Josh Bell became a switch-hitter when he was in grade school. His father, Earnest, played wide receiver and starred in track at USC and saw his son’s coordination and thought teaching him to be a switch hitter might be beneficial.
Fast forward to 2017, Bell is in his first full Major League Baseball season with the National League Central Pittsburgh Pirates.
Not as many baseball fans hear about Bell due to playing in Pittsburgh but the 25-year old is now third amongst all rookies in the majors in home runs with 22. He leads the rookies in the National League in hits with 118 and walks with 54 and is second in total bases with 220.
Bell’s 76 RBIs are the most for a rookie with Pittsburgh since 2004 when Jason Bay had 82.
Most seasons, those numbers might label the player as the front runner for the Rookie of the Year, but this season is not a good one for consistent and steady.
Bell has flown under the ROY radar all season in part due to someone like Cody Bellinger of the Dodgers and his historic play through July and Rhys Hoskins in Philadelphia going on a home run barrage of unprecedented proportion.
Nevertheless, even with little or no media coverage outside Pittsburgh, Bell continues to be one of the few bright spots for Pittsburgh in what has become a disappointing year.
One person who is very impressed with Bell is Andrew McCutchen his teammate. McCutchen has watched how Bell grinds away daily and pays great attention to everything on the field and off.
Bell with his play this season passed both Gregory Polanco and Starling Marte, as the post-McCutchen face of the franchise designation for the Pirates.
McCutchen has admitted that he has not had to give that much advice to Bell, but insisting to the budding star that he does not have to feel he must do more, just continue doing what you have been doing this season.
He has given Bell advice each time a pitcher comes to the mound that Bell has not faced, but other than that, little else.
Since 2011, when Bell passed on an offer of a scholarship at the University of Texas, he has been under a microscope.
During his progression through the minors everyone noticed his ability to get the bat on the ball. During his minor league career he had 2,105 plate appearances and struck out just 305 times.
As McCutchen said, “the sky is the limit for Bell.”