Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello is set to make his major league debut on Wednesday as MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison (Twitter link) reports that Bello has been notified that he will 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 put him on the radar as one of the sport’s better young arms. In the most recently updated prospect rankings, Baseball America has Bello 44th in the top 100 list, Fangraphs has him 51st, and MLB Pipeline has 23-year-old Righty 75th.
The Red Sox inked Bello for a modest $28,000 bonus during the 2016 international contract signing, and while he was good enough to advance to Double-A-Ball in 2021, it wasn’t until this season that he really showed up. 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 earned for Triple-A Worcester. The right-hander continued to impress with a 2.81 ERA, 34.45% strikeout rate and 10.05% walk rate in 51 1/3 innings with the WooSox.
Both Bello’s Fastball and Changeup are plus spots, 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 occasionally approach the 100 mph threshold, though he usually throws in his mid-90s. Mastering this fastball has been a problem for Bello, but at best the fastball makes his switch even more effective.
As promising as Bello is, getting into a major AL East matchup for a major league debut in July probably wouldn’t have happened if the Red Sox weren’t severely shorthanded to start pitchers. Chris Sale, Nathan Eovaldi, rich hilland Garret Whitlock are all on the 15-day IL, plus Michael Wacha struggles with a dead arm. That’s gone Nick Pivetta, Josh Winckowski, Connor Seaboldand maybe Cutter Crawford Everyone is ready to start, depending on who is healthy and who gets back from IL on time. (Sale is expected to make its 2022 debut a week from today.)
Unless Boston’s injury woes continue, or Bello doesn’t fully dominate in his first taste of big league action, he likely won’t stay in Boston’s rotation any longer. However, a solid performance could certainly see Bello get more starts and maybe more time in the majors as a multi-inning reliever on the track. All of the injuries have created uncertainty within the Red Sox rotation and with many questions still lingering in the bullpen, there seems to be room for a highly acclaimed youngster to find a foothold in the active roster.