Pirates Prospect Interview: Josh Bell

Outfielder Josh Bell was the Pirates minor league player of the year after he hit a combined .325 with 22 doubles, four triples, nine home runs and 60 RBI between Single-A Bradenton and Double-A Altoona this year. Bell also won Florida State League Player of the Year honors. Bell is playing in the Arizona Fall League this off-season where he will begin the process of learning to play first base.

GVB – You are batting .273 with Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League and playing exclusively at first base, how is the transition to first base coming along?

JB – It’s coming a lot easier now than I thought it would. It’s definitely different because you have to be on your toes a little bit more, but it’s not that much different than hitting, in my eyes. The ball coming off the bat that quickly toward you, it’s kind of similar to being in the box and having the ball, curve balls and change ups and fastballs coming at you.

GVB – You were named Pirates' minor league player of the year, were you excited about winning that award?

JB – It's definitely an honor and I was definitely excited about it.

GVB – You worked very hard during the off season to prepare for this season. All that hard work paid off didn't it?

JB – It's awesome to see hard work pay off. It's one of those things where I had my off days in the off season and I still had to get up and do something, whether it was sit ups or just heading out to the gym with my dad. It boiled down to just working hard everyday and it seemed to pan out this year.

GVB – You made a move up to Double A Altoona during the season. There was a bit of an adjustment there, was it difficult?

JB – It was definitely a learning curve. A little bit more break in the breaking balls, they were throwing for strikes a little bit more, but it just took a little bit of time to get used to it. Towards the end of the season I really felt good and I really felt comfortable in the box and you could see I was getting back to my old tendencies in the Florida State League.

GVB – What pleased you the most about this past season?

JB – Last year the one thing that ate me up was striking out. That's one thing that I don't want to be a big part of my game, so I cut it down this year. I don't know how many I had, but I definitely cut it down. That's just one thing that I worked toward during this off season knowing that in my two strike approach I can always put the ball in play as hard as I could. I don't know what my batting average was with two strikes, but I'm pretty sure that it was pretty high this year, a lot higher than last year. That's one thing that I was pretty excited about.

GVB – Playing first base is adding another tool to your tool box isn't it?

JB – Exactly, it's one of those things where it's not going to hurt me in the future knowing another position. If I can play first base one day and play outfield the next it's great for me and hopefully I can just add that to my arsenal.

GVB – Everybody in the back of their mind has a timetable, do you feel good about where you are in your progress through the Pirates' minor league system?

JB – Yeah, I feel great. This off season is going to be a huge one for me. I'm going to take everyday and work as hard as I can. That's one thing that I know that I can do is work hard, harder than the next guy. I'm going to put my head down and really grind it out this off season and hopefully I turn out and become a great first baseman next year in the spring.


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