Bell was added to the 40-man roster Friday. Bell had a very impressive campaign once being promoted to Triple-A in 2015, slashing .347/.441/.504 in 35 games. The 23-year-old could make the big league roster at some point in 2016, but the move also ensures he'll be protected from the Rule 5 draft.
Pirates top-100 prospect Josh Bell might not have great power numbers at Double-A Altoona in 2015, but he is still having a pretty good year offensively. The 22-year-old prospect is batting .312 with a .380 on-base percentage and .811 OPS in 80 games. However, he has just four home runs and a .431 slugging percentage. The 2011 second-round pick has totaled six triples, 13 doubles, 51 RBI, 38 runs, five stolen bases, 37 walks and 40 strikeouts. After beginning his career as a right fielder, Bell has primarily played at first base in 2015. He has started 70 games at first base and nine at DH. Although, he has had some defensive issues at first base, committing 13 errors.
The Pirates are determined to find out if premier prospect Josh Bell can fill their longstanding hole at first base. That's why he's playing that position in the Arizona Fall League. Bell split the first 10 games at designated hitter and first base, where he has already committed four fielding errors. His unfamiliarity with the position has proven problematic. "Getting to feel overall comfortable has been the biggest challenge," Bell told MLB.com. "I'm sure that will come with reps. When I get more playing time, I'll be able to just run with it, react. It's definitely something different. You're a lot more active. It keeps you more in the game, always on your toes." Bell is coming off another strong year offensively, batting .325 with nine home runs, 60 RBI and nine stolen bases at the Class A Advanced and Double-A levels combined.
The Pirates are emerging as a dark-horse candidate to acquire Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, major-league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The Red Sox are targeting multiple high-end prospects in exchange for Lester. The Pirates have a deep farm system and outfield prospect Josh Bell is one name at the center of the trade talks.
Pirates outfield prospect Josh Bell, who was limited to 15 games in 2012 because of a torn meniscus in his left knee, has his career back on track. The 2011 second-round pick leads the South Atlantic League in RBI (21) and doubles (10). "Last year was frustrating, but it's just part of playing the game," Bell said to MLB.com. "Injuries happen, and I just tried to take it day-by-day and do what I could to get back on the field. I'm back now, and I feel good about the way everything is going." Bell has had hot and cold streaks, but he's batting .284 with a .519 slugging percentage and .844 OPS in 18 games. He's added three home runs and 17 runs. "I'm seeing the ball really well right now and discovering what I can and can't do against some very good pitchers," Bell said. "I know I have a lot of things to work on, but it's definitely a better feeling to be on the field and playing compared to what I experienced last season." Bell is considered the Pirates' sixth-best prospect by MLB.com.