To make room for Brendan Donnelly on the 40-man roster, the Pirates have traded Brian Bixler to the Indians for Jesus Brito. Besides allowing me to make a “Don’t mess with the Jesus” joke, Brito is a 22-year old (his 22nd birthday, fittingly enough, was on Christmas) who just came to America last summer and hit well, though in the Arizona League (a GCL analogue) and NY-Penn League. He was way too old for rookie ball and he’ll have to move quickly to not be too old at any other level.
Even though he posted poor batting averages in his three stints in the Dominican Summer League, he always posted a solid OBP because of the 120 walks he drew in 818 plate appearances. That continued last summer in his American debut, though he coupled it with a .353 batting average. John Sickels has him rated as a “C” level prospect, who missed the cutoff for the Tribe’s top 24. There’s probably not a lot of upside there (good prospects don’t tend to repeat the DSL twice), but he’s not exactly devoid of it either. He’ll probably be up against more age-appropriate talent in West Virginia or Bradenton (the Marauders version) in 2010, so we’ll know quickly whether he can keep hitting.
Brian Bixler struck out an incredible 62 times in 166 plate appearances with the Pirates. It’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which he will be missed.