Blue Jays: A War of Veterans for the Final Two Bullpen Spots
Al Alburquerque is another in the long list of veteran minor league contracts with the Blue Jays. Alburquerque’s season last year was marked by inconsistency in both performance and homes, but he’s another veteran who’s had success at the highest level, and could be a worthy gamble.
Struggling early, he was up in constant limbo between AAA and the big club in Kansas City. Mid-summer, Alburquerque was released from the Royals and signed by the White Sox. After spending half a season with the south-siders, he was non-tendered and sent to free-agency during the offseason.
However, despite these tumultuous times, Alburquerque managed to post strong numbers in his short time in the major leagues. Posting a collective 18.0 IP with a 2.50 ERA and 1.000 WHIP. However, he truly found his game in Chicago. In 8.0 IP, Alburquerque only allowed one earned run.
While in Dunedin, he has continued this dominating performance, pitching 2.0 IP to the tune of a 0.00 ERA, 1.125 WHIP, and a very strong 16.9 SO9. As well, it should be noted that this was all completed against an 8.1 OppQual.
With a hard sinker and slider, as well as an average fastball, Alburquerque’s projections see him similar to Axford and Clippard. Baseball reference projects him at 34.0 IP with a 4.24 ERA with 31 strike outs and 14 walks. These projections argue that 2017 was an anomaly for Alburquerque. The projection is based on a 30% rel, suggesting that 70% of these numbers are based on a regression towards the mean.