Josh Bell Among Top Prospects in the International League

Baseball America has released their final league top 20 prospect list and Josh Bell is the lone representative from Indianapolis on the International League list. He just barely qualified for the list, reaching the minimum plate appearances needed halfway into the last game of the regular season.

Bell was rated 12th overall in the league, eight spots ahead of where he was rated on the Eastern League list. His lack of in-game power and poor defense hold him back in the rankings, but Bell had an impressive overall season at the plate. He hit .347/.441/.504 in 35 games for Indianapolis, then hit .444 in eight playoff games. Prior to being promoted, Bell had an .803 OPS in 96 games with Altoona. He committed a total of 16 errors on the season and looked shaky at first base in the playoffs, so he still has work to do before he is Major League ready on defense.

Bell will also need to work on his right-handed swing before he gets promoted to Pittsburgh. He had a .632 OPS from that side in 157 plate appearances this year. He hasn’t hit a homer from the right side since June of 2014. Since the Pirates don’t have a spot for a lefty DH, that means he will need at least a couple months at Indianapolis before he is ready for the big show.

Tyler Glasnow didn’t pitch enough to qualify for the list and Alen Hanson was left off the top twenty. You can see all the previous league rankings from Baseball America below. The Pirates had at least one player make each list.

Altoona

Bradenton

West Virginia

Morgantown

Bristol

GCL Pirates

  • I like Meadows better fwiw.

    Power bat, great attitude (not that Josh’s isn’t), smooth, smooth swing.

  • When does switch-hitting no longer make sense? I wonder why both Neil and Josh don’t give up the right-side. At some point it just isn’t worth it.

  • Let’s get the KBL First baseman and move him back to the outfield. Have him play right-field. Trade Polanco and his lackadaisical play.

    • lackadaisical? Since when?

    • People wanted to trade Marte a couple of years ago too…

      • Name the last first basemen this team had that actually produced defensive and offensive results. Bell is not the answer. We have a number of prospects in the OF. Think what this team could have done with a good first base the last three years. The platoon experiment has not worked. Bell has not shown any consistency at first.

        • Absolutely absurd to even think about trading Polanco. With his frame, age, and athleticism I don’t think it is out of the question that he could be as good if not better then Andrew. I know that’s a bold statement. But throw the kid a bone, he’s only got 1 FULL season under his belt, he’s 24. Not everyone can be Kris Bryant and emediately find success.
          Patience!

        • I don’t disagree with you about first base at all. Trading Polanco is crazy though, he could have a huge year next year. I’d rather see them lock him up long term. I think you have to give Bell a long chance at 1b, his power should come around. Not many options out there for a good defensive power hitting first basemen…

          • Get used to that idea. If Polanco doesn’t sign an extension in the future, he will be gone when Meadows is ready.

    • He won’t have Meadows ceiling in the outfield.

    • I don’t know how you determine if a player can make a position move. Walker worked out, Pedro didn’t and Bell TBD. I have to think if they screw up Bell by moving him that will awful. He would have been an ok outfielder. From the time he was drafted the experts didn’t think Pedro was going to stick at 3b. I don’t recall hearing those same things about Bell and the OF. Do you think they explored trading him before converting him to a 1b?

  • John………I thought Bell was improving on his defense. I could’ve sworn there was an article here about that.

    Oh well….Pedro, Pt 2?

  • I’ve hoped for several years now that Walker would give up batting right handed as it’s hard to imagine him being worse against LHP even if he was batting left-handed. Perhaps that applies to Bell too. Seems obvious to me that there could be a net gain by focusing on only one swing even if it means facing same-handed pitchers.

    • I stated something like that here awhile back and the reply I got (which makes sense) is that they want him to switch hit as long as he can.

      I think Hanson needs to give up RH switch-hitting, also.

      To me, let them learn to hit lefties in the minors. OR…will they be even worse vs lefties batting LH?

      D**ned if you do, D**ned if you don’t.

    • Neil Walker right handed, ironically, is probably a pretty good comp for Josh Bell right handed. Plenty of contact, but a complete lack of power.

  • He’s 20th in the EL and 12 in the IL. Weird.

    • Go back and check the list of MLB prospects that were in the EL this past season. It was loaded everywhere.

  • Let’s all dream on Bell’s greatness and hope that he can be as good as Mark Grace was.

  • These are major issues with bell…the defense and total lack of power against lefties…still 16 errors is 7 less than Pedro right? Plus he is gonna give way more consistency than Pedro. He may need defensively replaced like Pedro…at least next year, and platooned a little too, but he’s got plenty of time to develop power and to hopefully develop into at least an average defender. I would settle for slightly below average if he becomes the .800-.850 ops guy he should become

    • re-sign SeanRod?

    • I don’t disagree with your assessment on his shortcomings. But I think once he comes up, he should play everyday. The platoon crap over there needs to end. Deal with his issues and let him learn.

      • Yeah. I agree. You don’t want to platoon a rookie completely but it will be nice having morse around to handle better than average lefties. If they have morse, they need to use him.

  • Is there any indication on how long it will take for Josh Bell to be an adequate defensive first basemen? Like any players who have made a move like this in the past?

    • See the Pedro Experiment.

      • I have to think that Bell can transition better then Pedro. He’ll also have had a full season and a half under his belt by the time he gets to the show. I’m done with Pedro Alvarez, but he did kind of get thrown into the fire. Bell doesn’t seem to have the mental problems that Pedro does.

        • It’s not at all a given that an outfielder can successfully transition to an infield position. Not even close. There’s a reason certain guys are outfielders, after all.

          • I hear you, but at this point don’t you have to give him a shot?

          • piraterican21
            October 12, 2015 1:33 pm

            1b is easy

          • Without convincing evidence showing Bell will fail to become an adequate first baseman, your statement comes across as FUD.

            Bell gets his chance, he makes good on it or not. We must wait to see what happens…

            …or we could trade our top-30 prospects to Arizona for Paul Goldschmidt.

            • The kid dropped an easy catch in the final game of the season, after an entire year of experience.

              If you don’t have at least a healthy dose of uncertainty surrounding his transition, I’ll take two of whatever you’re smoking.

              • My point: Uncertainty (risk) is given with every future event.

                Stating that Bell could fail to become an adequate defender entails stating a truism, something vacuous, and thus without significance.

  • Who has the better hit tool in the system, Bell, Ramirez, Meadows?

    • JMO, but it sounds like they ALL have an above average hit tool. If *I* had to rank them just on the reports I am seeing, I’d go:

      Bell (he’s done it at AAA)
      Meadows (more power than Ramirez)
      Ramirez

      But, I bet you could ‘throw a hat’ over them?

      • I think Meadows has the highest ceiling of the 3. I wouldn’t be surprised if Meadows is in AAA by the end of next year and knocking on the door by June, 2017.

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