Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello is flying up Top 100 rankings

DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brayan Bello #17 of American League Futures Team pitches against the National League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - JULY 11: Brayan Bello #17 of American League Futures Team pitches against the National League Futures Team at Coors Field on July 11, 2021 in Denver, Colorado.(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /
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Red Sox pitching prospect Brayan Bello’s stock is on the rise

Baseball America’s latest Top 100 list features several prospects from the Boston Red Sox farm system but one of these players stands out for their meteoric rise through the rankings.

Right-handed pitcher Brayan Bello jumped 30 spots to No. 49 overall in the updated rankings. Bello didn’t even make the cut for Baseball America’s list back in January but he’s already moved up into the top half of the list.

The rise is warranted with Bello’s outstanding performance this season. He began the year in Double-A Portland where he went 4-2 with a 1.60 ERA, 0.832 WHIP and 11.2 K/9 in six starts. That includes a no-hitter in a seven-inning complete game that was part of a doubleheader.

The 23-year-old celebrated his birthday last month with a promotion to Triple-A Worcester. In three starts for the WooSox, Bello is 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.294 WHIP and 13.8 K/9.

Baseball America isn’t alone in putting Bello on their radar. MLB Pipeline has him ranked No. 83 in their current rankings, not far behind where Baseball America had him in their previous edition. A similar leap could be in store for Bello when MLB’s website makes their next revisions.

Bello has increased his velocity during his climb through the minor league system and now throws a four-seam fastball that sits in the upper-90s. He has good movement on the pitch with late life but can struggle at times with his command, according to the scouting report from SoxProspects.com. His eight walks in 17 innings at the Triple-A level (4.2 BB/9) is a slight concern that has been somewhat muted by his elite strikeout rate.

His best secondary pitch is a changeup that falls off the table late to generate swings and misses. He also mixes in a slider with above-average spin rate that has the potential to be a reliable pitch if he can find more consistency with his command of it.

Bello is projected to be a middle of the rotation starter but his upside increases as he continues to show signs of improvement.

As dominant as he has been, the Red Sox can’t use their shaky pitching staff as an excuse to rush Bello. He only has three starts under his belt at Triple-A and would benefit from more time to polish his skills, sharpen his command and and continue to develop his slider. Bello will find it difficult to navigate major league lineups multiple times as a starter without a reliable third pitch.

It’s possible that the Red Sox could call up Bello late in the season to fortify the bullpen. They would prefer to keep him as a starter for the long-term but a late-season transition to the bullpen could help monitor his workload. If nothing else, a cup of coffee in September would be warranted if he continues to impress during his time in Worcester.

Three other Red Sox prospects also made Baseball America’s Top 100, led by Marcelo Mayer, who moved up to No. 12 on the list. Triston Casas moved down four spots to No. 20. Both stud prospects have been sidelined recently by injuries but they remain the cream of the crop in the Red Sox farm system. Nick Yorke dropped a handful of spots to No. 33. The second baseman has struggled to recapture the magic from his excellent 2021 season in Low-A. Moving to advanced A comes with a learning curve that Yorke will undoubtedly adjust to.

The top three Red Sox prospects get most of the attention but as the top-rated pitching prospect in the system, it’s encouraging to see Bello on the radar.

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