Zach Britton on the mound for the Orioles
Zach Britton should have been the 2016 American League Cy Young winner.
Zach Britton, the man who allowed four earned runs, was 47 for 47 in save opportunities, closed out the All-Star Game, had a sub 1 ERA, wasn’t even a Cy Young candidate.
The undeserving candidates were: Corey Kluber, Rick Porcello, and Justin Verlander. None of which had a sub 3 ERA.
Kluber had a great year with a 3.14 ERA and 200 Ks, Verlander had a 3.04 with 250+ Ks, and Porcello won 22 games (he also had arguably the best offense helping him out) with a 3.15 ERA. Compare that to Britton and the choice is obvious.
He had the greatest season a reliever has ever had.
He only allowed four earned runs the whole year and only 1 since April. With a 0.17 ERA after April he is arguably the Orioles MVP, and that’s saying a lot with a team with Manny Machado who finished 5th in MVP voting and Mark Trumbo, who led baseball in homeruns with 47.
Zach Britton was named to the All-Star team and won Reliever of the Year, which was good, but he deserved more; he really should have been a MVP candidate.
When Buck Showalter was asked about Britton not even being a candidate he said, “This guy had the best year in history of relief pitching. He should have finished in the top 3 in MVP, OK. He should. There’s nobody in baseball who’s more valuable than Zach Britton was to the Orioles.”
Whether it was cold, warm, wet, dry, a winning team, a losing team, even in the All-Star Game, he shut the door at the back-end of the bullpen. Literally no one in the history of the world has been as consistent as him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if no one ever does have a season like him.
The only relief pitchers in the history of relief pitching to have a season close to Zach Britton were Dennis Eckersley in 1990 and Fernando Rodney in 2012, both of which had a higher ERA than Britton and blew saves. Five relief pitchers have actually won the award, and they all had less saves and more blown saves.
At the end of the day, every time the Orioles pitched him with a chance to win, they won.
Photo: By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Zach Britton") [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons