Name: Andrew Albers
DOB: October 6, 1985
The left-hander out of Kentucky was taken in the 10th-round and suited up for the AZL Padres in 2008. Albers went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA across five games, including two starts, with the AZL Padres. In seven innings he allowed three hits, walked three and struck out seven, allowing one unearned run.
Prior to joining the Padres system, he led Kentucky with 31 appearances in 2008, earning a 2.40 ERA and a 7-4 record, adding five saves. The senior lefty worked in 56.1 innings, striking out 64, and holding opponents to a .226 batting average.
"Andrew could be real good," pitching coach Bronswell Patrick said after seeing him throw in Arizona. "He's another college guy, University of Kentucky, it really showed down in rookie ball, kind of with those guys coming out of college. He had pitched in the Regionals."
Albers features a fastball that sits in the high-80s and works off its impeccable command – forcing hitters to put the ball in play. He loves to throw inside, particularly to right-handed hitters in order to get their feet moving before going soft away.
He throws both a four- and two-seam fastball, working the four-seam inside and the two-seam and its sink away. He has better control of the four-seam fastball and can place it to both sides of the plate. The two-seam has natural run arm side and is used to induce ground outs.
Coming into the system, Albers threw both a slider and curveball. The slider is his better pitch, showing some good depth. He needs to work on tightening it up and getting consistency within the strike zone. The hammer is loopy and long – a pitch that will likely be dropped if it does not show concerted improvement.
Albers also has a plus changeup that was a show-me pitch in college. He really found a grasp of the pitch when he entered the system after not using the pitch very often in college. A different grip allowed its natural movement to race to the forefront. It has the makings of a true out pitch.
"He went after hitters, he's got a great changeup and that kept hitters off his fastball," Patrick explained. "He's not overpowering, which is okay, but if he can develop his other stuff like his slider, or curveball, he was a little inconsistent with that here at the end, but once all that falls into place for him, and he can get in a full season underneath his belt, I think Drew's going to be a good little pitcher."
The left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery on April 1, 2009 and is expected to return to action in June of 2010. He will have to make a quick assimilation to the game at that time, as he has missed a year at a time when the Padres prospect development is reaching its zenith.
Conclusion: We were just beginning to find out who Andrew Albers is before injury wiped away all of 2009. He has a solid base and shows a willingness to work inside – one of the toughest things to teach to pitchers. The development of his secondary pitches will bear watching, as he lacks an overpowering fastball and will need that third pitch to keep hitters honest. His age is working against him as well.
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