As a 27-year-old former independent leaguer with a mid-80s fastball Andrew Albers simply being called up by the Twins was a helluva story. And then the soft-tossing left-hander threw 8.1 shutout innings in his big-league debut last week.
But wait, it gets even better. For his encore last night Albers tossed a complete-game shutout against the Indians, beginning his MLB career with 17.1 scoreless innings just three years after pitching in the independent Canadian-American Association.
Here’s a list of all the pitchers in baseball history to throw at least eight shutout innings in each of their first two games:
Andrew Albers 2013
Tom Phoebus 1966
Karl Spooner 1954
Al Worthington 1953
Dave Ferriss 1945
Johnny Marcum 1933
That’s it. That’s the whole list. A total of six pitchers and Albers is the first one to do it in nearly 50 years.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.