Josh Bell Ready To Supply The Pirates With Power

Young Slugger Knows He Needs To Be Better

Eric Hagman
February 15, 2019 - 1:55 pm

Josh Bell, right, with Gregory Polanco ERIC HAGMAN 93.7 THE FAN

BRADENTON, FL (93.7 The Fan) - Pirates first baseman Josh Bell went from hitting 26 home runs in 2017 to 12 last season. His RBI total dropped from 90 to 62.

 Bell blames no one but himself. "I just think mechanically I wasn't sound," Bell said Friday at Pirate City, "After a year like last year I definitely have something to prove. Only having less than 70 RBIs, something had to change this off-season. I put in the work and I'm excited to get going."

Part of Bell's workout plan was to further develop his upper body.

"With my lifts I focused more on the power aspect," Bell said. "This is the strongest I've felt coming into camp pretty much ever. The swing feels good. It's one of those things where I know if I approach it the right way the power's going to come and if I stick to my approach the average should be there as well.”

It's Bell's approach at the plate, whether batting from the left side or the right, that is seemingly always changing--even from at bat to at bat.  He acknowledges he is a cerebral hitter, always contemplating changes. Late last season, manager Clint Hurdle told Bell, in no uncertain terms, that the never-ending adjustments in the batter's box had become counterproductive. 

"I feel like last year was the only down year that I've had," Bell said. "In the past everyone was like 'oh, you can do whatever you want and take whatever batting stances you want into the game and have success.' Hopefully, this year with the same set up I had the last month of the last year I'm going to have my two-strike approach, two-strike battle swings."

Bell also believes we will notice a difference in his swing left-handed vs right-handed.

"This is actually the first camp where I'm coming in with two drastically different approaches, two drastically different swings from both sides," Bell said. "It's kind of easier for me to focus on certain keys on one side and certain keys on the other. In the past, I've always tried to think about the same things from both sides, but based off my body mechanics I'm going to throw a right-handed upper cut a lot stronger than I throw a left-handed on.”

Bell will have two new hitting coaches in Rick Eckstein and assistant Jacob Cruz. In fact, he and Eckstein got a jump on things working in California. "He's just a workaholic," Bell said. "I'm excited to see 60 days into the season how we feel and how confident we are."

Bell wants to be a leader on this young team saying, "I'm excited to fall into that role."

He knows, however, he will be judged on his production.

"If you take the same season we had last year and add 15 more homers from me and 15 more from (Colin Moran), I think we're in the playoffs. We should be in a really good place at the all-star break and then see if we can make a push from there."

Hear the complete interview with Bell below.

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