A couple months ago, as various publications were putting out their season previews, Sports Illustrated briefly captured our collective attention when it quoted an anonymous scout who seemed to really have it in for Pirates first baseman Josh Bell. The scout said, “Josh Bell can’t play. He’s not a good defender. He’s a big lump. He has bad agility, bad footwork. He can’t run. Supposedly he’s a big power threat, but he hit 12 home runs at first base. This is not a kid! This is his third year in the big leagues! I don’t think he’s got the ability to get better.”
By the way, the scout railed against Bell when asked other questions that weren’t even about the first baseman. He said Bell was the Pirates’ biggest bust candidate, called him a “5 o’clock hitter,” (meaning Bell hits well in batting practice but not in games) suggested he wouldn’t want Bell in his clubhouse, and wouldn’t want Bell at the plate in a season-definining moment. When asked which player is the Pirates’ most underrated, the scout named Adam Frazier, saying, “He hit 10 home runs in half the at-bats of Bell and is a pretty good contact hitter.”
Talk about quotes that haven’t aged well. Bell, 26, entered Wednesday afternoon’s game against the Diamondbacks batting .329/.401/.692 with 12 home runs and 39 RBI in 167 plate appearances. Across a full season, he’s on pace for 50 home runs. He’s 2-for-3 with a double so far today.
Frazier, entering Wednesday, was hitting .252/.314/.357 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 157 PA.