Jhony Brito yankees
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training is officially here, and that’s a beautiful thing. Winter always feels too long, so it’s nice to see players start performing baseball activities across Arizona and Florida. The Yankees, like all other clubs, won’t start playing spring-training games until this upcoming weekend.

So, we’re forced to be satisfied with watching bullpens, batting practice, and field drills for the time being. The closest we can get to real game action right now is live batting practice, though. This gives us intriguing matchups we’ll never see at any point of the year. You know, like watching Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon face big parts of the Yankees’ lineup.

It’s also an opportunity for prospects to show what kind of promise they possess. That was the case for pitcher Jhony Brito on Sunday at George Steinbrenner Field. The 25-year-old reached Triple-A last season for the Yankees and is getting his first taste of big-league camp.

It’s safe to say that things have started well. In a live BP session over the weekend, Brito was tasked with facing what could be the heart of New York’s order during the regular season: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Josh Donaldson.

All three of those matchups ended the same way: with Brito securing a strikeout. There’s no footage of Brito throwing Judge a chair, but here he is striking out Stanton:

And, here he is striking out Donaldson:

The third baseman (who has been on the trade block all winter) posted a career-worst 27.1% strikeout rate with a .682 OPS for New York in 2022. So, some may think this strikeout isn’t too impressive. But still, each of these guys has won an MVP Award during their respective MLB careers. For a dude who hasn’t thrown a pitch in the big leagues yet, this is noteworthy.

After finishing the 2021 season in Double-A, Brito spent another 42 innings there to begin 2022. He twirled a 2.36 ERA with a 1.12 WHIP before getting promoted to Triple-A. The right-hander watched his strikeout rate (22.8% to 18.5%) and walk rate (6.6% to 8.4%) both get worse with the promotion, but he still performed quite well. He produced a 3.31 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in 70.2 innings of work.

The 22nd overall prospect in New York’s minor-league system, Brito has a shot at heading north as a big leaguer by the end of camp. And, as our own Josh Benjamin said, he could be a dark horse for the final rotation spot now that Frankie Montas is sidelined.

There’s plenty of spring training left to decide whether it’s him, Clarke Schmidt, or Domingo German at the backend of New York’s rotation. One thing is for certain, though — Brito couldn’t have started things off much better.

Matt Musico can be reached at matt.musico@xlmedia.com and you can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

Matt Musico is an editor for ESNY. He’s been writing about baseball and the Mets for the past decade. His work has been featured on numberFire, MetsMerized Online, Bleacher Report, and Yahoo! Sports.