Britton on his best pitch, and why it might not be the sinker
Zach Britton’s best pitch might not be his sinker. At least that’s what the 23-year-old Britton, who makes his third Major League start tonight against Cleveland, believes to be the case.
Britton started working on a new changeup grip this spring at the advice of pitching coach Mark Connor, who told him about how Roy Halladay basically throws everything off his fastball and just makes a minor tweak with his hands, placing his wrist on the ball. Britton, who just starting throwing a changeup regularly last year, gave it a try and has been using the pitch –with favorable results – since his final Grapefruit League outing.
“[I] came up with a split-change which is pretty much a sinker but slower,” Britton said. “It’s my best pitch right now. It’s better than my sinker right now, I honestly believe that. The reason I say it’s better than my sinker is it looks like my sinker but slower and it makes my sinker better. It has to be my best pitch because it makes my best pitch better.
It really worked against the Rangers because they have a really heavy right-handed team and it really helped against them. I only threw like three or four sliders.”
When I asked Connor about the changes with Britton’s changeup, he didn’t need to say much. He just raised his eyebrows and commented that the young lefty has “quite the aptitude for pitching”. Britton, it seems, picks things up and is able to make tweaks to his pitching at an impressive rate.
He has also gained a tick on his velocity this spring by changing his delivery to be more rhythmic and relaxed.
“The way I stand on my mound, the way I move my hands, [is all different],” Britton said. “The movements are more fluid, less robotic, and I started throwing a little harder in spring training as a result.”
Britton has allowed one earned run in 13 2/3 innings and is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in his first two starts. You can read more about where Britton and how he got to the Baltimore in my feature story on site.