We are just 13 games into the baseball season, therefore inflated batting averages should not be a surprise. At the conclusion of the game Sunday, the Washington Nationals boasted a lineup with the top eight hitters all having batting averages over .300. Yet, the team sits in last place in the division with a 5-8 record.
Timely hitting has been an issue (entering the series finale with the Diamondbacks, the Nationals were hitting .253 with runners in scoring position), as well as getting the big hit when the team needs one (Andrew Stevenson flying out as the tying run in the ninth inning).
Power hitting has also been an issue. The Nationals’ 13 home runs on the year are more than just two teams in all of baseball. The guy who can help improve both the areas, is Josh Bell, he just has to get back on track after a slow start to the season.
The Washington Nationals offense has struggled to hit for power and with runners in scoring position. Two areas Josh Bell can help them with.
There was a lot of buzz revolving around the acquisition of Josh Bell in the offseason. There was even more excitement when Bell had such a solid spring training. Bell launched six home runs and five doubles in 47 at-bats.
As Nationals fans hoped for the hot bat to carry over, they were instead met with the stark reality Bell would not begin the season with the team. Unfortunately, being in COVID protocols and missing the first two series’ of the year would not only cost Bell playing time, his bat would also cool during that time.
While several other Nationals regulars are hitting in the early going, Bell is not. Through twenty at-bats, Bell has just two hits, with an OPS of .358. Yes, the sample size is very small. However, one has to wonder what his bat would be producing if he would not have had to sit the first six games of the year.
A walk-off home run over the weekend seemed to ignite Kyle Schwarber’s bat, as he notched three hits the following day while hitting in early game since. All Bell needs is to see a couple balls fall in for hits and maybe that will loosen him up. The Nationals have not had a problem getting runners on base in the early going, just moving them around. They need Josh Bell to find that 2019 stroke and solve this problem.