I’m still not happy that Zach Britton is making this start, but that doesn’t stop me from being really excited to actually see him pitch. I’ve been a big fan for a while, listing him as the O’s top prospect when the consensus was still that he was below the likes of Josh Bell and Brandon Erbe.
Longoria being out probably helps Britton, as does the fact that Joe Maddon can’t completely stack the Rays line-up with righties.
Wade Davis (2010):
Davis’ stuff is good enough that his ERA this year should look a little more like last year’s, as opposed to his FIP or xFIP.
Davis is mostly going to come after the O’s with fastballs and breaking-balls, which means that if the Baltimore batters can keep themselves from falling behind in the count too much they may be able to do some damage (though Davis’ fastballs aren’t meatballs by any stretch).
WIth Luke Scott out for at least a couple days with a groin inury, Felix Pie takes over in left-field. Moving Wieters up a few spots in the line-up is interesting.
Zach Britton (2010, minors):
Britton had a very good year in the minors, but his strike-out and groundball rates are likely to fall in the majors, and his walk rate will probably go up. If he pounds the bottom of the strike-zone he’ll be able to get away with not missing a ton of bats right away though.
Here’s what I expect to see from Britton (or at least something not hugely different):
Sinking fastball, with some harder four-seamers mixed in. An OK change-up, and a relatively sharp slider. The velocities of the off-speed pitches are wild guesses – well, all of it is a wild guess, but those aspects more so. We’ll see what happens.
Stats: UZR, WAR, ERA, FIP, xFIP, K/9 & BB/9, GB%, HR/FB%, BABIP, PitchFX