Yankees’ promising young pitcher could play a big role in 2024

MLB: Game One-New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees boast a bullpen as robust as any team in Major League Baseball, consistently discovering underrated talent that yields significant returns.

Clay Holmes and Ian Hamilton epitomize such finds, two pitchers who were grossly undervalued. Nevertheless, the Yankees have extracted considerable production from them without a hefty price tag.

Rising Prospect: Jhony Brito

Another young talent they may similarly leverage is Jhony Brito, a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher poised for a long-inning relief role in 2024. During the past season, Brito logged 90.1 innings with the Yankees, posting a 4.28 ERA and striking out 7.17 batters per nine innings. He maintained an 87.1% left-on-base rate and a 44% ground ball rate. Moreover, his control was impressive, walking only 2.79 batters per nine while surrendering a 13.2% HR/FB ratio.

Injury Replacement: Brito’s Role

The Yankees occasionally utilized Brito as a spot starter to cover for injuries. When Nestor Cortés was injured, Carlos Rodon missed time, and Domingo Germán was placed on the restricted list, Brito was one of the arms they turned to. This adaptation to injuries is not unusual for the team.

Opportunity for Youth

Fortunately, the Yankees’ circumstances provided a considerable amount of playing time to young players with potential—players like Brito, who stand to significantly impact the team’s future.

Brito’s Pitch Arsenal

Analyzing his pitching arsenal, Brito employs a mix that includes a sinker, change-up, curveball, and four-seam fastball. His change-up is notably effective, thrown 29% of the time, yielding a .232 batting average against, with impressive whiff and put-away rates. This pitch also exhibits exceptional horizontal movement, deviating 12% more than the average pitcher’s, making it especially potent against left-handed batters.

Performance Analysis: Strengths and Opportunities

Brito has shown a peculiar split in performance; he excels against right-handed hitters and demonstrates a remarkable disparity between home and away game ERAs. With a 3.17 ERA in away games compared to a 5.94 at home, he’s proven more effective on the road over a sample size of at least 11 games.

Looking Forward: Brito’s Potential Role

There’s ample reason to believe that Brito could transition into a significant role, both in the starting rotation as needed and in bridging the gap to the closing segments of games. His versatility is a valuable asset to the Yankees, who will likely look to further his development. Given that Brito has minimal service time and is under team control for at least the next five years, he is definitely a key arm to watch in the coming seasons.

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