Similar to the “Player Profile” series, I will be posting an article every so often on what to expect in 2014 for each player on the Astros 40-man roster and some others that aren’t included. I will be going in alphabetical order by last name, making Albers first up on the list.
Matt Albers wasn’t quite the flashy offseason acquisition that Dexter Fowler and Scott Feldman were, but his presence on the roster could turn out to be just as valuable. If you had anything to do with the Astros last season, you know what I’m about to say. The 2013 Astros bullpen was ugly. And boy, do I mean ugly. Seeing the starters put up somewhat of a fight in the first few innings only to have the bullpen completely blow it was a difficult thing to watch. After all of that, the bullpen could actually turn out to be an area of strength in 2014 thanks to the signing of Albers and a few others.
Jeff Luhnow did not go after Albers so he could come in and mow hitters down in the ninth inning. His ability to induce weak ground balls is among the best in the majors, . He’s going to serve a huge role in taking the pressure off the young guys with his ability to eat away the middle innings. His ERA over the past two seasons has been dominant, posting a 3.14 ERA last season with Cleveland and a 2.43 ERA between Boston and Arizona in 2012. The thing I’m most curious to see is when, and how often, Bo Porter decides to use him. Expect Albers to be an anchor in a revamped bullpen and a groundball machine that can get himself out of a jam.