23-year old left hander Zach Britton is giving Oriole fans something they have not had in a long time - an ace. Britton was selected by the Orioles straight out of high school in the third round in 2006 when he was just 18, picking the MLB over a college career at Texas A&M. Britton spent 5 seasons in the minors, going 37-28 with a 3.09 ERA, while only giving up 479 hits in 538.1 innings pitched, and he has continued his brilliance so far this year, facing major league hitters.
Although he makes pitching look very easy, things haven't always been so easy for Britton in his life. Back when Britton was in high school, he dove head first into a concrete light standard going after a foul ball during practice, which resulted in him spending two days in ICU because he sustained fractures of the skull and clavicle and bleeding in the brain. Thankfully he recovered and now we all get the privilege of watching him transform into a superstar right before our eyes.
In his first year in the majors, Britton has been nothing short of spectacular going 5-1 with a 2.63 ERA in his first 6 career starts. In the 6 starts Britton has gone at least 6 innings in each outing, giving up 1 ER or less in 4 of the 6 starts.
Britton continued his run at rookie of the year will a brilliant performance against Seattle on Thursday night, going 9 innings, allowing 3 hits no walks while striking out 5. The game was 0-0 going into the 12th and the Orioles won it 2-1. Although he did not get a win, Britton is now 5-2 and improved his ERA to 2.42. In 52 innings Britton has only allowed 37 hits and 16 walks, that's why he has such a low WHIP of 1.02 and batters are only hitting .203 off him for the year.
Here are Britton's pitching lines so far in 2011:
|3-Apr||@ Tampa Bay||6.0||3||1||3||6||W||1-0|
|6-May||vs. Tampa Bay||5.1||4||3||1||4||L||5-2|
|18-May||vs. New York||7.0||6||0||3||4||ND||5-2|
|24-May||vs. Kansas City||6.0||9||3||2||2||ND||5-2|