I’m on the doorstep of completing my fourth month as host of the REX & RAY SHOW – and during this time, a few consistencies have proven dependable …..
Fans have never been warm to the idea of Garrett Atkins regaining his once promising stroke, in an Orioles uniform …..
Ravens faithful still want Matt Stover kicking for their team …..
And, Miguel Tejada is just a “stopgap” for uber-prospect JOSH BELL …..
That’s right, if we talk Orioles, Bell’s name is usually mentioned by those who are looking forward to 2011 and beyond. And, he’s always regarded as part of the FUTURE by devoted Orioles fans.
What accomplishment or achievement has caused so many people to invest an arbitrary plea of confidence in Josh Bell?
I don’t see it. In fact, I’ve never seen it. When Bell was served up as the barter for George Sherrill (who was valued as a setup man) I reasoned the Dodgers didn’t really covet the young infielder. And, they tossed in Steve Johnson, to boot.
When he arrived at Bowie, Bell owned a career .289 batting average in 1400 at-bats. He averaged a homerun in nearly every 30 trips to the plate. He displayed very little speed on the bases and his walk/strikeout rate was less than impressive.
As a Dodgers prospect, Bell sported a fielding percentage below .900 and an overwhelming amount of his errors were with the glove, as opposed to his arm. If you saw his glovework during Orioles Spring Training, you might think he’s a DH.
Umm …. go back two paragraphs. He’s not a DH, either.
This year, Josh Bell is getting his first taste of Triple-A pitching. At best, it’s fair to suggest he’s undisciplined. At worst, it’s equally fair to say he’s often overmatched.
He is averaging a strikeout in every 3.5 at-bats. And, his walk/strikeout totals are horrendous. He’s gone down on strikes 49 times, and walked just 8 times, in 178 at-bats.
Do notable Major League hitters strikeout so often? Yes – but they’re commonly hitting dozens of homeruns, per season. They’re also facing much better pitching.
You want examples? Sure …..
Jim Thome – strikes out once in every 3.3 at-bats. But, he also owns 569 homeruns.
Adam Dunn – strikes out once in every 3 at-bats. But, he homers in every 13 times at the plate.
Pat Burrell – strikes out once in every 3.5 at-bats. But, he also hit 267 homeruns in just over 10 seasons. He’s also 33 years old and looking for a job.
If you really want to see a mirrored image of Josh Bell’s minor league offensive statistics – but on the major league level, look no further than Jose Hernandez. He enjoyed 15 seasons in the big leagues.
However, Hernandez’s long tenure was much credited to stellar defense. And, he played a variety of positions. Unlike Hernandez, Bell is challenged defensively. In fact, he’s a poor fielder – period.
In a perfect world, Josh Bell would be deemed a major success if he turned out to have a career resembling Pat Burrell. The problem is he hasn’t displayed such credential throughout 5 years of lesser competitive baseball.
Worse yet, his defense cannot be tolerated at the Major League level. A fielding percentage south of .900 will absolutely LOSE BALLGAMES for a team.
Yet, the phone calls keep coming …..
Josh Bell is part of the Orioles future. Indeed, he probably is ….. and that’s a huge part of the organization’s problem.