Pitcher Zach Britton of the Baltimore Orioles pitches against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on April 3, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
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.