26 July, 2006

MLB Debut - Matt Albers

Houston Astros' prospect Matt Albers made his Major League debut on 25 July against the Cincinnati Reds. He pitched to two batters allowing a double to Scott Hatteberg before getting a ground out. The Reds beat Houston 2-0 behind Aaron Harang's 8 inning, 4 hit effort.

Albers was promoted on 20 July from AA Corpus Christi replacing lefty Wandy Rodriguez in the bullpen. Houston sees Rodriguez as a long term starter optioned him to AAA Round Rock where he takes up a place in the Astros' affliate's rotation.

The 23 year old right hander has put up some outstanding numbers in AA this season going 10-2 with a 2.17 ERA. He allowed 96 hits and 47 walks in 116 innings of work spread over 19 starts. That's a huge improvement over 2005 when he struggled to maintain the excellent progress he had made in the Houston system. Drafted out of San Jacinto Junior College, Albers is a local product. He went to High School in Sugarland in the Houston area.

His fastball is already a plus pitch and scouts say his curve and slider have the same potential. Albers problem is attitude and preparation. That and problems with his mechanics hindered his progress last season, but by all accounts he has got back on track in 2006. His promotion to the big club is a reward for an improved work ethic.

The Astros project him as a candidate for the bullpen despite starting all but a handful of 97 Minor League appearances.

Manager Phil Garner said:
"The difference between last year and this year was a 100-percent turnaround," Garner said. "He's matured to the point where he really opened a lot of eyes. In Corpus ... he's leading the league in ERA. He's been nasty. Even though he's been a starter, we're going to put him in the bullpen, and let's see what he can do."

The Baseball Cube


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