Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Continues Hot Streak With Two Triples


A look at how the current top 30 prospects did today.  Note that this list doesn’t include players currently in the majors. If a player is in the majors, he will be removed, everyone below him will be shifted up a spot, and a new player will be added to the bottom of the list. If a player is out for the season, he will be removed and everyone below him will move up a spot. Removing these guys doesn’t mean they have lost prospect status. It is just an attempt to get 30 active prospects on the list. Rankings are from early season update, and links on each name go to their Pirates Prospects player pages.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Altoona – DNP

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton – 2-for-5, 2B, BB

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – 3-for-3, 2 3B, BB

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – DNP

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – 1-for-3, 3B, BB

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – 0-for-4

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – 1-for-1, 3 BB

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Extended Spring Training

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Extended Spring Training

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, Extended Spring Training

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 3-for-4, 2B, 2 BB

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Extended Spring Training

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Extended Spring Training

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Extended Spring Training

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – Disabled List

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Altoona – 1-for-5, 2B

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – 1-for-2, 3 BB, SB

23. Connor Joe, 1B/3B – Extended Spring Training

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton – DNP

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Bradenton – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – 0-for-4

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Extended Spring Training

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Extended Spring Training

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – 0-for-5



Top Pitcher: Casey Sadler, RHP – 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, 1B – 3-for-3, 2 3B, BB

Home Runs: Chase Simpson (4)



Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 6, Lehigh Valley 2

Starting Pitcher: Casey Sadler, RHP – 6.2 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Elias Diaz, C – 1-for-1, 3 BB

Other Notable Performers:


Alen Hanson, 2B – 1-for-3, 3B, BB

Brent Morel, 1B – 2-for-5

Game Notes: Casey Sadler has shown a trend in his early starts at the Triple-A level. In each outing, he has gone at least six innings, with three or fewer runs. There was actually only one outing with three runs, and each of the other starts saw one or two runs. The encouraging thing about tonight’s outing is that he had a 1.23 GO/AO ratio, which was his best mark on the season. It also reversed a trend over the last two outings where he was getting more fly ball outs than ground outs. That’s not what you want to see from a sinkerball pitcher. Elias Diaz reached base safely in all four plate appearances, drawing three walks. Diaz has shown some strong plate patience, with seven walks and three strikeouts in 64 at-bats this year in Triple-A.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 7, Erie 4

Starting Pitcher: Jason Creasy, RHP – 6.0 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, 1B – 3-for-3, 2 3B, BB

Other Notable Performers:


Keon Broxton, CF – 1-for-2, 2B, 2 BB

Willy Garcia, LF – 1-for-5, 2B

Game Notes: Josh Bell continued his impressive hitting, picking up three more hits tonight, including two triples. The triples give him four on the season, which leads the Pirates’ organization. He hasn’t shown a lot of home run power at the Double-A level, but has shown an impressive bat, with a .395/.452/.568 line in 81 at-bats this season, along with an advanced 7:10 K/BB ratio. There is still a small sample size at work here. Bell’s slugging percentage has gone up 100 points in the last two games after a home run and two triples. He currently has a seven game hitting streak, which has raised his slugging percentage over 200 points. It only takes a few games to change the look of the overall results, so it’s too early to make anything of them. Jason Creasy only gave up one run, but walked three batters for the second time this season. Creasy’s biggest asset in the past has been his control and fastball command, but that hasn’t been working for him as often this year.



Box Score

Result: Bradenton 11, St. Lucie 4

Starting Pitcher: Steven Brault, LHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: JaCoby Jones, SS – 3-for-4, 2B, 2 BB

Other Notable Performers:


Austin Meadows, CF – 2-for-5, 2B, BB

Michael Fransoso, 3B – 3-for-5, BB

Jin-De Jhang, C – 3-for-5

Erich Weiss, 2B – 2-for-5, BB

Jordan Steranka, DH – 3-for-6

Game Notes: Bradenton had a huge night on offense, with six players picking up multiple hits. JaCoby Jones led the way, with a double and two walks, reaching base five times on the day. Austin Meadows picked up his fifth double of the season. The overall stat line isn’t outstanding for Meadows, as he has a .770 OPS. However, he has reached base safely in 20 of his 21 games this year, and has hits in 17 of those games, including five straight. Jin-De Jhang has also been impressive, reaching base safely in 17 of 18 games, and getting hits in 16 of those games. Today was the fourth time this year that he had 3+ hits, and the seventh time he had multiple hits.



Box Score

Result: West Virginia 4, Greensboro 2

Starting Pitcher: Alex McRae, RHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Chase Simpson, 1B – 1-for-4, HR

Other Notable Performers:


Jordan Luplow, DH – 1-for-2, 3 BB, SB

Elvis Escobar, CF – 2-for-4

Tyler Filliben, 3B – 2-for-4

Game Notes: West Virginia was active on the bases, stealing six bases in seven attempts. Pablo Reyes picked up two of those stolen bases, while Jeff Roy had three. Chase Simpson hit his fourth homer of the year, which ties him for the minor league system lead with Deibinson Romero. Jordan Luplow reached base four times with a single and three walks. He’s not hitting for a high average at this point, but his OBP is over 100 points higher than the average due to his high walk rate.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    May 4, 2015 1:43 pm

    Jones is still striking out too much, but he is drawing a good many of walks as well.

  • jamminjoe66
    May 4, 2015 11:48 am

    Another undefeated day for the minor league Bucco’s.
    On a side note on Bell. I’ve only seen him a couple times in person, but I think the defense which looks really stiff to me is what will keep him in Altoona for a while.

    • JJ, I have seen him for almost every home game he has played, and I couldn’t agree with you more. ” Stiff ” as you describe his defense equates to the scout saying he is not real athletic. That being said, he does square up the ball on a regular basis, and that ability can’t be ignored.

      • Never seen a Bell game before – just highlights. Is the stiffness due to his inexperience at first or just his body type?

        • deacs, sorry I didn’t see this till now. It is exactly what the scout says, in my opinion. He just isn’t a real athletic guy. He wouldn’t be a good basketball or football player either BUT, he can get the bat on the ball consistently, runs just well enough, and shouldn’t be an embarrassment at 1st base with a little time.

  • John: Josh Bell is certifiably “on fire”. .395 batting average and a 1.020 OPS. Added to last year, he has now batted about .350 in over 170 AB’s at AA. He is 22 and will turn 23 in August – he has proven that he is ready for a promotion. I am not saying promote him to Pittsburgh, but to AAA where we do not have a 1B unless we count third baseman Brent Morel. Move him now and let him play out the year at AAA with my thought that he would be available for a September call-up.

    A triple RH and then a triple LH – gap power, 2 RBI’s.

    • Who plays 1st in Indy these days?

      • Hunter Morris?

        • Well, I don’t think he’s going to hold Bell down. Maybe Bell does get a July promotion.

          • I don’t have much doubt he’d deserve one going by the numbers. Only question for me would be whether or not they’re still trying to get the swing in shape to succeed against pitching at the highest level. I think it’s highly doubtful that he’ll hit LHP in the show with where he’s at right now.

            FWIW, here’s a blurb from BP after scouting him this weekend:

            “I don’t like Bell’s swing. He’s not a great athlete, and it shows with a bat in his hand, as the swing looks relatively uncoordinated from both sides, especially the right. That said, there is no denying Bell’s ability to find the barrel of the bat with the ball, which borders on the elite. He’s currently in the midst of a ridiculous 18-for-31 streak, and he continues to control the strike zone at elite levels. The full power potential hasn’t kicked in the way it will need to in order to handle first base on an every day basis, but there’s no denying his ability to make contact, which is translating into the upper levels of the minors.”

            • NMR: The guy from BP says he’s uncoordinated, unathletic, but all he can do is HIT. He has a career in politics if his current job doesn’t work out – definitely covering all the bases. He has to develop more power? Why? Because 1B, 3B, and corner OF’s have to hit for power? Does it have to happen in AA or can it be just as good if the power happens in AAA or in the majors? Our team leader last year hit 25 – wonder how many he hit in AA? 10 in about 450 AB’s.

              We have seen guys come up with other teams who are very young and do not realize they are not supposed to be as good as they have been in the majors. Promote him to AAA and let him tell us by his performance whether he is ready or not. Sometimes we (the Pirates) tend to overthink and be too deliberate.

              • I thought the comment was pretty telling, personally. He’s basically saying that Bell isn’t the type of prospect that passes the initial eye test – unathletic, poor swing – but the kid has that innate ability to turn hand eye coordination into finding baseballs with the barrel of his bat. One of those largely unteachable qualities that many players lack.

                Bell most certainly does have to develop power, simply because he doesn’t do enough otherwise to be even an average Major Leaguer. Not going to add anything in the field or on the bases, at which point yes, you better do more than hit for average.

                He has the strength, contact ability, and bat speed to do it – no doubt. Comes down to nothing more than tweaking the swing and approach.