It’s no secret that the Red Sox farm system is back on the way up after a couple of years near the bottom of the league, and the place where that rise is most apparent is among the pitching prospects, and particularly those arms in the upper levels of the system. Brayan Bello stands out above all of the other pitchers in that group, and he’s getting some recognition for the great start to his season. The righty was promoted on Monday up to Triple-A Worcester, along with reliever Andrew Politi.
Bello is the top pitching prospect in the system right now, and he was certainly pitching like it in Double-A Portland before the promotion. Across six starts and 33 innings, he has pitched to a 1.60 ERA and a 3.20 FIP, striking out just under a third of his opponents while walking nine percent. Remember, he also made 15 starts at the level last season, so this isn’t really a rushed promotion after just a handful of outings.
At 23 years old (which he just turned today; happy birthday Brayan!), Bello has the tools you’re looking for in a top pitching prospect knocking on the door to the majors. While the consistency can still come and go — even in this strong season there have been outings where he’s had to work around shake command or not his best stuff, and to his credit he has done just that — the stuff is electric and he has the pitch mix for the majors. Bello has a big fastball that sits in the mid-90s along with a really good changeup and an improving slider. Considering he’ll be up at Triple-A in May, it’s not at all unrealistic to think he could be in the majors later this summer, though I would imagine it’s probably more likely in a relief role this season with an eye towards potentially making starts in 2023.
Also getting promoted was Politi, who doesn’t really have the name recognition as Bello but is having a really interesting season. A former 15th rounder, he’s had a rollercoaster of a pro career as the Red Sox have moved him back and forth between the rotation and bullpen. This year he’s pitched entirely in relief and it really suits him much better. The righty has tossed 13 1⁄3 innings and has a 2.03 ERA, striking out 38 percent and walking only six percent. He’s allowed to lean mostly on his fastball and slider in this role, and while there’s not a future closer here he can carve out a middle relief role in the majors, especially since he can probably go multiple innings if needed.