Home... Transactions... Depth Chart... 40-Man Roster... 2023 Projected Rosters... Podcast
News.... Lineups.... Stats.... Draft History.... International Signings.... Scouting Log.... Forum

SoxProspects News

October 18, 2022 at 2:00 PM

2022 SoxProspects.com All-Stars: Pitchers


Following up on Monday's position player All-Stars, today brings the SoxProspects.com 2022 All-Star pitchers. While the hitters ended up weighted towards players in Class A, with none of the nine selections having played above Portland, the cohort of eight pitchers features six who pitched in Worcester, including three who made major league debuts in 2022.

-----

Starting Pitcher: Brayan Bello
Building upon a breakout 2022 campaign, Bello got off to a hot start and Portland, earned an early promotion to Worcester, and finished the season seemingly cementing himself with a spot on the major league squad's 2023 starting rotation. Bello set the tone for the season in his very first start, firing five scoreless innings and striking out 10 of the 21 batters he faced. He would make six starts for the Sea Dogs, going at least five innings each time and never allowing more than two runs. With a 1.60 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 33 2/3 innings, Bello made his way to Worcester. He continued his excellence, posting a 2.81 ERA in nine starts before getting the call for his major league debut on July 6 against the Rays at Fenway. After some uneven results in his early major league action, Bello stood out in September and October, firing a 2.59 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. He finished his minor league system with a 2.34 ERA, the lowest in the organization among players with at least 60 innings while striking out 129 against 36 walks in 96 innings. This marked Bello's second straight season as an end-of-year All-Star.

-----

Starting Pitcher: Shane Drohan
Drohan, a 2020 fifth-round pick out of Florida State, had some encouraging stats behind a 3.89 ERA split between Greenville and Portland. The 23-year-old left-hander led the organization with 157 strikeouts, the most by a southpaw since Henry Owens punched out 170 back in 2014. Drohan made 22 appearances for the Drive, posting an even 4.00 ERA. At the time of his early-August promotion to Portland, he was pacing the South Atlantic League with 136 strikeouts, reaching that mark in just 105 2/3 innings. He capped the year with a handful of starts with the Sea Dog, firing a 3.38 ERA in 24 innings. Drohan's strong 2022 campaign moved him up from 52nd in the season-opening rankings to 28th.

-----

Starting Pitcher: Bryan Mata
Mata, who cruised through the minors as one of the youngest pitchers at every level he reached, seemed to hit a roadblock. With the lost 2020 season followed by Tommy John Surgery in early 2021, Mata went nearly two and a half years without throwing a pitch in a competitive game. He made his first rehab start with two hitless innings for Salem on June 4, then added three outings with the Drive before returning to the Hadlock mound on June 28th. Just getting back into game action would've been considered a success, but the 23-year-old excelled immediately, allowing just one earned run in 16 1/3 innings through his first four outings, striking out 22. He made 10 starts with the Sea Dogs, posting a 1.85 ERA, .202 opponents batting average, and firing his final 18 innings at Double-A without an earned run. He then went on to post a 3.47 ERA in five Worcester starts, striking out 30 batters in 23 1/3 innings. Mata is now a two-time All-Star, having previously been honored in 2019.

-----

Starting Pitcher: Brian Keller
The Red Sox continue to get excellent innings by pillaging the Yankees in the Rule 5 draft. While less impactful than Garret Whitlock, Keller became a cornerstone of the Worcester pitching staff after Boston selected him in the minor league phase of Rule 5 in December. The right-hander slid between starting and bullpen roles as rotation spots were needed, performing admirably in both roles. He was at his most effective during a 13-appearance stretch from early June to mid-August, posting a 1.40 ERA .162/.264/.266 opponents' slash and striking out 63 in 51 1/3 innings. Keller was thrice awarded as the SoxProspects.com Pitcher of the Week. He finished the season with a 3.27 ERA, and his .200 opponents' average ranked second in the organization behind only Bello among pitchers with over 70 innings.

-----

Starting Pitcher: Luis Perales
How dominant does a pitcher have to be to earn All-Star recognition with only 35 innings? A 1.77 ERA and strikeout rate over 34 percent are a good starting point. Perales had been something of an enigma, with reports of outstanding stuff but no opportunity to show it off. Losing 2020 to COVID and all but two innings in 2021 due to injuries had the right-hander unranked headed into the season. Perales made his 2022 debut on June 10, allowing two runs in three innings. He did not allow a run again until August 8, his eighth outing of the year. Used largely as a three-inning starter, Perales dominated in the role, allowing no hits in three frames in three of his nine FCL starts. His highlight came in his July 11 start, retiring all nine batters he faced, eight via strikeout. The FCL was little match for the 19-year-old, as he finished the level with a 1.08 ERA, just 10 hits allowed, and 34 strikeouts against nine walks in 25 innings across nine appearances. The more advanced hitters of the Carolina League represented a bit more of a challenge after his promotion to Salem: he struck out 16 in 10 2/3 innings, but walked 11 and allowed 10 hits, surrendering seven runs (four earned). He is currently ranked 15th in the system.

-----

Relief Pitcher: Zack Kelly
Kelly joined Bello both as a repeat All-Star as well as a key part of the major league team once September arrived. Something of a journeyman when the Red Sox signed him to a minor league deal before the 2021 season, Kelly impressed with Portland and Worcester, earning an invite to major league spring training and a spot near the top of the list of potential bullpen reinforcements as the season progressed. A newly developed changeup became Kelly's best pitch, contrasting with a fastball that consistently sat in the mid-90s. He bided his time in the minors as the team cycled through other (editorial note: worse) options, making 44 appearances out of the Worcester bullpen. On August 28, sitting with a 2.72 ERA, .191 opponents average, and 72 strikeouts in 49 2/3 innings, the 27-year-old got the call to the big club. He made his major league debut on the 29th, striking out a pair in a scoreless inning. Kelly ended up making 13 appearances out of the Boston bullpen, going unscored upon in 10 of them.

-----

Relief Pitcher: Franklin German
Another arm pillaged from the Yankees, Boston received German from the Bronx for taking on Adam Ottavino's contract before the 2021 season. He spent most of his first year in the system struggling in the Portland rotation, but a late-season move to the bullpen opened scouts' eyes and generated buzz headed into the offseason. The right-hander got off to a fast start with the Sea Dogs, allowing only hits in eight innings, while striking out 15 and walking one in his first six outings. He was shut down for three weeks and sputtered some upon his return in mid-May, but was promoted to Worcester on May 24. German and Kelly teamed to dice up the International League in the late innings, with German striking out 46 in 38 1/3 innings across 32 appearances. His introduction to the majors was less auspicious--German surrendered four runs without recording an out in his major league debut on September 17. He finished his brief sojourn to Boston by allowing eight runs in four frames in five appearances, but it does little to dampen the outstanding season he had in the minors, where he finished with a 2.72 ERA and 0.906 WHIP across the two levels.

-----

Relief Pitcher: AJ Politi
Like German, Politi spent most of 2021 struggling in the Portland rotation before breaking out in a bullpen role this year. Assigned to repeat Double-A, the Seton Hall product was not long for the level. He made 12 appearances, allowing three earned runs on seven hits in 13 1/3 innings, striking out 20 and walking only three. He continued to excel with Worcester, posting a 2.41 ERA in 56 innings that was inflated by two appearances in which he gave up four runs apiece. The 26-year-old was particularly dominant in the second half, giving up just two earned runs in his final 22 appearances, registering an 0.52 ERA and limiting opponents to a paltry .133/.222/.195 batting line despite making half his appearances in hitter-friendly Polar Park. Politi, currently ranked 49th in the system, would need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason to protect him from selection in the Rule 5 draft.

Photo Credit: All by Kelly O'Connor