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12/22/1987 (29 y, 2 m, 1 d)
2006 June Amateur Draft - Round: 3, Pick: 9, Overall: 85, Team: Baltimore Orioles
$11.4M / 1 Years (2017)
Britton said he's not worried about the oblique injury he suffered earlier this week, Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports reports. (2/22/2017)
Early ADP Thoughts – Relief Pitcher Pt. 1
Paul Sporer (RotoGraphs)
Sunday Notes: JBJ, Bridich, Wallace on Britton, mo»
David Laurila (FanGraphs)
I Love Zach Britton
Brandon Warne (RotoGraphs)
2016's Best Pitches by Results
Eno Sarris (FanGraphs)
This Isn't the Time to Trade Zach Britton
Ryan Pollack (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Zach Britton had a solid rookie season in 2011. The Oriole’s 24 year-old lefty threw 154 innings of a an average 4.00 FIP. His ERA wasn’t as good at 4.61, but that can be explained by a very low strand rate that we shouldn’t expect to continue. The Oriole’s top pitching prospect at the start of the season, Britton is the rare left-handed sinker baller – he used his heavy sinker to get grounders 53 percent of the time this year. The pitch is good, and he thinks so too -- he threw 70 percent fastballs last year. But Britton has more than just a sinker -- he also throws a changeup and slider, both of which were very effective in 2011. These two pitches both resulted in swings-and-misses over 15 percent of the time -- an above average rate. If he trusts his changeup and breaking ball enough to throw them more in 2012, he could pick up a significant amount of strikeouts without sacrificing ground balls. Despite ostensibly mediocre performance in 2011, Britton has significant upside in 2012, so don’t be afraid to draft him more aggressively than others expect. (Josh Weinstock)
The Quick Opinion:
Zach Britton had a solid debut in 2011, and we should view that as his floor for 2012. Britton has the repertoire to take a big step forward next season.
It wasn't long ago Zach Britton was considered one of the jewels of the Baltimore farm system, being ranked as high as their
second-best prospect by John Sickels in 2011
. The blue-chipper bounced back and forth between the minors and big leagues in 2012. He put up an uninspiring 5.07 ERA with the O's, although his xFIP was somewhat better, checking in over a full run lower at 4.05. Not bad for a 24-year-old, right? Well, the southpaw's problem from a fantasy perspective, is not the overall stats, but how he operates. He's never been a big strikeout pitcher, registering a 16.0 K% in limited MLB action and only cracking the 20% mark during a couple brief stints in the minors. Widely regarded as a young up-and-coming sinkerballer, his career 54.9% GB% reflects that. However, his control remains iffy (10% career BB%, 11.9% in 2012), so his WHIP (usually a strong suit for pitchers who lean heavily on sinkers) isn't going to help 5x5 owners, either. Britton might be one of those pitchers who has the potential to be more valuable in real-life than fantasy -- he's young and has lots of room for improvement at the big league level. That said, the lack of K's, high WHIP, and spot in the uber-competitive AL East mean he's unlikely to provide significant dividends for fantasy owners who reach for him on draft day. (
The Quick Opinion:
Once a top prospect in the Orioles' organization, Britton's star has faded over the last few years. He will be fighting for a spot at the back end of the Baltimore rotation this spring; and as a sinkerball pitcher who walks more than 3.5 per nine, he won't help much in strikeouts or WHIP, even if he wins a spot. You can do better.
Now out of minor league options, 2014 is going to be a very important year for former top prospect Zach Britton. Set back by shoulder injuries in 2011 and 2012, the lefty spent most of his season failing to impress as a starter in Triple-A. Given 40 innings in the majors, he did more of the same, posting a 4.95 ERA and somehow only striking out 18 batters. That would be the fourth lowest strikeout rate of anyone who threw 30 innings in 2013, and it sure makes it difficult to forecast anything optimistic moving forward. Perhaps he can refine his control which, along with his strong ground-ball rate, would help him work around the lack of whiffs, but it would be a surprising development at this stage. A LOOGY role might be possible given a moderate platoon split and reliance on his sinker, and it’s probably worth trying the 26-year-old out of the pen for the first time to try and squeeze out some value for their eight years of patience. (
The Quick Opinion:
After eight years in the Orioles organization, Zach Britton is out of options and still without a role in the majors. The sinker is good, but the control is wanting and he's among the least dangerous strikeout pitchers in baseball.
Britton exploded onto the fantasy scene in 2014, finishing third in value among relievers according to Zach Sanders’ end of season rankings. The 26-year-old had long been a top prospect in Baltimore, but flourished with the move to the bullpen, picking up nearly three mph on his sinker while greatly improving his overall swinging strike percentage. About that sinker: It generated 18.4 fastball runs above average, second highest among qualified relievers, and allowed him to record an eye-popping 75.3% ground ball rate, the
highest single-season rate
we have on record. It wasn’t as if he was trying to surprise hitters, either; PITCHf/x data show that Britton threw his sinker a whopping 89.3% of the time, offsetting it occasionally with his solid slider, and the southpaw didn’t discriminate platoon-wise, as he held right-handed hitters to a measly .182 batting average. All told, he finished with 37 saves, which is all the more impressive considering he didn’t take over as closer until mid-May. Of course, Britton’s season wasn’t without its blemishes; his 1.65 ERA outperformed his 3.13 FIP and 2.82 xFIP, thanks in no small part to a high 82.3% strand rate, and his ground ball ways came at the expense of his strikeouts, evidenced by a good-not-great 7.3 strikeouts per nine innings. Finally, a low .215 average on balls in play could conceivably rise given all those grounders, especially if Baltimore is unable to replicate a team defense that finished first in the majors in ultimate zone rating per 150 games. These caveats, however, shouldn’t cloud the main point on Britton: A move to the bullpen allowed him to simplify his approach on the mound, paving the way for him to emerge as a top fantasy closer for a team that has averaged 91 wins a season for the past three years. (
Karl de Vries
The Quick Opinion:
Britton will be hard-pressed to replicate his outstanding season, but fantasy owners shouldn’t hesitate to consider him a worthy number one reliever in 2015.
Zach Britton’s fastball is the definition of nasty. A 96-mph pitch which sinks so much it produces an 82% ground ball rate and a nice 15% swinging strike rate? Nasty. Players are concentrating so much on it they get tied up on his slider and swing and miss 29% of the time on his secondary pitch. These two pitches have led to some eye popping numbers over the past two seasons. Of the 250 pitchers with at least 120 innings pitched, he is fifth in ERA (1.77), third in SIERA (1.67), first in ground ball rate (77% which is 8% points higher than the next pitcher), 12th in home runs per nine (0.44) and 15th in left on base rate (82%). The knock against Britton is the lack of strikeouts compared to the other elite relievers. Among those 250 pitchers (which includes starters), he is 28th in strikeout rate (26%). If he is only compared to relievers, he jumps up to tenth. Britton isn’t lumped in with the elite closers (Wade Davis, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jensen, and Craig Kimbrel), but he is in the next few for sure. (Jeff Zimmerman)
The Quick Opinion:
Zach Britton’s sinker is unique and the pitch alone makes him a top ten reliever in the game.
If you would like to make a projection for this player, please
Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2017 3:33 AM ET
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