For Josh Bell, it is not easy to leave the only organization he’s ever known, the Dodgers, but he also knows this. His chance to be a future Major League third baseman will be much greater with the Orioles.
O’s president Andy MacPhail stopped short of anointing him the O’s third sacker of the future during a telephone press conference Thursday night, but he did say the O’s are short at that position in the upper levels of their minors.
“It’s largely up to the players,” MacPhail said. “The oppurtunity is there. Josh could have a fairly clear path (to the Majors) depending upon many other variables between now and then.”
Bell is looking forward to joining the Bowie Baysox with his new organization.
“There are mixed emotions. I’ve grown up with the Dodgers after getting drafted out of high school. But business is business. I feel like I’ve got a real shot with the Orioles. Here I was blocked.”
Bell, who now weighs 220 after dropping weight before last season, said he was a shortstop in high school before moving to third in the pros.
This year with Double-A Chatanooga, he is batting .296-11-52 in 99 games with 30 doubles and 50 walks. His OBP was .386 and his slugging percentage was .497.
The 22-year-old Bell is a switch-hitter from Lantana, Florida who ranked in the top ten of six offensive categories in the Southern League.
“I’m confident and comfortable at third base now,” Bell said. “Losing that weight helps my lateral movement and I’m quicker on my feet.”
MacPhail said the O’s had three different scouts watch Bell over the last two months. He feels Bell will stay at third base in the future.
He said Bell did miss time at the end of last year with a knee injury and had surgery. He said the O’s medical staff has given Bell a clean bill of health and he now longer has any knee issues.
Bell, who was the MVP of the recent Southern League All-Star game, is batting .212-0-7 this year in 104 at bats vs. left-handed pitching and .335-11-45 in 230 at bats vs. right-handed pitchers.
Baseball America rated Bell as the Dodgers’ 8th best prospect before this season and best minor league power hitter.
Some scouting reports list Bell’s power as a 70 on the 20-80 scale.
In 382 minor league games since being drafted in round four in 2005, Bell is hitting .289-47-218.
Bell in the Southern League stats:
OPS - 4th
Total Bases - 5th
Slugging - 6th
OBP - 8th
RBI - 9th
HR’s - tie for 9th
In 23 games in July, Bell was batting .357-3-13.