Zach Britton has been a solid left-handed reliever, but time will tell if Zack Britton will make a seamless transition.
For a three-year stretch with the Baltimore Orioles (2014-16), Zach Britton had 120 saves (an AL-leading 47 in 2016) with a 9.3 K/9 ratio and a 2.4 BB/9 and went to two All-Star games.
He hasn’t been quite as good since, losing the early part of last season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in the offseason, but now he’s switching the ‘h’ for a ‘k’ in his first name and going by his legal name–Zack Britton.
What spurred the sudden public change is unclear. But those of us who’ve also had to write Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Zack Greinke’s name at some point can thank Britton for no longer differentiating himself.
At least beyond being left-handed, while Greinke is of course a right-hander.
The change to being Zack with a ‘k’ can also be tabbed as a casual reference to himself as a pitcher, where piling up strikeouts (or “K’s”) is usually a goal.
Britton took to Twitter to announce the move on Thursday. And we have some perfectly good reasons for the change, from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
If his name appears as Zack Britton on his playing contract (and apparently always has?), going as Zach Britton in the first place seems weird. But the correction is noted going forward, and the proverbial endorsement floodgates can now open.
After being acquired near the trade deadline last year, Britton posted a 2.88 ERA over 25 appearances (25 innings) with the New York Yankees.
He signed a three-year, $39 million deal last momth to stay put in New York, as the Yankees also added Adam Ottavino to one of baseball’s best bullpens.
Zach Britton was a pretty good pitcher and one of the best closers around for a time a few years ago. Zack Britton should be a pretty good pitcher too, even in relative anonymity over full seasons as a set-up man for the Yankees.