The Yankees may have found their fifth starter in the rotation

jhony brito, yankees
Apr 2, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jhony Brito (76) pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees rolled into this season with a few question marks in the rotation, but there could be a diamond in the rough that the team discovered. Jhony Brito made his debut in pinstripes on Sunday, and boy, did he look absolutely electric. If Brito is able to maintain that level of performance, there’s no doubt in my mind that he can be a consistent starter for this team. Add to that the fact that both German and Schmidt looked lackluster in their season openers, and I’d say Brito now has the edge. 

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The Yankees saw immense potential in Jhony Brito:

What worked for Jhony Brito was his ability to be aggressive against hitters and utilize his changeup to the best of his abilities. The changeup was working for him beautifully, and he was able to play off it with a fastball and slider. He ended up tossing 5.0 innings of shutout ball whilst striking out 6 batters in the process. He wasn’t giving up hard contact, nor allowing many baserunners, as he only gave up two hits and walked one. 

Brito has the stuff to be a name stay in this rotation, and hopefully the Yankees will continue to give him opportunities. Rodon should be returning from injury soon, which means the organization will have to do some thinking about how to finagle the rotation and bullpen. I wouldn’t be shocked if one of German or Schmidt ended up heading to the ‘pen, but the Yanks do love their sending down their players with options, which doesn’t bode entirely too well for Brito. 

Boone recently stated that Brito had tossed his hat in the ring and is now definitely in the mix for a rotation spot as the season goes along. The 25-year-old made 15 starts last season with AAA Scranton and posted a 3.31 ERA but only struck out 6.75 guys per nine. If he’s able to register more swings and misses and get batters to chase his out-of-the-zone pitches, he could work with that and continue to build on his repertoire. 

Brito could unseat Schmidt or German:

Brito has some nasty stuff, and he’s also seen his GB% increase over the last year or so, as it’s getting better as he progresses through the levels. Back in the spring, he tossed a 5.1-inning perfect game and induced 10 grounders on the afternoon. He also only tossed 56 pitches, proving to be extremely efficient when on the bump. The Yanks do have a few options for a fifth starter when Sevy also returns, but for now, I feel like Brito should keep his spot in the roto. 

I’m not entirely worried about Schmidt as the season progresses, but I do worry about him after he pitches through the lineup once. Schmidt has never been a guy that works deep into games, even with his excellent stuff. Maybe the Yanks are thinking that he will be the long relief/spot starter that they want to roll with, though Domingo also isn’t lighting the world on fire. 

German pitched decently well in his debut this year, as he struck out eight guys in 4.1 innings worth, though he did give up 2 HR on his lifeless fastball, and I think his stuff may play up in the bullpen. Brito should be considered for a rotation spot, and I feel like he hasn’t done anything to disrupt the current plan. The Yankees should at least give him another few opportunities to prove he’s legit, and there’s no other way to show that than to be given a chance on the mound. 

I’m not entirely sure when we’ll see Brito next, as the Yankees had announced they don’t need five starters for this week’s worth of games since they have Friday off. I believe that the rotation will work itself out more as the season continues to roll along.

Boone did mention that Brito can be called up on April 18, so expect him to get another chance in a few weeks.