Lefty Chad Bell Making Fast Rise Up Rangers' System

ARLINGTON—Lefthander Chad Bell drew the short straw in a pitching-rich organization that had enough starters at Double-A to open the season.

So Bell found himself working in relief at high Class A Myrtle Beach until the Frisco logjam broke loose. Once it did, Bell broke loose, and now he leads the organization in broken apartment leases.

Frisco proved to be just a stepping stone on the way to Triple-A Round Rock, a move that came as a surprise. Bell is pitching at this third level of the season, a feat no other Rangers prospect has matched this year. The temporary stops in Myrtle Beach and Frisco are hardly a nuisance for a 23-year-old who needed to answer every challenge presented to him this season.

"It's definitely been a crazy year so far," said Bell, a 10th-round pick in 2009 out of Walters State (Tenn.) JC. "I've been throwing it well, but I didn't expect to get here this soon."

Bell, who stands 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, doesn't overpower many hitters but relies on an 87-92 mph fastball to both sides of the plate and a plus changeup to keep hitters guessing. He has a deceptive delivery that keeps them from getting good swings against him. The Rangers like the way Bell, who was 5-3, 2.61 combined between his three stops, has responded this season.

"Two of the biggest factors in his success to date are confidence and aggressiveness," farm director Tim Purpura said.

Each level has presented a new challenge, and the hitters have been better at every stop. Bell won his first two Triple-A starts before allowing six runs (four earned) at hitter-friendly Albuquerque on July 6. He said he was the problem, not the altitude.

"You see the difference right away as you move up," Bell said. "Mistake pitches up in the zone and when you're behind in the count, they make you pay. You might get them out, but they hit it hard somewhere."

Rangers Roundup

• Righthander Justin Grimm saw his first big league tour end July 7 when he was optioned back to Double-A to clear a roster spot for Derek Holland. Grimm was scheduled to start July 9 for Frisco and join the rotation at Round Rock after the Triple-A all-star break.

• Third baseman Joey Gallo, a sandwich-round pick in this year's draft, was tapping into his considerable raw power in the Rookie-level Arizona League. Gallo homered eight times in his first 17 pro games and was hitting .315/.500/.870.