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Christopher Fee

Andrew Albers: Season Breakdown

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Before the 2013 season, Andrew Albers had never won more than eight games in his professional career, never struck out more than 100 batters, and had only pitched more than 100 innings one time, but that was before 2013. This season has been a breakout year for the Kentucky grad, in 22 starts with the Rochester Red Wings Albers has won 11 games, struck out 116 batters while walking just 32 and has an ERA of 2.86 on the year. Tuesday he will make his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins, so hereís a look at a month-by-month breakdown of Albers season, and how each month heís been better than the last.

April Ė 0-1 23.2 IP, 28 H, 11 ER, 6 BB, 24 SO. 4.18 ERA

Originally pegged as the Red Wings 5th starter, Albers first start took place April 8th against the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. While it wasnít a long outing it was effective, he went 4.2 innings, giving up just three hits, one run, one walk and struck out five. Early on in the season there was a pretty low pitch count for the Wings pitchers, in this game he only threw 76 pitches, and did not factor into the decision.

Albers continues to pitch well in his second start as well against the Pawtucket Red Sox. This time he went five innings, gave up four hits, struck out five batters and walked none. He left with a 1-0 lead but Daniel Turpen was unable to hold down the lead and Albers got a no decision.

Second time around for Albers against the Pawsox did not go well to say the least. He only pitched two innings, gave up four hits, three runs, three walks and one strikeouts, it was his shortest outing of the season.

In his first outing against the Syracuse Chiefs, the struggles continued. He pitched six innings, gave up nine hits, five runs, two walks, six strikeouts and worst of all he allowed two home runs in the game, he did not factor in the decision but yet the Red Wings went on to win the game 10-5.

In his final outing of the month, his second against the Buffalo Bisons, Albers seemed to break out of the slump and pitched arguably his best start of the season thus far. In six innings, he gave up eight hits, two runs, no walks and seven strikeouts; he did allow one home run as well. After four straight no decisions, Albers picked up his first loss and dropped to 0-1 on the year.

May: 2-1, 29 IP, 30 H, 11 R, 8 ER, 10 BB, 25 SO, 2.48 ERA

In his first start in the month of May, Albers had the opportunity to face off against the 9-23 Toledo Mud Hens. In his longest outing of the year to date, he pitched 6.1 innings, gave up just three hits, two walks, and three strikeouts. Once again Albers did not factor into the decision, the Red Wings went on to lose the game 1-0, but for the second straight start, he was not the reason for defeat.

Pitching in game one of a doubleheader against the Columbus Clippers, Albers remained sharp and regained the strikeout form that he had earlier in the year. In six innings, he allowed five hits, two runs, zero earned runs, one walk, seven strikeouts and picked up his second loss of the year and his record dropped to 0-2.

It took eight starts before he was able to pick up a win, but on May 17th against the Durham Bulls Andrew Albers got the job done. In 6.1 innings pitched, he allowed five hits, no runs, three walks, and six strikeouts. While there were several opportunities for him to win games, the pieces just didnít fall into place, now at 1-2 on the year his ERA stood at 2.34 on the season.

While his next start against the Charlotte Knights was not his best outing, it was good enough for Albers to pick up his second win of the season. In this start he pitched six innings, gave up 10 hits, three runs, one walk and six strikeouts. While his record improved, the Red Wings as a team were still struggling at this point standing at 19-28 on the year.

In his final May start against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, it was one that he would likely want to forget. In 4.1 IP, he allowed seven hits, six runs, five earned runs, three walks, and three strikeouts. Once again Albers did not factor into the decision, and the Wings went on to win the game 8-7.

June: 5-1, 39.1 IP, 34 H, 13 R, 8 BB, 31 SO, 2.97 ERA

In his second start against the Charlotte Knights, the first one was not great, the second one was not much better. In six innings, he gave up seven hits, four runs, two walks, four strikeouts and two home runs allowed. Albers picked up his third win of the year, and the Red Wings record improved to 25-32 on the year.

If there was a start to say that Andrew Albers was emerging as the ace for Rochester this was it. He pitched a complete game shutout against the Gwinnett Braves, giving up just six hits, no walks and seven strikeouts and improved his season record to 4-2, and won three of his last four starts.

For the second time in a week Albers faced off against Gwinnett, and the results werenít any different. While he did not pitch a complete game he did pitch seven innings, gave up just four hits, two runs, walked one batter and struck out six. For the third straight game Albers won his start, and his record stood at 5-2 on the year.

The second start against Scranton was much different than the first one, Albers was able to pitch 6.1 innings versus 4.1, he allowed four hits, two runs, but also allowed two home runs, two walks and four strikeouts. Albers continued to win, improved to 6-2 on the season and with every start it appeared that he was building confidence and becoming one of the best pitchers in the International league.

The wins kept rolling in for Albers in June, this time his victim was the Louisville Bats. Although the outing was brief, he was still able to pick up his fifth straight win in a five inning start in which he gave up five hits, one run, two walks and six strikeouts. At this point it was time to wonder exactly how long it would be, before joining the Twins rotation.

It seems like Albers ended months on kind of a rough note, in both April and May he was tagged with the loss in his those starts, the streak continued in June. Indianapolis scored four runs on eight hits in six innings, and allowed three homers as well. Albers struck out four batters and walked one, but picked up his first loss since May 17th.

July: 4-2, 40.1 IP, 32 H, 11 R, 10 ER, 8 BB, 36 SO, 2.23 ERA.

In his first two starts against the Buffalo Bison, Albers pitched well, but was unable to pick up a win. Third time was the charm, pitching seven innings, allowing five hits, one run, and no walks and striking out six. After struggling in his last start it seemed like that was just a bump in the road and he was back to being the number one starter in Rochester.

Any time you face a team three times in a season, they tend to pick up on your tendencies and make things difficult for pitchers, exactly what happened against the RailRiders. In five innings, Albers allowed nine hits, five runs, two walks and struck out five, this would be the last time that he would get hit around like that.

Andrew Albers next three starts were nothing short of amazing. Against Pawtucket, Syracuse and Norfolk he pitched a combined 20.1 innings, giving up 13 hits, three runs, and two earned runs, walking five and striking out 21. During that stretch he won three in a row, went two starts without allowing an earned run and had an ERA of 0.90 during that stretch and improved to 11-4 on the year.

In his final start for Rochester against Lehigh Valley, Albers once again showed everyone that heís ready for a challenge at the next level. While he did pick up the loss, he did pitch eight innings, allowing just five hits, two runs, one walk and four strikeouts, unfortunately for him run support was not on his side, and he finished with a record of 11-5.

Summary

While I donít think that Andrew Albers is going to win 20 games in a season, or be a top of the rotation starter, I do think that he will be an innings eater who can provide some quality starts for the Twins. One of the biggest changes between Albers this year and in years past is his ability to strike people out, a trait that until this year was not his strength. If he is able to do what he did this season in Rochester, in Minnesota, heíll be someone to get excited about in 2014.

Comments

  1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
    You may be getting ahead of yourself by projecting Albers as an innings eater in the Twins rotation. But, if you are right, I'd love to see Albers (lefty) follow Deduno (righty) in the rotation. Deduno's "effectively wild" fastball, followed up by a junk balling lefty might make a nice tandem. On Tuesday and Wednesday it will be Albers, then Deduno.
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