CLEVELAND (KDKA) -- It has been a great first half for Pirates first baseman Josh Bell, as he established himself as one of the biggest offensive threats in the game so far.
The star has played 88 games to this point, and leads the league with 84 RBI and 30 doubles. He is also batting .302 at the break, with 102 hits, 27 home runs and a 1.024 OPS.
"His name's @JBell_19 and he hits dingers. #BELLieve | #HRDerby"
Bell embarks on the Home Run Derby Monday night, as part of the MLB All-Star Festivities over this week. Pirates teammates and coaching staff members have nothing but praise for the work Bell has put in to get to this point.
"He doesn't do anything with the intention of just doing it. He wants to win everything. He works his tail off." - JB's Derby pitcher for tonight, Jonathan Schwind #BELLieve | #HRDerby"
Bell has tabbed former teammate and close friend Jon Schwind as his Derby Pitcher. Schwind currently serves as an assistant hitting coach with the AAA Indianapolis Indians. He faces Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. in the first round of the contest. The winner of the entire Derby has a chance to walk away with $1 million.
"This first-round matchup is going to be GOOD. ????"
The Derby takes place at Progressive Field in Cleveland at 8:00 p.m. Monday night. The event will be broadcast on ESPN.
Here are the competitors in the Derby this year:
#1 Matt Chapman- Athletics (21 HR) vs. #8 Vladimir Guerrero Jr.- Blue Jays (8 HR)
#4 Alex Bregman- Astros (23 HR) vs. #5 Joc Pederson- Dodgers (20 HR)
#2 Pete Alonso- Mets (30 HR) vs. #7 Carlos Santana- Indians (19 HR)
#3 Josh Bell- Pirates (27 HR) vs. #6 Ronald Acuna Jr.- Braves (21 HR)
It is important to note that the number one seed was originally supposed to be Brewers star Christian Yelich, but he dropped out with a back injury Sunday. So Athletics thrid baseman Matt Chapman was added to the lineup late.
Tuesday night, the All-Star Game will feature Josh Bell starting as the National League's designated hitter and batting 6th. Bucs closer Felipe Vázquez was also added to the NL roster as a relief pitcher.
"@JBell_19 is your starting designated hitter for the NL squad. #BELLieve"
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