Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Contemplating Andrew Albers

Andrew Albers "fired" a two-hit shutout Monday night
against the Cleveland Indians.
Seventeen and a third shutout innings in two starts is certainly an auspicious start to Andrew Albers' major league career. It would be impressive if it came from a hurler with dominating stuff, much less one with Albers' mediocre velocity.

We ought not, obviously, expect him to maintain a 0.00 ERA for long. Nobody's that good. But Albers has carved up minor-league hitters on every level with his mid-80s fastball, and there is precedent for lefties with his skill set to have sustained success. (See Mark Buehrle, Jamie Moyer, and the second half of Frank Tanana's career.) There are also plenty of examples of pitchers with his stuff who didn't make it.

What the guys who succeeded did — and what Albers has done in the minors but which hasn't shown yet in the majors — is strike hitters out at at least something approximating league-average rates.

Albers has just four strikeouts in his 17.1 major league innings, but his minor league K rate overall was 7.7 per nine innings, and it was pretty consistent on every level.

He'll need to find some of that bat-missing magic in the majors if he is to establish that these first two starts were more than a mirage.

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