Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello is set to make her Major League debut on Wednesday, as MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison (Twitter link) reports that Bello was told he would start Boston’s game against the Rays.
Bello is the consensus pick as the top pitcher in Boston’s farm system, and his big 2022 season has put him on the radar as one of the best young arms in the sport. In the most recently updated prospect rankings, Baseball America has Bello 44th on their Top 100 list, Fangraphs has him 51st, and MLB Pipeline has the 23-year-old right-hander at 75th.
The Red Sox inked Bello for a modest $28,000 bonus during the 2016 international signing period, and while he pitched well enough in 2021 to earn promotion to the Double-A ball, he only really emerged. than this season. With a 4.66 ERA over 63 2/3 innings for Double-A Portland last season, Bello returned to Portland to post a 1.60 ERA over six starts and 33 2/3 frames, earning him a ticket to Triple-A Worcester. The right-hander continued to impress, posting a 2.81 ERA, 34.45% strikeout rate and 10.05% walk rate in 51 1/3 innings with the WooSox.
Bello’s fastball and switch are plus pitches, and his slider isn’t far behind as a strong third offering. Bello’s fastball has gained about 5-6 miles in speed since 2019 and could now approach the 100 mph threshold on occasion, although he typically throws in the mid-90s. Control of this fastball has been a problem for Bello, but at his best, the fastball makes his change even more effective.
As promising as Bello is, going straight into a big AL East game for a big league debut in July probably wouldn’t have happened if the Red Sox weren’t severely shorthanded for starting pitchers. Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, rich hilland Garret Whitlock are all on the IL of 15 days plus Michael Wacha fights a dead arm. This left Nick Pivette, Josh Winckowski, Connor Seaboldand maybe Kutter Crawford all lined up for departures depending on who is healthy and who returns from IL on time. (The sale is tentatively set to debut in 2022 within a week from today.)
Unless Boston’s injury problems continue or Bello completely dominates in his first major league game, he’s unlikely to stay in Boston’s rotation for long. However, a strong showing could certainly net Bello more starts, and possibly more time in the majors as a multi-inning reliever down the stretch. All of the injuries have created uncertainty within the Red Sox rotation, and with many questions still lingering in the bullpen, it looks like there is room for a highly touted youngster. take a foothold on the active list.