Zach Britton, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore fans are excited about the arrival of 23-year-old southpaw pitching prospect Zach Britton. Originally slated to begin the year with Triple-A Norfolk, Britton had a superb spring training (1.35 ERA, 13/5 K/BB in 20 innings) and was the obvious choice to move into the rotation when Brian Matusz went down with injury. A third round pick in 2006 from high school in Weatherford, Texas, Britton was excellent last year in Double-A (2.48 ERA, 68/28 K/BB in 87 innings) and Triple-A (2.98 ERA, 56/23 K/BB in 66 innings).
He relies on a 90-93 MPH sinking fastball as his bread-and-butter, collecting plenty of ground balls. His slider and changeup are both quality pitches, giving him a three-pitch assortment. As long as he maintains his control and has a competent defense behind him, Britton should be effective. While a trip back to Triple-A is possible when Matusz returns, Britton has the stuff and command to be a very effective starter and looks ready to thrive right now. I gave him an aggressive Grade A- in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book.