Bear Bellomy: Matchup Oriented Approach Brings Positive Results

At first glance, you can say Bear Bellomy being named as Miguel Yajure’s replacement for the Arizona Fall League created a semi ‘one of these aren’t like the other’ situation when looking at the other pitchers the Pittsburgh Pirates sent.

The other three pitchers, Carmen Mlodzinski, Roansy Contreras, and Michael Burrows, will be easy to find on most outlets’ top prospects lists. In a league where teams send a lot of their top prospects to get some extra work, a 28th round college senior draft pick will more times than not be the outlier among the other players that are sent to the AFL.

But in his first full season as a professional, Bellomy showed that he could be more than just your typical late college draft pick.

His overall numbers weren’t pretty, but Bellomy was another pitcher that fell victim to the hitters’ haven that is First National Bank Field, which is also his home field (6.49 ERA at home, 2.51 ERA on the road).

While with Greensboro, Bellomy posted a 4.52 ERA across 34 appearances, all out of the bullpen. He struck out 85 batters, walking just 17, across 67 innings pitched. In that span he also held batters to a .230 average and .716 OPS.

Bellomy, 25, also got an inning of Triple-A experience at the end of the season, pitching a single frame allowing a hit.

Getting the chance to pitch with the Peoria Javelinas in the AFL, Bellomy struck out nine across 11 2/3 innings while posting a 3.86 ERA and holding hitters to a .227 average.

On the mound, Bellomy utilizes a three-pitch on the mound, with a fastball that sits comfortably at 92-93 (got up to 95 mph on video), to go along with a curveball and changeup.

He loves to use the changeup against lefties, and watching video, you can almost see two completely different approaches depending on the side of the plate the batter uses.

The first clip shows Bellomy’s aggressive approach against righties. If something looks familiar throughout, it’s that it features all fastballs. Bellomy goes fastball heavy when right-handed hitters, and he uses his control (2.28 BB/9, 67% of his pitches go for strikes) to work the outer half of the plate.

Against Shean Michel of the Rome Braves, Bellomy makes quick work with three fastballs, two on the outer half before getting the hitter to chase one high for strike three.

In the second at-bat against Beau Philip, Bellomy jumped ahead quickly 0-2 after getting the hitter to swing at the first two pitches. After throwing a chase pitch up high, Philip is able to stay alive with a couple of foul balls but Bellomy is able to paint one of the corner for a called strike three.

Finally, Bellomy gets another called strike three on the corner against Garrett Saunders. After a called strike one, he falls behind 2-1 in the count before working his way back to get the strikeout.

The next clip shows three straight at-bats against lefties in Bellomy July 16 appearance against Rome.

First up against Michael Harris, Bellomy starts off with two fastballs before going off-speed, eventually getting a ground ball out to the shift (side note, what a great play by Liover Peguero to get that out).

Next, Bellomy gets a soft comebacker to the mound in just two pitches, going off-speed again to induce the groundout.

Finally, against Logan Brown it’s more of the off-speed stuff for Bellomy, using it in three of the four pitches, getting a third and final ground out to end the inning.

On the season, you can see the different approach end up on the stat sheet in a very slight but still noticeable way. He got them out at nearly the same rate (.225 average vs lefties, .233 vs righties), but the way he went about it is what was different. Against righties, Bellomy posted an 0.67 ground out-air out ration (GO/AO), while striking out 12.57 batters per nine innings.

While against southpaw hitters he more than doubled the ground ball outs (1.48 GO/AO) and only produced a 9.84 K/9.

Effective against but goes about it in two completely different ways.

One more video I wanted to show, and it’s against New York Yankees’ farmhand Anthony Volpe, who is one of the top prospects in the game. He’s a player that some believe could eventually be named the top prospect in all of baseball come the 2023 season.

Bellomy faced him three times over a two-game span late in the season when Volpe was with Hudson Valley.

Their first matchup went in favor of Volpe, hitting a home run with a full count. After falling behind 2-1, Bellomy is able to even the at-bat up with a fastball painted on the corner for a called strike. He eventually throws a fastball that caught too much of the plate that Volpe was able to turn on and hit well out the park.

Bellomy gets the better of Volpe in their second matchup, dialing up a fastball to the hardest recorded pitch he had on film in 2021, 95 mph, for a swing and miss strike one. With the count 2-2, Bellomy tries to get Volpe to chase one in the dirt before throwing a fastball up in the zone that was fouled away.

That set up a breaking ball up in the zone that was able to get Volpe to swing and miss for strike three.

In the final at-bat, one that was once again drawn out to a full count, Bellomy was able to get Volpe to ground out on a 3-2 breaking ball to third base for the out.

Being 25 years old and limited to out the bullpen won’t get Bellomy on a lot of prospect rankings list, but when it comes to relief prospects in the system the product of Wright State seems like one of the safer bets to find himself as an option for the major league team at some point.

The fact that he didn’t seem out of place in the AFL, small sample size and all, along with him getting a chance to show his stuff for a full season away from Greensboro, should only help that fact.


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Bear Bellomy: Matchup Oriented Approach Brings Positive Results

Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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