VIDEO: Josh Bell and Austin Meadows Taking Batting Practice

Two of the top hitting prospects in the system, as well as in all of baseball, were taking batting practice this afternoon in the cages at Pirate City. I grabbed some quick videos of Josh Bell and Austin Meadows taking a few swings, which should help hold you over until baseball returns a month from now.

  • I in no way claim to be anything more than a superfan who watches a lot of baseball but the balance in Meadows’ swing as compared to Bell is shocking. Does anyone else feel like Bell seems to be consistently off balance after his swings?

    • That is EXACTLY what I was referencing in my post. Meadows has the picture-perfect lefty stroke, Bell looks like he’s trying to hit a thousand foot home run on ice skates.

      • Sometimes his weight looks forward and others he his catching his balance backwards. It could be the drill but Meadows’ finish is so much calmer and balanced….it may be more noticeable one after the other because Meadows has a beautiful swing.

        • And wait til you see Bell from the right side…

        • The folks that know much more than I do say that Bell has the “hit tool” to make up for it, though. Clint Hurdle loves talking about guys who “barrel” the ball, and Bell seems to be one of them.

          • Yeah, good old “hit tool”. It’s like saying instincts. I always guessed that meant the ability for your brain to take what excellent vision and reaction time starts and make brain tell the body to put the arms, wrists, hands, and then bat in a place where they can barrel it…so no wonder it is called the hit tool….and there are probably about 10 other things that go into what I just said. Andy LaRoche on the other hand could not barrel the ball. He hit many homeruns in an elevator shaft.

        • Bell has too much hand movement for me. It puts a hitch in his swing that throws his timing off. That’s what I thought I was seeing in last Summer’s SSS at AA. But Marte and Polanco both have that to a degree. Watch McCutchen’s hands,and then watch everyone else.

          • leo: Many hitters like Bell hold their hands high in pre-swing. What I saw when the pitch was thrown was a very quiet and balanced trigger where he lowered and brought his hands back to the “ready” position prior to uncoiling every ounce into the swing – ever watch Prince Fielder? The pre-swing trigger transferred the weight from 50-50 to 80-20 on the back foot and the only move on his lead foot was a sort of “step-in-place” where he did not step forward and get off-balance onto the front foot. Any hitting instructor would be pleased. I would like to see Meadows from the same angle.

            A hitch is more when the batter bounces the hands down then up before the swing – Ike Davis? ‘Cutch is unique in the world of hitters being as quiet as he is at the plate.

            • Well,after watching Bell for at least a month close up, I will agree to disagree with you. Bell is not always balanced at the time of his swing. And, a ” hitch ” to me is when the hitter pulls his hands BACK after loading and just prior to the swing. Hand and bat movement up and down was explained to me as having a loop in your swing, see B.J. Upton. And McCutchen, while having a great quiet swing, is not ” unique ” in the sense that the best hitters now and forever have had little hand movement. Their swings have been direct and very quick to the ball.

      • I’m no scout by any means, but the key diff I noticed is that Bell stands on his toes (literally) where as Meadows is flat footed. Not sure why Bell does this. I could be wrong, but it almost seems like Bell has small feet for his size (like size 10 1/2 or something), maybe he likes standing on his toes because of this. I think Bell’s swing looks better than what I saw a few years ago.

        • Hey hey hey, 10 1/2 is solid average…

          But seriously, that’s an interesting observation. And I very much agree with your last comment on improvement.

          • Heh, for 5-11 or 6-0, I guess 10 1/2 is normal. Josh Bell is what, like 6-3? I’d expect 11 1/2 or 12 shoe size. I watched the video a few more times, and I don’t think Bell is on his toes the whole session, but it seemed like he kept wanting to lean forward on his toes or be on his toes, especially towards the end, most of his weight was on his toes instead of just on the whole foot (for both feet).

    • I can’t tell. Even good hitters sometimes look outta control and off-balance to my untrained eye.

    • Just my input, but I feel Bell has just an ugly finish. He loads correctly with the hands setting up nicely, but I do wish the hands set a little lower, but I feel he will be an extremely great line drive hitter. His off balance-ness does not give me too much heartburn. If scouts and manager around say he is barreling the ball up, I don’t care how he finishes his swing. As for meadows, the hands are fast just like mccutchen and cannot wait to see this kid rise up through the ranks. Glad to be a bucco fan and kuddos to NH.

      • Just to add. No hitter is the same, and what works for one may not work for another. If he is comfortable with is hands high at the load and he is able to catch up with a fastball, by all means let the kid do it. I’ll be interested to see if he can pull the switch hitter part up into the majors or if he has to change to all lefty. Does anyone know his splits from right to left? Also, I’d like to make a stand for the vanimal and all that think he is just a 5 or may lose his job to Jeff Locke, Please….. The guy is Jeff Locke only he is right handed and can actually hit his zones and work a hitter. I have no problem with Locke as a 5, but to say Worley would lose a spot is asinine. I would be happy with him as our 4 for what I think he can give us and his pay. So exited to see this rotation next year as comes as cole, liraiano, taillon, kingham, morton. WOWWWWWW.

  • When I see Meadows the first guy that pops in my head is ex-brewer Geoff Jenkins. He has the similar muscular build and some similarities in their swing minus less uppercut for Meadows. I would be happy if Meadows becomes something similar although right now Meadows early plate discipline and patience hints he could be something special.

  • Josh has clearly made some adjustments, but its not even fair to show Bell and Meadows back to back.

  • Do they just let anyone wander in and take pictures or do you have a press credential for that?

  • Check out my pictures from today as well please