Reno, Nevada —— After missing the season’s first six weeks because of a hand injury and subsequent surgery, Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Socrates Brito is back and healthy again, and he looks pretty good hitting the ball hard down in Triple-A with the Reno Aces. Thirty-seven games into his 2017 season, Brito is slashing .315/.366/.477/.842 over 130 at-bats entering play on Wednesday, with seven doubles, two home runs, and 12 walks against 27 strikeouts in that time frame.
I saw the Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder—and #6 prospect, per MLB Pipeline—during a late June series when the Aces played host to the Las Vegas 51s (New York Mets). You can see video of ten Socrates Brito at-bats from that series right here:
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Brito is more or less a known entity to Diamondbacks fans: an athletic, strong, toolsy outfielder who can play all three spots and should be able to tap into some raw power despite swing-and-miss issues early in his career. I like what he’s doing in Reno right now to fight that, though. During that series against Las Vegas, Brito went the other way with authority and typically had a left-center field approach with a compact, quick swing. He still has the bat speed and strength to open up and turn on anything hard that he sees middle-in, but he was content not to try to do too much, and took what he was given in a way similar to the best hitter on the field in that series.
In my viewings, the 24-year-old Brito explicitly showed an ability and desire to hit pitches the other way with authority—a good sign of maturation in approach. Take Brito’s heat map comparison between last year and this one, shown here thanks to the wonderful resources at MLBFarm.com:
The sample size is smaller thus far in 2017, of course, but Brito is doing a better job going to the opposite field in the air this year. In turn, it’s translated into a consistent approach at the plate that has cut strikeouts and improved his ability to find the barrel. That ought to help him combat strikeout issues he’s had in the past, and it’s a sign that his approach is maturing as he ages and gains more experience. In turn, when he reaches the big leagues again, I think he’ll be better equipped for success because when he does get that middle-in pitch, he still has the bat speed and raw power to do damage with it like he should.
Still not even 25 years old, I like Socrates Brito to make a significant big league impact soon. The Arizona Diamondbacks have him on their 40-man roster, so a promotion will be simple (assuming a roster need), and he’s doing enough with the bat to suggest he’s not far from another chance, whether late this year or in a larger role in 2017. Above all, he’s grown up as a hitter in Reno, and if he’s finally able to stay healthy coupled with this development in his approach, Socrates Brito may yet realize his abundant potential in the big leagues.