Baltimore Orioles

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The Texas-born southpaw, whose Average Joe personality was unfortunately matched in his first few major league seasons with an average (at best) effort as a starter, made an eye-opening transition into a top-notch closer on the strength of a remarkable slider that averages in the high 90s.
Through his first three years with the Orioles, Britton couldn’t shake a rotation ERA that hovered near the 5.00 mark. Stuck in the minors trying to claw his way back in 2013, he was chewed out and challenged by his older brother and teammate Buck, who believed he wasn’t giving 100%. Britton took the tough-love sermon to heart and changed for the good, and beyond. Winning over the closer’s role in 2014, Britton impressed with sub-2.00 ERAs and 73 saves from 2014-15. But that was a mild prelude for 2016, when he arguably put together the greatest season ever by a reliever, successfully converting all 47 of his save opportunities and posting a 0.54 ERA—the lowest ever by any pitcher logging 50 or more innings. In the midst of this spectacular performance, he set a major league record by not allowing a run over 43 straight appearances. But in the Orioles’ wild card playoff that year at Toronto, Britton made the biggest news in their 3-2, 11-inning loss by not getting the call; he was left fresh, ready and unused in the bullpen as the Blue Jays walked off with the overtime win. In an injury-marred 2017 to follow, Britton still managed to break an AL record with 60 consecutive saves successfully converted.

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