|Baltimore Orioles – No. 53|
Born: December 22, 1987|
Panorama City, California
|Bats: Left||Throws: Left|
|April 3, 2011 for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Career statistics |
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||4.77|
Britton, the youngest of three brothers, was raised in Santa Clarita, California. During his only year at Canyon High School, he spent two days in intensive care when he sustained fractures of the skull and clavicle and bleeding in the brain as a result of diving headfirst into concrete while attempting to catch a foul popup during baseball practice with the freshman squad. When he moved with his family to Texas, he transferred to Weatherford High School, where he was an all-state outfielder who also pitched.
Britton was offered an athletic scholarship to attend Texas A&M University. After he was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round (85th overall) of the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, he accepted a $435,000 signing bonus to join the ballclub.
Before the 2010 season, he was considered the Orioles third best prospect according to Baseball America. In a midseason top 25 prospect list, he was ranked the 10th best prospect in all of baseball. Prior to 2011, Baseball America had him ranked second among Orioles prospects.
Even though he was the Orioles' best pitcher statistically during spring training, he was expected to start the 2011 campaign in the minors when he was optioned to the Norfolk Tides on March 29. That all changed when he was recalled five days later on April 3 to replace the injured Brian Matusz on the starting rotation. Britton capped a season-opening three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays by winning his MLB debut that same day in a 5–1 victory at Tropicana Field. He allowed a run and three hits in six innings.
Britton showcased his batting prowess during his first experience with interleague play. His five hits in eight at-bats were the most by any American League (AL) pitcher in 2011. His first major league hit and run batted in (RBI) came on a double off Jason Marquis in the fourth inning of an 8–4 defeat to the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on June 17. He hit his first big league home run off Brandon Beachy in the third inning of a 5–4 victory over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on July 3.
Britton was unexpectedly sent to the Bowie Baysox on July 9. After a 5–1 start, he had lost six of his next seven decisions. There was speculation that the Orioles made the move to prevent him from getting a full year of major league service time and thus delaying his eligibility for free agency by a season.
On March 26, 2012, Britton was placed on the 15-day disabled list due to a left shoulder impingement. He was then transferred retroactively to the 60-day disabled list on June 3, but was reinstated on June 6 to begin his minor league rehab assignment with the Tides. He made his 2012 debut on July 17.
Britton throws four pitches: a four-seam and a sinker at 90–94 mph, a slider at 82–85, and a changeup at 86–89. The slider is used mainly against left-handed hitters, with the changeup used mostly against right-handed hitters. The slider is an outstanding swing-and-miss pitch, with a whiff rate of 53% for his career (and 55% against lefties). His changeup is not as polished, but it has a very good ground ball/fly ball ratio.
Britton is married to Southern Methodist University law student Courtney Leggett. His older brother Buck is an infielder for the Bowie Baysox, and is a cousin to Lance Britton, who hosts The Lance Britton Show on Mile High Sports Radio 1510 in Denver, CO.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)