The Yankees have a few under-the-radar arms that could make a big impact this upcoming season. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll be on the roster Opening Day, but with how important depth is and how often injuries pop up, having guys ready is a must. One of the names to keep an eye on in spring is Jhony Brito.
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Brito does the little things well and doesn’t make very many mistakes:
Though Brito doesn’t have the best swing-and-miss stuff, he does have a great feel for his pitches. Last year in AAA, he posted a 3.31 ERA and 4.03 FIP across 70.2 innings. Brito started a majority of the games he appeared in, with 15 starts out of 18 total appearances. However, he’d likely be used in a bullpen capacity if he were to make the OD roster or be seen at some point this season.
One thing he does exceptionally well is limit walks, and not give up the long ball. He posted a 7.7% HR/FB%, which would’ve been slightly higher than Scott Effross posted during his shortened Yankee run — he posted a 7.1%. Brito is a guy that has sneaky good stuff, and if he’s able to work off his breaking ball more going forward, maybe he can bump up the chase rate and whiffs on it.
He posts excellent K-BB rates, though he will likely need to register more strikeouts to be really effective down the road. He does, however, do a great job at limiting damage when runners are on base. Across both AA and AAA last season, he posted a 77% LOB%. He didn’t give up the detrimental shots often last year, and even when guys got on base, he remained unfazed.
Matt Krook could also throw his hat in the ring for the Yankees:
Brito could easily make a huge jump this season and should be one of the guys to watch closely this spring. Take Matt Krook as another potential arm to crack the roster at some point sooner than later. Despite struggling more this season than last, Krook has wicked stuff that could play up in the bullpen. He posted a 10.06 K/9 in ‘22 and a slightly better 10.33 K/9 the year prior. Krook should be in that same grouping as Brito, as these guys could be the first man up.
Krook is 28, which means that he isn’t some highly touted prospect with all this attention and weight on his shoulders. Instead, he can just do his thing and pitch like there’s no tomorrow. He does struggle a tad with the walks, but he registers tons of swings and misses and was able also to have posted roughly a 64% GB% in his time in the minor leagues. He and Brito both could play big roles at some point this season.