Zach Britton loves catching, but sports hernia surgery in September 2018 forced him to the outfield for his final year and a half at Louisville.
That transition has turned into an asset for the 24-year-old now that he has moved up in the Blue Jays’ farm system. He closed 2022 in the Arizona Fall League after reaching Double-A New Hampshire.
A fifth-round pick in 2020, Britton moved back behind the plate after he was drafted but has continued to see sporadic work in the outfield.
He went to the AFL to exclusively play left and right field “to be comfortable catching and playing outfield at any time going into next season,” he said. “That’s the biggest priority for me, just get a lot of reps in the outfield to be versatile.”
Such a positional package makes Britton an intriguing prospect given his offensive profile that includes strong control of the strike zone and frequent hard contact. While the Blue Jays have depth behind the plate, a lefthanded-hitting outfielder also capable of handling a pitching staff is an intriguing way to carry a third catcher.
“You see it all the time with the Blue Jays up and down the organization—they really value guys who can play a number of different positions,” Britton said.
“Anywhere I can play and help the team win games and be in the lineup, it doesn’t matter to me where that’s at.”
Britton hit .238/.381/.444 with 10 home runs and 53 walks against 87 strikeouts in 76 games for High-A Vancouver and New Hampshire.
Since turning pro, he has emphasized simplifying the load in his swing and refined his approach “to get me into a spot that I could be efficient and quick and make good decisions from.”
“If you can make good decisions on pictures that are coming at you,” he said, “you’ve got a chance.”