Brayan Bello enters the 2022 season regarded by Baseball America as the No. 5 prospect in the Red Sox farm system, which ranks first among pitchers in the organization.
It has been quite the rise for Bello, who at this time last year was Baseball America’s 20th-ranked Boston prospect.
The 22-year-old right-hander is coming off a 2021 season in which he posted a 3.87 ERA and 3.02 FIP to go along with 132 strikeouts to 31 walks over 21 starts (95 1/3 innings pitched) between High-A Greenville and Double-A Portland. He also represented the Red Sox in last July’s All-Star Futures Game and was named the team’s Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year.
As a reward for his exceptional campaign, Bello was added to the Red Sox’ 40-man roster last November so he would receive protection from the Rule 5 Draft. The lockout began shortly thereafter, though, which barred the former international signee from communicating with his club since he was now considered a major-leaguer.
Forced to spend his off-season and work out at home in the Dominican Republic instead of Fort Myers, Bello was about as excited as anyone when the lockout ended earlier this month since it meant he would be receiving his first-ever invite to big-league spring training.
“I’m really happy because that just shows the hard work that I put in to be able to even be invited to big-league camp,” Bello recently told The Boston Globe’s Julian McWilliams. “Like, that’s really what was the goal to be able to have this opportunity. So now that I’m here, like, I’m trying to just take advantage of it.”
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, Bello has a repeatable delivery and operates with a three-pitch mix that consists of a mid-90s four-seam fastball that touches 98 mph, a changeup that is considered to be a plus offering, and an improving slider. He is also working on developing a two-seamer, per his Baseball America scouting report.
“Everybody raves about him,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of Bello, who will likely be making his spring debut on either Tuesday or Wednesday. “[He doesn’t have] a physical presence. But what they said stuff wise, he’s really good.”
Bello, who turns 23 in May, is projected by SoxProspects.com to return to Portland for the start of the 2022 minor-league season next month. He should, however, make it as far as Triple-A Worcester this year and could be on the cusp of making his major-league debut sooner rather than later.
(Picture of Brayan Bello: Brace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images)