One manager’s take on Britton and Mahoney

They are home-grown, drafted and developed, Orioles’ products. One selected out of high school, the other from college.

Later today, the O’s will make the announcement official.

Joe Mahoney is expected to be named winner of the Brooks Robinson O’s Minor League Player of the Year award and Zach Britton winner of the Jim Palmer Minor League Pitcher of the Year honor.

Both players are expected at Camden Yards tonight and will be introduced to the crowd as they get their awards.

Britton went 10-7, 2.70 this year, making 14 starts in Bowie and 12 at Norfolk. The 22-year-old lefty pitched 153 1/3 innings with a ground ball to fly ball ratio of 2.80 on the season and batting average against of .237.

We’ve heard all about his excellent sinker, but this year he made strides with his change-up as well.

Bowie’s Brad Komminsk managed both players this year and provided us with some analysis and commentary on each player.

Komminsk on Britton: “I think Zach was, by far, the best lefty in the league. Velocity-wise he’s probably 90 to 94. He’s probably better 91, 92 because the ball sinks a little more. He has that hard sinker that everyone has heard about it.

“His slider was good. I’m sure it improved some at Triple-A, as did his change-up. It was a work in progress, but he’s been working hard to develop that. He’s got a real good work ethic and I think he can be one of those guys that is around in Baltimore a long time.

“I think he was by far the best lefty in the league and (Kyle) Drabek was the best righty. I definitely think he is the same caliber (as Drabek), definitely so.”

Komminsk has managed many of the O’s top young pitchers the last few seasons and said Britton stacks up with them all: “He’s in the class with them, right in that mix. Matusz, any of those guys, he fits in that mix. The sky’s the limit for him, definitely.

“He’s a gamer out there and works hard. He wants to be the best and he’ll put in the time it takes to get to that level.”

Britton, a third-round pick out of a Texas high school in 2006, gave up 2 ER or less in 21of his 26 starts this season. In a nine-start stretch between Bowie and Norfolk, from May 26 to July 17, he went 4-1, 1.07.

The 23-year-old Mahoney had a breakout year and became a top O’s prospect in 2010, batting .307-18-78 with 30 doubles, 13 steals and an OPS of .864 between Frederick and Bowie.

The lefty-hitting first baseman moved to Bowie on July 9th and went 3 for 3 with a homer in his first Double-A game. He went on to hit .453-6-14 in his first 14 Bowie games.

He is a sixth-round pick out of the University of Richmond in 2007.

Here is Komminsk on Mahoney: “Joe has a lot of tools. For a big man, he runs really, really well and has power to go with it. He’s just starting to touch the edges of his ability, I think there’s a lot more in there. He has improved tremendously over the last couple of years.

“He has power to all fields, right-center, left-center. Needs work defensively, although he did improve over the course of the year. He should be an average defender at least, worst case.

“He can hit the ball out of any part of the ballpark, any ballpark. He needs work on his balance a bit with his lower half that can get out of whack a little bit, hitters can get out of whack some. A focus for him is to stay balanced with his lower half.

“He’s probably maybe too disciplined at times (at bat), if there is such a thing. There are certain situations when he’s in a hitters’ count and a lot of times he will take a ball that is very, very hittable. Something you can hit hard somewhere. He has a good eye and he’s not afraid to go deep into counts.”

Komminsk on Mahoney’s bat finally cooling off, as he batted .268-2-11 over his last 31 Bowie games: “He was so hot when he came up and the league didn’t know him and he took advantage of it. All hitters have ups and downs, he went through a phase, I wouldn’t call it a slump. He just didn’t drive the ball like earlier, but you can’t count on someone to hit .450 for the year.”

Komminsk said Mahoney should continue to put up good numbers next year: “I think he can, yeah. He’s only going to get better and there is no reason he shouldn’t improve as he goes along.”

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