© Kiel Maddox-USA TODAY Sports

Albers reportedly a roster lock, but should he be?

February 22, 2019 - 3:35 pm

Matt Albers pitched like a man possessed (by the spirit of Josh Hader, perhaps) to start 2018; he allowed just three earned runs through April and May. Come June, things began to change.

He allowed three earned runs – matching his total to that point in the season – by June 3. He allowed five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning against the Cubs at Miller Park on June 11. As it turned out, he injured his shoulder – hitting the disabled list shortly after.

Albers returned from the DL on July 29, but his April/May production never did. Against the Giants that day, he allowed three earned runs on a walk and two hits in one-third of an inning. Albers then proceeded to allow four home runs in his next three outings. In his final 10 appearances in 2018 (which began with his June 11 debacle against the Cubs), Albers allowed multiple earned runs eight times.

Whether it was injury or lost command, Albers ended 2018 having shown fans two, vastly different identities on the mound. David Stearns and Craig Counsell also showed limited patience with struggling pitchers last season (see Oliver Drake, Boone Logan, Mike Zagurski, etc.) as they chased October.

That makes this news from our insider Adam McCalvy all the more curious:

That disastrous 10-game stretch was uncharacteristic for Albers’ career, but it was still disastrous enough to hand Albers the worst ERA (7.34) and home runs per nine innings (2.6) in his 13-year career. To put that in perspective, his career ERA is 4.29 and his career HR/9 is 1. Albers hopes, though, that analytics will help him bounce back in 2019.

Do you agree that Albers should be a lock for the Opening Day roster? Should he have to earn a spot in Spring Training? Should he have already been gone?

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