Pirates Prospect Interview: Josh Bell

Pirates prospect Josh Bell is headed back to the All Star Futures Game. He also will play in the Eastern League All Star game. Bell is batting .310 with three home runs and 46 RBI. PiratesDugout.com caught up with Bell recently.

PD -- What was your reaction when you heard you were going back to the Futures Game?

JB -- Tom Prince called me into his office and told me that we're both going to going there. It was incredible news, going last year was incredible. For them to pick me again is great.

PD -- Was this different for you this time?

JB -- I'm sure it's going to be a little bit different playing at first base. It will be pretty cool to work over there with Olsen of the Athletics, I know he's a stud so maybe I can pick up a couple of things from him, a couple pointers, but I can't wait to just soak it all up.

PD -- You are making the transition to first base, how has that transition been going?

JB -- It's gone well. I feel like I've made strides from last fall when I started getting my first reps over there. Kevin Young and Gary Green have really been helping me out. I've been getting a lot of work in and I think I'm at the point where I feel more comfortable over there in every situation and I'm just trying to be that everyday first baseman.

PD -- You are among the league leaders in the Eastern League in hitting and RBI, on the surface it looks like the move to first has not had a bad impact on your bat. Was it difficult to separate the two?

JB -- Not really, I feel like I just try to be a sponge out there and try to soak up as much as I can, but in regards to barrell up the baseball that's something I've been doing my whole life, so that come as second nature to me. But everyday I just try to work hard and get better and for the most part I've been doing that.

PD -- Tom Prince is the first year manager at Altoona, what has that experience been like for you?

JB -- It's my second year playing for him, last year I was able to soak up a lot of playing the game the right way and just all those years in the big leagues I'm just trying to soak everything that he has. We're making a run for the playoffs. It's great having him.

PD -- At first talk about the infielders you have been working with in Altoona?

JB -- Gift Ngoepe was here and he's an incredible athlete and he's gotten balls that nobody in the ballpark can get to, the plays that he makes on a regular basis are incredible. He's definitely the best shortstop I've ever played with. I tried to take what I could from Gift. He's taught me a lot with footwork and how the glove works toward the ball, and I try to really apply that. The ball just gets on you like that. You've got to be quick on your toes, got to be balanced in a ready position as the pitch crosses the plate. It's just reading that ball off the bat and getting that first good step in before I move the glove toward the ball."

PD -- Your body screams slugger, but you've only hit three home runs, but you've smacked a career high six triples. What is your take on your power numbers?

JB -- A couple of more feet and it's a home run, but I'll take a triple as well. As I get older I know that they're just going to come. In my younger years I tried to press and hit home runs -- that's where the swings and misses come. As I pick my swings more maturely, I feel that I can pick my spots.

PD -- How do you feel about your progress, do you get caught up in the fans hype of trying to push you and promote you to Triple A, do you feel like you are close?

JB -- For the most part down here we feel like we're part of a winning atmosphere and I'm just trying to contribute to that everyday. We're just trying get wins here in Altoona and I get a smile on my face when leave the park and the line on that scoreboard shows a win. That's what I'm focused on right now.


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