Britton's Star Continues Rising In Orioles' System





Best Player: First baseman Joe Mahoney didn't carry big expectations into the 2010 season, but he'll leave it with pretty big numbers. The 22-year-old Mahoney batted .307 in two levels of the farm system and emerged as a legitimate prospect. He batted .299/.358/.465 with 18 doubles, nine homers and 49 RBIs in 271 at-bats with high Class A Frederick, and .319/.378/.545 with 12 doubles, two triples, nine homers and 29 RBIs in 191 at-bats at Double-A Bowie. Mahoney, a sixth-round pick in 2007 out of Richmond, will play winter ball in Venezuela and could reach the majors by next summer.

Best Pitcher: The Orioles didn't call up lefthander Zach Britton when rosters expanded in September, delaying his major league debut, but it shouldn't be much longer before he joins their rotation. He's a top prospect who posted a sub-3.00 ERA at two levels of the system, and he should be a runaway winner of the organization's minor league pitcher of the year award.

Britton, 22, a third-round pick in 2006 out of Weatherford (Texas) High, went 7-3, 2.48 in 15 outings with Bowie, allowing 76 hits, walking 28 and striking out 68 in 87 innings. He also earned a spot in the Futures Game. Promoted to Triple-A Norfolk, he went 3-4, 2.98 ERA in 12 games, with 23 walks and 56 strikeouts in 66 innings. Overall, he was 10-7, 2.70, and opponents batted .237 against him. Britton allowed just seven home runs in 153 innings.

Keep An Eye On: Second baseman Ryan Adams ended last season on Frederick's suspended list because of disciplinary reasons. He was given a clean slate this spring and took full advantage, batting .298/.365/.464 with 43 doubles, 15 homers and 68 RBIs in 530 at-bats. He batted over .300 in June, July and August, and posted a .350 average against lefthanders. A second-round pick in 2006 out of Jesuit (La.) High, Adams totaled two homers and 25 RBIs in 215 at-bats last season at Frederick. He still needs to improve defensively, but the 23-year-old is pushing to succeed Brian Roberts at second base.

Bird Seed

• First baseman Tyler Townsend, a third-round pick in 2009 out of Florida International, was named the Carolina League's player of the week for two consecutive weeks. Townsend entered the playoffs batting .325/.395/.563 with six homers and 45 RBIs in 197 at-bats at three levels.

• The Orioles will send nine players to the Arizona Fall League, including Adams, Townsend, catcher Caleb Joseph and outfielder Xavier Avery.