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Surprise Yankees starter making case to be this year’s Nestor Cortes

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 2: Clarke Schmidt #86, Anthony Volpe #11 and Jhony Brito #76 of the New York Yankees (Photo by New York Yankees/Getty Images)

The New York Yankees watched Nestor Cortes turn into an All-Star last season. In 2023, they watched a surprise starter shine early on.

Last year, the New York Yankees watched a new star emerge from the starting rotations. Nestor Cortes, who was in his third stint with the team, showed promise in the 2021 season, and then became a legitimate All-Star by 2022. He had the 2.44 ERA, a 0.922 WHIP, a 12-4 record, and a shutout to his credit in 28 starts.

In 2023, the Yankees watched as their starting rotation get hammered with injuries at the start of the year. Carlos Rodon, their big free agent signing, is missing the beginning of the season due to a left forearm strain. Frankie Montas is going to be sidelined for a lengthy amount of time due to shoulder surgery. Then, Luis Severino picked up a lat strain that prevented him from making a start in the beginning of the season.

With these injuries, the Yankees turned to prospect Jhony Brito, and he has shown early on that he is deserving of getting more starts down the line.

This spring, Brito left a strong impression on the Yankees coaching staff and front office. In his final spring training appearance on March 26, Brito did not allow a single hit or run in 5.1 innings pitched against the Toronto Blue Jays.

In four spring games (two starts), Brito recorded a 2.08 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 10 strikeouts and no walks in 13.0 innings.

Brito made his first major league start on Apr. 2 against the San Francisco Giants. New York’s 27th-overall prospect pitched five scoreless innings, where he allowed just two hits, struck out six batters, and issued just one walk in New York’s 6-0 win.