Josh Bell (baseball, born 1992)

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Josh Bell
Josh Bell in 2017 (35110079946).jpg
Bell with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017
Washington Nationals – No. 19
First baseman
Born: (1992-08-14) August 14, 1992 (age 28)
Irving, Texas
Bats: Switch Throws: Right
MLB debut
July 8, 2016, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
MLB statistics
(through April 15, 2021)
Batting average.261
Home runs86
Runs batted in311
Career highlights and awards

Joshua Evan Bell[1] (born August 14, 1992) is an American professional baseball first baseman for the Washington Nationals of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has also played in MLB for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bell made his MLB debut in 2016.

Drafted by the Pirates in the second round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft out of Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Bell received a $5 million signing bonus, a record for a player outside of the first round, to bypass his college baseball scholarship to the University of Texas at Austin. He played in MLB for the Pirates from 2016 through 2020, and was an All-Star in 2019. After the 2020 season, the Pirates traded Bell to the Nationals.

Amateur career[edit]

Joshua E. Bell attended Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas in Dallas, Texas.[2] In his senior season at Jesuit, he had a .548 batting average and 1.054 slugging percentage with 13 home runs, 54 runs batted in and 54 runs scored.[2] He was named to the USA Today All-USA high school baseball team and was also named the Gatorade/ESPN Rise Texas Player of the Year.[3]

Bell committed to attend the University of Texas at Austin on a scholarship that would allow him to play college baseball for the Texas Longhorns baseball team in the Big 12 Conference.[3] Baseball America rated Bell as the nation's top corner outfielder available in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft. However, Bell sent a letter to the Commissioner of Baseball's office, indicating that teams should not select him, because he would follow through with his commitment to Texas, and would not sign a professional contract if drafted.[4]

The Pirates drafted Bell in the second round (61st overall) of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft. Bell took twelve credits at the University of Texas and worked out with the team's strength and conditioning coach during the summer.[4] Bell and the Pirates agreed to a contract with a $5 million signing bonus shortly before the August 2011 signing deadline. The signing bonus was a record for a player drafted in the second round.[3] The Pirates gave out a record $17 million in signing bonuses to their 2011 draft class, surpassing the $11.93 million the Washington Nationals spent on their 2010 draft class.[5][6]

Professional career[edit]

Minor leagues[edit]

Bell with the Altoona Curve in 2015

The Pirates assigned Bell to work out with the State College Spikes, but as the season was ending, he did not appear in a game with the Spikes in 2011.[3] Bell participated in the Pirates' fall instructional league.[7] Bell was ranked the 69th best prospect in baseball by before the 2012 season.[7][8] He made his professional debut in 2012 with the West Virginia Power of the Class A South Atlantic League.[7] However, on April 24, 2012, Bell hit what would have been a double, but pulled up limping rounding first base, and was tagged out standing between first and second with an injury. Bell ended up having a partial tear of his meniscus, on the lateral part of the meniscus in his knee. Bell missed almost all of the 2012 minor league season, and was out longer than expected due to swelling in the injured knee.[9]

Bell again played for the West Virginia Power in 2013.[10] He batted .279 with 13 home runs, 76 RBIs, and 37 doubles in 119 games.[11] Bell opened the 2014 season with the Bradenton Marauders of the Class A-Advanced Florida State League (FSL), and appeared in the 2014 All-Star Futures Game.[12] After hitting .335 with nine home runs and 35 RBIs for Bradenton in 84 games, the Pirates promoted Bell to the Altoona Curve of the Class AA Eastern League on July 17. In 24 games for Altoona, he batted .287/.343/.309. After the season, he was named the FSL Player of the Year. The Pirates assigned Bell to the Arizona Fall League after the 2014 season, where he played exclusively as a first baseman, due to the Pirates carrying Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, and Gregory Polanco in their major league outfield.[13][14][15]

The Pirates assigned Bell to Altoona to start the 2015 season. He was chosen to represent the Pirates at the 2015 All-Star Futures Game.[16] At the end of July, the Pirates promoted Bell to the Indianapolis Indians of the Class AAA International League.[17][18] In 96 games for Altoona, he batted .307 with five home runs and 60 RBIs. He batted .347 with two home runs, 18 RBIs, and a .441 on-base percentage in 145 plate appearances with Indianapolis, and the Pirates added Bell to their 40-man roster after the season.[19]

Pittsburgh Pirates[edit]

Bell began the 2016 season with Indianapolis. After batting .324 with a .407 on-base percentage in 83 games for the Indians, the Pirates promoted Bell to the major leagues on July 8.[20] He made his MLB debut that night as a pinch hitter, and hit a grand slam in his second MLB at-bat on July 9.[21] He was optioned back to Indianapolis on July 16, and recalled once again on August 20. In 128 at-bats for Pittsburgh, Bell batted .273 with three home runs and 19 RBIs.

On February 1, 2017, Bell underwent left knee surgery,[22] but did not go on the disabled list or miss any games. On September 4, Bell broke the National League record for most home runs by a rookie switch hitter, hitting his 24th of the season off of Jake Arrieta, in a 12–0 Pirates' rout of the Chicago Cubs[23] He was one of three finalists for the 2017 Rookie of the Year award along with Cody Bellinger and Paul DeJong,[24] and finished in third place in the balloting.[25] Bell finished the season with a .255 batting average, 26 home runs and 90 RBIs.[26] In 2018, he batted .261 with 12 home runs and 62 RBIs.[27]

On May 8, 2019, Bell became the fourth player in PNC Park history to hit a ball directly into the Allegheny River; the ball traveled 472 feet (144 m) with an exit velocity of 114.9 miles per hour (184.9 km/h).[28] Bell was elected to his first MLB All-Star Game on June 30, 2019.[29] At the time of the All-Star Game, Bell was batting .302 with 27 home runs and an MLB-leading 84 RBIs.[27][30] Bell also participated in the 2019 Home Run Derby where he was eliminated in the first round.[31] Bell struggled in the second half of the season, batting .233 with 10 home runs, to finish the season with a .277 average, 37 home runs, and 116 RBIs.[32]

Bell and the Pirates agreed to a $4.8 million salary for the 2020 season.[33] During the season, which was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bell hit .226 with eight home runs and 22 RBIs.[34]

Washington Nationals[edit]

On December 24, 2020, the Pirates traded Bell to the Washington Nationals in exchange for Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Josh Bell". Retrosheet. Retrieved August 8, 2019. Full name Joshua Evan Bell
  2. ^ a b "Pirates sign top two draft picks". August 16, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Cipriano, Guy (August 31, 2011). "High pick to join Spikes | Sports". Archived from the original on May 27, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Biertempfel, Rob (August 20, 2011). "For draft pick Bell, Pirates were best option – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review". Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  5. ^ Langosch, Jennifer (August 16, 2011). "Pirates ink No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole, second-rounder Josh Bell". Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  6. ^ "Pirates think big and spend big in draft". USA Today. August 16, 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Langosch, Jennifer (January 24, 2012). "Jameson Taillon leads Pittsburgh Pirates prospects among's Top 100". Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "2012 Prospect Watch". Retrieved February 8, 2012.
  9. ^ Williams, Tim (July 26, 2012). "Why Has Josh Bell's Rehab Taken So Long?". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Sanserino, Michael (May 29, 2013). "Pirates Josh Bell: His message rings loud, clear". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  11. ^ "Pipeline Perspectives: Bell ready to join Top 100". Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  12. ^ "MLB Futures Game: Elite Pirates prospect Josh Bell hitting stride". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  13. ^ "Bell on the move". Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  14. ^ "Josh Bell to play first base exclusively this winter". Yahoo Sports. August 31, 2014. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  15. ^ Singer, Tom (August 26, 2014). "Crowded outfield: Josh Bell moving to first base". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  16. ^ Berry, Adam (June 25, 2015). "Pirates' Bell, Diaz tabbed for Futures Game: First baseman makes return trip, while catcher selected for first time". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "Pirates promote Josh Bell to Class AAA Indianapolis". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  18. ^ "Top prospects Josh Bell, Tyler Glasnow on display in Class AAA". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
  19. ^ Brink, Bill (November 20, 2015). "Pirates add four to 40-man roster". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  20. ^ Nesbitt, Stephen J. (July 8, 2016). "Pirates promote first baseman prospect Josh Bell; Tyler Glasnow sent down". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  21. ^ Bahr, Chris (July 10, 2016). "Watch Pirates stud prospect Josh Bell blast a grand slam in his second MLB at-bat". Fox Sports. Retrieved July 10, 2016.
  22. ^ "Josh Bell Undergoes Knee Surgery". CBS Pittsburgh. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  23. ^ "Josh Bell Breaks National League Record, Pirates Rout Cubs 12–0". KDKA-TV. September 4, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
  24. ^ "2017 MLB awards finalists: Trout, Arenado, Blackmon miss out on top-three MVP finish". CBS. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  25. ^ Berry, Adam (November 13, 2018). "Bell finishes 3rd in NL Rookie of the Year voting". Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  26. ^ "Bell crushes long homer as snow falls at PNC". Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  27. ^ a b "How Bucs' faith put Bell on road to stardom". Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  28. ^ Berry, Adam (May 8, 2019). "Bucs' Bell makes splash with 472-ft. HR into river". Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  29. ^ Wilborn, Nubyjas (June 30, 2019). "Pirates first baseman Josh Bell is a National League All-Star". Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  30. ^
  31. ^ Berry, Adam (July 9, 2019). "Bell blasts 18 but exits HR Derby after one round". Retrieved July 9, 2019.
  32. ^
  33. ^ "All-Star Bell gets raise to $4.8M from Pirates". January 10, 2020. Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  34. ^ "Historically bad Pirates season could be start of model that worked for winning MLB teams |". Retrieved December 24, 2020.
  35. ^ "Nationals acquire 1B Bell in trade with Pirates". December 24, 2020.

External links[edit]