Guardians’ Juan Brito Advances Quickly Through System


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The Guardians liked second baseman Juan Brito so much that they committed a 40-man roster spot to him last November, at a time when roster space was at a premium and the fifth-year pro had not yet advanced past Low-A.

Cleveland acquired Brito in a Nov. 15 trade that sent Nolan Jones to the Rockies. Colorado had signed Brito out of the Dominican Republic in 2018.

The 21-year-old Brito is already at his second level in the Cleveland system. He started the season at High-A Lake County, and after 35 games was promoted to Double-A Akron, where his numbers improved across the board.

In his first 31 games for Akron, Brito hit .306/.389/.460 with four homers.

“He has been a top performer in our system and has shown the ability to make good swing decisions and consistent contact, which has allowed him to identify pitches that he can drive,” Guardians assistant general manager James Harris said.

The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Brito knows the strike zone. Through 65 total games this season, he had drawn 41 walks against 44 strikeouts. His career minor league on-base percentage hovered near .400.

“We’ve seen occasional power that excites us,” Harris said, “but his signature is putting the ball in play. He prepares through advance and early work, and takes that preparation into the game.”

Where Brito eventually settles defensively is still to be determined. He has played mostly second base this season but has pro experience at shortstop and third base.

“His athleticism, game awareness and work ethic has shown since joining our organization, and his arm strength is trending in the right direction,” Harris said.

Brito is a key member of the organization’s upper-level middle infield depth that also includes Gabriel Arias, Brayan Rocchio and Tyler Freeman.

“He’s a hard worker and a great teammate,” Harris said. “He spends extra time with our Double-A staff working on all aspects of his physical and mental game.”

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