Coming into this year, people wondered if Josh Bell could become a power hitter again. Turns out he can, and those home runs have been some of the most gobsmacking in baseball.
On Thursday, Bell became just the fourth player in PNC Park’s history to hit the Allegheny River on the fly.
That shot traveled 472 feet. If you only watched his postgame presser and not the game itself, you might get the sense that he hit a home run, but maybe not one of that magnitude.
“It was awesome,” Bell said. “Got the pitch right where I wanted, didn’t have to redirect at all.
“I feel like I’m in a good place. If I put my swing on it, the ball will go. Biggest part of the game is confidence.”
Amazingly, that wasn’t even his longest homer of the year. A month earlier, he took a pitch over the batter’s eye. That ball went 474 feet.
Unsurprisingly, those are two of the longest home runs in baseball this year.
And once you factor in this “measly” 451 footer he hit against the Athletics…
...he becomes the first player in baseball this year to hit three homers over 450 feet.
The league, and his teammates, are taking notice.
“It’s incredible. I’m so glad he’s on our team,” Nick Kingham said. “You see [Christian] Yelich and [Cody] Bellinger and all those people that are doing incredible streaks and hitting the ball like crazy? Watch out for this guy. Seriously, he’s doing incredible things. He’s barreling the ball every time he swings the bat. It’s really fun to watch.”
Bell has always had power, but those three homers are the longest of his career.
His homers are traveling further on average than year’s past, putting him near the top of the league, too.
While these gargantuan shots are Prime-A highlight reel material, Bell is already up to nine home runs this season- just three off his 2018 total. It seems safe to say he’s quelled those concerns over his power.
“Consistency of his approach, I think, more than anything. He hasn’t wavered,” manager Clint Hurdle said on what the biggest difference is for Bell. “It hasn’t changed lanes after something, one way or the other. I think he found something last September that played out well for him, that gave him some confidence going into the winter and into Spring Training.
“He was able to stay steadfast in what he wanted to do, and it’s playing out for him through the first part of the season.”