The New York Yankees saw something special Sunday afternoon with rookie pitcher Jhony Brito taking the mound. Experiencing his MLB debut, Brito put together an excellent performance against the San Francisco Giants, who failed to score a run for the second time in a three-game series.
In fact, the Giants struck out 12 total times, recording just three hits. Brito was excellent in the process, tossing 76 pitches and striking out six batters, giving up two hits and a walk across 5.0 innings.
The 25-year-old prospect certainly left a positive impression, one that manager Aaron Boone referenced after the game.
“I remember turning to our pitching guys after he walked off,” Boone said this weekend. “This guy can help us.”
Looking at Brito’s quality, he tossed a wide array of pitches, including a change-up, 4-seam fastball, sinker, curveball, and a few sliders. He threw his change-up the most, with 28, representing 36.8% of his workload. His fastball came in at 28.9% and sinker at 17.1%.
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Brito is known for his aggressive style, pounding the strike zone and trying to get ahead of the count early, typical of a relief pitcher. He played various roles in the minor-league system, coming out of the bullpen and featuring as a starter, which is why the Yankees had so much confidence in him to supplement injury.
“He kept pounding the strike zone,” Boone said. “Had good stuff with his fastball and that really good changeup. He was able to land the breaking ball enough too for strikes to get back in some counts. But more of what we’ve seen, very at ease out there, very comfortable.”
The Yankees have re-assigned Jhony Brito to Triple-A:
Despite his valiant performance, the Yankees optioned Brito back to Triple-A Scranton, but we shouldn’t be alarmed since he has plenty of minor league options, and he won’t be able to pitch for at least five days. With that being the case, the Yankees are able to utilize his roster spot for a bullpen arm, hoping to mitigate fatigue and keep the primary arms healthy.
Nonetheless, Brito will certainly be back in the mix soon enough, especially with Luis Severino, Carlos Rodon, and Frankie Montas missing time. Sevy and Rodon should be approaching a return within the next few weeks, but the Yankees still need to maintain their five-man rotation during that timetable, so Jhony can easily slot in and fill an important role.
Down the line, Brito could rotate into the bullpen once the Yankees get a bit healthier in the rotation. However, if Clarke Schmidt continues to struggle and Domingo German also has his fair share of ups and downs, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rodon get a few starts at the back end of the rotation, especially after impressing Boone in that role and leaving his mark.