Josh Bell’s Unlimited Potential Is Truly Emerging | Washington Nationals Slugger Bringing Big Stick Energy
Josh Bell has put up video game-like numbers through the first three months of the MLB season as a consistent force in the Washington Nationals lineup.
Bell has elevated himself among the upper echelon of first baseman in almost every hitting category. MLB’s only Black starting first baseman is becoming its biggest commodity.
Through 20 games in June, Bell is batting .282 with 16 RBI, seven home runs and a .634 slugging percentage – all while serving as lineup protection behind one of the best young players in the Majors, Juan Soto.
Entering Thursday, Bell leads the Nationals in batting average, RBI, on base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS while being second in homers, hits and walks. He’s hit 21 home runs since last year’s trade deadline – good for second on the team, only trailing Soto.
Last week he put on a clinic against Phillies pitching. It was not his first time doing so against his divisional rival. He hit four home runs in a three-game span during the five-game series to go along with six RBI.
Now, he has an average of .293 with eight home runs, 23 RBI and 12 runs scored in just 21 games against Philidelphia.
That is just one example Bell’s success since he was traded to the National League East before the 2021 season. The former Pittsburgh Pirate second-round pick in the 2011 MLB Draft has had a career resurgence since coming to the nation’s capital.
During the Covid-shortened 2020 season, he hit just .226 with eight home runs and 22 runs batted in. Fast forward to 2021. Bell raised all those numbers finishing with a .261 average, 27 home runs and 88 RBI.
This season, it looks like Bell is on track to set career highs in multiple hitting categories. It’s taking the rest of the league some time to catch onto Bell’s magnificent growth. He is currently ninth in All-Star voting for National League first baseman, even though he’s top five for most statistics.
It would be the second time he made the All-Star team in his career. The first was in 2019, when he finished with a career-high 37 home runs and 116 RBI.
As we get closer towards baseball’s midsummer classic, the August trade deadline looms not too far away on the horizon.
Keibert Ruiz and Josh Bell perfectly executed the pickoff play to get Rhys Hoskins pic.twitter.com/qot1S3Z1nJ
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) June 17, 2022
Bell, a 29-year-old switch-hitting first baseman in the final year of his contract, has shown he can be a plus defender over the years. He will be on the wish-list of just about every team in the Majors near the deadline.
He already has a nice payday coming his way this off-season regardless of destination, but it will be great for Black baseball to see Bell get a chance to compete and make an impact during the playoffs. Put his immense talents on display for the entire baseball world.
Bell will get the chance to continue his hot streak when the Nationals go to his home state of Texas for a three-game set against Marcus Semien’s Texas Rangers.
This is going to be a big year for Washington Nationals first baseman Josh Bell, as he’s in the final year of his contract.
All eyes will be on our MLBbro as the Nationals will decide whether or not to keep him or let him go.
While his future is uncertain, Bell is just focused on playing baseball and helping his team contend for a World Series.
“I feel like as baseball players, we know that…every time that we put on a jersey it’s one step closer to a time where we can’t put it on anymore and that’s the way I play the game,” Bell said in an article from nbcsports.com. “I’m not worried about the end of the season, I’m worried about today and not taking anything for granted.”
That’s the best approach a player can take and for Bell, he knows he can’t control what happens in the future.
What he can do is hit and hit far. That is what the hard-hitting lefty is known for throughout the league.
Through the Nationals first five games of the season, the 29-year-old has hit safely in each game, boasting a .333 average with four RBI and a home run.
"Up, back, and let it fly!" 🗣
Josh Bell hit an absolute DINGER!
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 9, 2022
This is the player the Nationals want to see and a big reason they acquired him in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2020.
Even though the team has yet to reach out to him regarding his future, he has made it known that he enjoys playing in the nation’s capital.
“Nope, but we’ll see what happens,” Bell said. “I’d be open for the conversation, for sure. I love D.C. but just trying to stay focused on ball for now.”
If Bell can continue to produce at the plate, the Nationals will have to strongly consider keeping him around.
Let’s be real here, Bell can be a valuable asset to any team he plays for. With him in D.C., he adds more power in the team’s offense to go alongside Juan Soto.
In his first season with the Nationals, he hit .261 with 27 home runs and 88 RBI through 144 games.
Those are solid numbers he put up and he’s looking to have an even better season in 2022. Bell can get back to that All-Star caliber player he was back in 2019 when he was with the Pirates.
Let’s go back and look at his numbers from that season. At the time of the All-Star Game, he batted .302 with 27 home runs and a MLB-leading 84 RBI.
Bell slowed down during the second half of the season and finished with a .277 batting average with 37 home runs and 116 RBI.
Numbers like that can make an impact on a team and that’s a big reason he was named an All-Star that year.
The Nationals will have a big decision to make this year and all eyes will certainly be on Bell and how he performs in D.C.
After playing 552 games as a member of the Pirates, Josh Bell made his return to the Burgh over the weekend and highlighted it with a moonshot home run.
Yinz got class.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 10, 2021
Josh Bell was back in the Steel City where his Major League career began back in 2016 and Bucco Nation made sure to show him plenty of love.
They greeted the Nationals first baseman with a standing ovation before his first PNC Park at bat as a member of the road team.
Yinz knew it was comin'…
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 11, 2021
Bell hit 86 home runs and drove in 309 runs during his five years with the Pirates, and in the sixth inning of Friday night’s game he proved his comfort in the Pittsburgh batters box by hitting a solo home run to extend Washington’s lead to 3-1.
However that lead would not stand up for long: Pirates MLBbro Anthony Alford answered Bell’s bomb with a homer of his own to cut the deficit to one, then later on in the game, their young phenom Ke’Bryan Hayes sent folks home happy with the first walk off hit of his career.
— MLBbro.com (@MLBbrodotcom) September 11, 2021
During the weekend series Bell was 3-for-9 with five walks, two runs and that home run as his Nationals could only salvage one win out of the three games.
Bell finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in 2017 and was named as an All-Star for the Pirates in 2019. That year he hit .277 with career highs in home runs, average, OPS, slugging percentage, hits, doubles and runs.
Josh Bell has hit 25 HRs in a season for the 3rd time in his @MLB career.
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) September 9, 2021
That year was also Bell’s second time homering 25 or more times for the Pirates, and with him already passing that mark this season, he became just the second player in Major League history to hit 25 home runs for the Nationals/ Montreal Expos and the Pirates joining former first baseman Adam LaRoche.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) August 30, 2020
Bell is one of the few pieces that stayed in Washington after their fire sale during the trade deadline. His year started off slow as he only hit .113 for the month of April and has been fighting to rise the average ever since.
“I feel good as of late,” said Bell to reporters before Friday night’s game. “I had a really rough start that I had to work my way out of. Thank God it wasn’t a 60-game season again. I kind of turned things around.”
He signed a one-year deal with the Nationals this offseason and is now batting .253 with 26 home runs, a .813 OPS and 81 RBI.
He has definitely earned himself a payday after this season whether he gets it in D.C. or with a new franchise.
Bell is now chasing the 30-homer mark during this final month of the season. Showing those numbers during contract negotiations can only help his cause.
This week he and his Nationals will take on the “Bahamian Blur” Jazz Chisholm Jr. and the Miami Marlins.
MLBbro Josh Bell is riding an eight-game hitting streak. The Washington Nationals’ big bopper is batting .379 (11-for- 29) with 7 RBI, 3 HR and wielding a .724 slugging percentage during this stretch.