides any team can move him back to the outfield without much problem since that has been his position for years.
He will be paid no matter what his position if his bat works.


it’s not just supply and demand.

if Josh Bell was a 1b prospect from the beginning we probably would barely care about him because he wouldn’t be showing up as high on prospect lists if at all.

Yeah sure make Bell a 1b if you can’t find another guy to do it once he’s ready. I’ll be fine with it. But once you do, you take away a lot of what could make him special.

and if the Pirates traded for a guy that has played 1b for several years after he used to be an OF, with the intention of playing this guy at OF, many of us would be doing some serious questioning of NH. So why expect that a any team would just move him back to the outfield after years?

I agree the Pirates could use a long term 1b. I just think I’d rather it be a big fat guy who can only play 1b who can mash instead of … for lack of a better word…wasting…. an athletic RF who can mash.

This offseason, many didn’t want Kendrys to play 1b because he’s been a DH recently. Many didn’t want Hart to play OF because knees + recent 1b. So why just assume that another team would want to put Bell back in the OF after years?


First off, the fact that moving to first might bump him down the prospect list isn’t going to make us all forget who Josh Bell is. He’s still a 2nd round pick with 1st round talent, and the tools with his bat are still.there. In fact there would probably be more hype because of the terrible 1B play we’ve suffered through for the last decade or so. Look at the love Andrew Lambo gets. He wasn’t even on the prospect list last year, and yet we still saw #FreeLambo for about 2 straight months.

2nd off. We are talking about 3-6 weeks as a 1B at most if the team trades him. 3-6 weeks isn’t going to ruin him or his trade value, so your metaphor doesn’t play, he hasn’t been moved to a new position for years. We’re talking about teaching him a new one, if he’s traded, the deadline is so close that it doesn’t really matter he’s still a little ways away


i wasn’t saying that if they did it now we would forget about him. We obviously know about him now.

I was saying that if he was a 1b from the beginning, we might not have cared about him as much to begin with. He probably wouldn’t have been given a $5 million bonus if he was just a 1b. He probably wouldn’t have been considered a 1st round talent as a 1b.

0 High School first basemen were taken in the first two rounds of the 2014 draft. Dom Smith did go in the 2013 draft in round 1. No other ones in the first 2 rounds.

Right now we’re rooting for him to pick up a 1b mitt just because he is the only guy in the system now who can do it. My suggestion is just to get another guy who is better suited for 1b. I don’t see what’s wrong with that.

and my metaphor was wrong because i thought piratemike was talking about a few years down the line. not a few weeks. whoops.


I know, what I’m saying is that being a first baseman from the beginning doesn’t mean he isn’t a second round pick with first round talent nor that his skill with the bat diminishes. He wasn’t a 2nd round pick because he was an outfielder, he actually dropped on most draft boards because of the letter he wrote saying, “don’t draft me”. It was because of that commitment that we paid out the ear for him to skip college. It had little to do with the position he played. Talent is talent, and his main tool is his ability to hit with power from both sides of the plate. Being a first baseman doesn’t change that. It doesn’t help his value positionally, but he would’ve probably been drafted in the first round if he didn’t send that letter.

Okay, why not bring in an equally talented player that has a history at the position? Do you have one in mind? What would it cost? We already control an asset that can be moved, for free, without having to haggle with a GM that will want to run down our top prospect list trying to bring in more than said 1B is worth.


No I obviously don’t have a specific AA first base prospect with a bat like Bell’s in mind. And I guess my whole point I’ve been trying to make this whole time in one sentence is that this player would cost a heck of a lot less in a trade than what Bell should cost in a trade, and would be the same exact quality of future lineup while adding wins to the present lineup.

And if that player doesn’t actually exist, then by all means keep Bell for 1b even if he is more valuable to the other teams in their OFs. Or trade him and finally find a platoon that actually works.


so i guess ultimately my message is… Josh Bell is more valuable to every other team in the MLB as long as GP, Cutch, and Marte are around. but i see that my arguments haven’t been received positively, so i’ll stop now.


Having an opinion isn’t a reason to stop, I doubt anyone here is so greatly offended. Ultimately, it’s a good problem for the Bucs to have, and no one knows the right answer


Are you serious ?

Ron Loreski

This might sound crazy, but if the Pirates are gonna move Josh Bell out of RF, why not give him reps at 3B instead. They already have Stetson Allie as a project at 1B. Right now, the only player in the Pirates minor league system at 3B that looks like a potential big leaguer is Wyatt Mathesion. If Allie and Bell are both going to be at AA, why not have them both on the field at the same time?


yeah might as well hit him a few grounders and see how he does haha. at least give 3b a chance before going all the way down the defensive spectrum to 1b. worth a try.


It would kind of stink for Josh Bell if he didn’t get traded.

If he becomes a full time first baseman, that really decreases his own market value.

if he’s not actually talented enough for the outfield and/or will outgrow it, that’s one thing. But if he could stick there, there’s a big difference in what teams would pay for a 25 homer, .850 OPS switching hitting, decent-defending RF and a 25 homer, .850 OPS switching hitting, decent-defending 1b.

that’s a star RF. that’s just an above average 1b. millions of dollars he would lose. oh well. the kid’s already filthy rich. what do i really care? i dunno.

but the more valuable he is, the more they could trade him for. i guess that’s why i care.

maybe move bell and trade for a true 1b prospect with a better stick than bell.


1B didn’t hurt Pujols market value much. I’d rather keep his bat.


Good points, he is more valuable as an outfielder for his own good, but he is more valuable to the Pirates at first base if they plan on keeping him, if they plan on trading him they should leave him in the outfield. Since I am more for the team than the player, I say move him to 1st base and keep him.


I’m just afraid of them wasting an asset – Bell’s potentially adequate outfield defense. It just seems inefficient. He is such a great prospect because he’s an outfielder who can hit. he probably wouldn’t be in the top 100 if he was just a big fat 1b who had the same hitting skills.

A 1b with a bat equal to Bell’s is a lot less valuable. But the team’s offense and defense would be exactly the same.

It might be time to cash in on Bell and go get a big fat 1b prospect who absolutely and in no way could play OF.

I’m also really splitting hairs here.

Maybe trade Bell for an upgrade to the team, and then trade the player who that upgrade replaces for a big fat 1b prospect.


This a win win for the Pirates, if they keep him in the outfield, he keeps his value and could make a trade a possibility. If they move him to 1st base they have an athletic switch hitting 1st basemen and they solve a 1st base problem that they have had for years.


KEEP CALM everyone. NH put it very correctly.. you never know what 2 or 3 years down the road looks like. Are we already putting Marte/Cutch/Polanco in permanent ink forever more? What if Bell elevates to Polanco level on his rise to AA and AAA…might it make sense in that case to perhaps move Marte to make room for Bell? Especially if Bell is a true power hitter, which Marte is really not?

I think at this point the only logical place to be on Bell:

1) HAPPY that he put his injury issues behind him and resumed his rise through the system
2) INTRIGUED to see what he can do at AA
3) HOPEFUL that he will dominate AA and move to AAA quickly

Anything else is way, way, way premature.

Ron Loreski

Couldn’t agree more. Trading Bell now makes ZERO sense, as his value is going to continue to grow. If the Pirates wait until he’s ready to crack to big leagues to move him, they’ll get max return for him. OR trade Starling Marte to clear a spot for him. Moving Bell to 1B sounds like a quick fix. But he’s not ready to reach the majors any time soon, so why do something like that?


As for the 1st and 3rd base dilemmas, I believe Sanchez and Davis have the rest of this season to do something to earn a spot on next year’s team. If they don’t show significant improvement the rest of the season, they should not be on the 2015 team. Then what do you do at 1B? Lambo? Hague? Pedro? If Harrison finishes the season the way he has played the first half, is he a legitimate candidate for 3B next year full-time? Then maybe you move Pedro to 1B to hold it down until he leaves, which he definitely will.

Ron Loreski

This isn’t the time for Davis and Sanchez to earn a spot on next year’s team. THIS year’s team is trying to win the NL Central. Ike is the one that really needs to step up, or he should be non-tendered in the offseason. Gabby has held his end of the bargain a little more.


I also agree with you guys. Nh is right on here. There are a lot of things you don’t know right now: 1. Will Bell ever reach his potential and be a good major league player? 2. Will Marte become a top player, or continue to struggle as he has this season? 3. Will one of the Pirates 3 current OFs sustain a serious injury? 4. Will the Pirates fail to get an extension for McCutchen past 2018, and therefore decide to trade him in 2017? Lots of things can happen.


IMO, Bell should be starting at 1st base for the Curve ASAP. I do not believe that a 1st base transition would be that difficult for an athlete like Bell. I do not know anyone that thinks it would be easy to play 1st base in the majors, I don’t know where that came from, but having played every position in baseball I would have to say positively that catcher and pitcher are the only ones that a player can’t just move to and do a proper job. I did watch Jay Bruce butcher 1st base a couple of times, but he did not have a chance to learn anything about the position before he played it and he did not play it since high school. He could not even field ground balls, but Frazier looked decent over at first, problem with them is they did not have another 3rd basemen.
Many have said that Pedro should move to 1st base, IMO, there is no doubt that he could play 1st base, the Pirates have no problem with him playing SS and 2nd base when they are in their shifts, if he can do that he can play first base with a little training before games for a couple of weeks, Pedro is an athlete. Ike Davis is not much of an athlete and he plays 1st base, Sanchez isn’t either. Look at it this way, Hurdle is not going to keep taking him out in late innings for defense much longer, he clearly has lost faith in Pedro’s throwing, logically there is not a better move that they could make with Pedro, they are never going to trust him at 3rd base.

Michael Shaeffer

Still feel it is sad that the MLB flipped out over the Pirates giving Bell $5M…then they let Prince Fielder sign for $900000000000000. Insane.


And they let the Yankees and a couple of other teams pay Japanese players more money that the Pirate payroll for 2 years.


MLB does these things because they want to maximize eyeballs on the TV screens, which means creating ways for the large market teams like the Yankees to have an unfair advantage for making the post season. Think of how much of a disaster the MLB would see a Milwaukee / Tampa Bay World Series. Next to nobody across the country would watch.


I’ve always made this comparison. Immediately after the Pirates defeat the Kansas City Royals in the 2016 World Series, MLB immediately makes plans to reconfigure the playoffs so that now it is possible for the Yankees to play the Red Sox in the World Series.

William Wallace

I think that his current track as developing into a hitter is the most effective plan. If he proves to be an effective hitter then he could be an Al Oliver type of position player. Other factors into this equation is what will the Pirates do with Pedro? If they keep him I do not see his throwing problems to be correctable and they may move him to first base. Teach him how to hit MLB pitching then find him a position.


If he becomes Al Oliver the Pirates would potentially have the best lineup in the Majors for a long time.


Jose Abreu sure would have looked nice in a bucco uniform there lineup would have been awesome. i wished they would have taken a shot at him


Not sure I’ve read anywhere where they didn’t take a shot at him. Of course the Sox outbid everyone and it was a shrewd move.


Sports Illustrated listed, the Astros, Giants, Marlins, Rangers, Red Sox and Rockies, as the other six teams in the final running for Abreu.

I wish the Pirates could have somehow signed him, but any RHH who derives much of his value from power with always be worth more where he doesn’t have to play have his games in PNC Park.


If I am Neal Huntington, I am handing that kid a first baseman’s mitt today. He’s getting to the point where if he’s going to learn it, its gotta be soon.


Zero basis for the ‘if he’s gonna learn it, it’s got to be soon’ argument re: bell and 1B. One, to maintain his trade value if the Bucs decide to go that way. Two, as NH correctly puts it, it is time to focus on developing the BAT. In the offseason, sure, give the guy some reps at 1B, but zero logic for the ‘now or never’ argument for 1B move.


The team’s stance on Pedro Alvarez not moving to first does make it a now or never situation. Why create a situation that might handcuff him in the next few seasons if his defense doesn’t develop at that position. Because we’ve seen it through Hurdle’s management style, and with some prospects in the system now. Defense will be a factor in any decision to switch a player’s position and or promote said player.

And if they are going to trade him, 3 weeks at first base isn’t going to destroy his trade value. He isn’t going to forget how to be a corner OF in such a short time

Matt Beam

As far as 1B, 1) the platoon would be better if we faced more LHP 2) why doesn’t somebody insist Ike gets his hands up very slightly? He’s all over mistake breaking balls but gets blown away by 93 mph fastballs

Lee Young

Our LFer has a .708 OPS and our RFer has a .698 OPS. If Bell hits, I think we may be able to find a place for him. If Marte continues his downward trend (mostly as a result of an unsustainable BABIP last year), move GP to LF (assuming he hits….never a guarantee) and put Bell in RF.


Lee- quit looking at OPS to measure Marte’s value. Thats silly


Marte may have more value to another team as a CF than he has for the Pirates as a LF, particular with Polanco’s speed covering PNC’s LF. The big question about Marte is whether he will ever learn the strike zone.


No- he won’t, but he will learn to hit bad balls better. He is Starling Castro, but faster and better defensively. He will get better, he will get stronger, and just forget his plate discipline, let it go.


As one who was against the rush to extend Marte, I agree on principle. That said, he’s doing somewhat better now that he’s out of the leadoff spot.

I imagine Philly would be very interested should it come to finding a trade partner. I’d consider Byrd, but not one-for-one. If Bucs were interested in moving Marte right now, I’d ask for Giles and a prospect in the 6-15 range along with Byrd. I’m not even sure that gets Bucs full value, but it solves two problems for this year and next at a minimum.

Still, I think Bucs could probably do better if they shopped Marte around.

Mike C.

Unless he moves to 3rd, I’m always against moving a capable player to a lesser defensive position. this basically lowers his value over the long term.
I know prospects 4 prospects trades rarely happen, but I see trading Bell or Marte as the best way to maximize value for the team.


Marte has a ton of value with that arm and base running and defense- he is like Russ- anything he does with a bat is a bonus. Marte’s trade value should be enough by itself to get someone like david price due to the low cost for marte and his years of control. I’d never do it, I don’t know if there is a single player on the market who is worth marte


Well said!!! Finally someone with a clue!!!


I hope that was sarcasm.


I hope this is sarcasm!!!!!!!!!


Josh Bell for Chris Owings, maybe a 2nd lesser piece involved. Dbacks are soon going to have 3 young SS’s battling for one position, and we would have a better, younger version of Jordy Mercer at SS, more depth for 2B/SS in case Hanson doesn’t work out, and less need for a defensive replacement at short since Barmes is leaving. A.J. Pollock is no sure thing in AZ, and Parra could handle CF.

Lee Young

If Bell hits like he is supposed to, I’d rather move Marte.


Marte has more bat potential than Bell does, and 4X the defensive and speed ability. Hitting is 1 tool, Marte beats him in every other one right now


Marte does have better potential, but he’s not a better player as long as he keeps swinging at everything in the same zip code as him


Regardless of speed of Bell’s progress to MLB, IMO, the Bucs cannot afford to open the 2015 season with Ikby Davez at 1b. Which brings up some questions:

Where does Neil start in 2015? If the Bucs believe in Mercer’s continuing maturation both defensively and offensively and cannot get Hanson to become a decent defensive SS, that would suggest Hanson goes to 2b whenever he arrives.

Does Neil go to 3b and Pedro to 1b? That would eliminate the need to rush Bell while also making Pedro expendable via trade (which likely has to happen in 2015 anyway to get value).


I do kind of like the thought of having Pedro zip some of those cannon shots from 1B to elsewhere on the diamond, such as 2B or 3B on infield bunts and scenarios like that. A few of them are sure to land in the seats, but seeing a 1B surprise everyone with an aggressive throw across the diamond is one of the prettier plays in baseball.

S Brooks

Notwithstanding that we have 67 games left this season and Ike could pull an Ike Davis 2010, 2012 & 2013 (check his post-ASG vs pre-ASG stats) and actually earn the job he has, I don’t know if the Bucs have the pieces in place to do anything but trot out the current lineup for Opening Day 2015. Hanson is still parked at AA, and the Pirates will want to get a 7th year of team control out of him, so he’s not starting in Pittsburgh next April. Bell is just getting to AA and wouldn’t be called up until June at the earliest, and possibly not until September. And the free agent 1B market this winter is weaker than last year’s, so it’s hard to see anything other than the same configuration we have now. If Davis absolutely tanks, well…there’s always Lambo. Or Chris McGuiness.

2016, on the other hand, will be interesting. Nathan’s configuration above is very plausible.


Even if Ike has another big August in him, that wouldn’t change my mind. I’d give Lambo another chance to win the job between this fall and next spring. And while my preference would be to keep Josh in his current super-sub role, I wouldn’t be averse to having him as a starting IF at either 3b or 2b depending on whether or not Pedro moves to 1b and Walker changes positions.

Ike makes me long for Adam LaRoche. One thing that really bugs me about Ike is that if there’s no one on base, he won’t swing at anything that’s not a strike. But give him an RISP opportunity, he’ll chase some total crap.


I would be fine with putting harrison at third, and pedro at first, in fact….I would highly expect that. Its Harrison’s best defensive position and Pedro’s glove would play, while limiting his scud missle-like arm’s damage to neighbording countries

Nathan Swartz

I can see that scenario. Walker is more likely to remain a Bucco over Pedro. I just worry that Jordy and Alen would be a defensive train wreck.

Love the idea of a power hitting, switch hitting first baseman.

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