The Red Sox have promoted pitching prospect Brayan Bello from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland, per Bello’s MiLB.com transactions page.
Bello, who turned 22 on May 17, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 20 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization.
The young right-hander has gotten his 2021 campaign off to a hot start, posting a 2.27 ERA and 2.60 xFIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to just seven walks over six starts and 31 2/3 innings pitched with Greenville.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for just $28,000 in July 2017, Bello has been a quick riser — both through Boston’s farm system and their organizational prospect ranks.
While there was no minor-league season last year on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bello did get the opportunity to turn heads at the Sox’ fall instructional league in Fort Myers.
There, according to SoxProspects.com’s director of scouting Ian Cundall, Bello “showed some of the best raw stuff” in front of the scouts who were at instructs.
“The [then-21-year-old] Dominican topped out at 98 mph and mostly worked 94-97 mph,” Cundall wrote back in December. “His changeup was his best secondary pitch, flashing arm-side fade at 84-87 mph. Bello also showed off a slider at 84-88 mph that is a work in progress. The shape of the pitch varied and he struggled to consistently snap it off. Developing that pitch was clearly something he was focusing on, as scouts noted he used it a lot more than you would expect in some outings.
“Bello’s fastball-changeup combination and strike-throwing ability provide him with a solid floor as a reliever,” added Cundall. “And if he can improve his slider, he still has a chance to develop into a starting pitcher.”
As noted by Cundall, Bello — listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds — works with a fastball, changeup, and slider. He has struck out nearly 37% of the hitters he faced this season and has walked less than 6% of them while utilizing that three-pitch mix.
Bello will join a Sea Dogs starting rotation that consists of fellow prospects and minor-leaguers like A.J. Politi, Frank German, Josh Winckowski, and Denyi Reyes as he essentially takes the place of Thaddeus Ward, who underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery last week.
And as he prepares to embark upon this next phase of his career in which he will be facing off against a tougher level of competition, one thing is for certain: The Red Sox are extremely high on Bello.
That being the case because The Athletic’s Peter Gammons tweeted last month that the “Red Sox think the fastest rising pitcher in organization is 22-year-old right-hander Brayan Bello at Greenville. One front office official says ‘Bello was up to 97 with the best changeup I ever seen, at least since Pedro [Martinez].'”
On top of that, Bello can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this winter, so it seems likely the Red Sox would add him to their 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline in order to prevent that from happening.
(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)