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Red Sox Top Prospect Voting: Brayan Bello could be the 2021 breakout

The young pitcher is looking for consistency.

Brayan Bello
Kelly O’Connor

Every year there seems to be one player in this top prospect voting that is right on the cusp of making the list, seemingly for weeks, but just keeps finishing in second place. This year was no different, but the streak was broken this time around and the player has finally made it on the list. It is a pitcher this time around as well, breaking up a streak of three straight position players. That pitcher is Brayan Bello, who comes in at number 16 on our community rankings after snagging 31 percent of the vote.

Bello was a bit of an older sign for the Red Sox when he joined the organization out of the Dominican Republic, getting a $28,000 bonus at the age of 18 back in 2017. He signed in the middle of that summer, so he didn’t make his debut until the following summer, making him a 19-year-old at the DSL. That is a bit old for the level, with most of the best players in that league being about 17. But Bello did pitch well at least, and that’s all you can do. The righty pitched to a 1.38 ERA over 13 starts, striking out over a batter per inning with only 10 walks in 64 13 innings. That was enough to give him a token appearance stateside at the complex at the end of the year.

The Red Sox had seen enough at that point to push Bello all the way up to full-season ball the following season, skipping over both the GCL and the New York-Penn League. A big part of that was certainly his age, but the domination in the Dominican the previous summer sure helped as well. The 2019 season in Greenville was a rollercoaster for Bello, as we saw both the good and the bad. His overall ERA for the season was 5.43, but that hardly tells the story. He was dominant to start, pitching to a 1.89 ERA over his first four starts. Then, he struggled mightily, pitching to a 10.66 ERA over his next 10 outings. Finally, he finished out strong, pitching to a 3.05 ERA over his final 11 starts.

So he was a bit all over the place, but he was also both pitching in a full season for the first time in his professional career while also spending an entire season in the United States for the first time in his life. It’s also worth pointing out that the peripherals ended up looking much better than his ERA, as he struck out just over a batter per nine innings, walked just under three per nine and allowed nine homers in 25 starts.

As far as the scouting goes, there is unsurprisingly a lot of variance for the 21-year-old (he’ll be 22 in May) who has just one full season under his belt. But the stuff is certainly enticing, especially with his top two pitches. The righty throws a big fastball, sitting in the mid-90s and getting up to 98 when he needs it to. There are command issues with the pitch, and you’d like to see a bit more movement, but it is a good table-setter for him. In addition, his top secondary is a nasty changeup that could end up as his best out pitch. The big key moving forward is whether or not his slider will develop. There are flashes that it could be at least an average pitch, but it’s still inconsistent at this point. It has been a focus in his workouts over the last year, though.

If he cannot develop the slider, the fastball could play up in relief and many see a solid fallback plan as a fastball/changeup reliever. Personally, I’ve always been wary of relievers that don’t use a breaking ball, but those two pitches do get exciting reports from a lot of people who have watched him regularly. Even still, there is plenty to be excited about here because it is too early to write off his career as a starter. The slider can very much still develop into something, turning Bello into a potential back-end starter.

It will be interesting to see not only the performance from the young righty this year, but also what kind of consistency he shows on the mound following the rollercoaster 2019. They will certainly be using him as a starter, and because of the swap in levels on the organizational ladder he will likely be heading back to Greenville, though this time pitching at High-A. He could get a promotion if things go perfectly, but he’s not someone I’d look at for a fast track and it’s more likely he spends all year in Greenville.

Here is our list so far:

  1. Triston Casas
  2. Jeter Downs
  3. Bryan Mata
  4. Jarren Duran
  5. Gilberto Jimenez
  6. Noah Song
  7. Bobby Dalbec
  8. Tanner Houck
  9. Connor Seabold
  10. Aldo Ramirez
  11. Thad Ward
  12. Jay Groome
  13. Nick Yorke
  14. Ronaldo Hernández
  15. Blaze Jordan
  16. Brayan Bello

Now, you can head down into the comments and vote for the number 15 prospect. 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. We encourage discussion, of course, but please don’t comment under specific players’ names. Instead, scroll to the bottom to start a new comment thread in order to keep the players at the top of the comment section. Until next time...