Family ties special to draftees Bell, Marrero
Fathers continue presence in game as bench coach, Class A manager
CINCINNATI -- Not long before the Reds were preparing to play the Phillies in Wednesday's series finale, bench coach Jay Bell got to pause for a proud parental moment. Bell's son, Brantley Bell, was Cincinnati's first pick on Day 3 of the 2015 Draft -- taken in the 11th round and 325th overall.
The younger Bell, a 20-year-old shortstop and second baseman, played for State College of Florida-Manatee in Sarasota, Fla.
"It's exciting, especially a program that my Dad is a part of," Brantley Bell said. "Hopefully, if I get the chance, I'd love to play for him one day -- whether it's here or somewhere else. But I couldn't be happier with the organization."
Jay Bell, 49, is in his second season as the Reds' bench coach. He played 18 seasons in the Major Leagues for the D-backs, Indians, Pirates, Royals and Mets. A two-time All-Star, who won a World Series with Arizona in 2001, he batted .265 with 195 home runs and 860 RBIs over his career.
"I can't tell you how thrilled I am," the elder Bell said. "Some people don't like their sons to be in the same organization. Just having the opportunity to work alongside him is pretty special."
The Reds also had a big league and organizational connection in the 29th round when catcher Elih Marrero was taken 865th overall. Marrero is the son of Class A Daytona manager Eli Marrero, who played 10 seasons in the Majors with the Cardinals, Braves, Royals, Orioles, Rockies and Mets.
Bell is naturally familiar with the Reds' Minor League organization and felt his son's pro career would be in good hands.
"He's prepared himself," Jay Bell said. "There's a great deal of pride that I have. We've talked about it a long time. Whenever you have sons, they tend to want to do what we do. Of course, my boys have always wanted to play pro ball. To see him get drafted and have that opportunity is pretty special. It's certainly rewarding."
After he grew up in Phoenix, Bell originally played for University of Mississippi before transferring to Manatee, a junior college. He played mostly shortstop and second base and felt the best path for advancement was there.
"I was ready to become a pro baseball player," Brantley Bell said. "The transition was good. I loved my coaches at Manatee. It was something I had to do for my personal career and I'm glad I did it."
In 57 games for Manatee, Bell batted .325 with three home runs and 41 RBIs. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 185 pounds, he was among those who participated in the Reds' pre-Draft workout on Tuesday at Great American Ball Park.
Brantley understands the commitment required to realize his dream of following his father's path to the Major Leagues.
"He's taught me from the beginning," Brantley Bell said. "He was a Gold Glover, an All-Star and it was awesome to have him bringing me up and learning to play the game the right way, getting me mentally prepared for pro ball. It's great to have a role model like him to look up to."
Marrero, 17, attended Coral Gables High School in Florida, and has a scholarship to play for Mississippi State if he doesn't sign. This season, he batted .320 with three homers and 10 RBIs and was a member of Team USA's under-18 national team.