Today, we have the last catcher in the Top 50, Zach Britton!
The 24-year-old catcher/outfield had an excellent 2022 and has jumped significantly up my prospect rankings since the start of the 2022 season.
Here is my scouting criteria.
Instead of writing this out every time I did for the mid-season Top 60, I’ll copy and paste my criteria for how I rank and scout these players.
There are many factors that determine a top prospect. The eye test is the biggest driver in determining a top prospect, but proximity to the majors, ceiling, and floor is also important. Moreover, statistics are another key ingredient, as everything works together to give you numbers.
As for the grades, it’s important to remember that these grades are relative to the league in which they play at. A kid from Dunedin is not going to have a 50-grade hit tool if he were placed in the big leagues. But relative to the league in which he plays, a .300 hitter is eligible to have that grade.
For these prospects, I’ll be reviewing their background, numbers in the minors, pitch mix (if they’re a pitcher), and giving a scouting report (if feasible, rookie league guys are difficult).
Let’s jump in!
Zach Britton’s career so far:
The 24-year-old left-handed batting catcher/outfielder was selected in the fifth round of the 2020 draft out of Louisville University.
In 2021, his first season with the organization, he slashed .225/.372/.371 with seven homers in 333 plate appearances with the Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays.This included a 30.6 K% and a 14.4 BB%, for a 112 wRC+. Despite playing primarily as a catcher, Britton stole five of six bases in 2021.
Britton started the 2022 season with the High-A Vancouver Canadians, where he slashed .239/.390/.441 with seven homers and an incredible 17.4 BB%. Furthermore, his K% slightly dropped to 29.7%. Furthermore, he stole 10 bases in 12 attempts.
He finished the season with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats, where he slashed .234/.355/.453 with three homers (a career-high 10 on the season) in 76 plate appearances. His BB% remained high at the level as it finished at 15.8%, while his K% dropped to 22.4%. After his promotion, he missed time due to injury and played in the Arizona Fall League.
Britton slashed .404/.482/.575 with a homer and 13 RBIs in 56 plate appearances with the Salt River Rafters. Moreover, he had a 12.5 K% and BB% in his brief time in Arizona.
Slim build with long legs and a compact upper half. Fluid swing with a small leg kick and quick bat speed blended with moderate raw power. Britton is a good hitter as he’s able to hit the ball everywhere in the strike zone. He has excellent pitch detection and can take a walk, but his game has some swing-and-miss. As a catcher, he has an average pop time with a slightly below-average arm. Has good routes in the outfield and may end up there due to the big league team’s needs. Average runner, and has a sparkplug personality.
Where he’ll start in 2023:
It’s likely that the 24-year-old will briefly repeat the level in Double-A, before potentially being promoted if he plays well. It’ll remain to be seen if Britton remains a catcher, due to the big league team’s needs, but it’s likely that he’ll get time behind the plate and in the corner outfield positions.
The next step for Britton is to lower his strikeout rate and continue to hit well. If he can do that, there’s a possibility that Blue Jays fans may be able to see him as soon as 2024.
On Monday morning, we’ll look at a hard-working utility player who took one of the biggest leaps in the Blue Jays system in 2022, so stay tuned!
In case you missed it:
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