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Red-hot Red Sox prospect makes huge jump on BA's top 100 list

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Brayan Bello

The industry recognition keeps coming for Red Sox right-handed pitching prospect Brayan Bello.

Baseball America released its updated list of top 100 prospects, and for the first time, Bello has cracked the top 50.

No. 79 earlier this year, Bello jumped 30 spots to No. 49 on the strength of an outstanding debut at Triple-A Worcester.

In three starts with the WooSox, the 23-year-old is 3-0 with a 3.18 ERA and 26 strikeouts in 17 innings. After striking out 10 over six innings in each of his first two starts, Bello struggled with his command on Sunday vs. Lehigh Valley, walking in four in five innings, but still escaping with the win.

"His progress really the last couple years has been something to watch," Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom told reporters Wednesday at Fenway Park. "Really, really remarkable. He can do a lot of things consistently now that a year ago, he couldn't.

"He's in the right place and we saw in the first outing, he was absolutely dominant. His second one in Triple-A was probably similar and the last one, there was a little wildness that got in later in the game and that's part of what he's working through, but he's got a lot of different weapons. He knows how to use them now."

Bello features a 95-99 mph fastball, as well as an excellent changeup and improving slider. With the Red Sox struggling to find viable arms in the bullpen, it's fair to ask if Bello could help at some point in that role this year.

 

Speaking in general about minor league starters joining big league bullpens, Bloom sounded a note of caution.

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"I wouldn't rule it out, but we'd want to do it thoughtfully," he said. "If someone has been on a starter's routine his whole career, we do still see a lot of those guys get their feet wet in the bullpen, but we wouldn't necessarily use them as a veteran reliever who's done it for a long time.

"It is a big adjustment and there's a learning curve and we want to make sure we're being mindful of their health but certainly that's happened before, it's happened here, and around the league, so it's something we'd consider."

For now, Bello has learn to more at Triple A -- and maybe higher to climb on the prospect rankings.

"There's obviously more development there," Bloom said. "But he has a really high ceiling."