Crowded outfield: Josh Bell moving to first base

In response to what is already being called their Dream Outfield, the Pirates are moving top position prospect Josh Bell to first base.

Bell, freshly-named the Florida State League’s Player of the Year as an outfielder, has been working out at first base since his mid-July promotion to Double-A Altoona.

Bell has yet to play at the new position, but will do so in the offseason Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions — who will be managed by Jeff Banister, the Major League club’s bench coach.

“It’s a good situation,” said Pirates GM Neal Huntington. “Jeff will be able to keep an eye on how this goes and keep us updated.”

Rated No. 3 among Pittsburgh prospects, Bell has a high ceiling, but perhaps little chance of reaching it at his original position with the Bucs. Despite Gregory Polanco’s recent return to Triple-A Indianapolis, the Pirates figure to be set for years with an outfield of Starling Marte,  Andrew McCutchen and Polanco.

“He’ll first go to Instructional League after the season and continue working there,” Huntington said of Bell, “then he’ll get his first game-action at the position in the AFL.

“It’s an opportunity for him to get at-bats in a very competitive environment, and to give first base a go. We just want to see how he takes to it and whether than can become an option for him.”

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