HT: 6-2 WT: 172 POS: SP
Frederick Keys- (28 G, 27 GS, 145.1 ip, 4.95 ERA, 168 K, 47 BB, 16 HR, 0.70 GO/AO)
A baby-faced 20 year old southpaw, Zach Britton was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2006 draft. His prospect status rose considerably in his senior year of high school when he was suddenly able to throw in the low-90's. He signed quickly and threw 34 mediocre innings in rookie ball, but he looked much sharper in 2007.
The struggles served to motivate Britton, who has worked considerably on his command and off-speed stuff in the past two years.
During the 2007 season, Director of Scouting Joe Jordan told ITW, "The only thing Zach Britton needs, right now, is time. He has gotten stronger, and our game reports show he's up to 92 [MPH] and he's touched 93 [MPH], but if he pitches 88-92 [MPH] with command and a changeup, we gotta get him a slider, or something… he needs a third pitch. He'll be fine. I'm happy with where he's at."
Britton again made good use of instructs, where all reports indicated that he made serious strides with his slider.
It would be unfair to compare Zach Britton to teen phenoms and point out that he will be playing in his first full season, at 20 years old, this year. Physically, he still has a bit of maturing to do, which actually serves to lend additional projection to his stuff. Mentally, however, he has already proven the capacity to learn quickly and make adjustments. Britton may still be a few years away, but his ceiling is huge. He could be anything from a #2 starter to an A-ball washout. Time will tell.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com