Introducing shortstop Ronny Brito, the newest member of the Blue Jays organization who was acquired in the Russell Martin trade from the Dodgers.
Even though the prospects coming back to the Blue Jays are not the focus of what figures to be a tremendously impactful trade that has Russell Martin heading back to Los Angeles, it is nonetheless worth analyzing and assessing the calibre of the prospects that are to join the organization.
Perhaps the more appealing of the two, shortstop Ronny Brito has, as Jays Journal’s own Clayton Richer points out, already made his way onto the Blue Jays’ top 30 prospects list on MLB Pipeline, slotting in at #26. Previously, he had been #23 in the Dodgers organization.
A native of San Francisco de Macoris, Dominican Republic, Brito, who turns 20 in March, signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent the same day the Blue Jays signed Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in 2015.
In 2018, he appeared in 61 games, the majority of them coming with the Rookie-level Ogden Raptors of the Pioneer League. In 234 at-bats, he slashed a healthy .295/.359/.496 (.855 OPS) and added 11 home runs, 55 RBI and 14 doubles to go along with 40 runs scored and 23 walks.
His 2017 season was cut short by a broken leg, but he still managed to get into 28 games, 16 of them with Odgen, putting up a decent .661 OPS and stealing six bases. In 2016, logging time with both Dodgers Dominican Summer League affiliates, he slashed .228/.352/.345 in 250 plate appearances, scoring 38 runs and adding 11 doubles, five triples, and 30 RBI.
Though still very young, Brito is generally well regarded among scouts for his raw defensive talent and still improving eye at the plate, as Baseball America’s Kyle Glaser noted. Glaser adds that he “doesn’t adjust with two strikes, resulting in plenty of strikeouts”, though his power and glove-first attitude might make up for that, at least in part.
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MLB Pipeline’s scouting report optimistically proclaims that he has “Gold Glove upside at short”, while his ability to switch hit adds another layer to his already intriguing makeup.
While it’s easy to discount power, especially in the minor leagues, Jeff Quattrociocchi of Jays From the Couch is quick to note that of Brito’s eight home runs longer than 400 feet in 2018, seven of them came at Ogden’s Lindquist Field, notoriously known as one of minor league baseball’s most pitcher-friendly ballparks. Prospects Live published an interesting analysis of Brito’s power, arranged in charts.
As Ross Atkins said Friday (via Mike Johnston of Sportsnet), the team is “excited about his performance this year”, adding that “[Brito]’s a guy that when he comes up with runners on base, the other team knows they better be careful. And a lot of times when you’re trying to be careful, you end up making mistakes.”
At this point, it is unclear just where Brito will head to start the 2019 season, though it is possible that he makes the jump to Low-A Lansing after his impressive showing in 2018. More conservatively though, he could start the season with the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League (Rookie).