The Brayan Bello hype train is nearing full speed as he takes his place among the top Red Sox prospects.
The right-handed pitcher is having a sensational 2021 season with Double-A Portland, and it’s catching the attention of a lot of smart, important people. The 21-year-old is now 5-0 in eight starts this season with a 2.20 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 47 innings spread across two levels.
Most recently, he was sensational against Binghamton, striking out 10 in just 5 1/3 innings while allowing just one run on two hits and a walk. The performance, just his second since being promoted to Portland earlier this month, caught the attention of the Baseball America staff. The prospect specialists tabbed Bello one of the 20 hottest prospects in all of baseball in its most recent Hot Sheet column.
“Bello long showed promising stuff but struggled with his command and deception at lower levels. That problem appears to have been alleviated,” BA wrote (subscription required), calling Bello’s 2021 season thus far a “breakthrough year.”
Getting love in the prospect outlets is all well and good, but even more important is Bello is very much on the radar of Red Sox manager Alex Cora. The start against Binghamton was “eye-opening,” Cora told reporters Saturday in Kansas City, as transcribed by MassLive.com.
“I’ve been following it,” Cora said, per MassLive. “I haven’t seen video (of him). Just got the report and he’s been very good so far this season. (Friday) 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.”
This isn’t the first headline Bello has generated this season. Just last month, longtime insider Peter Gammons relayed the opinion of a scout, who had Bello up around 100 mph with his fastball to go along with “the best changeup I (have) ever seen, at least since Pedro (Martinez). “
Bello, who has shot up to the No. 8 prospect in the system at SoxProspects.com, essentially forced the organization’s hand with how well he pitched at Single-A Greenville to start the season. He struck out 45 over 31 2/3 innings pitched while allowing just 25 hits and issuing seven walks. Allowing seven hits per nine innings is always encouraging, but it’s even better for Bello considering the struggles he had in 2019. In his first real taste of pro ball, he allowed more than 10 hits per nine innings, so he’s making legitimate improvement and is being rewarded — internally and externally — as such.
It’s probably still a little too early to know what the future holds for Bello. But for an organization that has seen top pitching prospects struggle to stay on the field for a variety of reasons, Bello’s progression is a sign brighter days might be ahead for a farm system trying to turn things around.