One of the reasons I was excited to take on this new endeavor at BaltimoreBaseball.com is that it would allow me to do more analysis of all things Orioles.
I wouldn’t necessarily have to be responsible for the news all the time; now I could focus more on interpreting the news and explain what it means.
On Saturday night at Wrigley Field in Chicago before Game 4 of the World Series, Major League Baseball named Orioles closer Zach Britton the 2016 Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year Award winner.
My deep analysis on this one: Britton is really, really good. And he had a tremendous – historic, really – season.
Yeah, I nailed that one.
Seriously, not much to say about Britton winning this award except that it was a no-brainer. There would have been lots more to say if he hadn’t won the award.
You know the numbers: 47 save opportunities without blowing one. An ERA of 0.54, which is the lowest in baseball history for someone with at least 50 innings pitched. And he threw 67 innings (and allowed just four earned runs).
Cleveland’s Andrew Miller, a good buddy of Britton’s, had a great season – and a tremendous postseason – was a runner-up and so was Toronto’s Robert Osuna. In the National League, Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer Kenley Jansen won the 2016 Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year Award.
Britton, whose wife Courtney is expecting the couple’s second child in early November, attended the ceremony in Chicago and he brought along his older brother, Clayton, a police officer in Texas.
During the news conference, Britton was asked about what it was like to complete a perfect season of save opportunities. His answer was typical Britton, passing the accolades around.
“I think it’s a credit to the teammates around me. Obviously, you’re only as good as the guys behind you on the field. Me relying on ground balls, obviously, we have a great defense back there,” Britton said. “So a lot of the credit goes to the teammates and putting me in situations to be successful, too. The coaching staff, everyone really went out of their way to … put me in situations to be successful. That’s really what it comes down to at the end of the day. You’re only as good as the guys around you.”
The guys around Britton were good in 2016. But he was exceptional. How’s that for analysis?