Just as quickly as the Tigers cleared a roster spot with the outrighting of Fu-Te Ni, the 40-man was full again when the Tigers announced via twitter that they have agreed to a major league contract with RHP Alberto Alburquerque. No really, that’s his name.
If you’ve never heard of him, you’re not alone. In looking up his numbers, I found that he turned 24 this past June and has never pitched above Double-A. In four minor league seasons, Alburquerque has fanned 9.9 batters per nine innings, so obviously he has electric stuff. He didn’t pitch at all in 2008, so I assume there was an injury in there, but in the two seasons since, he’s thrown 95 innings and struck out 107 batters.
He’s a reliever who’s tough to hit, allowing less than a hit per inning in the minors, but walks have been a serious problem. He walks 4.4 batters per nine over his minor league career. What’s worse, his numbers dipped significantly in terms of walks and strikeouts last year versus 2009. He worked 25 games (34.1 innings) in 2010 for the Double-A Tulsa Drillers (Colorado).
I don’t know anything more about this guy right now, nor do I have any idea why a guy with a history of control problems and a career minor league ERA of 4.59 who has never pitched above Double-A was signed to a major league contract. Hopefully we’ll find out more later. If nothing else, I don’t like the signing because it means I have to type out “Alburquerque” far too often.
For more information on the pitcher, see Kurt’s post at BYB.