Commentary

Zach Britton could be an ace

Orioles left-hander leads group of talented young AL East pitchers

Updated: March 30, 2011, 12:21 PM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
AP Photo/Gene J. PuskarZach Britton might be the best young pitcher in AL East, and he's not even the one being compared to Greg Maddux.

The American League East has been seen as baseball's toughest division for some time now, and for much of that time it was solely based on the presence of the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

Over the past few years, the gap between the East and other divisions has widened with the emergence of the Tampa Bay Rays as a powerhouse, and the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles are slowly but surely moving in the right direction, thanks to an influx of young talent. The level of competition does create some unique barriers to entry for rookies, as there are prospects, and there are prospects good enough to play for teams that are already loaded with talent. That said, in what is a pitching-heavy rookie class, all but the favored Red Sox will be leaning on a rookie in the rotation, so here's an introduction to the young players getting to take the bump in baseball's toughest division.

Zach Britton, LHP, Baltimore Orioles