Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Britton Brought Up

Posted by Mike on April 12, 2006

In an odd turn of events, Chris Britton has been brought up from Bowie and Cory Morris, having never pitched an inning in the majors, has been optioned to Ottawa.  I haven’t been able to find out anything on why this move was made, so please post a comment if you find anything. 

Let’s review what we know about Britton. 

  1. He was drafted out of high school in the 8th round of the 2001 draft.
  2. He’s right-handed, 6’3” and 220 lbs. 
  3. He is playing his age 23 season.
  4. He missed 2003 to TJ surgery.
  5. He spent 2005 pitching for Frederick.  This was his third professional season and his first as a full-time reliever.
  6. He took quite well to the switch to relief, posting a ridiculous line of  78.7 ip, 12.58 K/9, 2.63 BB/9, 0.57 HR/9, and a 1.60 ERA.
  7. He is in the middle of the pack in GB/FB ratio.
  8. He struck out 6 batters through 2.3 ip in Bowie so far this year.
  9. His weighted mean PECOTA-projected ERA is 4.87 for 2006.  It doesn’t get much better in the next five years, although forecasting low-minors relievers is not PECOTA’s specialty.   
  10. Deric McKamey really likes him.  In his interview with OTT, he opined:

OTT- Are there any sleepers in the Orioles system you’d like to identify? Any players you could see taking a large step forward in 2006?

DM- I don’t know if you would call him a sleeper, but I really like Chris Britton and his knee-buckling curveball. He was very dominant at Frederick and I think he can be highly effective as a match-up righty.

In his book, Minor League Baseball Analyst, McKamey added:

[Britton is] one of the more dominating relievers in the minors, hitters are rendered helpless against his knee-buckling CB.  Locates FB well, though it lacks movement up in the zone.  Pitches with effort and has had a history of injuries, which makes the bullpen a bit more feasible.

All in all, I do expect this move to work out.  I would certainly prefer that he get at least one full season between Bowie and Ottawa, but Britton appears to have the stuff to succeed immediately in middle relief.  If pressed to speculate, I’d venture that the O’s were previously on the fence about whether to bring up Morris or Britton.  After Britton dominated a quarter of a game in AA, the O’s decided he was their man and sent Morris packing.  Whether it works out or not, it’s still an odd move- not that we aren’t getting used to that.  

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6 Responses to “Britton Brought Up”

  1. bradley said

    my suggestion was that maybe morris was sent down b/c to hit his turn in the rotation in the minors as he wasn’t getting the work up here, but maybe britton would be more used to warming up, sitting down and maybe not ptiching regularly. my recollection is that morris mostly started in spring training, no?

  2. Mike said

    Morris pitched in 7 games in spring training and started 1. Your reasoning makes sense- they could just want him to get regular work- but I think it’s unlikely in this case. Morris is pushing 27 and, as good as last year in Bowie was, he was repeating the level and relies on a lot of breaking stuff (those types of pitchers often are more effective against less refined competition than against big leaguers- more so than usual, I mean).

    Long-term, I think it’s unlikely he is anything more than a swingman/reliever and I doubt it is the Orioles’ top priority to protect his development. I still think the most likely case is that they wanted Britton all along but, initially, didn’t want to rush him. Then they felt his 2 1/3 ip in Bowie forced their hand. I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but that’s my best guess.

  3. bradley said

    yeah, i forgot the age thing.

  4. Zachary said

    It was all about roster rules.

    According to the Sun,

    The Orioles wanted to bring up Britton on Sunday when they designated Eric DuBose for assignment, but as a member of the 40-man roster, Britton couldn’t be called up until 10 days into the season.

    Morris essentially was brought up for insurance, but the club decided that he would be better suited starting games forTriple-A Ottawa.

  5. Mike said

    Thanks Zach. Nice job at CC this week, by the way.

  6. Zachary said

    Aww, shucks. You were watching? 🙂

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