Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox continue their three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the finale is expected to be a special occasion. Top Boston pitching prospect Brayan Bello recently revealed to Katie Morrison of MassLive that he’s expected to make his major-league debut with a start on Wednesday night, opposite the Rays’ Corey Kluber.

At MLB Pipeline, Bello ranks as the No. 4 prospect in the Red Sox organization and the top pitcher. He’s earned the start in Boston with a strong showing for Triple-A Worcester this season, posting a 6-2 record with a 2.81 ERA. Bello struck out 12.6 batters per nine innings and induced ground balls at an outstanding 63.5 percent rate (for context, the Astros’ Framber Valdez leads the majors at 66.9 percent).

Here’s what MLB Pipeline has to say about Bello’s career potential:

Bello has three quality pitches, throws enough strikes and generates plenty of swings and misses as well as weak groundball contact. He has the potential to pitch in the front half of a big league rotation, and to get there he’ll have to refine his command and show that his fastball will work well against more advanced hitters. If not, he still has a high floor as a multiple-inning reliever.

As noted by Red Sox Stats on Twitter, the 23-year-old Bello is the first Red Sox pitcher to start at his age or younger since Darwinzon Hernandez in 2019, and just the 20th since 2000. Notable names on that list include Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and Eduardo Rodriguez.

Ian Browne of corroborated the report that Bello would be getting the call-up, adding that he’s expected to start as a replacement for lefty Rich Hill, who recently went on the 1o-day injured list with a knee injury. The move has yet to be officially announced, as of noon on Tuesday.

We’ll see how long Bello stays in the majors after his debut. But if he pitches close to as well as he did in the minors, he could at least carve out a role as a long reliever for 2022, considering the Red Sox’ overall struggles in the bullpen.