See How Josh Bell is Doing in His Move to First Base

One of the big storylines in the minor league system this year will be Josh Bell’s move to first base. If successful, Bell turns into the first baseman of the future, with the chance to arrive in Pittsburgh at some point during the 2016 season. I wrote last week about how Bell’s move to first could solve his drop in power from the 2014 season. He saw a drop off in his power at the end of the year, and said that was due to fatigue. The move to first base allowed him to add more muscle, and will also be easier on him, since he will have a reduced workload compared to what he’d see in the outfield.

Yesterday I showed a video of Bell, Austin Meadows, and JaCoby Jones taking batting practice. Today I was able to see Bell taking fielding drills at first base. The quick video below shows a few of the defensive drills and how Bell looked today.

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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Hey Tim! Did Stetson Allie get traded?


This is one guy the pirates really need to work out seeing how thin they are at the corner infield spots. Every other position they have several prospects with options should one of them flop. At first and third it’s mlb starters followed by a wing and a prayer.


Its great to see him, but i’m not a defensive tools analyst. What are your thoughts on this footage tim?


not sure if they were telling him to backhand the ball, but looks like he could have gotten in front of alot more. I thought he looked pretty good when he was infront of the ball


He does look a bit uncomfortable/unsure, but I’m sure as he gets more time there his footwork will get better and he’ll make the decisions he has to make more quickly and confidently. He’s a good athlete, he’ll figure it out.


He is thousands of reps behind, and it shows. I agree that he has the athleticism, baseball smarts, and work ethic necessary to make the adjustments, but it will be measured in months & years. With those reps, the development of soft hands. footwork, and flow will follow. It will succeed if he and the Pirates stay for the long run.

Tim: I appreciate the upgrade of P2 to give us more video like this. Bell has had very little time so far at 1B, so a comparison at mid-season 2015, and then in ST 2016 will show giant steps of adjustments. Pedro otoh has been taking infield reps since LL, and will make the position adjustment quicker.


Excellent point.

There really isn’t any comparison between Pedro “learning” 1B relative to Josh Bell and Andrew Lambo. Night and day. I’m frankly impressed at how good Bell looks at this point.


Agreed on all points, both you and emjayinTN. It’s all about the reps, and for an outfielder to learn 1B versus an infielder (like Pedro), the adjustment will be much tougher. Bell’s a great athlete, and I gather has a decent head on his shoulders, and when you couple that with 1B being his best shot to get to the Majors as a contributor sooner, he’ll be motivated and capable to figure it out.

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