Pedro on Sox’s Bello: ‘He is way more talented than I am’
In his prospect days, Brayan Bello made headlines for saying he wanted to be even better than Pedro Martinez.
With any other Hall of Famer, that kind of talk might not have gone over well, especially from a kid yet to make his major-league debut.
But anyone who knows Martinez, better known simply as “Pedro,” wouldn't be concerned about bruised ego.
In fact, the Red Sox legend has been mentoring the young pitcher and singing his praises for a long time, going so far as to predict that Bello can be a Cy Young pitcher someday. During the offseason, he invited Bello to work with him at his home in their native Dominican Republic.
During spring training, the Herald spoke with Pedro about a number of topics, Bello and Chris Sale among them.
What is it about Bello?
“I saw a young kid with a really high ceiling that all he needed was to build confidence, to understand what he needed to do to execute some pitches. A raw athlete out there, trying to survive in the best baseball in the world.” Pedro explains. “Great attitude, smart, hard worker, he has everything going for him.”
“The reason I work with him is, we have the same body type. He's a little bit stronger at the same age,” the Hall of Famer concedes. “And I think he is way more talented than I am.”
“I wish, I WISH I had the talent that Brayan Bello has, when I was coming up leagues. He's way more talented than I am,” he adds. High praise, indeed.
The most important lessons Pedro is trying to impart?
First, advantage of all the resources today's game has. “I hope he can put it together by adding all the things that we're supplying right now. I did not have this access to all the information, to all the coaches, to all the people that really want to make sure that he reaches the ceiling he's yet to get,” he says.
That plays into the development the former ace knows Bello needs, a kind that's harder to get in today's game. “Remember back in my days, you had to go through the game to understand the little things you needed to do. And then you get a chance to get to the big leagues once you show that you are mature enough. Nowadays,” he continues, “it's more about your talent and how much you can do for the team when we need you.”
Being needed and being ready are two very different things, as evidenced by how many Red Sox prospects have been called up, especially in recent years. In 2022, Nick Pivetta was the only starting pitcher who didn't need at least one stint on the injured list, and Bello was one of several minor-leaguers the Red Sox called upon.
As such the ability to adjust isn't just key to success, but survival.
“This is a game that's consistently asking you for adjustments,” Pedro says. “The other teams are going to make you. The other teams are gonna adjust to what you do, to your tendencies, all that, so you have to consistently be watching and paying attention to the things that you need to do as a big leaguer in order for you to make the adjustment.”
“He found a way to kind of make adjustments,” he continues, “As little as he knows, and as young as he is, I was really impressed with the way he made the adjustment to the league, to the mechanics, to everything he needed to do in order for him to have a little bit more success.”
Over his first seven games (26 innings) in the majors, Bello struck out 24, issued 15 walks, and gave up 21 earned runs (7.27 ERA). Over his remaining six games (31 1/3 innings) of the season, the rookie struck out 31, issued 12 walks, and only allowed nine earned runs (2.59 ERA). He didn't allow a home run in his first eight big-league starts, the first Red Sox rookie to go that long without giving up a homer since Earl Wilson in 1959.
As Bello prepares for his first full season in the majors, the lessons he learns from the legendary pitcher will guide him, like a lighthouse shining in the thick fog.
The waters of Boston are more treacherous than most, but the beloved Red Sox ace has no doubt Bello can sail through.
“Later on, you'll be asking him, because I know he can do it,” Pedro says.