When you consider that, at this time last year, Zach Britton was 2-2 with an ERA of 3.60 for the Double-A Bowie Baysox, his start in 2011 for the Orioles is rather stunning.
Living up to the hype and his top prospect status, Britton is now 5-1 with an ERA of 2.63 in his first six major league starts. He is tied for second in the American League with five wins with Max Scherzer of Detroit, Trevor Cahill of Oakland and Cleveland’s Justin Masterson.
He is 11th in the league in ERA, tied for 21st in WHIP and 37th in innings pitched. He is on a pace to record 27 wins.
Britton, who has produced five quality starts in his six outings, has given up just a .226 batting average against, 13th in the AL.
Here is another impressive stat: Britton has avoided falling into trouble early in games and has given up just one run all year over 12 first and second innings. He has been putting up early zeroes, and, after watching the Orioles give up four in the first yesterday, that is pretty important.
At home, the kid is 3-0 with an ERA of 1.83, and over his past three starts, he is 3-0 with a 2.50 ERA.
Tonight could be interesting. Not only does he face a hot Tampa team that is 16-6 in its last 22 games, but this will also be the first time he faces a club for the second time.
He beat the Rays on April 3 in his big league debut, allowing just three hits and one run over six innings. Tampa went just 3-for-20 at bat against him on a day where he didn’t even have his good sinker. His ground-to-air out ratio for that contest was 0.57.
Britton has showed poise, smarts and some great pitches so far. He has been as advertised - and then some.