Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Phillies Prospects Countdown: #16 2B Daniel Brito

Daniel Brito, image- Jay Floyd
Venezuelan second baseman Daniel Brito has steadily stood out as a talented performer throughout his pro career and is among the Phillies' most promising prospects.

Signed by the Phillies in 2014 at the age of 16 for a reported $650,000, Brito would participate in that year's fall instructional league.  He made his official debut the following year with the Dominican Summer League team. In 60 games there, the six-foot-one 170-pounder would tally a .269 average with 10 doubles, three triples and 19 RBI while swiping eight bases.

He debuted stateside in 2016 as part of the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. There he batted .284 with 10 doubles, five triples, two home runs and 25 RBI while stealing seven bases in 47 games.

In 2017, Brito was able to put his skills on display in the full season Class A South Atlantic League as a member of the Lakewood BlueClaws. As a 19-year-old, Brito sported a .239 average with 15 doubles, a triple, six homers, 32 RBI and 12 stolen bases over 112 contests. The full season seemed to wear on the youngster, as his hot start (.826 OPS in April) could not be matched the rest of the way (his best OPS month after April was .618 in August).

He opened the 2018 campaign back with Lakewood, something that coaches felt bothered the talented youngster, as he saw many of his teammates from the previous year move up a level. In 92 games for Lakewood, Brito tallied a .252 average with four homers, 31 RBI and 15 steals.

Brito was promoted to Class A Advanced Clearwater in August. In 27 games for the Threshers, he sported a .250 average with five doubles, two triples and seven RBI.

Organizational coaches were pleased with the progress Brito made throughout the season last year. Following a slow start (.171 avg in April), he hit at a .268 clip the rest of the way during the regular season. Lakewood's hitting coach Tyler Henson cited Brito’s progress with putting together quality at bats and not worrying about the results.

The left-handed hitter looks small and thin, but often puts the barrel to the ball and displays an ability to really drive the ball. If he adds some muscle, the power portion of his game could be quite exciting. Brito already shows an ability to make adjustments and hit the ball well to the opposite field.

With the ability to work the count, Brito can draw plenty of walks as well.  

Brito is a smooth defender. With solid range and very good hands, the 21-year-old has the tools to become very reliable for a long a time with an above average skill set. He has spent some time at shortstop during his professional career as well, so that versatility could help him obtain playing time at the upper levels.

On the bases, Brito’s got solid speed and good instincts that he could really use to contribute.

A class clown of sorts, Brito keeps the dugout and clubhouse loose. He’s a player that can pick a teammate up mentally, when needed.  He’ll also lead by example and is an individual that is easy to root for.

Former Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan offered the following endorsement of Brito in the first half of the 2017 season.

“Brito, you know, honestly, five years from now, he might be the best hitter of the bunch,” Jordan told me in relation to the Phillies’ outstanding crop of second basemen that included Scott Kingery as well as Cesar Hernandez.

Look for Brito to open this coming season back with Clearwater for a lengthier taste of the Florida State League. If what Jordan felt during his tenure in charge of the organization’s developmental ranks is on point, it may not be long before Brito is among the handful of names that fans regard as the top few in the Phils’ system with a bright future in the big leagues.

You can keep tabs on this year's complete Phillies top prospects countdown by clicking this link.    

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