Last Saturday night I was part of a Shorebirds Fan Club trip down to Norfolk to see the Tides play. Part of their game program was a reprint of a pre-season Baseball America article recounting the Orioles’ top 10 prospects. While none of them are playing for Delmarva this season, I think there’s a good possibilty my SotW pick this week will be on that list in 2009. Yes, Zach Britton is pitching that well.
Consider, for example, that of nine second-half starts Britton’s had a “quality” start (defined as 3 or fewer earned runs allowed in 6 or more innings) on seven of those occasions. In those nine starts batters are hitting an anemic .175 against the lefty, and his WHIP is a sick 0.95 for the second half (1.08 for the full season – outstanding.)
Then again, much was expected from the slender California native as he was picked in the 3rd round by the Orioles two years ago. If anything, he’s improved on his Aberdeen numbers from last season (6-4, 3.68 ERA in 15 starts covering 63 2/3 innings) and for this season ranks among the SAL leaders in innings pitched (5th with 123 2/3 entering tonight’s start against Lake County), wins (tied for fourth with 10, he’s lost 5), ERA (7th with a 2.77 mark), and WHIP (the 1.08 mark is 8th.) Certainly the 20 year old has shown enough stuff to advance to the next level in 2009.
So if the rotation holds true to form, you’ll only have 3 more chances to see Britton work his voodoo on opposition hitters before the season comes to a close and Zach likely packs up for Frederick next spring.