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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Brayan Bello tries to find some consistency

The flashes were there in 2019, but not the consistency.

Brayan Bello
Kelly O’Connor;

We’re going to continue to plug away at this top prospect list until it’s over, because we aren’t sure why we would stop now. For this latest spot, we had a close showdown from the two pitchers who remained from the last two rounds of voting. It came down to one single vote, but the young Brayan Bello just barely snuck ahead, taking our number 17 spot (number 18 with Jeter Downs, who was not in the organization when this started) with 38 percent of the vote.

Bello was a July 2 signing, which generally indicates he is a player the team was targeting (and almost certainly had an agreement with) before the signing period began. The righty was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, though as an 18-year-old he was a couple years older than most in his class. He also wasn’t exactly a highly touted arm, coming to the Red Sox for a $28,000 signing bonus.

As is the case for most July 2 signings, Bello wasn’t rushed to the Dominican Summer League in that summer, with the team instead keeping him on the complex and waiting for the next season. Bello made his professional debut in 2018, and he opened some eyes right away. As a 19-year-old he was older than most of the top players in the league, to be fair, but he made 13 starts and one relief appearance, totaling 67 13 innings and pitching to a 1.60 ERA with 74 strikeouts and just ten walks. It was a truly dominant performance, and the team did give him one three-inning relief appearance in the GCL for a Stateside debut at the end of the year.

The following year, the Red Sox showed some aggression with their young righty, essentially skipping over two levels and pushing Bello to full-season ball in Greenville. It’s not an unprecedented push — Bryan Mata was pushed similarly as well — but it was still a bit surprising. What ended up having was a wild rollercoaster of a season. In all, Bello tossed 117 23 innings over 25 starts with a 5.43 ERA, 119 strikeouts and 38 walks. But it was really a tale of three seasons. Bello got off to a hot start, pitching to a 1.86 ERA over his first four starts. He then pitched to a 9.87 ERA over his next 11 starts before finishing things off with a 3.00 ERA over his final 10 outings. Inconsistency for a young pitcher who was not only pushed two levels but also basically pitching in the States for the first time is not surprising, but the whiplash here is a little jarring.

As far as the scouting report goes, there is still a lot up in the air for Bello. His best pitch is his fastball right now, which has the velocity but still needs work. The pitch generally sits in the 93ish range but reports had it getting up to 98 towards the end of the year at times. The command on the pitch still needs some work, though, and it’s relatively flat. If he can bulk up some — one of his biggest issues is his size — and add more consistent velocity, it might be worth it to take a bit off to try and add some cut. Along with the fastball, Bello has a slider and a changeup, both of which can use a little more work but can be at least average. Consistency is the biggest thing for Bello in 2020 and moving forward, but there is a chance for a starter’s profile here.

There’s also a chance for a significant step forward when we put this list together for 2021, though obviously current circumstances obviously make everything about this coming year a total unknown. Whenever this season does get started, Bello will be pushed up to Salem’s rotation. With a full season in the States behind him, don’t be surprised if we see a breakout from the righty in the coming season. Again, assuming it comes at all.

1A. Jeter Downs

1B. Triston Casas

2. Bobby Dalbec

3. Bryan Mata

4. Noah Song

5. Gilberto Jimenez

6. Jay Groome

7. Jarren Duran

8. Thad Ward

9. Tanner Houck

10. Matthew Lugo

11. C.J. Chatham

12. Connor Wong

13. Nick Decker

14. Cameron Cannon

15. Marcus Wilson

16. Aldo Ramirez

17. Brayan Bello

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number two. As a reminder, to do this you go down below and find the comment from me corresponding with the player for whom you’d like to vote. When you find said player, just click the “rec” button, and that will count your vote. To do this, you will need to be logged in as a member of the site. If you’d like to vote for a player who is not listed, just leave a comment saying “Vote for ___ here” and I’ll rec the comment to count your vote. Until next time...