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Fantasy Baseball Prospect Report: Baltimore Orioles’ Zach Britton to Make Major League Debut on Sunday

Sun, Apr 3, 2011

Prospect Report

According to Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, Baltimore Orioles’ starter Brian Matusz will miss 3-6 weeks with a strained intercostal muscle.

Zack Britton will take Matusz’s spot in the rotation, making his major league debut on Sunday against the Rays.

Britton is the Orioles’ No. 2 prospect according to Baseball America. The 23-year-old southpaw has made major strides since being drafted in the third round out of high school in 2006. An extreme ground ball pitcher, Britton features the “best sinker in the minor leagues” according to Baseball America,to go along with a low 90s fastball, a plus slider and a serviceable changeup.  

In 153 1/3 innings between Double-A and Triple-A last season, Britton led Orioles farmhands in ERA (2.70), while posting a 1.23 WHIP, 7.3 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9.

In February, Baseball America ranked Britton the No. 28 prospect overall, one spot ahead of Blue Jays right-hander Kyle Drabek. Britton offers No. 2 starter upside long-term, though he’ll certainly experience the typical highs and lows of a rookie pitcher in 2011. He’s not a safe play in his major league debut against the Rays, but could offer value in mixed leagues afterward based on his performance.

Given that Baltimore’s rotation is very thin—Justin Duchscherer is also currently on the DL recovering from hip surgery—Britton could stick if he pitches well over the next few weeks. Monitor this situation closely.

Image courtesy of: anthonyamobi via Flickr

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