|Detroit Tigers – No. 62|
June 10, 1986 |
San Pedro de Macorís, Dominican Republic
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|April 15, 2011 for the Detroit Tigers|
(through 2013 season)
|Earned run average||2.98|
Alberto Jose Alburquerque (born June 10, 1986) is a Dominican professional baseball pitcher with the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball. He is 6'0" tall and weighs 195 pounds. Alburquerque began his professional career in 2006 and made his Major League debut in 2011.
Signed by scout Jose Serra, Alburquerque began his professional career in 2006 with the AZL Cubs, in the Chicago Cubs farm system. He went 0–2 with a 5.98 ERA in eight games (five starts) that season. He also had 15 strikeouts in 12⅔ innings. In 2007, he played for the Boise Hawks and Peoria Chiefs, going a combined 4–6 with a 5.83 ERA in 21 games (10 starts). In 66⅓ innings, he struck out 69 batters. He did not play at all in 2008.
Alburquerque began the 2009 season in the Cubs system, pitching for the Daytona Cubs. However, he was traded to the Colorado Rockies partway through the season as a player to be named later in a deal that sent Jeff Baker to the Cubs. He finished the season with the Tulsa Drillers. Overall, he went 2–3 with a 2.80 ERA in 47 relief appearances, striking out 75 batters in 61 innings. He pitched for the Drillers again in 2010, going 2–4 with a 4.98 ERA in 25 relief appearances.
Following the 2010 season, he became a free agent and signed a major league contract with the Detroit Tigers on November 19. The Tigers placed him on the team's 40 man roster despite having never appeared in a major league game. Alburquerque was assigned to the Triple-A affiliate Toledo Mud Hens following spring training, where he appeared in 4 games, with a 1.93 ERA and 10 strikeouts in only 4⅔ innings pitched.
Alburquerque made his major league debut on April 15, 2011 against the Oakland Athletics. He struck out the first batter he faced and pitched two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
On August 12, 2011, Alburquerque was hit in the head by a ball hit by Baltimore Orioles' Robert Andino during batting practice. He was taken to the hospital and stayed overnight for tests. The next day, the Tigers placed him on the 7-day disabled list with a concussion.
He appeared in 41 games for the Tigers in 2011, going 6-1 with a 1.87 ERA. In 43.1 innings, he allowed only 21 hits, while striking out 67 batters.
Following the 2011 season, it was discovered that Alburquerque had suffered a non-displaced stress fracture in his right (throwing) elbow. He had a screw inserted during surgery performed by Dr. James Andrews, and had an expected recovery time of 6–8 months. On April 24, 2012, he was transferred to the 60-day disabled list, with an earliest possible return date of June 3.
On July 24, 2012, Alburquerque began a rehab assignment with the Lakeland Flying Tigers. On August 3, the organization moved him to the Toledo Mud Hens, with the expectation that the move meant a return to the major league club in the near future. He appeared in 13 minor league games in 2012, going 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA and striking out 27 batters in 14 innings. He would eventually make his 2012 debut with the Tigers on September 4 against the Cleveland Indians, pitching 1-1/3 scoreless innings and striking out one batter. At the major league level, he made eight appearances during the regular season and posted a 0.68 ERA. He had 18 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.
Alburquerque was placed on the playoff roster for the 2012 American League Division Series against the Oakland Athletics. He made his first appearance of the postseason in Game 2, on October 7, against Yoenis Céspedes in the bottom of the 9th with men on the corners and two out, and the game tied at 4 runs apiece. He pitched the Tigers out of the inning, inducing a ground ball back to the mound, and left the game as the pitcher of record. In a moment of levity, he kissed the ball before flipping it softly to Prince Fielder at first to complete the play. Alburquerque earned the win when Don Kelly hit an RBI sacrifice fly to right to win the game in the bottom of the inning. Alburquerque also pitched one scoreless inning of relief in Game 4 of the same series. In Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, Alburquerque gave up the third of Pablo Sandoval's record-tying three home runs in a World Series game, a record previously set by Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols. Tigers' starting pitcher Justin Verlander, who was "practically unhittable" in the ALDS and ALCS that season, gave up the first two home runs to Sandoval. Alburquerque joined the Hi Bell Club, named after the first pitcher to give up the third home run to one player in a single World Series game, Hi Bell. The other pitchers in the exclusive club are Pete Alexander, Charlie Hough, and Alexi Ogando as pitchers who have given up the third home run to a player in a single World Series game.
Al threw a career-high 49 innings out of the Tiger bullpen in 2013, and was much more hittable than in his first two seasons, finishing with a 4.59 ERA. After allowing no home runs in 2011-12, he surrendered five long balls in 2013. In the Tigers 2013 postseason run, he pitched in 42⁄3 innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out nine batters.
Alburquerque is a two-pitch pitcher. He throws a hard four-seam fastball that ranges between 94–98 mph, and his "out pitch" is a downward-breaking slider that ranges between 85–88 mph. The slider is his most common pitch, especially with two strikes in the count; it has a 60% whiff rate, the fifth-highest for a slider among relief pitchers since the 2007 season.
His strikeouts per 9 innings pitched ratio is well above the league average, sitting at 13.2 through the end of the 2013 season. He also has a high walk rate at 6.0 per 9 innings. Alburquerque was effective in the 2011 season at stranding inherited baserunners, allowing only 3 of 31 to score.
Alburquerque pitches exclusively from the stretch and, according to Lindy's Sports in 2012, "features first-rate stuff in the middle" and appears to be on the fast track to working as the Tigers' setup man with the loss of Jose Valverde.
- Ringolsby, Tracy (November 19, 2010). "InsideTheRockies.com". InsideTheRockies.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- "BR Minors". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
- Al Alburquerque Minor League Statistics & History - Baseball-Reference.com
- Improving Alburquerque released from hospital MLB.com August 13, 2011
- Associated Press (16 December 2011). "Al Alburquerque of Detroit Tigers has surgery to elbow". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Schmehl, James (24 April 2012). "Detroit Tigers reliever Al Alburquerque transferred to 60-day disabled list". Booth Newspapers (Detroit). Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Brigidi, Matt (24 July 2012). "Al Alburquerque to begin injury rehab in Lakeland". SB Nation Detroit. Vox Media. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Al Alburquerque game log at www.cbssports.com
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Al Alburquerque". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "PitchFX Leaderboards". Baseball Prospectus. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
- "Baseball-reference.com". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
- Shane O'Neill, ed. (2013). Lindy's Sports Baseball 2013 Preview. Birmingham, Alabama: D.M.D. Publications - J. Lindy Davis. pp. 41–43. ISBN 7485108948.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)