The Atlanta Braves have been heavily rumored to be pursuing a veteran for the back of the bullpen. Could the former Baltimore closer be the answer?
The Atlanta Braves will be looking to upgrade their bullpen this offseason, and they could look into what should be a deep reliever class to do so. How would former Baltimore Orioles closer Zach Britton fit with the Braves?
Life as a starter
Zach Britton was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 3rd round out of high school in Texas in 2006, considered the #2 HS lefty in the state that season behind only Clayton Kershaw.
He opened with a rough performance in his draft year in advanced rookie Bluefield, putting up a 5.29 ERA over 34 innings. The Orioles sent Britton to Aberdeen in the New York-Penn League in 2007, and he responded well, tossing 63 2/3 innings with a 3.68 ERA.
His first full season with Delmarva in the South Atlantic League went well, as he tossed 147 1/3 innings with a 3.12 ERA, but in 2009, he put himself on the map with his performance in the high-A Carolina League, tossing 140 innings as a 21-year-old, posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, and a 55/131 BB/K ratio. He was ranked as Baseball America’s #63 prospect and Baseball Prospectus’ #73 prospect in their respective offseason top-100 prospect lists.
In 2010, Zach Britton moved up the upper minors, posting a 2.70 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and a 51/124 BB/K over 153 1/3 innings. That impressive performance got him moved up to #28 with BA and #17 with BP.
Britton moved up to the Orioles rotation in 2011, but he struggled in the next three seasons in the major leagues as a starter. From 2011-2013, Britton made 48 appearances, 46 of them starts, throwing 254 2/3 innings, with a 4.77 ERA and 1.52 WHIP, posting a 9.9% walk rate and a 15% strikeout rate.
He was moved to the bullpen in 2014.