Keys Profile: Buck Britton

ITO's sat down with Buck Britton to discuss his journey as a pro and the 2011 season.

It has been a journey at the pro level for current Frederick Keys infielder Buck Britton. Britton was taken in the 35th round of the 2008 draft by the Baltimore Orioles.

The 24-year-old played in four levels (Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie) in 2009 and two levels (Frederick, Norfolk) in 2010.

Britton set career highs in home runs (5) RBI (48) and doubles (16) in 2010.

The Texas native is starting off 2011 in fine fashion with a .400 average and six RBI in seven games this season.

We had a chance to speak briefly with Britton before the Keys played their series finale against the Lynchburg Hillcats on Sunday.

Inside the O's: You are off to a very hot start this year in the games you have played. It's a small sample but you have to be encouraged with the great start right?

Buck Britton: “Yea definitely I am encouraged feeling pretty good at the plate and as the season goes on you know you want to be able to keep it going and find out what is working.”

ITO: You played in four levels in 2009 (Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie) and two levels in 2010 but you were called up to Bowie and didn't play right away. What would you rather have done get called up to know you are one step closer to the big leagues but not play right away or stay a level below and get playing time?

BB: “One of the deals was that I got called up to Bowie first out of extended [spring training], so it was one of those things where it was cool to get out of extended. To be in double A was cool and exciting but I knew I wasn't going to get much playing time because I was there because of injury. I got to see that talent level and to realize that they're not much better than we are, and it is all just about consistency and something that I have used because it was my first full season.”

ITO: In a small sample offensively the at bats did not go your way at the AAA level, but this young into your career to have reached the AAA it had to be a learning experience for you. What have you taken from that experience and how have you used it to your advantage back here in Frederick?

BB: “Definitely one of the big things was that just that I realized I belonged there like I can play with these guys and I am not overmatched. It is just a matter of being consistent and getting into a routine and picking the brains of those guys because there were a lot of guys up there with big league time. I was just able to pick those guys brains and see how they handled situations when they struggled at the plate.”

ITO: 2010 was obviously your best season as you set career highs in almost every single major offensive category. Talk about how you are building off last year and what strides you made during the offseason to make sure you play ever better in 2011.

BB: “I definitely like getting into the weight room, getting stronger and just staying in shape. I started playing third base a lot last year and I play catch with Zach in the offseason and get in his long toss program and kind of strengthen the arm so if they need me over there I can be a guy that is consistent at third. In January start hitting again and build on what I have done.”

ITO: Defensively, you have played short, third, second and first base at the pro level. Orlando has settled you in a third base platoon with Dale Mollenhauer. How comfortable are you at third and do you feel like this is the best position for you to play consistently?

BB: “I played second base in college so that is where I am most comfortable at, but I feel like I have made some big strides over at third and I definitely feel more comfortable over there now its just a matter of staying consistent with my footwork with the less reaction time. It was definitely a transition.”

ITO: What do you feel is the best part of your game and in contrast what do you think you have to work on the most to get better and realize your dream as a major leaguer?

BB: “Defense is my biggest strength and being able to play more than one position. I think you can stay in the game a long time if you can play multiple positions at a high level. I feel like I am more comfortable at third, second and I have played 25 games or so at first base, not saying I'm Derrick Lee over there but I feel like I can catch the ball and that's a big part.”

BB: “I am not a burner or speedster I think I can be a guy that steals bases once and a while. That's something as an infielder you're known for and with middle infielders they are speedsters and that's one thing that is not one of my strengths.”

ITO: Now obviously I am sure you get this a lot especially being in the same organization as your younger brother Zach Britton, who is at the major league level, how does it feel to have a family member pitching this successfully for the MLB team and does that strive you and motivate you harder to eventually make the MLB club and get to play with your younger brother? How special would that be for you and your family?

BB: “It would be unbelievable. We had a chance to play here two years ago together and in Norfolk last year. Just having him around is I mean there is a relationship there that nobody has with you. Its different when its your brother. He keeps tabs on me and holds me accountable for what I do. If I had the opportunity to play with him at the big league level I wouldn't have the words to describe it. We grew up playing wiffle ball together when we were six years old and now he is on the biggest stage in baseball so if I have the opportunity to be there with him I don't know if I would be able to describe it.”

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