Guardians Show Confidence In Trade Acquisition Juan Brito

The Guardians were the youngest team in the major leagues in 2022—and one of their first significant moves in the offseason was to get even younger.

Cleveland traded 24-year-old outfielder Nolan Jones to the Rockies for 21-year-old switch-hitting second baseman Juan Brito, who hit .286/.407/.470 with 11 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 107 games for Low-A Fresno in 2022.

The 5-foot-11, 162-pound Brito’s numbers in his first three years reflect those of an advanced hitter. In his first year of pro ball in the Dominican Summer League in 2019, he hit .328 with more walks than strikeouts.

In three pro seasons, Brito has 109 walks, 107 strikeouts and a .406 on-base percentage.

“This was an opportunity to acquire a really athletic middle infielder,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “Juan is a really good switch-hitter, with a great command of the strike zone (and) more walks than strikeouts last year—and with some power.

“We felt that was a really interesting skill set to bring into the organization.”

Brito’s position is still to be determined.

“He’s spent most of his time at second base, but we feel he can play shortstop and third base,” Antonetti said.

The Guardians showed how much they think of Brito, who signed with the Rockies in 2018 from the Dominican Republic, by immediately adding him to their 40-man roster.

The Guardians over the last few years have pursued and collected middle infield prospects, two of whom, Tyler Freeman and Gabriel Arias, made their MLB debuts in 2022.

Another, Angel Martinez, was added to the 40-man this year, while Brayan Rocchio and Jose Tena were previously added. That didn’t stop the Guardians from pursuing another middle infielder in Brito.

“Juan is one of the few players on our 40-man roster who does not have experience at the upper levels,” Antonetti said. “But given the maturity of some of the other players, we thought we could carry a player who didn’t have that upper-level experience.”

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