Yankees demote starting pitcher to Triple-A

jhony brito, yankees
Apr 13, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jhony Brito (76) pitches in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Following their Saturday night victory over the Cincinnati Reds, the New York Yankees chose to reassign starting pitcher Jhony Brito to Triple-A Scranton.

Brito was the starting pitcher against the Reds, surrendering four hits and four earned runs over 4.0 innings. This outing raised his season ERA to 5.58, including 6.69 strikeouts per nine, a 65.1% left-on-base rate, and a 46.8% ground ball rate over 40.1 innings.

It was clear that Brito required additional time to hone his pitch selection and improve his strike rate. A mere 29.1% of his pitches outside of the strike zone were swung at, and 82% of his total pitches connected with a bat, suggesting that his throws were too easily hit.

The decision to reassign Brito to Scranton was logical, but it raises the question of who the Yankees will promote in his stead.

The Yankees’ starting rotation is in disarray

Unless the Yankees are open to heavily utilizing their bullpen or trading for another starting pitcher, the rotation could face significant challenges in the near future. The only healthy options currently available include Gerrit Cole, Nestor Cortés, Clarke Schmidt, and Luis Severino, who is set to return on Sunday and assume a significant role in the rotation.

With Domingo German facing a 10-game suspension, the team’s starting rotation is severely depleted. It’s plausible that they may promote Matt Krook, who pitched 138.2 innings last season for Triple-A across 29 appearances. This season, he’s pitched only 13.2 innings for Triple-A, primarily serving as a bullpen arm.

Interestingly, the Yankees chose to send Brito down rather than transitioning Schmidt back to the bullpen. While Clarke delivered a strong performance against Cincinnati on Friday, allowing two earned runs over 5.0 innings pitched, his season performance has been less than stellar.

The 27-year-old maintains a 6.00 ERA, 3.90 xFIP, 10.80 strikeouts per nine, and a 44.8% ground ball rate.

Over 45 innings, Schmidt has demonstrated that his future as a starter is questionable. His struggle to navigate the batting order more than twice has become evident, and the Yankees will likely need to reinforce him with a new acquisition or wait for Carlos Rodon’s return from his back issue.

In the meantime, it’s hoped that Brito can continue to develop his skills at the Triple-A level, increasing his strike rate and restoring his confidence.