A loyal reader reached out this morning with a fantastic question:
When will Deadspin acknowledge the monster dingers being slugged by Josh Bell? Why must Deadspin hide his mighty works from its readers?
Friends, the time has come. Let us now marvel at the prodigious mashes of one Joshua Evan Bell, first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let us also recall that, before the season, Bell had been pooped on by a cowardly anonymous scout.
Bell jacked two more dongs in last night’s win against the Diamondbacks. He now has 12 on the young season, which puts him on pace for 50 for the year and ties him for fourth in the National League. Bell leads the NL in extra base hits (27), in addition to ranking fifth in batting average (.329) and offensive WAR (1.8); third in slugging (.692), total bases (101), and OPS (1,093); and second in RBIs (39). But those numbers only begin to describe the true blast prowess of Josh Bell. Because Josh Bell’s taters are massive.
Bell’s first wallop last night, which extended his MLB-leading hitting streak to 14 games, traveled an estimated 446 feet, per Statcast:
Which was a bloop compared to his second blast, a 460-footer that sailed deep into the desert night:
These were not anomalies. Bell’s big flies this season average a distance of 427 feet. That ranks tied for 13th in MLB, but it’s tops among the 16 players with at least 12 dingers. Per MLB.com’s Adam Berry, Bell has four dingers measuring 450 feet or longer, and no one else in the majors has more than two. Which means Bell is mashing bigger taters with greater frequency than anyone in baseball. He has also hit two of the three longest moon shots in the big leagues this year.
On April 7, there was this 474-foot drive:
And just last week, there was this 472-foot goner, which was just the fourth home run to land directly in the Allegheny River in the 19-year history of the Buccos’ ballpark:
Bell had struggled last year, with just 12 dongs and a slash line of .261/.357/.411 in 583 plate appearances. This after a 26-homer 2017 in which he finished third in rookie of the year balloting. Back in March, as part of Sports Illustrated’s season preview, an anonymous scout had this to say about Bell:
Josh Bell can’t play. He’s not a good defender. He’s a big lump. He has bad agility, bad footwork. He can’t run. Supposedly he’s a big power threat, but he hit 12 home runs at first base. This is not a kid! This is his third year in the big leagues! I don’t think he’s got the ability to get better.
Apparently that “big lump” does have “the ability to get better.” Bell is batting .421/.484/.860 with six dingers and 21 RBIs during his current hitting streak. Let us not hide Josh Bell’s mighty works any longer.
h/t to CM