Josh Bell was promoted to Indianapolis at the start of August, giving him some experience in Triple-A down the stretch before the end of the 2015 season. The move to the new level saw immediate results for the Pirates’ future first baseman, as he hit for a .347/.441/.504 line in 121 plate appearances down the stretch. That was good enough to be our Player of the Month for August, which included stats from the first week of September.
Bell was successful in Altoona this year, hitting for a .307/.376/.427 line in 368 at-bats. There was just one problem, and that was the lack of power he was showing. He displayed a lot of raw power in batting practice, but that didn’t always show up in the game. His .120 ISO in Altoona wasn’t what you’d expect from a future first baseman. However, in his jump to Indianapolis he saw a boost in power, with an increase to a .157 ISO. That’s still not great, but it’s encouraging that he’s showing improvements.
Ryan Palencer wrote about a big reason for his improvements in the power department. He had been working on his batting stance in Altoona throughout the year, focused on adding a leg kick to generate some more power. He made an adjustment to that kick in Triple-A, which was a compromise as Bell was uncomfortable with the kick, but the Pirates wanted him to keep it. They ended up settling on something more comfortable for him, and the results have been great ever since.
Bell is currently projected to be the first baseman of the future in Pittsburgh, and could be up by mid-season 2016. He wrapped up a solid year with his late season run in Indianapolis, and if he carries that over to next year, the mid-season promotion will almost certainly happen. He was the third Indianapolis player to win our Player of the Month award this year, joining Deibinson Romero (April) and Alen Hanson (May). Bell was the Altoona Player of the Month during both of those months, falling just short of the overall honors.
PLAYERS OF THE MONTH BY LEVEL
Indianapolis – Josh Bell, 1B (.347/.441/.504, 145 PA, 2 HR)
Altoona – Mel Rojas Jr., OF (.279/.380/.407, 103 PA, 1 HR)
Bradenton – Wyatt Mathisen, 3B (.252/.380/.417, 130 PA, 3 HR)
West Virginia – Pablo Reyes, 2B (.343/.461/.586, 97 PA, 3 HR)
Morgantown – Mitchell Tolman, 3B (.348/.408/.464, 162 PA, 0 HR)
Bristol – Nick Buckner, OF (.345/.382/.429, 90 PA, 0 HR)
GCL – Edison Lantigua, OF (.246/.324/.393, 68 PA, 1 HR)