Tuesday, February 27 2024
RubberDucks Juan Brito gets ready to swing during a recent game against Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

RubberDucks Juan Brito gets ready to swing during a recent game against Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

There is no shortage of talented and young infielders in the Cleveland Guardians organization.

The Akron RubberDucks conclude their 2023 baseball season this week with middle infielders Juan Brito, Aaron Bracho and Milan Tolentino and corner infielders Bryce Ball, Joe Naranjo and Gabriel Rodriguez.

Brito, 21, is the most highly regarded of the prospects as the RubberDucks open a six-game homestand against the Altoona Curve on Tuesday night at Canal Park.

“They are getting better, day in and day out,” RubberDucks manager Rouglas Odor said Aug. 31 after a 4-3 win at home over the Bowie Baysox.

“What Brito has been able to do is impressive. He came from [Class] A ball and has been able to adjust to the league and has been taking a lot of quality at-bats. Bracho is hitting home runs. This is basically his first year that he has been able to play everyday and he is healthy.”

RubberDucks Juan Brito throws to first base between innings during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.RubberDucks Juan Brito throws to first base between innings during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

RubberDucks Juan Brito throws to first base between innings during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

Brito, who is from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, enters this week batting .283 with 84 hits in 297 at-bats in 82 games with the Ducks. He has 20 doubles, 10 home runs, 57 RBIs and scored 44 runs.

“I am feeling comfortable, even though I originally signed with another organization,” Brito said through his translator, Odor. “I feel like I grew up here and I am more comfortable. I am thankful to the organization for giving me this opportunity and my coaches for giving me advice and trying to help me out.”

The Guardians acquired Brito from the Colorado Rockies this past offseason in a trade that sent out Nolan Jones. Bracho signed with Cleveland in 2017 out of El Tigrito, Venezuela.

“He’s had a really good year and has been one of the younger players at his level, first at High A and then in Double-A,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said of Brito, who will turn 22 later this month. “He’s continued to make strides on both sides of the ball and continues to show really good, consistent contact from both sides of the plate, and has started to add some impact quality to that, and that’s been encouraging to see.”

“He’s had a really good developmental year and has positioned himself well as we look forward.”

RubberDucks Aaron Bracho hits an RBI single during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.RubberDucks Aaron Bracho hits an RBI single during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

RubberDucks Aaron Bracho hits an RBI single during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

Bracho, 22, enters this week batting .251 with 86 hits in 342 at-bats in 98 games with the Ducks. He has 14 doubles, 17 home runs, 55 RBIs and scored 49 runs.

“It has been fun to play with these guys,” Bracho said. “I continue to work everyday in the [batting] cage and on my routines. Every coach has something to tell you, so I listen to them and that helps.

“… I love playing with these guys and watching them grow up. I have only gotten to play with Juan this year. I have played with [Angel] Martinez, [José] Tena and [Brayan] Rocchio. We have been growing up together and we are trying to make it.”

Tena is currently in the majors with the Guardians and Rocchio is with the Class AAA Columbus Clippers after playing with the Guardians earlier this season. Martinez was promoted from Akron to Columbus on Sept. 1.

The Guardians infield is crowded with young players in the majors and prospects in the minors.

RubberDucks Aaron Bracho gets set to bat during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.RubberDucks Aaron Bracho gets set to bat during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

RubberDucks Aaron Bracho gets set to bat during a game Aug. 31 against the Bowie Baysox at Canal Park in Akron.

Guardians third baseman José Ramírez is a perennial all-star and first baseman-designated hitter Josh Naylor is enjoying a breakout season. Kole Calhoun has been a pleasant surprise, Andrés Giménez is the second baseman and Gabriel Arias, Tyler Freeman and Tena have been manning shortstop.

The Columbus infield features middle infielders Rocchio, Martinez, Daniel Schneeman and Raynel Delgado and corner infielders Kyle Manzardo, Jhonkensy Noel and Micah Pries.

“I played with Rocchio when I was 9, so we have been playing since we were kids and I remember we used to say, ‘Yo, imagine if we play on the same team and we make it,'” Bracho said. “I am trying to catch up to him so we can play together again.”

The lower levels in the Guardians minors include infield prospects Jake Fox, Angel Genao, Welbyn Francisca, Kahlil Watson, Alex Mooney and Dayan Frias and C.J. Kayfus.

“I am just trying to give my best,” Brito said. “It is a healthy competition with the rest of the infielders. I wish the best of luck to every single infielder in the organization.”

Michael Beaven can be reached at mbeaven@thebeaconjournal and is on Twitter at @MBeavenABJ.

Beacon Journal sports writer Ryan Lewis contributed to this story.

This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: Juan Brito, Aaron Bracho succeeding with Akron RubberDucks

Source: Yahoo Sports

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