Jhony Brito earned Yankees No. 5 starter spot with immaculate outing vs. Blue Jays
By Mike Luciano
This winter/spring, the New York Yankees have gone from having one of the best rotations in baseball to another collection of unproven youngsters operating behind Gerrit Cole. Frankie Montas was ruled out for most of the season early on in the spring, while free agent prize Carlos Rodón and Luis Severino picked up additional knocks.
The Yankees will likely turn to Domingo Germán and Clarke Schmidt to fill two of the vacant spots, but that by itself won't be enough to create a championship-caliber unit. Jhony Brito, who spent most of last season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, has been discussed as a potential fifth-starter option, with Severino on the shelf for only a few weeks (we hope?).
While Brito had some impressive numbers in the spring and appeared to be on his way to an elevated role within the organization, it was still fair to have some doubts about how he would fit in the overall picture. Those qualms were put to rest in a win against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Brito retired all 16 batters that he faced, striking out three and inducing plenty of weakly-hit ground balls. While starting a rookie is always going to have an inherent risk factor, Brito has earned this starting job with a solid spring.
Yankees SP Jhony Brito was on fire against the Blue Jays
Brito is coming off a season in which he compiled an 11-4 record with a 2.96 ERA between Double-A Somerset and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Even though he wasn't a heralded prospect, very few starters in the Yankees' system have been as deadly in the last two seasons as the slight Puerto Plata-born right-hander.
Brito may not be the best strikeout artist, but his performance against Toronto shows that he already knows how to generate weak contact. It's the spring, sure, but what fans saw against the Blue Jays was a player who is chomping at the bit to make his professional debut.
Brito features a hard sinker with tremendous late life that will get MLB hitters out if he can locate it consistently. Hitters must also be aware of his changeup, as it looks like a high-end putaway pitch that is just waiting to be developed further. Impressively, he allowed just 95 hits, 35 walks and a measly 9 homers last season in the minors.
The youth movement is in full swing, as Anthony Volpe is on the Opening Day roster and Brito is going to play a featured role. If he starts off hot, Brito could earn a role on this team when everyone gets back to full health.