New York Yankees rookie starting pitcher Jhony Brito experienced his first major league dud on Thursday night against the Minnesota Twins. Entering the game with a 0.90 ERA and two promising starts, the Yankees were confident he could bounce back and put together a third consecutive dominant performance.
Unfortunately, Brito was taught a valuable lesson during a nine-run first inning for Minnesota that included six hits and a walk, posting just two outs before manager Aaron Boone pulled him from the game.
Boone tried to give him a bit of slack after giving up the first three runs, but when things continuously got worse, he had no choice but to resort to the bullpen, calling on Colten Brewer to help get out of the inning. Not even Brewer managed to escape unscathed, giving up two home runs immediately after Brito departed.
The Yankees need Jhony Brito to pick himself up:
The Yankees’ 25-year-old rookie is now in a peculiar spot, looking to rebuild his confidence and continue providing the team with consistent starts. He now hosts a 6.75 ERA and 5.01 xFIP across 10.2 innings. One start doesn’t negate all the success he enjoyed in previous games. Just because he had a brutal performance doesn’t mean his quality doesn’t exist.
Brito has three minor-league options left, and the Yankees will likely use one to help support the bullpen over the next few days. Considering they were forced to use Brewer, Hamilton, and Jimmy Cordero, they will need another supplementary arm, which will likely be Greg Weissert or Matt Krook.
The big decision with Brito boils down to the team’s confidence in giving him another start and how long they will give him to rest and rebuild his confidence. Boone has been utilizing him regularly in the starting rotation, with Carlos Rodon and Luis Severino fighting back from injuries. Clarke Schmidt and Domingo German have also struggled, with the former hosting an 8.44 ERA across 10.2 innings and the latter logging a 5.87 ERA across 7.2 innings.
All three of the Yankees’ supplementary starters now have ERAs above 5.00, which suggests they need their top guns back sooner rather than later. However, once Rodon and Severino make their eventual returns, there will still be an opening slot for one of the three starters at the back end of the rotation.
Up to this point, Brito has had the more consistent appearances, putting together two great outings and one dud, so he still has a bit of leverage to win the job.
Of course, German is the more experienced of the bunch and has proven success at the MLB level, which shouldn’t go unappreciated.
On the other hand, Schmidt will likely fall back into a bullpen role, where his stuff seems to be better utilized. The problem with Brito’s performance on Thursday night was that his pitches were right in the middle of the strike zone. He wasn’t getting the necessary movement to hit the corners and tail away from opposing batters, forcing swings. His spray chart suggests everything was either a ball or a meatball, which is a rarity given his strong location qualities.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Jhony bounced back after this tough performance and had another good outing, but the Yankees should give him plenty of time to rest up and shake off his first bad night as a Major Leaguer.