Zach Britton has had quite a bit of success so far this spring, which I know spring blah blah, but it's still encouraging to see. Also encouraging is this article from Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated.
"He's probably the best arm they have," said one scout. "The way he's throwing the ball there's no way they have five starters better than him. He's been one of the best arms I've seen this spring. He really should make the team, but there's no way they're going to do that because of the Super Two thing."
"The Super Two thing," in case you haven't heard of it, is a way to delay a player's free agent clock by one year simply by holding him in the minors for just a few extra weeks. The rule itself seems kinda silly to me, but it's become common practice to manipulate it.
At any rate, we heard quotes like this about Brian Matusz last spring, and while he got off to a bit of a rocky start, he ultimately had a very encouraging 2010 season. It's pretty exciting to hear similar accolades regarding Britton.
Also from the article:
Britton is a rare bird, indeed, around baseball: Go ahead and try to name other lefthanded starters who throw 94 mph at the knees with movement. After David Price, what other power lefties are out there?
The talk around the Orioles' pitching has mostly been about Matusz, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Tillman, while Britton has flown under the radar until recently. Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman are certainly worth talking about, but I find it strangely satisfying to imagine a team where Britton, who was in the O's system before those three, turns out to be the best.
That's jumping the gun, of course, but barring some strange circumstance, we will see Zach Britton pitching for the Orioles at some point this season. And if he keeps pitching the way he has in the minors and in this year's ST, it's possible that the Orioles could have two of the best lefties in baseball in their rotation in the coming years.