The Britton debate

O’s president Andy MacPhail comfirmed in an e-mail last night that the Orioles are considering calling up their top pitching prospect Zach Britton later this summer, although it likely won’t happen this weekend.

This brings us to the great debate - should the O’s call-up Britton to the Majors this year or just let him finish the season at Triple-A?

A Britton call-up would be exciting to see and many fans would welcome it to spice up this miserable season.

But would that be the right reason to do it? Shouldn’t it be all about what is best for Britton and his development going forward and have nothing to do with how bad the Orioles are right now?

One should have nothing to do with the other.

Maybe Britton would hold his own with the Orioles and a handful of starts this year would set him up nicely to compete for a rotation spot next year.

Or maybe it’s just too soon. After last night, he has made just five Triple-A starts. Would a call-up, even a few weeks from now, mean the O’s are rushing him?

Here are the number of Triple-A starts some young O’s hurlers made before their Major League debuts:
Arrieta - 28
Bergesen - 2
Berken - 5
Hernandez - 11
Matusz - 0
Tillman - 18

Some of the above pitchers have struggled badly in the big leagues. Was it because they didn’t get in enough starts and innings at Triple-A?

Going only by the stat sheet, Zach Britton just may be ready for the Majors. In several interviews with him, he sure has seemed mature enough to handle it.

So in the end, I’ll say I’m in favor of Britton coming up for four or five big league starts to end his year. He probably won’t go much over 170 innings for this season.

At this point, though, I can’t honestly say that would be the best move for his future development.

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