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Red Sox prospect Brayan Bello and Pedro Martinez look similar in video footage, but there are significant differences between the top prospect and legendary Hall of Famer.
Video is circulating of side-by-side footage of current Boston Red Sox top prospect Brayan Bello and legendary Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez.
Watching this video, people might assume that Bello is the second coming of Martinez; there is a striking similarity, but they’re very different, too.
First, some background. Martinez didn’t get his start with the Sox. He made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in September 1992 with a relief appearance, pitching a scoreless eigth and ninth inning. Bello is the rare homegrown Sox pitcher, so when he made his debut on Wednesday night, it was a huge event. Their journeys are different as well, but while there are a lot of differences — it’s hard not to think these two are alike.
Brayan Bello looks up to Pedro Martinez, and this video shows those resemblances.
You can lose track of time watching this video on a loop, as both pitching motions are so beautiful.
But as Bello’s Triple-A WooSox coaches told the Boston Globe, there are notable differences in their pitching motions:
“The next Pedro is an unfair tag. [Pedro is] one in a billion. I tell him a lot, I don’t want you to be the next Pedro. I want you to be the next Bello.”
Bello’s repertoire centers on his sinker, which the radar gun clocks in the mid-high 90s, a four-seam fastball, a changeup, and a slider the article describes as “inconsistent” but “electric.” A three-time Cy Young Award-winner, Martinez had a four-seam fastball that was consistently in the mid-to-high 90s. He also had a changeup that looked like a fastball but wasn’t.
The excitement surrounding Bello’s meteoric rise is justified, but it’s far too early to compare him to Martinez. And if Bello has his way, we won’t be comparing them one day. Back in May, he discussed growing up a Pedro fan and how he’s both inspired and motivated by the legendary pitcher. While he grew up idolizing him, Bello has spoken about how he’s determined to be an even better pitcher.
But if Bello wants to retire with an even greater legacy, he has his work cut out for him.
From 1992-2009, Martinez finished his career with a 219-100 record, a 2.93 ERA, 3,154 strikeouts, and 500 walks. He’s one of 21 pitchers in MLB history with multiple Cy Young Awards, one of eight men to win three or more, and one of only six to win it in both the NL and AL.
During his time in Boston, Martinez went 117-37 in the regular season and 6-2 in the postseason. He allowed 387 earned runs from 1998-2004, which is the fewest for any pitcher throwing at least 1000 innings. There were 46 starts where he allowed three or fewer hits.
And of course, in 2004, he was a force on the Red Sox team that finally ended an 86-year playoff drought, bringing joy and relief to millions of fans. It’s no wonder his Hall of Fame plaque bears the iconic Red Sox logo.
All this to say, it’s far too early to compare Bello to Martinez. But more importantly, the excitement surrounding Bello’s meteoric rise is justified because of his pitching. Inspired by Pedro or not, Bello has something special that is all his own, and he needs to keep that identity and make his career his own. He’s well aware of that:
“I look up to Pedro, but in the end, it’s up to me to do whatever it takes for me to make it to the next level. Pedro is one of my idols, but I would eventually like to be better than him.”
Bello’s debut was rockier than expected, but it’s far too soon to panic. While he allowed four earned runs to the Tampa Bay Rays, he also threw 79 pitches on the night, with 45 of them resulting in strikes. It was a strong debut than the box score indicates, and he got little help defensively, either.
Instead of comparing Martinez and Bello, look at the former’s impact on the latter. Some of Martinez’s best work came while he was in Boston, and even though he went on to pitch for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, he returned to Boston in his retirement, and remains with the team in various capacities, including mentoring young pitching talent. In that way, Bello’s career is intertwined with Martinez’s legacy in Boston, making his debut this week an even more meaningful moment.
Martinez is giving back to the next generation of pitchers of the team he loves, so compare them if you will. The video footage evokes both nostalgia for one of Boston’s greatest, and hope that Bello will be their next great. But look forward to a new pitcher shaping his own legacy, too.