Josh Bell
Pirates first baseman, Josh Bell isn’t just a good player. Bell has turned into one of the best hitters in baseball (Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

Prior to the start of the 2019 MLB Season, I wrote down breakout starts for every single team. Some of my best calls were Rafael Devers and predicting the Chris Archer heist package from the Pirates. My best call of all goes to Josh Bell who no one is talking about. The Pirates first baseman isn’t just a really good player, he has turned into one of the best hitters in the sport.

Bell has always been more of a line drive hitter with some natural power. Bell’s home run totals dipped from 26 to 12 a year ago. Now Bell has 10 already as of May 14th. Bell’s batting line of .319/.389/.659 puts him in the elite category. Why is no one talking about this guy?

The Pirates first baseman seems to have embraced the new era of hitting. It’s either that or Bell has just figured it out. Mike Petriello of MLB.com has some really interesting charts to look at.

Bell is hitting the ball harder and avoiding those ugly ground outs. While Bell is striking out more (22 percent from 18 percent) he’s still having a much better season.

The thing that makes Bell so unique is his switch-hitting ability. There’s not a ton of switch hitters in baseball to begin with. Pitching is so dominant in 2019 that it’s hard to hit on one side of the plate. Bell has somehow managed to perfect his swing on both sides.

Bell is much more dominant from the left side of the plate. Bell has slashed a .346 average against right-handed pitching. While he’s not nearly as good of a righthanded hitter, he’s still reaching base 34 percent of the time vs. lefties.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle has credited Bell for improving his swing and diving into analytics. That seems to be the most logical explanation because Bell looks like the same player. He’s just finally performing like a great player. Make no mistake about it, Josh Bell is the number one asset the Pittsburgh Pirates have.