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October 19, 2022 at 7:00 AM

2022 SoxProspects.com Awards: Graduate, Homegrown and Ex-Prospect

We continue our SoxProspects.com Awards season with the 2022 Graduate of the Year, Homegrown Player of the Year, and the Ex-Prospect of the Year. The Graduate and Homegrown players of the year may be at two opposite ends of their tenures with Boston, while the Ex-Prospect of the year had another All-Star campaign out west. 

Graduate of the Year: Brayan Bello
Bello ended the 2021 season with 15 starts in Portland, and that is where he returned to start 2022. He quickly proved he needed a new challenge after pitching to a 1.69 ERA with 48 strikeouts in 37 1/3 innings. He was promoted to Worcester and made his debut on May 18. He struck out 10 batters over six innings that game and then proceeded to do the same thing in his next start. He threw 58 2/3 innings with the WooSox, going 6-2 with a 2.76 ERA. He struck out 81 as he missed even more bats in Triple-A than in Double-A. 

His major league career got off to a rockier start due in part to some control issues. After walking a little over three batters per nine innings in the minors, that number jumped to almost five over his first nine starts. Coupled with some poor defense by the Red Sox led to his ERA sitting at 5.79. Things seemed to click over his last four starts, which included two starts against the Yankees and one against the Blue Jays. He pitched to a 2.70 ERA while striking out 19 over 20 innings. Maybe most importantly, his walk rate returned to where it was in the minors. Bello threw 153 1/3 innings in the 2022 season, and he should be locked into a rotation spot with Boston in 2023. 

Homegrown Player of the Year: Xander Bogaerts
This is the fourth time Bogaers has won the Homegrown Player of the Year award. It is possibly his last. He put up another All-Star season in 2022, batting .307/.377/.456 while playing in 150 games. Since debuting with the Red Sox late in the 2013 season, Bogaerts has appeared in 1,264 games with a career batting line of .292/.356/.458. BaseballReference has him 10th on Boston's all-time list for Offensive WAR, and he is tied for ninth with Dom DiMaggio in career doubles with the Red Sox. 

While his defense has been the source of much debate, the advanced analytics viewed his play at shortstop favorably this year. He was 10th among qualified shortstops in outs above average and 11th in defensive runs saved. This was partly due to shifting, which will change in 2023, but it also shows that he has worked hard to shore up one of the weaker parts of his game. 

Ex-Prospect of the Year: Mookie Betts
Betts proved again that he is one of the game's elite players, finishing in the top 10 for position players in WAR and making his sixth-straight All-Star game. The standards for Betts are so high that a .269/.340/.533 is slightly disappointing. The batting average and on-base percentage are about 30 points below his career averages, but he made up for it with increased power. He slugged a career-high 35 home runs, though the season ended with another poor playoff performance that saw him go 2 for 14 as the Dodgers lost in the NLDS. Betts turned 30 on October 7, and the Dodgers have him signed for the next 10 seasons. 

Photo Credit: Brayan Bello and Xander Bogaerts by Kelly O'Connor