Shortstop Daniel Brito is off to a good start to his professional baseball career with the Phillies

The Phillies have been making progress in finding international players who can make an impact. In 2014, they signed Daniel Brito and his first season in the organization went pretty well.

Daniel Brito didn't get a lot of attention as a prospect out of Venezuela and wasn't even invited to Major League Baseball's national or international showcases. Most international scouts liked him, but not enough to really clamor for their teams to sign him. The Phillies came in and got a quick deal done with the 16-year old infielder and sent him to the Dominican Summer League in 2015 to start his climb toward the majors.

One of the biggest concerns with Brito was the fact that as a 16-year old, he was 6' 1", but only 140 pounds. Since signing, he's put on about 15 pounds and seems likely to fill out even more as he continues to develop physically. 

Offensively, Brito handles the bat pretty well and was able to hit .269 in the Dominican, with a .383 on-base percentage, thanks to drawing 35 walks while striking out just 22 times. While Brito has a little speed, he's not a good basestealer and was thrown out on nine of 17 attempts last season. The hope is that as he continues to fill out, he'll also develop at least a little power without losing a feel for the strike zone or allowing his average to take a hit.

On defense, Brito is a little shaky and seems better suited to playing second base than he does shortstop. He's got good actions, but his footwork can get very messy and his arm isn't really strong enough - at least not right now - to throw from deep in the hole at short. In 46 of the 60 games that he played last season, he was in the lineup as a designated hitter, rather than playing the infield. Some scouts believe eventually, he may be best suited to playing center field.

There's a lot to like about Brito, but much of it is all contingent on two things. 1) How he continues to develop physically and how that development can affect - negatively or positively - what he's able to do on the field and 2) How his baseball skills continue to develop. There is still a lot of work to do with Brito, but the raw, basic talent is there, it's just a matter of pulling it all together. Don't look for him to move quickly through the system, at least for the next couple of seasons. Perhaps once he settles in, he'll pick up some traction, but for now, he's a project.

Daniel Brito - career stats

YearTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLG
2015 Phillies DOSL 60 257 212 33 57 10 3 0 19 8 9 35 22 .269 .383 .344
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2016.

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