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Insider Only TIOPS Pirates 5: On Josh Bell’s Greatness, Bryan Reynolds/Kevin Newman, Austin Meadows All-Star level Emergence is Devastating Long-term & More Buzz

TIOPS PIRATES 5

1. Josh Bell (.348-18HR-52RBI) on Friday night had two more hits to cap off an history May with 94 total bases, the most by any player in May since Willie Mays back in 1958. Bell in May slashed .390/.442/.797 with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs.

Bell at age 26 has entered superstar status and his ability to smash the ball makes him must-watch TV every night.

Yet, Bell’s prominence is having little effect in getting butts to the ballpark or bringing excitement to the fan base beyond the hardcore fans. For every great story like Bell, Bryan Reynolds right now, two players the fan base should be very excited about moving forward, there’s 4-5 doom and gloom management decisions or lack their of that kill the buzz and many just don’t want to get suckered in because they know how this story will end.

If this is who Bell truly is, fans are already taking the stance he’ll be gone in 2-3 years (Pittsburgh has three years of control beyond this season) ‘why should we go out and get attached’.

That’s life, though, as a Pirate fan with Bob Nutting at the helm. Still, we’re watching greatness with Bell right now. Enjoy it.


2. The Pirates internally were always going to be feel fine if Tyler Glasnow went to Tampa Bay and turned his career around like he has prior to getting injured. They felt it was just never going to work here. They can live with that.

Austin Meadows is what stings so much. There were many in Neal Huntington’s ear at the time who were against including Meadows for Chris Archer but Huntington eventually went against what he believes in and pulled the trigger on the deal. The Pirates knew at the time they weren’t getting Archer if they didn’t include Meadows.

Meadows being this good is just a devastating outcome for the Pirates.

The 24 year old Meadows is hitting .354 with 12 home runs and 35 RBI in just 39 games. This isn’t some fluke from Meadows who hit .344 in 29 games with the Rays last season. Here’s a player at age 24 who is turning into a star that the Pirates would have controlled until 2025.

All these years the Pirates wait for Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco to magically turn into something (they’re still waiting), they have to watch Meadows turn into an All-Star caliber player less than a year after trading him.

Bell-Reynolds-Meadows would have been a nice foundation to build this thing back up over the next couple years.


3. The Pirates are not the only team they traded with who got severely burned in trying to make a win-now move.

Falsely believing they were going to complete, the Giants now in rebuilding mode got a couple months of nothing for Andrew McCutchen last year while Bryan Reynolds is showing signs of being a core player in Pittsburgh for years to come. The Archer deal has major long-term consequences that is always going to be attached to Huntington, but the return for McCutchen has now turned into a best case scenario where the Pirates turned a fading player into a young starter level player with years of control. That’s what you have to do with how the Pirates are ran.


4. The surprise of the first two months of the season has to be Kevin Newman. Nobody including the Pirates saw this coming from Newman in year 2.

Now in the leadoff spot, Newman is hitting .341/.398/.471 on the season. So far he’s 5-18 from the leadoff spot. With Cole Tucker’s bat needing so much work, this has been a must development for the Pirates in Newman surprisingly showing maybe he was worth being a first-round pick. Will be interesting to see where this goes.


5. How much longer can the Pirates hang around?

With no pitching help on the horizon, they posted a 6.19 ERA in the month of May, had a minus-45 scoring differential and somehow went 15-14.

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About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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