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Josh Bell to play first base exclusively this winter

Jared Wickerham

Buried in Rob Biertempfel's recent article about first basemen is this tidbit about Josh Bell:

Tuesday, the Pirates announced Bell will play in the Arizona Fall League, which usually acts as a fast track to the majors. Stark told me Bell will play first base — exclusively — the next few months.

“It's one of those things,” Stark said. “We've been working him out at first base (at Altoona). We'll get him to Instructional League (in Florida) so he can actually play some games there at first base to prepare him (for the AFL). It's going to be first base only because we want to get him some reps there and see what we've got.”

This isn't surprising. Bell will probably start the 2015 season at Altoona, then move up to Indianapolis by about June if things go well. The Pirates will likely have him play outfield here and there, mostly in case they end up wanting to showcase him for a trade, or someone gets hurt, or Pedro Alvarez suddenly puts up numbers at first base that are too good to ignore.

Barring any of those scenarios, though, Bell will probably wind up as a first baseman. The Pirates still have what could be three star outfielders, all under control for at least the next four seasons after this one. They don't have that at first base, and Bell is getting close enough to the big leagues that the Bucs have to start thinking about where he's going to fit.