Concluding my posts on the future of the Pirates outfield where I have already looked at Robbie Grossman and Starling Marte, I will now take a look at 2011 2nd round draft pick Josh Bell. Josh Bell was seen as a top 10 talent in the 2011 draft, but sent out a letter to teams stating he intended to go to college and did not want to be drafted. With the 1st pick of the 2nd day, Pirates GM Neal Huntington selected Josh Bell with the intent to get him signed. Recognizing that the new CBA rules would limit the amount of money the Pirates could spend in the amateur draft, the Pirates figured that worst case scenario they would have a protected pick for the 2012 class.
In the final seconds of the signing deadline the Pirates announced that they had agreed to a $5 million signing bonus with Bell. It was the largest signing bonus ever given to a 2nd round draft pick. This has lead to many of the large market teams saying it was unfair what the Pirates did. I say thanks for paying 2/3 of AJ Burnett's salary to those large market teams.
Josh Bell 2011 Elite Extra Edition Elite Series AUTO 48/50
I think that the new CBA rules lack any sense of reasonability though. The Pirates in 2011 had the 8th worse record in all baseball, but get the 16th most draft pool money. How is that fair? Every team in their division gets more money to allocate towards the draft including the World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals. Personally, I think Bud Selig just has it out for the Pirates. That's the end of my rant.
Josh Bell 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition AUTO 136/692
We now return to our regularly scheduled program. Pirates Future Outfielders Part 3
Josh Bell profiles as a power switch hitting right fielder. In his senior season at Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas, Bell hit .548 with 54 RBI and 54 Runs scored while only striking out 5 times in 147 plate appearances. He also hit 14 HRs his senior season. His bat should enable him to move up the ladder quickly through the minors and could be major league ready by the end of 2014 (one year before Andrew McCutchen becomes a free agent).
Both of the above pictured autographed cards were the most expensive cards I have ever bought of a Pirates prospect before they took one professional swing or pitch. However, I feel so strongly that Josh Bell is going to be ridiculously good and may be an All-Star for many years to come.
I'm looking forward to seeing all of the Pirates athletic outfielders in the future. Now if they could only improve the pitching....
Join me this weekend as I look at some of the Pirates top arms in the farm system.