Yankees: One lowkey relief pitcher who could have a big role in 2023

jhony brito, yankees
Mar 19, 2022; Sarasota, Florida, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jhony Brito (36) throws a pitch during the fifth inning against the Baltimore Orioles during spring training at Ed Smith Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are expecting to rely heavily on several young players in their bullpen this upcoming season. Right off the bat, Ron Marinaccio and Greg Weissert stand out as two prominent figures who project to have big roles. However, there are a few other prospects ready to make the jump to the majors, notably Randy Vasquez and Jhony Brito.

Brito is specifically an intriguing prospect who pitched in 18 games with Triple-A Scranton last season. Brito, 24, stands at 6’2″ and 160 pounds. He pitched 70.2 innings last year, earning himself a gushing review from one of the Yankees’ top developmental coaches.

Vice President of Player Development Kevin Reese gushed over Brito’s immense talent.

“He’s somebody to be excited about. He can pitch out of the bullpen. He can start. I think he’s going to affect our roster this year.”

The Yankees may have a very solid piece in Jhony Brito:

Brito is capable of coming out of the bullpen and starting, given his longevity. He pitched 70.2 innings, earning a 3.31 ERA, 6.75 strikeouts per nine, 75.6% left-on-base rate, and 54.4% ground ball rate. He’s a fantastic young pitcher who has thrown nearly 230 innings at the minor-league level. His specialty is limiting hard contact and keeping the ball in play, allowing just 0.64 home runs per nine last season. Considering he produces a ground ball on more than 50% of batted balls, his value is clear, and his quality stands out in the numbers.

Brito has several exciting pitches, including a lethal change-up, breaking ball, slider, and cutter. Pitching coach Matt Blake prefers his bullpen arms to feature a slider, and a cutter is simply a bonus. However, his change-up grades out similar to Marinaccio’s, which is arguably the best on the team.

With the Yankees trading away Ken Waldichuk and Hayden Wesneski at the trade deadline this past summer, Brito’s role seems to be far more defined than in the past. At 24 years old, he’s primed for an opportunity, and the Yankees may need the bullpen support in 2023 after losing three arms this off-season to free agency.

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