Josh Bell Is a Tower of Power

Kyle Koster

Josh Bell smashed 26 homers and drove in 90 runs in 2017, enough to earn him third place in National League Rookie of the Year voting. The Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman took a step back last year, hitting only 12 dingers and posting a pedestrian .768 OPS. Entering this season, the natural question was: which is the real Josh Bell?

And now a third version has materialized. This Bell is one of the best hitters in baseball. Last night the towering 6-foot-5 slugger blasted three home runs and knocked in seven.

He now has 25 homers. He leads the NL in doubles (29), RBI (77), and total bases (208). His .308/.381/.654 slash is formidable. Any time you’re replicating Hank Aaron, you’re on the right track.

Not impressive enough? Here are some other names from this morning’s ESPN piece on Bell’s prowess: 

In other words, this guy is smoking the ball all over the field. He’s on pace for 112 extra-base hits, which would be the third-highest total of all-frickin’-time. The only players with more than 107 are two dudes named Ruth (119 in 1921) and Gehrig (117 in 1927).

Bell has been stellar from both sides of the plate and more aggressive at the dish. He’s managed to stay away from boffo strikeout numbers while drawing his fair share of walks.

Playing for the largely non-interesting Pirates has not done him any favors in the notoriety department. That could all change as the switch-hitting bopper participates in next week’s Home Run Derby.

Here’s hoping he puts on a show and the event doesn’t mess with his swing, which has been picturesque yet deadly.