Prospect Watch: Josh Bell Hits His Second Homer With Altoona


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 – Disabled List

2. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

3. Austin Meadows, CF, Bradenton – 2-for-4, BB

4. Josh Bell, 1B, Altoona – 2-for-5, HR

5. Reese McGuire, C, Bradenton – DNP

6. Nick Kingham, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

7. Alen Hanson, 2B, Indianapolis – 1-for-5

8. Cole Tucker, SS, West Virginia – DNP

9. Elias Diaz, C, Indianapolis – DNP

10. Mitch Keller, RHP, Extended Spring Training

11. Harold Ramirez, OF, Bradenton – 2-for-5

12. Stephen Tarpley, LHP, West Virginia – DNP

13. JaCoby Jones, SS, Bradenton – 1-for-4, HR

14. Adrian Sampson, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

15. Trey Supak, RHP, Extended Spring Training

16. Gage Hinsz, RHP, Extended Spring Training

17. Barrett Barnes, OF, Bradenton – 0-for-4, BB

18. Clay Holmes, RHP, Bradenton – Disabled List

19. Cody Dickson, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

20. Willy Garcia, OF, Altoona – 1-for-4, 2 K

21. John Holdzkom, RHP, Indianapolis – Disabled List

22. Jordan Luplow, 3B, West Virginia – 0-for-5

23. Connor Joe, 1B, West Virginia – DNP

24. Wyatt Mathisen, 3B, Bradenton – 1-for-5

25. Casey Sadler, RHP, Indianapolis – DNP

26. Steven Brault, LHP, Bradenton – DNP

27. Tito Polo, OF, West Virginia – 1-for-3

28. Tyler Eppler, RHP, Extended Spring Training

29Luis Heredia, RHP, Bradenton – 4.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

30. Taylor Gushue, C, West Virginia – 0-for-3, BB



Top Pitcher: Chris Volstad, RHP – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, 1B – 2-for-5, HR

Home Runs: JaCoby Jones (7), Josh Bell (2), Erich Weiss (2)



Box Score

Result: Indianapolis 4, Lehigh Valley 0

Starting Pitcher: Chris Volstad, RHP – 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Steve Lombardozzi, 3B – 3-for-5, 2B

Other Notable Performers:

Alen Hanson, 2B – 1-for-5

Gorkys Hernandez, CF – 1-for-2, 2 BB

Game Notes: Chris Volstad rebounded well from his last outing. He gave up six runs in five innings the last time out, but went seven shutout tonight. He was very efficient, throwing 87 pitches, with 58 for strikes. Steve Lombardozzi hit his 11th double of the year. Alen Hanson had a slow start to the month of June, going 0-for-9 in his first two games. He has since recorded a hit in his last three, going 4-for-14 with a stolen base.



Box Score

Result: Altoona 6, Erie 3

Starting Pitcher: Zack Dodson, LHP – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K, 1 HR

Top Hitter: Josh Bell, 1B – 2-for-5, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Max Moroff, 2B – 2-for-5, 2B

Edward Salcedo, DH – 2-for-4, 2B, SB

Willy Garcia, CF – 1-for-4, 2 K

John Kuchno, RHP – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR

Game Notes: Josh Bell led the Altoona offense tonight by picking up his second home run of the season. He is hitting for average and getting on base, but the power has been limited so far, with a .123 ISO. There’s not much concern here, as Bell has shown some good raw power. He also plays in a very pitcher friendly park at home, which might explain why his power is slightly better on the road (.130 ISO) vs at home (.115 ISO). There is a bigger difference there in hitting, as he has a .966 OPS on the road, versus a .729 OPS at home. Zack Dodson continued his strong season, and now has a 2.52 ERA in 60.2 innings, with a 26:9 K/BB ratio. He has gone at least six innings with three or fewer runs in four of his last five starts. John Kuchno has a 2.08 ERA in 30.1 innings, and continues getting a lot of ground ball outs, recording five on the night out of his nine outs.



Box Score

Result: Fort Myers 4, Bradenton 3

Starting Pitcher: Luis Heredia, RHP – 4.1 IP, 9 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: JaCoby Jones, SS – 1-for-4, HR

Other Notable Performers:

Erich Weiss, 2B – 1-for-5, HR

Harold Ramirez, DH – 2-for-5

Austin Meadows, CF – 2-for-4, BB

Game Notes: Luis Heredia had another good stat line tonight, but the actual results weren’t as good. He threw 71 pitches and had two runners stranded thanks to Montana DuRapau. He gave up twice as many hits as innings pitched, but managed to escape a lot of jams, with Fort Myers leaving 14 men on base on the night. Offensively, Bradenton saw some power tonight. JaCoby Jones hit his seventh homer of the year. Erich Weiss hit his second homer of the year. Harold Ramirez continued hitting well, picking up two more hits to expand his numbers to 16-for-39 on the year.



Box Score

Result: Rome 5, West Virginia 4

Starting Pitcher: Colten Brewer, RHP – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Jerrick Suiter, DH – 2-for-2, BB

Other Notable Performers:

Tyler Filliben, SS – 1-for-3, BB

Game Notes: Colten Brewer had a rough start in his return to pro ball this year, giving up 14 earned runs in 18.2 innings over his first four outings. He has put up better numbers in the last two starts, combining for two earned runs in 12 innings, with 14 strikeouts and one walk. Obviously the six shutout innings with 11 strikeouts in the last outing played a big part, but he had some good results tonight, needing just 83 pitches, with 52 strikes. West Virginia’s offense didn’t do much, getting just six hits and five walks. They were helped out by a few errors, leading to two unearned runs.



Box Score

Result: Rangers 8, Pirates 7

Starting Pitcher: Domingo Robles, LHP – 5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 0 HR

Top Hitter: Eddy Vizcaino, LF – 2-for-3

Other Notable Performers:

Melvin Jimenez, SS – 2-for-5, SB

Jeremias Portorreal, RF – 2-for-5

Game Notes: The Pirates lost their fourth straight game to drop to 2-5 on the season. They trailed 3-1 going into the eighth inning, but took a one run lead in the top of the inning, only to see the Rangers2 tie the game in the bottom of the frame. In the ninth, the Pirates put three runs on the board, but two relievers combined to allow four runs for the walk-off loss.

Starter Domingo Robles gave up two runs over five innings, in a nice follow up to his four earned runs over three innings in his pro debut. The 17-year-old lefty signed for $175,000 back in July.

On offense, shortstop Melvin Jimenez had two hits and scored two runs. He is 12-for-32 and has hit safely in each of his first seven games. Jeremias Portorreal and Eddy Vizcaino each had two hits, while Portorreal and Yondry Contreras both scored two runs. Mikell Granberry is hitting .308 and he has driven in six runs, but behind the plate, he has thrown out just one of 18 base stealers. Last year, he threw out 23% of runners. – John Dreker

  • John- What are the chances the Pirates would look towards Volstad as a reasonable depth option if needed in the next few months? It seems like he’s done well for the most part from the “lines” i’ve seen

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 7, 2015 10:28 am

    Cut Hunter Morris and promote Bell to Indy – now.

  • Tim….I went back and read some of those Tabby writeups. You were correct on the ‘thickening’ body, etc.

    I looked at that Harold Ramirez pic on WTM’s pages, and he (Harold, not WTM…lol) looks and sounds like he could ‘thicken up’ also, tho. 🙂 🙂

    WTM also mentions he has a fringy arm (as does BA). If he doesn’t hit for power, and, with that arm, be confined to LF (esp if he loses speed as he ages) will he hit enough for power to warrant being a starter?

  • The Altoona team is fun to watch.

  • Luis Heredia had another good stat line tonight, but the actual results weren’t as good.

    Seriously? 9 hits in 4.1 inn is a good stat line? What am I missing?

    • BuccosFanStuckinMD
      June 7, 2015 10:29 am

      For him, that was a good outing. For most other pitchers, it was mediocre at best.

    • Simple, I doubt he played HS ball as he signed at the age of 16. Yet he advanced all the way to high A. He may or may not need some adjustments but he will be part of a solid rotation in Pittsburgh in 2-3 years. The Pirate brass though enough of him to move him to Bradenton. It is early [June 7th.] and I can wait to see in a couple months where he is. If he hits 92-93 on the gun now what will it be in 2-3 years?????

      • joel….still 92-93 (or less) with no command?

        Obviously, I do not share your optimism. 🙂 He is #29 in Tim’s Prospect Book. That doesn’t bode well. And, he hasn’t done anything to merit moving up. After the draft, he may completely drop out of the Top 30?

        If he hadn’t been given a million bucks, I doubt if he’d be getting mentioned.

    • The Runs man, the runs….

  • Just curious, what’s holding Bell back from AAA? Is it at bats, defense, power? I’ve seen it stated from multiple sources that they aren’t concerned with power yet, so I’m wondering. He seems to be putting up the kind of numbers that make you think he’s ready for the next step. I’ve yet to see him play so I wouldn’t know first hand.

    • Kerry: I was thinking the same thing. All the boxes seem to have been checked and learning how to play 1B is not a skill relegated just to AA. Since baseball leans heavily on confidence, I have always advocated moving kids on a high, and he has more than proven his bat at AA. Osuna is already at AA and ready to take over at 1B, and nobody worthwhile is at 1B at AAA.

      Is the Eastern League one of those leagues where the season is split into 2 halves and the winners of both playoff at the end of the year?

      THE DRAFT – Nikorak (if available); Garret Whitley (if available); Hooper

      • No, the EL isn’t a split season emjay.

      • and while learning to play first base isn’t relegated to AA, I played much better defense at first base as a high school senior than Bell is playing right now. In time, he will be 3 times better than I was defensively, but lets wait until he at least is as good as a division 3 first baseman before we take him up to AAA, okay?

    • Kerry/Emjay…I trust the Bucs development system. We may see Josh up at Indy for the last month and then start there in 2016?

    • meatygettingsaucy
      June 7, 2015 11:52 am

      probably the defensive portion. Having seen Bell a few times this season, he’s improving around the bag but still isn’t yet where he needs to be. If he’s the first baseman of the future for the Pirates, they are probably going to make sure he’s comfortable before thrusting him up another level

    • Kerry- His lack of defense and lack of showing in game power. If they bring him up to AAA then there will be too much pressure to bring him to ML early. The Pirates focus more on development in AA than they do in AAA, so as long as he is “a work in progress” they will keep him in Altoona

  • Thanks tim, hope you have plenty to write about for the next couple of days.

    • Yep, my favorite tie “down on the farm” is the period of Draft to Trade Deadline.