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April 12, 2022 at 7:00 AM

2022 SoxProspects Pre-Season All-Stars Pt. 2 - Pitchers


For Part Two of our look at the best the Red Sox system has to offer entering 2022, we look to the mound and honor the pitchers selected as SoxProspects.com Pre-Season All-Stars. The list is highlighted by four starters ranked in the top 11 and three relievers from the upper minors. 

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Starting pitcher: Brayan Bello, Portland Sea Dogs
The 2021 Red Sox Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Year, Bello is the consensus top pitching prospect in the system. After dominating High-A last year to the tune of a 2.27 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings, Bello was promoted to Double-A Portland where he continued to put up high strikeout numbers. The breakout season led to the 22-year-old being added to the 40-man roster. Bello will begin the 2022 season in Portland, with the Red Sox hoping his mid-to-high-90s fastball and two above-average secondaries can help out of the bullpen in Boston later this season. 

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Starting pitcher: Jay Groome, Portland Sea Dogs
This is Groome's seventh season in the Red Sox system, but the talented left-hander is still just 23 years old. This is his fourth Pre-Season All-Star selection, and like Bello, he is on the 40-man roster. Groome set career highs in innings (97 1/3) and strikeouts (134) last year. His last three starts of 2021 came in Portland, and he put up dominant numbers. He will return to the Sea Dogs to begin the 2022 season. 

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Starting pitcher: Wilkelman Gonzalez, Salem Red Sox
The only starting pitcher on this list not in Portland's rotation, Gonzalez was the 2021 SoxProspects.com Breakout Player of the Year. His season began in the FCL, and reports quickly trickled out about how good his stuff looked. The numbers backed up the reports, and he ended the season with four starts in Salem. While his control slipped a bit after the promotion, the rest of his numbers were very good. He is back with Salem to start 2022, and he has the stuff to continue to climb up the rankings. 

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Starting pitcher: Brandon Walter, Portland Sea Dogs
Walter signed for just $35,000 as a 26th-rounder in 2019, but he has quickly become one of the system's top prospects. His breakout 2021 campaign saw him dominate both Low-A and High-A en route to winning the 2021 SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Year award. In 2022, he will join Groome and Bello in Portland's rotation. The 25-year-old has a chance to be one of Boston's best late-round draft picks of the past several years. 

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Relief Pitcher: Frank German, Portland Sea Dogs
Acquired from the Yankees with Adam Ottavino, German spent most of 2021 as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen. While his numbers in his first stint in Portland were not great, he was unhittable out of the bullpen in those final five appearances. He has moved to the bullpen full-time, and Red Sox Manager Alex Cora praised German as one of the most impressive arms in camp this spring. His high-90s fastball plays up in shorter stints, which will allow him to miss more bats. 

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Relief Pitcher: Eduard Bazardo, Worcester Red Sox
This selection looked very suspect after the Red Sox designated Bazardo for assignment at the start of the 2022 campaign. Bazardo was able to clear waivers, and he should be a staple in Worcester's bullpen this season. This is the third straight Pre-Season All-Star selection for Bazardo, though he hopes 2022 is better than 2021. After making his major league debut in April, Bazardo was shut down in May due to a right lat strain. He missed almost all of the remainder of the season. His goal for 2022 will be to stay healthy and force his way back onto the 40-man roster. 

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Relief Pitcher: Jacob Wallace, Portland Sea Dogs
A local product from Methuen, Mass., and UConn, Wallace got off to an extremely rocky start in 2021. He had an ERA of 8.37 over his first 20 appearances, but he was able to right the ship and post an ERA of 3.60 over his final 19 games. This stretch included striking out 45 batters in those 25 innings. Boston is hoping that Wallace will carry that late-season success with him to Portland, where he will join the stacked Portland pitching staff. 

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Photo Credit: Jacob Wallace by Gwinn Davis/Greenville Drive; all others by Kelly O'Connor