Britton putting rookie lessons to use
I’ll have a full story up later on Orioles.com, but wanted to pass along a few quotes from pitcher Zach Britton.
I caught up with Britton while at the Winter Meetings as the 23-year-old stopped by to meet with his agent and made it a point to seek out and meet new executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette as well. The fact that he did that certainly wasn’t lost on Duquette, who seemed to be impressed with Britton’s poise and maturity already.
Here are a few quotes from Britton on his offseason regimen and what he learned from his rookie season…
[on being labeled one of the more consistent young arms]
“I don’t think it’s necessarily a compliment, it’s kind of an indication of how we didn’t perform last year like we should have. If I was the most consistent person other than Jeremy [Guthrie] who went out there again and threw 200 innings, that’s not what you are looking for.
You need better than that. I didn’t pitch as good as I should have [last season]. So, I want to be way more consistent.”
[on what he's learned]
“I think at the beginning of the season I showed that I was really consistent than all of a sudden, I started messing around with stuff that I could never find then. And as the season wore on I started getting tired. This year it’s about going into spring training with, [the mindset], ‘hey im sticking with these mechanics or these pitches and I’m not changing that’. Just sticking with that. You know, making adjustments here and there but not making drastic ones to my mechanics. And I think that’s going to let me go out there and let me be consistent the whole year. And as well as getting in shape a little bit better.”
[on how he's getting in better shape]
“I noticed that towards the end of the year, I was so tired every day. Not necessarily just [from] throwing, but I was like, ‘Gosh my body is so tired’. Now I know what it’s like to go through the whole season. I know that I need to add strength, total body strength.”
[on if his mindset this spring is still to win a spot]
“I think you have to. Like I said, im not going to be in almost mid-season form, and everyone was kind of telling me [later on], ‘I think you did too much.’
But I think you have to have that mindset. I don’t think anybody other than a guy like Guthrie, who has obviously established himself, everyone else needs to come in there knowing that they have to earn a spot. We didn’t perform well enough to earn a spot. I don’t think any [of the young arms] did. So we have to go in there and show that we’ve made adjustments, and we can be a big part of the rotation that’s going to help the team win. Because that’s what they are looking for.
They are not looking for someone to develop in the rotation, they are looking for you to finally make adjustments and go out there and give the team a chance to win.”
[on how he evaluates his rookie season]
“I break it into two different areas. One being how much I learned last season and kind of, how can I apply it to what I need to do next year to be successful. And, [secondly] stats-wise because baseball is a stats game. From a stats perspective I was really disappointed. I knew I could have done better and there were situations where I kind of let the game speed up on me and kind of got out of hand. So, I was very disappointed with the stats.
I look back, and I was just talking with [pitching coach] Rick Adair a couple days ago, about what I learned and putting that toward being successful next year. I think I learned a lot. And I can see the way I’m working out, I’m kind of applying what I’ve learned during the season into getting me ready for next year.”
[on if the Orioles have a specific offseason plan]
“It’s pretty much individual. I’ve talked to Rick about what he thinks I need to do to be ready and I kind of give my opinion. But for the most part its, ‘go with what you feel’. He taught us so much during the season, now it’s kind of up to us to take the next step. He can only do so much, the rest is what am I going to do to get better.
Really it just falls on my shoulders. Knowing what I have to do to be successful next year and going out there and applying that and getting ready for Spring Training.”