RENO — Socrates Brito has been ripping baseball-sized meteors flaming across the clear, star-speckled Nevada sky.
And opposing pitchers have had a front-row seat watching the 25-year-old Reno Aces right-fielder.
Brito has been setting the Pacific Coast League on fire with a .354 batting average going into the weekend Tacoma series.
“Socrates has been playing some great baseball,” said Reno manager Greg Gross on Thursday, the same day Brito was announced to the PCL All-Star game.
Brito was selected as the only Reno player to the PCL team that will face the all-stars from the International League on July 11 in Columbus, Ohio. Brito was also named an all-star with Double-A Mobile and also selected to the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, both in 2015.
“I’m glad he was recognized as one of the leagues’ best players and will represent us at the All-Star game,” Gross said.
If any ballplayer in the PCL has owned the month of June, it’s the Dominican Republic product whose been in the Diamondbacks’ organization since 2014. After an injury and subsequent surgery cut his season short in 2017, Brito has been the mainstay of the Aces since April, recording 83 hits, 51 runs and 42 RBI, while leading Reno with 11 home runs.
“This is the key, be healthy and do my thing,” he said.
Brito has a right to be frustrated with the injuries that have slowed down his career. He broke a toe in 2016 with the Diamondbacks and suffered a broken hamate bone in his right hand before winter ball began. In 2017 at spring training, Brito dislocated a finger that caused him to miss more than 60 days.
As Brito focuses on a strong season at the plate, he has given credit to the Aces’ new hitting coach Jason Camilli, whom he said has been working with him every day to improve his swing.
“It helps me a lot,” he said of the workouts. “The hard work I put in is helping.”
For the week of June 11-17 the league named Brito Player of the Week after he had 15 hits in 25 plate appearances with 11 RBI, 10 runs and four home runs. Brito has hit safely in each game during the week by driving in a run in each of his last six games and had 15 total hits, most by a PCL player.
Brito’s most productive games came on June 14-15 when he punished the Iowa Cubs by batting four-for-four with two doubles, four RBI and two runs scored. The Reno outfielder ripped a two-run homer and had another hit against the Cubs the following day.
“He hasn’t tried to do too much — has stayed composed and the results have shown,” Gross said.
In an AZcentral.com article published in March during spring training, Brito’s manager at both Visalia and Mobile, Robby Hammock, called him the image of what a player should be. Hammock is now the D-Backs’ quality control coach.
“He’s one of the mentally strongest guys I know,” said Hammock, adding Brito “did what he was supposed to do, and it didn’t matter.”
Suiting up in Reno has also given Brito confidence, but humility, and he likes the fan atmosphere at Greater Nevada Field where he has developed a following.
“Reno is great,” he said. “As a player, I like the games. When I see the kids, I want to give them a ball, and it’s nice the fans want to follow me.