Tenure with the Baltimore Orioles
|Baltimore Orioles – No. 53|
December 22, 1987 |
Panorama City, California
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|April 3, 2011 for the Baltimore Orioles|
(through July 1, 2014)
|Earned run average||4.30|
Britton, the youngest of three brothers, was raised in Santa Clarita, California. During his only year at Canyon High School, he spent two days in intensive care when he sustained fractures of the skull and clavicle and bleeding in the brain as a result of diving headfirst into concrete while attempting to catch a foul popup during baseball practice with the freshman squad. When he moved with his family to Texas, he transferred to Weatherford High School, where he was an all-state outfielder who also pitched.
Britton was offered an athletic scholarship to attend Texas A&M University. After he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round (85th overall) of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, he accepted a $200,000 signing bonus to join the ballclub.
Before the 2010 season, he was considered the Orioles third best prospect according to Baseball America. In a midseason top 25 prospect list, he was ranked the 10th best prospect in all of baseball. Prior to 2011, Baseball America had him ranked second among Orioles prospects.
Even though he was the Orioles' best pitcher statistically during spring training, he was expected to start the 2011 campaign in the minors when he was optioned to the Norfolk Tides on March 29. That all changed when he was recalled five days later on April 3 to replace the injured Brian Matusz on the starting rotation. Britton capped a season-opening three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays by winning his MLB debut that same day in a 5–1 victory at Tropicana Field. He allowed a run and three hits in six innings.
Britton showcased his batting prowess during his first experience with interleague play. His five hits in eight at-bats were the most by any American League (AL) pitcher in 2011. His first major league hit and run batted in (RBI) came on a double off Jason Marquis in the fourth inning of an 8–4 defeat to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 17. He hit his first big league home run off Brandon Beachy in the third inning of a 5–4 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 3.
Britton was unexpectedly sent to the Bowie Baysox on July 9. After a 5–1 start, he had lost six of his next seven decisions. There was speculation that the Orioles made the move to prevent him from getting a full year of major league service time and thus delaying his eligibility for free agency by a season.
On March 26, 2012, Britton was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a left shoulder impingement. He was then transferred retroactively to the 60-day disabled list on June 3, but was reinstated on June 6 to begin his minor league rehab assignment with the Tides. He made his 2012 debut on July 17.
The Orioles optioned Britton to their Triple-A affiliate Norfolk Tides on March 23 to start the 2013 season. He was recalled on April 25.
Britton made the opening day roster for the 2014 Orioles season and picked up his first win of the year pitching in relief against the Red Sox on March 31.  On May 15, Britton earned his first career save, against the Kansas City Royals, pitching a perfect 9th inning.
Britton throws four pitches: a four-seam and a sinker at 90–94 mph, a slider at 82–85, and a changeup at 86–89. The slider is used mainly against left-handed hitters, with the changeup used mostly against right-handed hitters. The slider is an outstanding swing-and-miss pitch, with a whiff rate of 53% for his career (and 55% against lefties). His changeup is not as polished, but it has a very good ground ball/fly ball ratio.
Britton is married to Southern Methodist University law student Courtney Leggett. His older brother Buck is an infielder for the Norfolk Tides, and is a cousin to Lance Britton, who hosts The Lance Britton Show on Mile High Sports Radio 1510 in Denver, CO.
- "Van Valkenburg, Kevin. "Great find and terrible loss have buoyed Orioles' Britton," ''The Baltimore Sun'', Tuesday, April 26, 2011". Baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Posted: April 18, 2011 1:55 a.m. (2011-04-18). "Gulino, Joey. "Around the SCV: Canyon alum is holding camp," ''The Signal'' (Santa Clarita Valley, CA), Monday, April 18, 2011". The-signal.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Britton beats the odds, boost O's," MLB.com, Friday, April 15, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "2006 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Rounds 1–10 – Pro Sports Transactions". Prosportstransactions.com. 2006-11-20. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Lingo, Will (2009-12-17). "Baltimore Orioles 2010 top prospects". Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "Midseason Updated Top 25 Prospects". Baseballamerica.com. 2010-07-09. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Lingo, Will (2010-11-01). "Baltimore Orioles 2011 top prospects". Baseballamerica.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Britton optioned, will open season in Triple-A," MLB.com, Tuesday, March 29, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- ""Orioles place LHP Brian Matusz on disabled list," Baltimore Orioles press release, Sunday, April 3, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Ghiroli, Brittany. "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Britton sharp in debut as Orioles sweep Rays," MLB.com, Sunday, April 3, 2011". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Zrebiec, Jeff (2011-07-03). "Zrebiec, Jeff. "Orioles' Britton shows off his power stroke," ''The Baltimore Sun'', Monday, July 4, 2011". Baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Zrebiec, Jeff (2011-07-03). "Ghiroli, Brittany. "Britton notches first big league hit and RBI," MLB.com, Saturday, June 18, 2011". Baltimoresun.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Jeff Zrebiec (2011-07-09). "Zrebiec, Jeff. "Orioles demote Zach Britton to Double-A Bowie,"". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- 06/06/2012 5:01 PM EST. ""Orioles activate LHP Zach Britton from 60-day DL and option him to Triple-A Norfolk," Baltimore Orioles press release, Wednesday, June 6, 2012". Baltimore.orioles.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Encina, Eduardo A. (July 17, 2012). "Zach Britton more confident as he prepares for Tuesday start". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Snyder, Matt (April 25, 2013). "Orioles recall Zach Britton; is he ready for another rotation shot?". Retrieved April 26, 2013.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Zachary Britton". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Kelley, Ryan (February 8, 2011). "Scouting Report: Zach Britton". Baseball Newshound. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "Baseball Video Highlights & Clips | Zach Britton drops by Intentional Talk - Video | MLB.com: Multimedia". Mlb.mlb.com. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-04-08.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)