No surprise: Britton wins 2016 Mariano Rivera Award -

Dan Connolly

No surprise: Britton wins 2016 Mariano Rivera Award

One of the reasons I was excited to take on this new endeavor at 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?

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. bigdaddydk

    October 30, 2016 at 7:35 am

    One thing being a ground ball pitcher does is it provides more opportunities to get out of innings with the double play. The O’s ranked fifth in MLB, second in the AL, in double plays per game. Even though he may not have elite range, Hardy positions himself well to make plays, and Schoop has an absolute cannon to turn the DP. Machado certainly made significant contributions to the DP as well. It seemed to me like they were able to get DPs when they needed them a lot this year, particularly with bullpen pitchers on the hill. Britton’s 80% ground ball rate meant that the odd single or walk he allowed had a greater likelihood of being erased, which is a contributing factor to that 0.54 ERA. What I guess I’m really saying is that the players behind a pitcher can make him look good, but a pitcher can also make the guys behind him look good by providing opportunities to make plays.

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