Anthony Ranaudo kicked off the start of a very heavy high minors pitching prospect group in the Boston Red Sox organization, and next up is Drake Britton. Britton is one of two high minors left-handed top pitching prospects — there is one low minors still to come — and he got the taste of the big leagues at the end of 2013. Britton put in 21 innings over 18 appearances with the big club, recording an ERA around 3.50, an ERA very similar to most other levels in the minor leagues.
His very deliberate left-handed delivery will remind many of Jon Lester — along with the bill of the cap sitting low across his face — but Britton doesn’t have the ace stuff of Lester. Britton’s future might be that of a back of the rotation starter for most organizations, but given that there are four pitchers that either debuted in 2013 or are expected to make their big league debut in 2014 ahead of him in this prospect list along with Ranaudo one spot behind him, he will most likely fit into the bullpen.
Britton has already had one Tommy John surgery back in 2009, but he still is able to rev up his fastball to the mid-90s and has a solid change out of a three-quarter arm slot. He also throws a breaking ball that is somewhere between a curve and a slider. It has slider movement, but tips the gun in the low 80s giving it curveball velocity. Regardless, it is currently a below average pitch that doesn’t project any better than average.
Britton does have the upside of a No. 4 starter, but he will most likely fit in as a long-term late-inning lefty out of the bullpen. The move of Franklin Morales and the lack of reliability from Andrew Miller could open up a long-term spot in the bullpen sooner than later.