Just a few comments here, since there’s been some limited discussion online about Josh Bell’s first few games. I saw three of the four games that West Virginia played in their opening series at Hagerstown. Bell obviously didn’t have a great series, going 3-17 with eight strikeouts. Just as obviously, it’s premature to be making any judgments. He’s getting his first taste of pro ball against players who mostly have already had 1-3 pro seasons, and in many cases have played college or junior college ball as well. I know everybody understands that.
My own opinion from having watched him is that the speed of the game is more than he’s used to. In his first game, he struggled with a stream of changeups. In his second game, he was swinging through fastballs over the plate. His strike zone judgment for the most part has looked fine; he’s just swinging through pitches he probably should hit. I didn’t see the third game of the series, but in the last game he struck out only once, again swinging through fastballs.
When Bell did hit the ball, he hit it to the opposite field every time in the games I saw. I noticed the same trend in spring training, too. My sense is that he’s just swinging a bit late. It’s definitely not a question of bat speed, which in his case is exceptional. He has a very quick bat. I just think he hasn’t quite caught up to the speed of the game in full season ball, which is quite a ways removed from high school.