Brayan Bello has been informed that he will start for the Red Sox on Wednesday, per MassLive.com’s Katie Morrison.
After Rich Hill suffered a left knee sprain in his start against the Cubs on Friday and was subsequently placed on the 15-day injured list as a result, the Red Sox found themselves in need of a starter for Wednesday night’s contest against the Rays at Fenway Park.
It just so happens that Bello also made his last start for Triple-A Worcester on Friday and would therefore be slated to work on regular rest. With Chris Sale set to make a rehab start for the WooSox at Polar Park on Wednesday, Bello became the clear choice.
Originally signed out of the Dominican Republic for a modest $28,000 in July 2017, Bello is currently regarded by Baseball America as the top pitching prospect in Boston’s farm system and the No. 44 prospect in all of baseball.
The 23-year-old right-hander began the 2022 season with Double-A Portland before earning a promotion to Worcester on May 17. Since then, he has posted a 2.81 ERA and 2.68 FIP with 72 strikeouts to 21 walks over nine appearances (eight starts) spanning 51 1/3 innings of work for the WooSox.
In his last time out against the Rochester Red Wings at Frontier Field on July 1, Bello scattered two hits and three walks while fanning eight over 5 1/3 scoreless innings. Forty-nine of the 84 pitches he threw went for strikes and 15 were of the swing-and-miss variety.
Among International League pitchers who have accrued at least 50 innings this year, Bello — as of Monday — ranks second in strikeouts per nine innings (12.62), second in strikeout rate (34.4%), first in swinging strike rate (16.2%), eighth in batting average against (.207), 11th in WHIP (1.17), fifth in ERA, second in FIP, and first in xFIP (2.64), per FanGraphs.
Listed at 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds, Bello throws from a three-quarters arm slot and operates with a four-pitch mix that consists of a 97-98 mph four-seam fastball that tops out at 99 mph, a two-seam fastball that typically sits in the mid-90s, an 87-89 mph changeup, and an 83-86 mph slider, according to his SoxProspects.com scouting report.
Bello, who does not turn 24 until next May, is already a member of the Red Sox’ 40-man roster; though the club will have to make a corresponding move of some sort to add the hard-throwing righty to the active roster, likely by optioning another pitcher to Worcester on Wednesday.
That being said, Bello will become the third player and second pitcher to make his major-league debut for Boston so far this season, joining the likes of Jeter Downs and fellow hurler Josh Winckowski.
At this time, it remains to be seen how long Bello’s first stint in the majors will last. Regardless of that, though, there will be plenty of hype surrounding Bello when he takes the mound at Fenway Park for the first time just after 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Wednesday evening.
(Picture of Brayan Bello: Kelly O’Connor/sittingstill.smugmug.com)