The Red Sox Top Pitching Prospect Has Impressed In AAA
The Boston Red Sox pitching group is always the topic of debate for many fans of the team. Some believe the group is doing well, and that there is no reason to change it, while others believe there is room for improvement. While this is always a subject that is based on the individual’s viewpoint, the Sox undoubtedly will take high-level starters if they can get them. Enter Brayan Bello, the #4 prospect in the Red Sox system (behind Marcelo Mayer, Triston Casas, and Nick Yorke) who, according to MLB.com, has a projected major league ETA of 2022.
With this, could we potentially see Bello get called up for Boston sometime in August or September? Let’s break down what we know so far and look at why he has already made the Sox 40-man roster as a prospect.
Scouting grades & report
Brayan Bello has had quite the road to AAA so far, being completely passed on in 2015 and 2016 during the international signing periods and accepting a $28,000 contract to turn pro in 2017. With this, he accrued some mid-level scouting grades overall. For those who do not know, the MLB grading system is on a scale of 20-80, with 50 being the major league average. Bello ranked in with the following:
- Fastball: 60 (above average)
- Slider: 55 (above average)
- Changeup: 60 (above average)
- Control: 50 (average)
- Total combined grade: 55 (above average)
According to scouting reports, he had two issues early on that were preventing him from becoming a premier prospect. Firstly, his control, which was good, but not at a level where he could devastate lineups with a nasty off-speed. Secondly, his velocity was lacking for a time, topping out around 92-95 MPH in 2019. He has raised this velocity to a 95-97 and nearing 100 lately, which is amazing to see.
His MLB scouting report now says that his changeup is consistently good and usually comes in within the mid-80 MPH range, with “fade and depth”, with his slider also featuring “similar velocity and upside”. Being able to control both of your off-speed pitches that well is a good sign for his development, as he has started to reign in some control. He also has been working on his two-seam fastball and trying to get more control with that, and in yesterdays game, we got to see his variety on full display with his 7 strikeouts:
Triple-A Career To Date
Brayan finally got his chance at a Triple-A spot this season, and so far has had some pretty quality starts. His control does need to be slightly fine-tuned, as he has walked 15 batters in 40.1 innings pitched, however, outside this, he has played up to his potential. So far he has put together the following statline:
- 6 games started (4-2 record + 1 relief opportunity) with 40.1 innings pitched
- Has given up: 32 hits, 14 runs, 3 home runs
- 646 pitches thrown, 0 batters hit, 57 strikeouts, 1.17 WHIP, 3.12 ERA
Has Bello been flawless? No. Very few prospects ever are. But he has shown promise, as he has started to be able to get his velocity up, as well as reign in his off-speed pitches a bit to have more control over the strike zone. Considering he has a winning record with a pretty optimal ERA as well, he has been looking pretty good overall for the WooSox.
There is always a need for more pitchers on the roster, and while Josh Winckowski had a pretty good start the other day, it is always nice to have players you can call up and check out before next season. If you can get Bello called up in September and give him some playing time to be prepared for 2023, why not?
When Could We Expect A Call-Up?
Now comes the fun part, projections. As I previously said, MLB.com presumes he will be playing in some games in 2022 and get his call-up to the show. I agree with this notion, as he will likely be utilized either at the end of this season (September onwards) or very early in 2023 at the latest (April). Provided he continues to play well and develop further in AAA Worcester, we could see him this year for sure. If he puts in performances like he did yesterday, giving up 0 runs and only 5 hits in 7 innings? I would potentially expect to see him even in late August.
Having a prospect come in, get some experience, and allowing your full-time starters (like Nate Eovaldi or Nick Pivetta) to get some rest before a potential postseason push is a win-win-win, especially with Eovaldi already somewhat banged up this season.
Written by Jeremy Trottier: Check him out on Twitter here
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