Red Sox have No. 11 farm system in baseball, per Baseball America’s latest rankings

The Red Sox have the No. 11 farm system in baseball heading into the 2022 season, according to Baseball America’s latest organizational talent rankings.

At this time last year, the Sox had Baseball America’s 21st-ranked farm system going into the 2021 campaign. They then jumped all the way up to ninth in BA’s midseason rankings.

Now, Boston’s farm system falls just outside of Baseball America’s top 10. Ahead of the Red Sox are the Mariners, Rays, Pirates, Orioles, Royals, Tigers, Reds, Dodgers, Rangers, and Diamondbacks, and just behind them are the Guardians, Yankees, Twins, and Cubs to make up the top 15.

As recently as last month, the Sox placed four prospects in BA’s top 100 preseason rankings with shortstop Marcelo Mayer coming in at No. 15, first baseman Triston Casas coming in at No. 19, second baseman Nick Yorke coming in at No. 31 and outfielder Jarren Duran coming in at No. 91. Right-handed pitching prospect Brayan Bello also finished just outside the top 100.

Casas and Yorke were among the 28 Red Sox minor-leaguers who took part in the team’s Winter Warmup program in Fort Myers, Fla. last week. Bello and Duran were unable to participate since they are on the club’s 40-man roster.

In their brief assessment of the Red Sox’ minor-league pipeline, Baseball America notes that “Boston’s system isn’t the deepest, but its opening trio of shortstop Marcelo Mayer, first baseman Triston Casas and second baseman Nick Yorke is one of the most enticing. Right-hander Brayan Bello took steps forward in 2021, including an appearance in Denver at the Futures Game.”

By placing two prospects in BA’s top 20 and three in their top 35, the Sox have shown that they are serious about improving their farm system as well as their minor-league depth as a whole. Chaim Bloom has made that very clear since he took over as the club’s chief baseball officer in October 2019.

Under Bloom, the Red Sox have tapped into just about every market to bolster the organization from the ground up. Whether it be through the draft, the Rule 5 Draft, international scouting, pro scouting, or the trade market, Bloom has thus far made good on his promise to revamp Boston’s farm system while still maintaining a competitive team at the major-league level.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox)

Red Sox’ Brayan Bello nearly made Baseball America’s top 100 prospects list

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)

Red Sox’ Brayan Bello recognized by MLB Pipeline as top international prospect in Boston’s farm system

With the 2021-2022 international signing window officially opening this weekend, MLB Pipeline recently identified each team’s top international prospect across Major League Baseball.

For the Red Sox, that was none other than pitching prospect Brayan Bello, who signed with Boston out of the Dominican Republic for just $28,000 back in July 2017.

Then just 18 years old, Bello has since emerged as one of the premier young hurlers in the Sox’ farm system at the age of 22.

This past season, the right-hander began the year in the starting rotation High-A Greenville and quickly made strides there. He 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 picked up where he left off by pitching to the tune of a 4.66 ERA — but much more respectable 3.12 FIP — with 87 strikeouts and 24 walks across 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work.

During his run in Portland, Bello was selected to represent the Red Sox in the All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field alongside infielder Jeter Downs. He allowed one run on one hit while recording the final two outs of the third inning of that contest on July 11.

At the conclusion of the 2021 minor-league season, Bello was recognized by the Sox and was named the organization’s starting pitcher of the year. The fiery righty was subsequently added to the club’s 40-man roster in November in order to receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Bello operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball that touches 98 mph, a changeup, and a slider. He is also in the midst of developing a two-seamer, according to Baseball America.

In terms of prospect ranks, Bello is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, which ranks tops among pitchers in the organization. The Samana native is also ranked by MLB Pipeline as the top pitching prospect the Red Sox have in the fold.

Bello, who turns 23 in May, is presently projected by SoxProspects.com to begin the upcoming 2022 campaign with Portland. That being said, an early promotion to Triple-A Worcester certainly seems possible depending on the kind of start he gets off to in the spring.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox add Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, Jeter Downs, and Josh Winckowski to 40-man roster to protect them from Rule 5 Draft

The Red Sox have added four prospects to their 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft, the club announced earlier Friday evening.

Right-handers Brayan Bello, Kutter Crawford, and Josh Winckowski and infielder Jeter Downs were all added to Boston’s 40-man roster, which now increases from 33 to 37 players.

Clubs had until Friday at 6 p.m. eastern time to add eligible minor-leaguers to their respective 40-man rosters or otherwise risk losing them in the Rule 5 Draft, which usually takes place during the last day of the Winter Meetings in December.

By adding just the four names listed above, the Red Sox could now be faced with losing other notable prospects such as Thaddeus Ward, Durbin Feltman, Ceddane Rafaela, Frank German, Victor Santos, Kole Cottam, and Gilberto Jimenez in next month’s Rule 5 Draft.

Of the quartet of prospects the Sox did add, one made it as far as the major-leagues under unique circumstances, two made it as far as Triple-A Worcester, and one made it as far as Double-A Portland this past minor-league season.

Bello began the year in High-A Greenville’s starting rotation, but earned a promotion to Portland on June 8. In 15 starts for the Sea Dogs, the 22-year-old righty posted a 4.66 ERA and 3.12 FIP to go along with 87 strikeouts to 24 walks over 63 2/3 innings of work.

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $28,000 in July 2017, Bello is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking first among pitchers in the organization. He was named the team’s minor-league Starting Pitcher of the Year in September.

Crawford, on the other hand, started out in Portland this spring as he was coming off Tommy John surgery that he underwent in October 2019. The 25-year-old ultimately earned a promotion to Worcester in late July, signaling that he was on the verge of a big-league call-up.

In the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak, the Red Sox called up Crawford from Worcester to fill in for Nick Pivetta against the Guardians on Sept. 5 at Fenway Park.

He allowed five earned runs in two innings and was promptly returned to the WooSox the following day, but Boston was able to remove the former 16th-round draft pick from their 40-man roster since he was a COVID-19 replacement.

Since the minor-league season ended last month, Crawford has been dominating in the Dominican Winter League. In four starts for Estrellas Orientales, he has allowed just two runs (one earned) on 12 hits, six walks, and 18 strikeouts over 18 1/3 innings pitched. That’s good for an ERA of 0.49.

Winckowski, meanwhile, was one of five players the Red Sox acquired in the three-team trade that sent Andrew Benintendi to the Royals back in February.

Like Crawford, Winckowski began the 2021 campaign with the Sea Dogs and pitched to the tune of a 4.14 ERA and 4.02 FIP over 21 appearances (20 starts) and exactly 100 innings before getting promoted to Worcester in late September.

In his brief stint with the WooSox that spanned two starts, the 23-year-old produced a 2.25 ERA and 3.28 FIP while recording 13 strikeouts and three walks in 12 innings pitched. He worked strictly as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League and is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 prospect in Boston’s farm system heading into 2022 season.

As for Downs, the move for Boston to add him to the 40-man roster comes at no surprise considering he was the top prospect acquired from the Dodgers in the infamous trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to Los Angeles last year.

After the minor-league season was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Downs began 2021 with the WooSox and stuck their throughout the year while slashing .190/.272/.333 with nine doubles, 14 home runs, 39 RBIs, 39 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 38 walks, and 131 strikeouts over 99 games spanning 405 trips to the plate.

Despite the difficulties Downs encountered in his first exposure to Triple-A pitching, there was never really any doubt when it came to the Red Sox adding the talented 23-year-old infielder to their 40-man roster.

Capable of playing both middle infield positions, Downs, like Bello, represented the Sox in this summer’s All-Star Futures Game in Denver. He also enjoyed some success in the Arizona Fall League these last few weeks — as evidenced by his .880 OPS for the Scottsdale Scorpions.

Downs, who does not turn 24 until next July, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 6 prospect in the Red Sox farm system.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Xander Bogaerts shouts out Red Sox prospect Ceddanne Rafaela for being named organization’s Defensive Player of the Year

Earlier this week, the Red Sox recognized several of their minor-leaguers for the seasons they had this year by handing out eight different organizational awards.

Highlighted by Nick Yorke being named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year and Brayan Bello being named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was also recognized as the organization’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Before their series finale against the Mets at Fenway Park on Wednesday night, the Red Sox honored each of these recipients during a pre-game ceremony. Rafaela was among those who was in attendance, and he was able to grab a picture with fellow Dutch national Xander Bogaerts before the festivities concluded.

Bogaerts, a native of Aruba, took to Instagram to congratulate Rafaela, a native of nearby Curacao, for his accomplishment, writing, ‘Congrats Minor League Defensive Player of the Year Kid! Curacao Kid 🇨🇼 Ban Pa Bai 🔥💯.’  

(From Xander Bogaerts’ Instagram story on Thursday)

Rafaela, who turned 21 last week, is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 25 prospect in Boston’s farm system. He was originally signed out of Curacao for just $10,000 as a 16-year-old international free agent back in 2017.

With Low-A Salem this season, Rafaela played in a total of 102 games while making 52 appearances (51 starts) in center field, 20 appearances (17 starts) at third base, 16 appearances (15 starts) at shortstop, nine appearances (nine starts) in left field, eight appearances (six starts) at second base, and one appearance (one start) in right field.

Over 516 defensive innings between all three outfield positions this year, Rafaela racked up nine outfield assists and started five double plays — all while committing just one error.

On the offensive side of things, Rafaela had himself a decent season at the plate for Salem. The right-handed hitter slashed .251/.305/.424 (95 wRC+) with 20 doubles, a team-leading nine triples, 10 home runs, 53 RBI, a team-leading 73 runs scored and 23 stolen bases (in 26 attempts), 25 walks, and 79 strikeouts over 432 plate appearances.

Per his Baseball America scouting report, the versatile, 5-foot-8, 145 pounder is “hard to miss” since “his high-energy style of play is evident in every aspect of the game and he turns heads with his unexpected bat speed and ability to put a charge in pitches in the zone, particularly against left-handers.”

As someone who hits from the right side of the plate, it’s not too surprising to see that Rafaela had far more success against left-handed pitching (.930 OPS in 79 PAs) as opposed to right-handed pitching (.681 OPS in 353 PAs) this season.

That being said, Baseball America does note that Rafaela — who represented Curacao in the 2012 Little League World Series — has a tendency to be a free-swinger, which can work against him at times, particularly on pitches outside of the strike zone that induce weak contact off his bat.

Even while taking those points into consideration, it goes without saying that Rafaela still has plenty of room — and time — to grow and develop, both as a hitter and fielder.

The Curacaoan-born infielder/outfielder can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter if he is not added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline, though it seems likely he will remain with the organization heading into the 2022 season.

On that note, it should be interesting to see if Rafaela participates in the Sox’ fall instructional league that begins in Fort Myers next month, as he has each of the last three years, or if he has other plans for the offseason.

(Picture of Ceddanne Rafaela and Xander Bogaerts via Instagram)

Red Sox top prospects Nick Yorke, Brayan Bello named organization’s Offensive Player, Starting Pitcher of the Year

Two of the top prospects in the Red Sox farm system were recognized for the seasons they respectively put together this year.

Infielder Nick Yorke was named Boston’s Offensive Player of the Year, while right-hander Brayan Bello was named Boston’s Starting Pitcher of the Year, the club announced on Tuesday.

Yorke, 19, enjoyed a great deal of success in his first professional season with the Sox after being selected with the 17th overall pick in last summer’s amateur draft.

The right-handed hitting second baseman received an invite to major-league spring training earlier this year and broke minor-league camp with Low-A Salem.

After getting off to a slow start with Salem, Yorke turned a corner at the plate beginning in June, as he was slashing a scorching .323/.413/.500 (146 wRC+) with 14 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 47 RBI, 59 runs scored, 11 stolen bases, 41 walks, and 47 strikeouts over 76 games (346 plate appearances) before earning a promotion to High-A Greenville late last month.

Upon getting promoted to a more advanced level on the minor-league ladder, Yorke did not slow down, as evidenced by him collecting two hits in his Greenville debut on August 24.

From there, the California native went on to hit .333/.406/.571 (158 wRC+) with six doubles, one triple, four homers, 15 RBI, 17 runs scored, two stolen bases, 11 walks, and 22 strikeouts across 21 games (96 plate appearances) with the Drive, whose season ended on Sunday.

All in all, Yorke this season ranked first among all qualified Red Sox minor-league hitters in batting average (.325), fourth in on-base percentage (.412), third in slugging percentage (.516), first in OPS (.928), second in wRC+ (158), per FanGraphs.

Yorke, who does not turn 20 until next April, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 8 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking fifth among position players in the organization.

As for Bello, the 22-year-old right-hander also earned a midseason promotion over the summer after originally beginning the year — and dominating — with Greenville.

Across six starts with the Drive, Bello posted a dazzling 2.27 ERA and 2.82 FIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to seven walks over 31 2/3 innings of work before moving up to Double-A Portland in early June.

While the transition from High-A to Double-A did not go entirely smoothly for Bello, he was one of two prospects to represent the Red Sox in July’s All-Star Futures Game at Coors Field.

From the time he was promoted to Portland through the end of the minor-league season, the Dominican-born righty put up a 4.66 ERA, but much more respectable 3.12 FIP, while striking out 31.1% of the batters he faced and walking just 8.6% of them over 15 starts spanning 63 2/3 innings of work with the Sea Dogs.

Among the eight Red Sox minor-league pitchers who accrued at least 90 innings this season, Bello ranked first in strikeouts per nine innings (12.46), first in strikeout rate (32.8%), first in FIP (3.02), and first in xFIP (3.16), per FanGraphs.

Bello, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is the No. 6 prospect in Boston’s farm system, according to Baseball America.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Bello throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider.

Despite the fact he does not turn 23 until next May, Bello will more than likely be added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline since he can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time this winter.

In addition to Yorke being named the Red Sox’ Offensive Player of the Year and Bello being named the Starting Pitcher of the Year, infielder/outfielder Ceddanne Rafaela was named the Defensive Player of the Year, right-hander Durbin Feltman was named the Relief Pitcher of the Year, infielder Christian Koss was named the Baserunner of the Year, outfielder Allan Castro was named the Latin Program Position Player of the Year, and right-hander Jedixson Paez was named the Latin Program Pitcher of the Year.

On top of that, right-hander Kutter Crawford — who made his major-league debut earlier this month — was named the recipient of the Lou Gorman Award, which goes to a player “who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major-league team.”

(Picture of Nick Yorke: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox prospects in the Futures Game: How did Brayan Bello, Jeter Downs fare in showcase?

While the Red Sox were in the process of falling to the Phillies by a final score of 5-4 at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon, two of the brightest prospects in Boston’s farm system were showcasing their talent nearly 2,000 miles away at Coors Field in Denver.

Infielder Jeter Downs and right-hander Brayan Bello both represented the Red Sox while playing for the American League in Sunday’s All-Star Futures Game, and both prospects were able to get into the game.

Bello, who is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 9 pitching prospect in the Red Sox farm system, came on in relief of Rangers prospect Cole Ragans with one out in the bottom of third inning.

Inheriting a situation in which the American League was already trailing 3-0 and the National League had a runner on first base, Bello’s first pitch — a 97.7 mph fastball — was sent flying off the bat of Cardinals prospect Nolan Gorman, who reached second base on a hard-hit double before advancing to third on a wild pitch.

With that potential run just 90 feet away from scoring, Bello proceeded to give up a sacrifice fly to Padres catcher Luis Campusano that plated Gorman, but then rebounded by getting the Braves’ Michael Harris to line out to second to put an end to an inning as well as his outing.

Of the 11 pitches the 22-year-old hurler threw on Sunday, seven went for strikes, though he only induced one swing-and-miss, which came on an 0-0 changeup to Campusano.

Besides that, Bello averaged 97.9 mph with the four four-seam fastballs he threw while topping out at 98.1 mph with his well-regarded heater. He also threw five sliders and three changeups in total.

Bello, who originally signed with the Sox out of the Dominican Republic for $28,000 back in 2017, is enjoying a breakout season in 2021.

Opening the year with High-A Greenville, the 6-foot-1, 170 pound righty went 5-0 while posting a 2.27 ERA and 2.62 xFIP with 45 strikeouts to just seven walks over six starts spanning 31 2/3 innings of work before earning a promotion to Double-A Portland on June 8.

Since then, Bello has produced an ERA of 3.06 and xFIP of 3.81 to go along with 22 strikeouts and eight walks in five starts (17 2/3 innings pitched) with the Sea Dogs.

Downs, meanwhile, came off the bench in the fifth inning of Sunday’s seven-inning exhibition, as he took over at second base for Rays prospect Xavier Edwards.

Facing off against Nationals 2020 first-round pick Cade Cavalli in his first trip to the plate, Downs was bombarded by a barrage of high-octane fastballs that ranged between 98.4 mph and 100.4 mph.

The talented right-handed hitter was able foul off five of the first seven pitches he saw from Cavalli, but ultimately went down swinging on a 2-2, 91 mph changeup in the dirt that caught him off-balance.

In the seventh inning, however, Downs bounced back against Brewers left-hander Ethan Small.

With one out and runners on first and second, Downs took an 0-1, 92 mph fastball up and on the inner half of the plate and ripped a two-run double to deep left field that left his bat at a scorching 107.7 mph, making it the fourth hardest-hit ball of the day between both sides.

Downs was responsible for two of the three runs the American League scored, as the National League went on to take the showcase by a final score of 8-3.

The soon-to-be 23-year-old — one of three players acquired from the Dodgers in the Mookie Betts/David Price trade — is regarded by Baseball America as the No. 2 prospect in Boston’s farm system and trails only fellow infielder Triston Casas for the top spot.

2021 has marked Downs’ first exposure to the Triple-A level, and the first half of the minor-league season has proven to be an adjustment period for the native of Colombia.

Through 44 games (188 plate appearances) with Triple-A Worcester this year, Downs is boasting a .234/.309/.377 slash line (83 wRC+) to go along with three doubles, seven home runs, 17 RBI, 22 runs scored, 17 walks, and 55 strikeouts.

That said, Downs will look to get back on track after a decent showing in Denver, as the WooSox open up a seven-game series against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at Polar Park on Tuesday night.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello added to American League’s All-Star Futures Game roster

Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello has been added to the American League’s All-Star Futures Game roster as an injury replacement, according to Baseball Americs’s J.J. Cooper.

Per Cooper, Bello will be replacing top Mariners pitching prospect Emerson Hancock, who suffered an apparent non-structural arm injury within the last few days.

Bello, 22, 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 initially opened the 2021 minor-league season with High-A Greenville, where he went 5-0 across six starts and posted a 2.27 ERA and 2.62 xFIP to go along with 45 strikeouts to just seven walks over 31 2/3 innings of work.

Those consistently strong performances throughout May and into early June resulted in Bello getting promoted to Double-A Portland on June 8.

In the four weeks since that move, the lanky 6-foot-1, 170 pound hurler has pitched to the tune of a 3.45 ERA and 3.89 xFIP in four starts spanning 15 2/3 total innings for the Sea Dogs. He struck out a season-high of 10 batters in his second outing with Portland back on June 18.

“I saw through social media that he was dominant and then I saw the report today,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bello’s performance the following day while the team was in Kansas City (via MassLive.com’s Christopher Smith). “I haven’t seen video (of him). Just got the report and he’s been very good so far this season. Yesterday was eye-opening. The report said he was very aggressive, very efficient and with good stuff. So I should probably start watching video and see what we have in him.”

Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for $28,000 during the 2017 international signing period, Bello’s pitch mix consists of a high-octane fastball that has reached triple digits this season, a plus changeup, and an improving slider, per Smith.

In being selected to play this weekend’s All-Star Futures Game, which takes place at Coors Field on July 11, Bello joins fellow prospect Jeter Downs as the two players who will be representing the Red Sox in the seven-inning exhibition.

The showcase certainly represents an enticing opportunity for Bello, as he will have the chance to show the baseball world what he is capable of ahead of what has the makings to be an extremely important offseason for the righty.

That is the case because Bello, who does not turn 23 until next May, can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his career this December if he is not added to the Sox’ 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline.

As has been written on here before, that is definitely something worth keeping in mind as the minor-league season continues.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)

Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello allows 1 run over 4-plus innings in debut for Double-A Portland

Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello’s Double-A debut on Saturday night did not disappoint.

After getting promoted from High-A Greenville to Double-A Portland this past Tuesday, Bello made his first start of the year for the Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field, facing off against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (the Double-A affiliate of the Blue Jays).

Over four-plus innings of work, the young right-hander allowed just one earned run on five hits and two walks to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

While he did not have the benefit of a clean inning, Bello did do an effective job of maneuvering his way around traffic on the base paths, as he stranded five runners on base and also faced the minimum in the fourth thanks to inducing a 6-4-3 double play.

Both walks issued by Bello came against the first two — and subsequently final two — batters he faced in the top half of the fifth, at which point his outing came to a close.

One of those he walked would come into score on a sacrifice fly off Sea Dogs reliever Joan Martinez later in the inning, which is how he was charged with that lone run.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 78 (46 strikes), the righty was sitting between 96-97 mph with his fastball according to those who were in attendance for his start in Portland.

Bello, who turned 22 last month, is currently regarded by Baseball America as the No. 20 prospect in Boston’s farm system, ranking ninth among pitchers in the organization.

The 6-foot-1, 170 pound hurler began his 2021 season in Greenville, where he posted a 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 the Drive.

Per his SoxProspects.com scouting report, Bello — who was a standout at fall instructs last year — throws from a mid-three-quarters arm slot and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a fastball, a changeup, and a slider.

On the surface, the fact that the Dominican native only went four-plus innings into his first start at a new level may seem underwhelming, but as noted by SoxProspects.com’s Chris Hatfield, “the jump from High-A to Double-A is often regarded as the hardest in the minor leagues.”

With that thought in mind, that Bello did what he did on Saturday should be considered a positive more than anything else.

As he prepares for his next outing with the Sea Dogs, it’s important to remember how pivotal the 2021 campaign is for Bello and those in and outside of the Red Sox organization who are and will be evaluating him this summer.

That being the case because the former international signee can become eligible for the Rule 5 Draft for the first time in his professional career this winter if he is not added to Boston’s 40-man roster by the November 20 deadline.

Something to certainly keep in mind there.

(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)