Brito’s other signings include the current Dodgers starter Julio Urias, who won 20 games in 2021; the mercurial outfielder Yasiel Puig, who is Cuban; pitchers Ismael Valdez, Joakim Soria, Antonio Osuna, Victor Gonzalez and Dennys Reyes; shortstop Juan Castro; and the outfielder Karim Garcia. Another of his finds, Bobby Castillo, a converted third baseman known as Babo, taught Valenzuela how to throw a screwball.
“I’m not lying to you,” Brito told The Los Angeles Times in 2011. “Within a week, Fernando was throwing the screwball as good as Babo.”
Mike Brito was born on Aug. 21, 1934, in Cuba. As a catcher, starting in 1955, he played three seasons in the lower tiers of the Washington Senators’ minor league system, then several seasons in the Mexican League.
After retiring, he moved to Los Angeles, where he found work as a truck driver and set up an adult amateur league that he also played in.
Scouting became his way to stay in baseball. “Thanks to God, I became a scout in the Mexican League,” he said in a short video profile, “The White Hat & Wild Horse: The Scout Who Found Puig.” When he was asked by Dodgers General Manager Al Campanis to work for the team, he recalled thinking, “It’s like you find a guy in the desert and ask him if he wants a glass of water.