Brayan Bello is set to make his Major League debut on Wednesday against the Rays, marking the latest career advancement for the top pitcher in the Red Sox system.
Bello, 23, has already pitched at two minor league levels in 2022. After posting a combined 10-4 record with a 2.33 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 85 innings for affiliates Double-A and Triple -A from Boston, Bello will now have his chance on the main stage at Fenway Park.
Currently, Bello is ranked third overall on the Red Sox prospect list and 46th on MLB.com’s league-wide analysis of the top 100 prospects.
Needless to say, his first career start for Boston is something we’ve been waiting for for some time.
Here are a few things to know about Bello ahead of Wednesday’s game:
What scouts say about Bello
Over time, Bello added speed to his fastball, which is now consistently “parked at 95-97 [miles per hour] and pushing triple digits,” according to an MLB.com scout report.
His change is described as having “started as a work in progress, but is now his best secondary ground”, according to Sox Prospects.
Bello also has a slider with a “short form 10 to 4”. And while Sox Prospects also pointed out that his mastery of the pitch is still “inconsistent,” Bello will use the pitch “often and in all cases.”
Bello’s best throw is arguably his sinker, something that was added more recently (late 2021).
“In a short time, this ground has become a dodder, 95-98 mph offering that Bello has relied on at Triple-A Worcester this year at a rate of around 35%,” wrote boston globe Red Sox reporter Alex Speier. “He became relentless with the lead, unafraid to throw it into the strike zone, where his tremendous end-of-life resulted in swings and misses and a succession of grass-cut dirt balls – a formula for dominance.”
He was not originally considered a top prospect.
Bello, according to virtually every scouting report chronicling his career since turning pro, has been adding speed to his fastball over the past few years.
After originally hitting around 91 to 93 miles per hour, Bello now consistently hits the upper mid-90s. That, combined with his addition of secondary grounds, helped pave the way for his rapid rise in 2022.
In a broader sense, Bello grew both physically – he recalled weighing just 130 pounds at the age of 18 when he signed with the Red Sox in 2017 – and mentally. , adapting well to the perpetual cat-and-mouse game between pitcher and batter.
“Bello went from oblivion during the international signing spells of 2015 and 2016 to turning pro for just $28,000 in 2017 to ranking as Boston’s top pitching prospect five years later,” the report concluded. scouting from MLB.com.
He learned of his change from a former All-Star.
In 2021, longtime baseball insider Peter Gammons Noted that Bello was considered by the Red Sox to be the “fastest pitcher in [the] organization.”
Additionally, Gammons quoted a Red Sox front office official who claimed Bello had “the best change I’ve ever seen, at least since Pedro [Martinez].”
The backstory behind Bello’s switch is that he originally learned it from longtime relief pitcher and three-time star Fernando Rodney.
“He taught me to grab it, then he taught me to throw it,” Bello told MassLive’s Christopher Smith in 2021. “When I first signed, the guy who signed me also signed Fernando Rodney.
“So every time I go back to training, I’m going to train with him,” Bello added.
The switch has since become one of Bello’s best weapons on the mound.
“Can really pull the string on it and the pitch will fall off the table late,” Sox Prospects writing said of Bello’s switch. “True major league quality pitch, swing-and-miss at its finest.”
Pedro Martinez says Bello has “off the charts” talent.
Given both his aggressive pitching style and his home country (the Dominican Republic), Bello has inevitably drawn comparisons to Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez.
Bello has said in the past that he considers Martinez one of his idols and has spoken to him on several occasions.
Martinez, for his part, holds Bello in high regard but knows he has a long way to go to realize his full potential.
“I think his talent is off the charts,” Martinez said in a recent interview with Boston.com. “But to start talking about his talent alone is a waste of time.
“I just hope he keeps learning every day and then he can let the talent take over,” Martinez concluded.
He’s a batting pitcher.
Due to his increased speed and secondary pitching development, Bello has established himself as a potentially dominant pitcher who can rack up strikeouts.
In his first-ever start for Worcester at Triple-A level, Bello struck out 10 in six innings in a 5-2 win. He then became the first International League pitcher to record various double-digit batting games in 2022.
And a testament to his recent rise, Bello has averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings at every minor league level he’s pitched at since 2021.
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