PITTSBURGH -- After his first full season in the Majors, Josh Bell headed into the offseason with valuable experience, a handful of rookie records and a sense of belonging. But he didn't take home any hardware.
Bell finished third to Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, who was revealed as the unanimous choice for the National League Rookie of the Year Award on Monday night. Bell finished behind Bellinger and Cardinals shortstop Paul DeJong, who placed second.
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR VOTING
Cody Bellinger, LAD
Paul DeJong, STL
Josh Bell, PIT
Rhys Hoskins, PHI
German Marquez, COL
Manuel Margot, SD
Kyle Freeland, COL
Luis Castillo, CIN
Ian Happ, CHC
Bell received 10 second-place votes and two third-place votes from the Baseball Writers Association of America. He did not appear on the other 18 ballots, totaling 32 points. DeJong got 15 second-place votes and 11 third-place votes to finish with 56 points, well behind Bellinger's 150.
Bellinger became the Dodgers' MLB-leading 18th Rookie of the Year, going back-to-back with teammate Corey Seager. Aaron Judge was also the unanimous choice for American League Rookie of the Year. The Pirates have not had a Rookie of the Year since Jason Bay took home the honor in 2004.
Bell's finish should not obscure his accomplishments, however. He played a full season, from Opening Day until Game 162. He answered questions about his ability to stay healthy, his defensive development and his power potential. He finally emerged as the Pirates' long-awaited, long-term solution at first base.
"Coming in the beginning of the year, breaking with the team, having the opportunity to finish out games closer to the All-Star Game, then finishing the year with 159 games played, awesome opportunity," Bell said Monday on MLB Network. "I was definitely thankful for it."
Bell slashed .255/.334/.466 with 26 home runs and 90 RBIs in 620 plate appearances and recorded six Defensive Runs Saved and a .992 fielding percentage at first base. If not for the nightly home run derby led by Bellinger and Judge, Bell's season might have merited more attention.
He set the NL record for most home runs by a switch-hitting rookie and fell one short of the Major League mark held by Eddie Murray and Tony Clark. He led NL rookies in hits (140) and walks (66) and tied for first with 26 doubles. He proved to be effective from both sides of the plate, hitting 18 homers from the left side of the plate and eight as a right-handed hitter.
"It was really important for me to get that constant work in from both sides, not just looking at the starters for that week and divvying up my swings that way," Bell said on MLB Network.
The 25-year-old ranked second among NL rookies in RBIs, runs (75), triples (six), total bases (256) and extra-base hits (58) while tying for second in homers. Like Bellinger, Bell became his team's primary cleanup hitter despite his age and relative inexperience. Bell hit .301 and recorded 69 RBIs while hitting with runners in scoring position, an average and RBI total that led all NL rookies.
Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams, who earned a rotation spot this season as a reliable starter after beginning the year in the bullpen, did not receive any votes in the BBWAA balloting. Williams went 7-9 with a 4.07 ERA in 150 1/3 innings and ranked second among all NL rookie pitchers with 2.2 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.