Four Red Sox prospects were included in Baseball America’s top 100 rankings heading into the 2022 season earlier this week. It turns out another Sox prospect nearly made the cut and joined the likes of Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, Nick Yorke, and Jarren Duran as well.
According to Baseball America’s Geoff Pontes, Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello was one of 15 minor-leaguers who finished just outside the publication’s top 100 list.
Bello, 22, is undoubtedly the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system and comes into the 2022 season ranked by Baseball America as the No. 5 overall prospect in the organization.
Last spring, Bello broke minor-league camp as a member of High-A Greenville’s starting rotation. The young right-hander posted a 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over six starts (31 2/3 innings pitched) for the Drive before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland in early June.
With the Sea Dogs, Bello pitched to the tune of a 4.66 ERA — but much more respectable 3.12 FIP — while recording 87 strikeouts and 24 walks across 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work. He also represented the Red Sox in the All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field in July and was later named the team’s minor-league starting pitcher of the year.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for just $28,000 back in 2017, Bello was recently identified by MLB Pipeline as the top international prospect in Boston’s ranks.
As Pontes wrote on Friday, “few pitchers on the Top 100 miss as many bats with their secondaries as Bello. Both his plus slider and developing changeup generate whiffs at a plus rate, and his four-seam fastball sits 95-98 mph consistently. A true power pitcher, Bello fits into the tweener profile of a starting pitching prospect that could excel in a high-leverage bullpen role.”
Bello, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, will turn 23 years old in May. He was added to the Sox’ 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft, but has not been allowed to be in contact with the club due to the MLB lockout.
That being said, Bello is projected to begin the 2022 campaign with Portland, though “a late-season major league debut with the Red Sox is very much a possibility.” On top of that, Pontes hints that the Samana native could pitch his way into BA’s top 100 if he continues to refine his command.
Besides Bello, other Red Sox prospects who could land on Baseball America’s top 100 list this year include fellow right-handers Josh Winckowski and Wilkelman Gonzalez and infielders Blaze Jordan and Jeter Downs.
(Picture of Brayan Bello: Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)