Phillies prospect Daniel Brito could very well rocket up prospect rankings during the 2017 season as he is poised to make his full-season debut.
The Phillies picked up three shortstops from the international signing pool in 2014 in Jonathan Arauz, Arquimedes Gamboa, and Daniel Brito. Arauz and Gamboa made their stateside debut in 2015, but Brito went to the Dominican Summer League for his first season. After Arauz went to Houston in the Ken Giles trade and Gamboa was promoted to short-season Williamsport, Brito was able to make his debut in the Gulf Coast League.
Playing alongside third-round draft pick Cole Stobbe, Brito spent a majority of his playing time at second base. He played well enough there and is expected to stay there long-term.
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However, Brito’s value lies in his offense, not his defense. In 47 games in the GCL, Brito hit for a .284/.355/.421 line with a 132 wRC+. His plate discipline was above-average, as he had a 9.8% walk rate and 12.6% strikeout rate. In his first two professional seasons combined, Brito has 56 walks compared to 49 strikeouts.
While evaluators do not expect Brito to hit for much power, they praise his contact ability.
Sal Agostinelli, Phillies director of international scouting, stated “Brito’s a big-league hitter. He’s going to hit. He’s going to be a gap-to-gap guy.” Badler said “Brito is a high-contact hitter with good bat control who can handle good fastballs and breaking pitches, hitting line drives to all fields.”
Brito could provide value on the basepaths as well as at the plate. Matt Winkelman of Phillies Minor Thoughts said “Brito is also a plus runner and has shown some ability to steal with success this season.” He went 7-for-9 in stolen base attempts.
What’s exciting about Brito is that he did all this while playing at 18 years old. He was a year and a half younger than the average GCL player according to Baseball Reference.
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While Brito will be just 19 years old this season, the club may very well be aggressive with the second-base prospect and start him with Low-A Lakewood. Brito has an advanced approach at the plate despite his youth which will help him succeed against older pitchers. While his power may suffer, there wasn’t much to begin with anyway.
If Brito does make the jump to Lakewood, he would join a plethora of other Phils prospects in Low-A. Mickey Moniak, Adonis Medina, Sixto Sanchez, and several other top prospects are set to join Lakewood come this upcoming season.
It wouldn’t be as deep of a squad as last season’s GCL team, but it would still be loaded with plenty of prospect talent.
With a strong full-season debut in the South Atlantic League, Brito would easily move up prospect rankings. He ended 2016 as the No. 30 prospect in the system according to MLB.com, and it’s safe to say he will be higher when they release this season’s list.
Brito has enough talent to be an above-average regular in the major-leagues, but it will take several years for that to happen. A strong first step in Lakewood would accelerate his development significantly.