Tag Archives: Zach Britton

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Zach Britton Is A Magician

The recent Fangraphs post “Zach Britton’s 2016: An All-Time Great Season?” is as eye-opening as it sounds. The O’s closer hasn’t allowed an earned run since April. It’s August.

If he sustains his current ERA for the rest of the season, then this would be the best year ever for a reliever (min. 60 innings pitched) from a run-prevention standpoint. Not bad!

And not that further proof is needed, but I’m just curious: With Britton on pace for 50 saves, how does he stack up vs. other closers with massive saves?

Well, there have only been 15 50-save seasons in MLB history. Here’s how Britton compares (ranked by ERA):

Zach Britton, 2016 — 50 saves, 0.55 ERA
Eric Gagne, 2003 — 55 saves, 1.20 ERA
Craig Kimbrel, 2013 — 50 saves, 1.21 ERA
Trevor Hoffman, 1998 — 53 saves, 1.48 ERA
Bobby Thigpen, 1990 — 57 saves, 1.83 ERA
Dennis Eckersley, 1992 — 51 saves, 1.91 ERA
Mariano Rivera, 2004 — 53 saves, 1.94 ERA
Eric Gagne, 2002 — 52 saves, 1.97 ERA
Mark Melancon, 2015 — 51 saves, 2.23 ERA
Francisco Rodiguez, 2008 — 62 saves, 2.24 ERA
Mariano Rivera, 2001 — 50 saves, 2.34 ERA
Jim Johnson, 2012 — 51 saves, 2.49 ERA
Jim Johnson, 2013 — 50 saves, 2.94 ERA
Rod Beck, 1998 — 51 saves, 3.02 ERA
Randy Myers, 1993 — 53 saves, 3.11 ERA
John Smoltz, 2002 — 55 saves, 3.25 ERA

That’s not even close. And I know saves don’t really matter as a true measure of effectiveness, but it’s incredible.

Lowering the bar a bit brings in Fernando Rodney’s 2012 campaign and Dennis Eckersley’s 1990. They each amassed 48 saves with ERAs of 0.60 and 0.61, respectively.

Those were good seasons! They’re in the neighborhood of Britton’s 2016, and an earned run or two could knock him off course.

That’s okay, though. Saves aside, let’s close with another stat: Since becoming O’s closer in 2014, Britton’s ERA is 1.46 over 191 innings. Low by any measure.