Free Trial Ad
Why Subscribe?
  • Player/Prospect News
  • Exclusive Insider Info
  • Members-Only Forums
  • Exclusive Videos
  • Subscribe Now!
Inbox

Jay Bell

Posted: 02/15/2013 5:57 AM

Jay Bell 


Jay Bell

Premium Story Jay Bell excited about Bucs young hitters

Jay Bell is back with the Pirates as their hitting coach, replacing Gregg Ritchie. Bell, 46, played 18 major league seasons, including eight with the Pirates. He told PiratesDugout.com's George Von Benko that he is looking forward to working with some of the Pirates young hitters. Full Story | Discuss

Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 7:43 AM

Re: Jay Bell 


Can anyone explain how Jay Bell hit 38 HR in 1999?  If he would have taken PEDs his whole career would he have hit 400-500 home runs (as many as Willie Stargell - 475)?
It really makes you wonder what Alex Rodriguez would have done if he were clean his whole career.

The only odder stat I can think of (than Bell's 38 HR in 1999) is Brady Anderson hitting 50 HR in 1996.

Last edited 02/18/2013 7:46 AM by Sangue

Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 11:53 AM

RE: Jay Bell 


if i remember correctly didnt bell start to wear glasses that year... i say this because i remember my mom commenting on it and saying "imagine how good he would be if he always wore glasses"... im sure his homers were attributed to a different performance enhancer than glasses however
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 12:43 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


I highly doubt it was steroids at all but more a career year.

First off it was in the middle of multi year contract. You don't start taking steroids in the middle of a contract. It would make sense to do it when you have a contract expiring in order to earn a bigger one. Bell had nothing really to gain in the middle of a long term deal financially.

His power spiked for one season and then returned to the previous levels. He hit 21 and 20 homers in 1997 and 1998. 38 in 1999 and then 18 in 2000

Just a lucky year in my opinion. It happens. Warning track outs go over the fence. Everything just seems to go right. It was also his highest total year for strikeouts so it's safe to assume he was trying to hit for more power. It wasn't long term sustainable though. It could of been a lot of guessing. Most teams wouldn't have a big fear of Bell going deep so he could of been putting max swing effort and anticipating fastball counts. That type of thing can happen for one year and then pitchers tend to adjust. Certainly he wasn't a 38 homer guy but I think labeling him as a steroid user might be a bit much. I would of been a lot more skeptical if he went from 20 and 21 in 1997 and 1998 and then suddenly put up 3 or 4 years in the 30's.

I think the Pirates badly misused Jay Bell. They treated him as a all glove no hit shortstop and that wasn't the case. He led the league twice in sacrifice hits. Put it this way he had more sacrifice hits in 1990 with the Pirates (39) then he did in his 10 years combined playing with organizations outside of Pittsburgh (31)
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 12:57 PM

RE: Jay Bell 



katoy2j wrote: I highly doubt it was steroids at all but more a career year.

First off it was in the middle of multi year contract. You don't start taking steroids in the middle of a contract. It would make sense to do it when you have a contract expiring in order to earn a bigger one. Bell had nothing really to gain in the middle of a long term deal financially.

His power spiked for one season and then returned to the previous levels. He hit 21 and 20 homers in 1997 and 1998. 38 in 1999 and then 18 in 2000

Just a lucky year in my opinion. It happens. Warning track outs go over the fence. Everything just seems to go right. It was also his highest total year for strikeouts so it's safe to assume he was trying to hit for more power. It wasn't long term sustainable though. It could of been a lot of guessing. Most teams wouldn't have a big fear of Bell going deep so he could of been putting max swing effort and anticipating fastball counts. That type of thing can happen for one year and then pitchers tend to adjust. Certainly he wasn't a 38 homer guy but I think labeling him as a steroid user might be a bit much. I would of been a lot more skeptical if he went from 20 and 21 in 1997 and 1998 and then suddenly put up 3 or 4 years in the 30's.

I think the Pirates badly misused Jay Bell. They treated him as a all glove no hit shortstop and that wasn't the case. He led the league twice in sacrifice hits. Put it this way he had more sacrifice hits in 1990 with the Pirates (39) then he did in his 10 years combined playing with organizations outside of Pittsburgh (31)
I'd guess the 21 and 20 home run years were steroid related as well.  Bell would normally hit about 9 home runs per year playing in just about every game for the Pirates.  One year he hit 16 - which was his fluke year.

Bell hitting 38 home runs was about as likely as it would be for Josh Harrison or Alex Presley (if they played full time) to one day hit 38 home runs.  Bell did not have Neil Walker's power.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 1:18 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


Jay Bell hit 16 homers in 1991 as a 25 year old in a season where he had 30 sacrifice hits. As soon as he left Pittsburgh he had a lot more power. Probably because he he didn't have to sacrifice hit as much. Amazing what happens when you don't give away outs all the time.

He hit 13 homers twice in his last two years for the Pirates when they stopped making him sacrifice hit all the time. Nothing about his power really screams anything crazy to me. The Pirates simply were not using him properly. It was evident at that time that Bell was also trying to hit more homers as his strikeouts climbed considerably. He was about a 15% strikeout guy early on with the Pirates and as he tried hitting for more power it was up to 18% with the Pirates and then it really spiked in his power years at Arizona at 20% and 19.2% He was clearly swinging for the fences and guessing at a lot more pitches. That is a common reason for a spike in homers.

It's a pretty logical move. Bell had the ability to hit for power but was using up a lot of outs by sacrificing. So in an effort to make more money he sacrifices his strike out percentage to increase his power. It's a pretty common trade off. More strikeouts generally mean more power. The 38 homers were more fluke than anything. Career years happen.

I disagree about the Walker and Bell power issue.  Neil Walker has hit 14 homers once.  Jay Bell hit 13 or more homers three times for the Pirates and 5 more times for other teams after that.

The reason why Bell didn't hit more for the Pirates is because they made him hit sacrifice balls all the time.  That's not Jay Bell's fault that's on the Pirates managers.

Last edited 02/18/2013 1:22 PM by katoy2j

Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 1:58 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


It's also because Bell was an exceptional bunter, and particularly in home games, Jim Leyland would play for the early lead because he had a couple of guys in Wally Backman and Tony Womack who were very good slap-hitter / basestealer types.  Bell, hitting behind them, would often sacrifice them to third after they got on with a walk or a single and then stole second.  Runner on third with one out and Van Slyke, Bonds, and Bonilla coming up.  I'll take my chances with that scenario more often than not.


I agree that Bell had more power than Walker does, and that his 38 HR year was more likely a career year than driven by steroids.  I wouldn't say the thought never crossed my mind, but as you say, he did show decent-for-a-shortstop power both before and after that one season.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 2:11 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


Well that scenario won us a lot of World Series titles despite the fact we had a very talented team.

Even though Barry Bonds is a world class jerk I do feel sorry for him in that despite the fact he was clearly the best player in baseball for the majority of time he played he always had managers who thought it was a good idea to play small ball. It's a pretty good reason why he never won a World Series title.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 2:27 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


I liked Bell when he was a Pirate.  He was a good, solid player - and the best Shortstop the Pirates have had in my lifetime - better than Jack Wilson and Gene Alley.  I'm too young for Dick Groat.

 

I just don't see any way he would hit 38 home runs - more than Willie Stargell in 19 of his 21 seasons, more than Brian Giles in 13 of his 15 seasons, more than Dave Parker, Roberto Clemente, Jason Bay, Reggie Sanders, and Bill Robinson ever hit.  It makes no sense. Jay Bell is not the 3rd best Pirates power hitter in the last 60 years (since Kiner).

Last edited 02/18/2013 2:30 PM by Sangue

Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 2:33 PM

RE: Jay Bell 



Sangue wrote:

I liked Bell when he was a Pirate.  He was a good, solid player - and the best Shortstop the Pirates have had in my lifetime - better than Jack Wilson and Gene Alley.  I'm too young for Dick Groat.

 

I just don't see any way he would hit 38 home runs - more than Willie Stargell in 19 of his 21 seasons, more than Brian Giles in 13 of his 15 seasons, more than Dave Parker, Roberto Clemente, Jason Bay, Reggie Sanders, and Bill Robinson ever hit.  It makes no sense. Jay Bell is not the 3rd best Pirates power hitter in the last 60 years (since Kiner).


That logic is seriously flawed, I think you should re-read your post and realize how ridiculous the last sentence is lol.  One season does not make him a better power hitter than all of those guys lol.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 3:04 PM

RE: Jay Bell 



cferrel3 wrote:
Sangue wrote:

I liked Bell when he was a Pirate.  He was a good, solid player - and the best Shortstop the Pirates have had in my lifetime - better than Jack Wilson and Gene Alley.  I'm too young for Dick Groat.

 

I just don't see any way he would hit 38 home runs - more than Willie Stargell in 19 of his 21 seasons, more than Brian Giles in 13 of his 15 seasons, more than Dave Parker, Roberto Clemente, Jason Bay, Reggie Sanders, and Bill Robinson ever hit.  It makes no sense. Jay Bell is not the 3rd best Pirates power hitter in the last 60 years (since Kiner).


That logic is seriously flawed, I think you should re-read your post and realize how ridiculous the last sentence is lol.  One season does not make him a better power hitter than all of those guys lol.
There are many different measuring sticks.  The most home runs in a season has to be one of the highest ranked - certainly career home runs beats it, but not many other traditional (not including Sabermetrics) categories.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/18/2013 3:09 PM

RE: Jay Bell 



cferrel3 wrote:
Sangue wrote:

I liked Bell when he was a Pirate.  He was a good, solid player - and the best Shortstop the Pirates have had in my lifetime - better than Jack Wilson and Gene Alley.  I'm too young for Dick Groat.

 

I just don't see any way he would hit 38 home runs - more than Willie Stargell in 19 of his 21 seasons, more than Brian Giles in 13 of his 15 seasons, more than Dave Parker, Roberto Clemente, Jason Bay, Reggie Sanders, and Bill Robinson ever hit.  It makes no sense. Jay Bell is not the 3rd best Pirates power hitter in the last 60 years (since Kiner).


That logic is seriously flawed, I think you should re-read your post and realize how ridiculous the last sentence is lol.  One season does not make him a better power hitter than all of those guys lol.

I think Sangue's point is anything but illogical.  He's saying, "Which of these names doesn't belong in this list", and even if we say it's only for one season, it is still enough to raise your eyebrows that Bell hit nearly as many home runs in one season as the elite Pirates power hitters did.  (Yes, I know that Bell hit his peak after going to Arizona.)  Do I personally think he used PED's?  Probably not; flukish career years are known to happen due to other reasons.  Here I am thinking about George Foster's one season of 50 HR, even though he had only two other years out of 16 full seasons in which he hit as many as 30 in one year (in one of those he launched 40, which means he hit about a quarter of his 348 career home runs in the course of two seasons).  On the other hand, Brady Anderson was definitely juicing when he all of a sudden hit 50 one year after never hitting more than 20 or so.  Who knows anymore.
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 6:13 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


After reading through this I took a quick look at Jay Bell's stats. That '99 season sticks out like a sore thumb. At 33 (not exactly old, but not real young either considering he only had 2 more solid years left) he easily had his best year ever. Just look at how his OPS and SLG are 100 points higher than any other year not to mention the HR spike. Even the 4 years directly around '99 are not really close to what he did that season.

www.baseball-reference.com/pla.../bellja01.shtml
Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/18/2013 7:15 PM

RE: Jay Bell 


Career years happen and they can't be explained. Simply ask yourself why Jay Bell would start juicing in the middle of a multi year contract and then stop. He has absolutely no benefit. He doesn't gain anything from it financially. More importantly though there was an obvious attempt when looking at Bell's peripherals that he was trying to hit more homers. Bell had turned into a pretty good home run hitter. Having an elite season isn't out of the ordinary. Edwin Encarnacion jumped from 17 in 2011 to 42 in 2012. It's not steroids as much as it is sometimes everything just breaks perfectly and you can't do any wrong. Lets also not forget Arizona was a pretty good hitters park and Bell had played in pretty neutral environments up to that point.  It didn't last long term as is it appears the Bell was more of a guess hitter.  Swinging hard when he expected a fastball.  Pitchers likely realized that and he became less effective.

Last edited 02/18/2013 7:18 PM by katoy2j

Reply | Quote

Posted: 02/19/2013 4:38 AM

RE: Jay Bell 


It was already stated and I too believe Jay Bell took P.E.D's during all the years he hit 20 HR's and yes the "career" year did happen but he was still taking P.E.D's. Perhaps without them he stays a 9-10 HR's a year guy which is typical of a good SS, and during the one "career" year he hits in the 20's instead of the 40's. I have no real proof it is simply my opinion, but I realize human nature and we humans do not resist temtation when there are no real precieved consequences. Looking back at the era when baseball did not test for any P.E.D. a person should realize ALL PLAYERS WHO WERE STARTERS WERE TAKING P.E.D's. Baseball didn't test for them, a civilian such as us has no idea how "in your face" P.E.D's were inside the locker room. Players did not have to hide anything because there was no P.E.D policy in MLB. To answer your question why take P.E.D's mid way through a season the most obvious answer is to heal. P.E.D's including steroids shortens healing time, and when a person reaches a certain when simple aches and pains don't feel as simple anymore, P.E.D's become a modern day "fountain of youth". I am certain ALL starters took a P.E.D to sustain a level of energy over a course of an entire season, and I am certain this "help" also increased a starters strength on the field which was look as as "bonus" help.
katoy2j wrote: Career years happen and they can't be explained. Simply ask yourself why Jay Bell would start juicing in the middle of a multi year contract and then stop. He has absolutely no benefit. He doesn't gain anything from it financially. More importantly though there was an obvious attempt when looking at Bell's peripherals that he was trying to hit more homers. Bell had turned into a pretty good home run hitter. Having an elite season isn't out of the ordinary. Edwin Encarnacion jumped from 17 in 2011 to 42 in 2012. It's not steroids as much as it is sometimes everything just breaks perfectly and you can't do any wrong. Lets also not forget Arizona was a pretty good hitters park and Bell had played in pretty neutral environments up to that point.  It didn't last long term as is it appears the Bell was more of a guess hitter.  Swinging hard when he expected a fastball.  Pitchers likely realized that and he became less effective.
Reply | Quote
Avatar

Posted: 02/19/2013 6:18 AM

RE: Jay Bell 


The Pirates never had the thought - "We lost Bonds and Bonilla, and Van Slyke's power numbers have dropped off, let's bat 27 ('93), 28 ('94), or 29 ('95) year old Jay Bell bat third or fourth and maybe he'll hit 35 home runs for us.  Bell continued to bat 2nd and Van Slyke remained fixed in the three hole hitting 8 HR in '93, 6 HR in 94, and 6 HR in '95.  In Bell's prime (ages 27-29) it was not even a figment of the Pirates imagination that he would develop into a power hitter.  Middle infielders (Bell was playing 2B for the Diamondbacks) stats do not get better at age 33 - 90% of them are retired.  I'd be interested in any other comparison from the pre or post steroid era where a middle infielder had a similar power surge as Bell at ages 32-34.  I can't think of any.  Can anyone else?

Reply | Quote