For our MLBbro Josh Bell, this season has been the best of times and the worst of times in his time spent with two franchises in less than three months. MLBbro.com has followed this hulking DH/1B all season long as he tried to earn his next big contract extension.
Josh Bell was creating a blueprint for potential free agents in ways of increasing market value for the future. While the Washington Nationals made it clear they weren’t committing to a long-term deal for Bell concentrating totally on extending Juan Soto, our MLBbro was quietly having a breakout season at the plate, with stats that for a few weeks were in the neighborhood of MLBbro superstars, Mookie Betts and Aaron Judge.
But everything changed when Juan Soto turned down a 15-year, $440 million contract extension that spelled the end of his era with the Nationals. Even though it was a shock to some, it was small potatoes compared to the blockbuster trade that sent Juan Soto and Josh Bell to the San Diego Padres.
At the trade deadline, the Padres were running neck and neck for the NL West lead with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Since then, the Dodgers have run away with not only the division title but the best record in the majors. The Padres, on the other hand, are wondering how their division rivals can pick up a talent in Trayce Thompson for cash considerations while they nearly cleared out their cache of resources for the future.
To say that Josh Bell has struggled is being very kind. He has fallen into a slump much like he did in Washington during the pandemic season. Most of the bad habits that got him into trouble with constant strikeouts and grounding into double plays are back in full force. HE is clearly a different hitter than the one that departed from Washington as an optimistic baller killing it in his contract year. When he was traded, Bell was hitting .301. His batting average stands at .267 and he even benched himself after an 0-14 stretch in late September.
The comparison? After hitting 14 homers with a hitting slash of .301/.384/.493 in 103 games in Washington, Bell has bottomed out to a slash of .185/.302/.272 in 47 games with San Diego. His playing time has been slashed as well sitting out six of a recent 12-game stretch.
But even though our MLBbro has had a rough start in San Diego to close out the season, there’s always the postseason. That’s where MLBbro icon Reggie Jackson has historically shown all baseball fans that legends are made.
Bell Could Turn It Around During Postseason
The postseason could be the chance Josh Bell is looking for. First, he has to stay mentally strong and stick to his philosophy that he shared with masnsports.com earlier this season…
“If I was struggling, I’d be looking for answers, Bell said. “And right now, it’s just trusting the mentality. I know if I have a swing that I like, it’s kind of looking at where the pitch was. But for the most part, my swing itself has stayed the same, even on different contact points. That’s where I want to be.”
MLBbro.com broke down Josh Bell’s swing earlier this season. He made a crucial adjustment with his swing that broke him out of a slump that carried on for nearly a calendar year. When he changed the trajectory of his swing plane and launch angle by a few degrees, it allowed him to use the total field by being an effective opposite-field hitter.
What will get Josh Bell back into rhythm is figuring out his timing on breaking balls from right-handed pitching from the left side of the plate. That’s something Josh notices and is working on via The San Diego Tribune last week.
“Last year I was on time for the slider, on top of the change-up a little better and driving fastballs more to the opposite field,” Bell said. “This year I’ve been on the ground a little bit more pull-side, especially with the shift. That’s not where I need to be.”
“Diving too much into mechanics and I can kind of get stuck up there, but when I’m feeling right and when I can get off the machine and kind of dance a little bit and feel confident up there. That’s when good things happen in the game. So I feel confident right now.
“I just gotta be on time for the fastball and be ready to pull the trigger and if I can do that, then good things can happen.”
Yes, it can for our MlBbro because he’s capable of hitting three home runs in a game, just like Reggie Jackson.