AFL: Josh Bell Reaches Base Four Times in Fall-Stars Game

The Arizona Fall League held their Fall-Stars game on Saturday night. The East squad had three Pittsburgh Pirates players on the roster, with Josh Bell in the starting lineup as the designated hitter. Catcher Elias Diaz and pitcher Adrian Sampson were also on the team. The East won the game 6-2.

Bell came up to the plate in the second inning with a man on first(moved to second on a wild pitch) and two outs. He drew a six-pitch walk and then scored on a triple from the next batter. Two innings later, Bell drew his second six-pitch walk. His third time up was a little better than the previous two, he walked on seven pitches. Bell went up swinging his fourth plate appearance, fouling off a couple pitches before lining a single into right field. He came around to score his second run two batters later. He reached base all four plate appearances.

While he was the DH on Saturday, Bell has been working on his play at first base daily. Jim Callis did this piece on his progress and Bell’s struggles at the plate.

Elias Diaz came in on defense in the fifth inning and almost immediately had a passed ball that allowed a run to score. He came up to bat in the bottom of the inning and walked on six pitches, though he did swing and miss two off-speed pitches with the count 3-0 and 3-1. In the seventh, Diaz sent a 2-0 pitch up the middle for a solid line drive single.

Adrian Sampson started the top of the ninth inning. He got a long fly ball to center field on his second pitch, which ended up being his only batter faced.

Scottsdale plays their next game on Monday afternoon. They have ten games left on the schedule and they trail first place Salt River by 5.5 games in the standings.

  • An excellent performance by the two Pirate representatives. Both looked very comfortable at the plate. I thought that Josh Bell was a stretch to be playing in the AFL, but he has done well enough to give the Pirates something to look forward to at 1B. And, taking him through instructs and then to the AFL as a 1B should serve him well to continue getting more comfortable at that position when ST begins in a few short months.

    • Forgot to add that one of the announcers on the postgame (I think it was John Manuel of BA) talked about 5 or 6 kids after the game and one of them singled out was Josh Bell who he described as a plus hitter with 3 walks and a base hit in the game. During the game they spent a lot of time talking about strong young hitters who needed better pitch recognition, so I think that was a high compliment to Bell’s maturity at the plate. I did not see the passed ball by Diaz, but he looks strong behind the plate, framing and blocking very well. That said, anyone who follows Russell Martin is doomed to suffer by comparison – Martin had his two best years of his MLB career as a Pirate – both years defensively, and 2014 offensively. But, I would not fear putting Diaz behind the plate at PNC to start 2015.

    • The passed ball just popped out of his glove. The batter swung and I thought it was a foul tip at first, but maybe the bat distracted him because he didn’t move his glove to catch it. It was his only problem, looked good the rest of the time.

      • He looked almost like he was crossed up a little to me John. I don’t recall seeimg him do that once all Summer in Altoona.

        • Assuming Hanson’s hand injury isn’t anything bad, he is definitely the more advanced hitter right now. Bell hasn’t hit a home run since June and he only drew 33 walks this past season, so he still has some work to do. I think Bell has the bigger upside, but it’s hard to tell for sure because he is always making adjustments with his swing and while he hits the ball hard, he has no loft and his swing from the right side is more contact-oriented rather than power.