Adding to his outstanding season’s resume, Reno Aces right fielder Socrates Brito was selected Pacific Coast League June Player of the Month.
Brito, 25, leads the PCL in slugging percentage (.902), OPS (1.392), total bases (74), extra-base hits (20) and runs scored (27) in June. In 22 games, Brito hit .415 with nine homers and 23 RBIs. Brito capped-off six consecutive multi-hit games from June 11-17. Brito stands third in the PCL with a .347 batting average.
Brito began the month in the big leagues before being optioned back down to Reno on June 4. He went 2-for-17 in eight games with the Diamondbacks this season.
He adjusted his batting stance upon his return to Reno.
“I just tried to close my feet a little more and know when to pick my spots,” he said. “That’s been working for me so far. I’m just working on my routine in the cages every day. I’m listening to the advice my coaches are giving me and it’s a big key for my consistency at the plate.”
A left-handed flyball hitter, Brito has benefited from the wind that blows toward right field at Greater Nevada Field. His above-average speed makes up for his average arm in right. Brito was named a PCL All-Star for the second straight season. He will be the lone All-Star on the Aces in Tuesday’s game in Ohio.
Brito’s name appears all over the Aces record books. He ranks sixth all-time in hits (129), is second in triples (18), seventh in total bases (414) and ninth in RBIs (128). He also tied the franchise record for hits in a game, going 5-for-5 on April 7.
Brito has spent his entire nine-year career with the Dbacks, dating all the way back to 2010. A native of Azua, Dominican Republic, he signed with the Dominican Summer League Diamondbacks, Arizona’s Rookie League affiliate. An 18-year-old at the time, Brito hit .293 in 22 games.
Brito’s well-rounded game garnered praise in 2015 with Double-A Mobile, earning him a selection to the MLB Futures Game.
“The Futures Game was a great opportunity for me,” he said. “It made me think I’m one step away from the majors. And when I came back into the league it made me more hungry to adjust in order to make it.”
He made his MLB debut later that season, appearing in 18 games. He advanced to the Diamondbacks in 2016, hitting .179 with four homers in 40 games.
His signature moment in the big leagues came in the seventh inning, when he launched a three-run homer off Colorado Rockies starter John Gray to left field, erasing a 2-1 Diamondbacks deficit.
Brito was sideline for some of the season and he had surgery to repair a dislocated finger. He hit .291 with five homers and 44 RBIs in 78 games.
The Diamondbacks are loaded with several interchangeable outfielders. But Brito’s hot bat and blazing speed on the base paths could bring him back to the majors.
In the meanwhile, he’s helping to get the Aces back on track.
“We have great chemistry together as a unit,” he said. “We have known each other for a long time for three years or more. They treat you like a family and I’m grateful to be here.”
Aces blow huge lead but come back to win
Yasmany Tomas’ walk-off sacrifice fly sent the 4,020 fans home happy and exhausted in a 10-9 win over the Sacramento River Cats.
Tomas popped a fly ball to shallow center field, bit it was deep enough to score pinch runner Kevin Medrano from third. Typically, a designated hitter, Tomas finished 1-for-3 with two RBIs will playing left field.
Kevin Cron connected on his team-leading 15th homer with three RBIs. He has 16 multi-RBI games this season. He’s in sole possession of the Aces’ RBI leaderboard with 61.
Kristopher Negron launched a two-run shot with the wind carrying to deep right. Ildemaro Vargas finished 1-for-5 with two RBIs, extending his hit streak to 11 games. He flashed his glove with a diving catch in the second inning. Juniel Querecuto had three hits.
Reno’s 11 hits marked their fourth-straight game with 10 or more.
Aces’ right-hander Jake Buchanan tossed six innings in a no-decision effort. He gave up six earned runs on 11 hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Buchanan’s steady fastball-change-up combination blanked the River Cats through four innings. He occasionally mixed in a 84-mph slider.
The River Cats answered the Aces with 15 hits. Chris Shaw belted his second home run of the series. Shaw and his Aces counterpart, Christian Walker, play behind first baseman Brandon Belt in San Francisco and perennial All-Star Paul Goldschmidt in Arizona. Both are getting in some games in left field to find a spot in the big leagues.
Ryder Jones had a homer and two RBIs. Miguel Gomez finished 2-for-5 with a triple and two RBIs. Ex-Giant Trevor Brown added two RBIs.
The Aces attacked Sacramento starter Daniel Camarena, who came equipped with low-velocity fastballs and flat, no-break sliders. The southpaw pitched five innings, surrendering seven earned runs on eight hits and two walks.
Reno scored five runs in the first two innings. The River Cats scratched their way back with five consecutive hits in the sixth, tacking on four runs. Reno answered with a run in the seventh.
Sacramento tied the game in the eighth.
Jimmie Sherfy (2-0) picked up the win for Reno.
Notes: River Cats catcher Ronnie Freeman made his first appearance in Greater Nevada Field since Sept. 3. Freeman hit .257 with 27 RBIs with the Aces last season. … Reno is 36-20 when they score four or more runs this season.
On Deck: Reno (40-47) will face Sacramento (38-49) for the third game of the five-game series on Friday. The Aces Taylor Clarke (8-6) will face River Cats righty Casey Kelly (7-6). The game starts at 7:05 p.m. start.
Isaiah Burrows–You are doing some awesome sports writing coverage! Seriously–you are a high school senior!? Great stuff…and Shaun Astor is getting some fine sports photography, too!