Josh Bell had himself a month — and voters took notice, naming him NL Player of the Month for May 2019. Bell becomes the first Pirates player since Andrew McCutchen in 2017 to win the award.
It's well deserved, too. Bell's stats for May are completely ridiculous. Bell tallied 94 total bases in May, the most by any player in May since Willie Mays' 102 in 1958. He also notched 12 home runs and 12 doubles, becoming just the third player in NL history to hit at least 12 of each category in a single month.
The other two? Hank Aaronand Frank Robinson. So yeah, being part of a class that includes Mays, Aaron and Robinson isn't too bad.
For further context, Bell hit 12 home runs total last season. If that isn't enough, Bell also led all Major League players in hits (46) and RBIs (31) for May.
“I’m jealous how easy it is,” Colin Moranwas telling me last week in Cincinnati of Bell's performance this year. “It’s just too easy. He’s so talented. He can do it all. He can take you deep and then he can, you know, two strikes take through a ball and take a single. He’s so talented that, in all seriousness, it’s just fun to watch.”
On the Pirates level, Bell tied Hall of Famer Paul Wanerfor the most extra-base hits (24) by a Pirate in any month of the season. The last player to post 24 extra-base hits in a month league-wide was Jeffrey Leonardin 1987. Bell's 12 home runs tied Jason Bayfor the most by a Pirates player in May, and he earned them efficiently, posting a .390 batting average in the process.
Per the Elias Sports Bureau, no player in Pirates history has had a better batting average than Bell's .390 while also tallying at least 12 home runs and 31 RBIs. J.D. Martinez was the last player to crush a triple-crown month to this degree, putting up a .404 batting average, 16 home runs and 36 RBIs in September 2017.
While Bell's May was particularly impressive, he's having an MVP-caliber season all around, batting .332/.395/.681 with a 1.077 OPS in 2019.