Player: Jhony Brito
DOB: February 17, 1998
Affiliate: Charleston RiverDogs (Class-A)
Role: Long reliever/spot starter, middle relief
Risk Factor: High
MLB ETA: 2022
The Yankees signed Jhony Brito as an international free agent on November 9, 2015, as a 17-year-old out of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Since joining the organization, he has appeared in just 19 games, 16 starts, and thrown 72 1/3 innings over three seasons.
Brito pitched just 7 2/3 innings in three games in 2017 before missing the rest of the season. He was removed from the game on July 29 after only eight pitches after feeling discomfort in his elbow. He eventually went under the knife and had Tommy John surgery.
Brito missed the entire 2018 season due to the surgery. He began a throwing program after the short-season leagues started in the Dominican Republic before returning to actual game action during the annual Florida Instructional League.
Fastball: Brito’s primary pitch is his fastball that sits 92-94 miles per hour and has hit 95 mph occasionally. The pitch has slight arm-side run.
Curveball: His curveball is usually thrown around 78-80 miles per hour and features 11-5 movement and good spin. It is still a pitch that is still a work in progress.
Changeup: His changeup clocks in at 84-87 miles per hour that occasionally flashes good depth and fade.
Even though he is listed at 6-foot 2-inches tall and 160 pounds he appears to be a bit thicker, probably closer to 170-180 pounds this season. Though he seems to be bigger than listed on the roster sheet he has an athletic build. He has put on more muscle since he went on the disabled list in 2017 and he is still young enough to develop some additional strength further.
Brito throws from a 3/4 arm slot and has shown the ability to repeat his delivery. His delivery is smooth and features deception that allows him to hide the ball well before it is released, this allows his pitches to play up. The ball seems to jump out of his hand at the release point.
He has shown the ability to command the strike zone and not allow batters to work many walks. He has a BB/9 of 1.5 and regularly throws a high percentage of strikes in his outings.
Considering the amount of time, he missed due to injuries, Brito is further along in his development than many might think. During instructional league 2018, he was getting back onto the mound in game action which saw him pitches a tick below what he usually throws. He entered spring training healthy and in good shape. After starting back in extended spring training, he was promoted to Charleston and had been pitching well since.
Brito pitches with confidence in his stuff and has shown maturity on the mound. He does not allow mistakes to get to him, nor lets base runners mess with his concentration on the hitters.
Before going on the disabled list in 2017, he was pitching against advanced batters and held his own as a 19-year-old in the NY-Penn League. His make up is solid, he listens to his coaches and trusts their advice as well as gets along well with his teammates.
Brito is the definition of a sleeper prospect. His lack of fanfare, when signing and missed time due to injury, has allowed him to go under the radar. Now that he is back healthy he could find himself on the back end of some top 50 lists by the season’s end.