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Can Josh Bell sustain recent hot streak?

Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Josh Bell is on a tear, with 6 home runs in his past 10 games. AP Photo/Matt York

First basemen sans power and batting average upside generally aren't much fun to roster in fantasy baseball leagues, and this is why so many paid so little interest in Pittsburgh Pirates "slugger" Josh Bell this spring. Bell hit 26 home runs in 2017 and we enjoyed that, despite the .255 batting average, but last year, in 148 games and 583 plate appearances, Bell managed to blast all of 12 home runs. Yawn. He went in the 20th round of ESPN ADP, around where older fellows like Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Santana and Justin Smoak went.

Well, Bell blasted a pair of long home runs in Pittsburgh's 6-2 win at Arizona on Tuesday and now has 12 on the season, matching his 2018 total in less than a third of the playing time. What changed? Well, it's the usual stuff really, as Bell is hitting baseballs considerably harder than last year, with a lot more of them in the air and yes, the old launch angle thing comes into play as well. Bell brought a career rate of hitting nearly 50 percent grounders into 2019. Tough to hit for power that way, so he altered things and to his credit, the results are there.