With Ryan Zimmerman opting out of the 2020 season, the Washington Nationals used Eric Thames as their main first baseman. He hit .203 with three home runs for the year. When Zimmerman decided to come back and play part time for the 2021 season, the Nationals needed a first baseman to split time with him. They traded for Josh Bell.
Twenty three games into the season Bell was hitting .133 with three home runs. At that point, we thought we were going to see a full season of what Eric Thames put forth in the pandemic shortened season. We were wrong.
Appearing as a pinch hitter against the Miami Marlins, Bell smacked his fourteenth home run of the season and raised his batting average to .252. For the Nationals, the home run was a nice insurance run they didn’t end up needing. For Bell, personally, the long ball was the 100th of his big league career.
Nationals first baseball Josh Bell has turned his season around, and recently reached the 100 home run plateau for his career.
The home run for Bell, was his second in as many days. With Zimmerman hitting a three-run home run in Saturday’s suspended game, and adding an RBI double in game two against the Marlins, the first base platoon is starting to hit with regularity again.
Bell now has 100 home runs in 630 career games. Don’t let the long, loopy, swing deceive you. On most occasions when Bell goes deep, they are not cheap home runs. Brought in strictly as a power hitter, he is hitting nearly thirty points higher than he did last year (which was a down year in both power and average).
Hard to believe he had just eleven extra base hits in 57 games a year ago. This season he has 14 doubles, to go along with his 14 home runs.
Early in the year when Bell was scuffling, we were in favor of Zimmerman playing every day. There were lofty expectations for Bell, though he was not producing. Thankfully, he has gotten into a little bit of a groove. As long as Schwarber is sidelined, and Soto is raking, Bell needs to be producing.
Congrats on the milestone, Josh!