A handful of Yankees are entering the season without much buzz. Enter Zack Britton
P Zack Britton
An All-Star caliber reliever, Zack Britton often falls into the background of one of the organization’s biggest strengths, its unparalleled bullpen.
Why is Britton flying under the radar this season?
Maybe it’s because of Tommy Kahnle’s personality, Chad Green’s ability to pitch in multiple roles and Adam Ottavino’s Wiffle ball slider but Britton rarely makes the headlines.
Britton was arguably the Yankees’ best reliever in 2019. He appeared in 66 games, finishing in the top ten among relievers in BABIP (.224) and ERA (1.91), according to FanGraphs.
With his nasty sinker, Britton is a fantastic ground ball pitcher. He led all relievers in ground ball rate, with 77.8% of batted balls heading straight into the dirt. His ability to limit damage and allow his defense to make plays makes him a perfect setup man for the flame-throwing Aroldis Chapman.
Britton will have plenty to play for in 2020. New York has a team option that will keep Britton in town through the 2022 season at the end of the year. If the Yankees decline the option, Britton can either walk into free agency after this season or stick around for 2021.
With free agency looking like the Wild West, at least for the time being, it would be in Britton’s best interest to force the front office’s hand with another strong year and make another $27 million over the next two seasons.
While he may not be the flashiest arm out of the pen he is certainly one of New York’s best weapons when they are looking to shut the door.
Perhaps it isn’t a coincidence that the biggest headline surrounding Britton was the spelling of his first name last year.