Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wrong turn at Alburquerque

The Twins saw all too much of Al Alburquerque this week. The Tigers rookie middle reliever pitched in all three games against Minnesota — 2.1 innings, five strikeouts among the seven outs, one baserunner allowed, two wins and a hold.

Al Alburquerque has faced 74
batters. Thirty-one have
struck out; 12 have walked.
He does not pitch to contact.
For the season (and his career), Alburquerque has pitched 17.2 major league innings and struck out 31.

He is emerging as what the Twins were hoping Jim Hoey would be — a gas-throwing righty to stomp on rallies in the seventh inning.

One difference between Alburquerque and Hoey: the Tigers pitcher has a high quality slider. Hoey has the fastball to match Alburquerque, but he lacks the secondary offering.

Another difference: Hoey came to the Twins in a trade. To be sure, it was a salary dump; the Twins wanted/needed to jettison the expense represented by infielders J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris. Alburquerque was free talent.

He's 24, but he's been kicking around the minors for years — signed by the Cubs in 2003, still in A ball when traded to Colorado in midseason 2009, cut loose by the Rockies in early November last year, signed by the Tigers as a minor league free agent about two weeks later.

One can figure the Twins had a shot at signing him, but he either wasn't on their radar or chose the Tigers instead.

He's just another example of the virtues of building a bullpen on a budget.


  1. does Alburquerque's success have anything to do with Rick Knapp as his pitching coach? could Hoey be having this kind of success if he had Knapp? just a thought.

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