It took some time for Zack Britton to find his footing with the Baltimore Orioles.
He had initially come to the majors as a starter, with 46 of his first 48 appearances coming as a member of the rotation. Britton was a mediocre back of the rotation arm in that span, failing to live up to his billing as a former top prospect. However, a switch to the bullpen allowed him to tap into that potential, turning him into an All Star.
Now, after a dozen years, Britton has decided to walk away. He noted the toil the game has taken on his family, and while he may want to return in another capacity at some point, he plans on spending time with his wife and children.
Zack Britton took different path to stardom with Baltimore Orioles
It did not take long for Britton to make an impact as a reliever. He took over as the Orioles’ closer in 2014 and never looked back, saving over 35 games in each of the next three years. A trade to the Yankees ended his days as the primary closing option, but he was still a dominant reliever. He made a tremendous difference in the New York bullpen, a force in the seventh or eighth inning.
That came to an end in 2021. Britton struggled at the beginning of the year before undergoing Tommy John surgery. While he did make a comeback toward the end of 2022, it was a disaster. He recorded just two outs over three appearances, walking six batters and uncorking a wild pitch. Those proved to be the final appearances of his career as he was unable to find a home for the 2023 season.
Those struggles due to injury should not take away the type of pitcher he was. Britton was a two time All Star, leading the AL with 47 saves in 2016. Overall, he posted a 3.13 ERA and a 1.264 WHiP over his 641 innings, notching 154 saves while striking out 532 batters with 264 walks. His lifetime numbers do not quite show his dominance during his time as a reliever, but he was still a solid arm.
Former Baltimore Orioles closer Zack Britton has announced his retirement. We wish him the best going forward.