Name: Javier Brito
Born: Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela
Position: First Base/Outfield
Weight: 245 lbs
History: Javier Brito has been with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization for a long time now. Brito had hit at every level at which he'd played, from leading the DSL Diaomndbacks in home runs, runs batted in, and slugging percentage in 2002 to leading the entire D-backs organization in batting average last year. Nevertheless, his movement through the system had been slow. Then, after participating in his first big league spring training, Brito finally seemed poised to zip through Triple-A and contribute to the major league team at some point in 2008.
|Minor League Totals||1629||280||501||105||5||56||292||236||306||.308||.398||.481|
*Statistics Through August 21
Unfortunately, in Triple-A, Brito finally found a level at which he did not immediately succeed. An injury-plagued start to the season conspired with a crowded outfield/first base situation in Tucson to cause Brito to return to Mobile. Compounding his problems, Brito had only hit .238 with five homers in his first 36 games back there. In the 19 games since, however, he has batted .323 with six homers. His 11 total homers in 170 Mobile at bats now matches his 2007 Mobile total through 440 at bats.
Batting and Power: As big as Brito is, you had to figure that the power numbers would eventually arrive. The important thing for Brito is that he has not needed to sacrifice his disciplined approach to hitting in order to finally realize some of that power potential. He still walks nearly as often as he strikes out; he just utilizes his weight transfer better now, allowing him to put more of a charge behind the balls that he hits.
The sample size at Tucson was small. If a healthy Brito at age 25 really did struggle against Triple-A pitchers, that would have been a cause for alarm. But the way Brito is going right now, you have to figure that he would handle the PCL with aplomb, and perhaps the NL as well.
Base Running and Speed: Brito is surprisingly agile for a guy his size. He will never pose a base-stealing threat, but he hustles and takes extra bases when he can. Listed at 245 pounds, he is every Southern League catcher's worst nightmare on potential plays at the plate.
Defense: Miguel Nava, the scouting supervisor in Venezuela, signed Brito as an outfielder. Brito has actually played more games at first base since, but with Conor Jackson entrenched at first base and Joshua Whitesell demolishing Triple-A pitching, corner outfield positions will more likely serve as the final destinations for Brito.
At the moment, he has enough speed to play either one, a strong enough arm to man right field, and an above average arm for left field. His skills at first base are more advanced, however, and he would surprise many with how well he gets off the bag to pounce on ground balls and scoops out occasional sub-par throws from his fellow infielders. He was named the BayBears' MVP last year, and it wasn't just because of his offensive contributions.
Major League Clone: Conor Jackson
Prediction: Though many scouts outside the organization dismiss Brito as too big, he really is an athletic player, and one of the best pure hitters in the organization. Now that he is developing that power, look out.
ETA: The acquisition of Adam Dunn and return to health of Justin Upton make the idea of promoting Brito this September seem redundant. Thanks to the foolish contract extension given to Eric Byrnes last offseason, there may not be room for Brito in 2009, either. Brito will be out of minor league options in 2010, so the team would need to keep him on the 25-man roster throughout that season in order to keep him under contract. Odds are good that the Diamondbacks will clear room somewhere for Brito and his talented bat.
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