Brayan Bello held his own last season after debuting with the Boston Red Sox.
Sure, the final stat line (2-8 record, 4.71 ERA, 1.779 WHIP) wasn’t glamorous, and it’s reasonable to expect more growing pains as the 23-year-old solidifies himself as a big leaguer, but The Athletic’s Keith Law on Tuesday included Bello among his “breakout candidates” for the 2023 MLB season.
“I had Justin Havens on my podcast in January, and he mentioned Bello as one of his two breakout candidates for 2023,” Law wrote. “I’m going to join him on the Bello Bus, as the sophomore right-hander had some awful luck on balls in play last year and his stuff should allow him to limit overall contact and limit hard contact as well.”
The underlying metrics from last season paint Bello in a more positive light than the surface-level stats. Couple that with the obvious talent — Bello certainly passes the eye test — and it’s no wonder Law, among others, has high expectations for the young right-hander moving forward.
“Bello has an out pitch in his changeup, which has big tailing action and good separation from the heater, and gets huge sink on his two-seamer to generate groundballs (56 percent last year in the majors),” Law wrote. “His .404 BABIP allowed is going to come down, probably a lot, so while he’ll allow a few more homers this year, I think he’s poised to take a big step forward.”
Law clarified “only non-rookies” were eligible for his “breakout candidates” list, which included 10 players (four pitchers, six position players). Bello made 13 appearances (11 starts) for Boston in 2022, totaling 57 1/3 innings, and figures to have a spot in the Red Sox’s rotation this season upon returning from the injured list.