Chip Scoggins: Andrew Albers is enjoying his fairy-tale start, but then what?

  • Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2013 - 12:08 AM

Andrew Albers’ stuff is more methodical than overpowering — not unlike his path to the majors.


With two impressive victories under his belt as a Twin, former Canadian independent league pitcher Andrew Albers has become a target of autograph seekers.


CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

On a good day, if the conditions are right and his left arm feels extra strong, Andrew Albers might hit 90 miles per hour on the radar gun. He’s pretty sure that’s happened a few times in his career.

“Obviously I don’t light up a radar gun,” he said. “And my secondary stuff is not anything special.”

Albers is being more honest than self-deprecating. The soft-tossing southpaw is the pitching equivalent of dial-up Internet.

Pitch-to-contact has become a punch line among Twins fans because the organization lacks flame-throwers who make batters swing and miss. Albers has achieved overnight cult status because he confounds hitters without optimum velocity.

His fastball hovers around 86 miles per hour. He threw a curveball this week that registered 66 on the gun.

“That probably won’t be the slowest one of the year,” he noted.

And yet he’s turned hitters into mental sawdust. In his first two major league starts, Albers has pitched 17⅓ shutout innings, a team record for a starter. He’s allowed only six hits, all singles.

Albers trumped his impressive debut in Kansas City by tossing a complete-game shutout against Cleveland on Monday. He became the first major league pitcher since 1966 to throw eight scoreless innings in each of his first two starts.

On a team devoid of pitching, Albers’ call-up has been like going out on a blind date and having Kate Upton answer the door.

“I just want to keep trying to ride this high and see how far I can go and see how far it can take me,” he said.

This fairy tale will end at some point, perhaps as soon as Saturday against the White Sox in his third start. Eventually, Albers will get hit and hit hard. And then what?

Baseball history is littered with players who dazzled early and then quietly disappeared. Nobody can know for certain the path Albers will take once he returns to Earth. But he’s providing an enjoyable diversion and intriguing subplot in an otherwise dreadful season.

“If you’re worried about him cracking, no, you won’t see him crack,” General Manager Terry Ryan said. “He is a guy who has his head screwed on right.”

His instant success seems improbable even by long-shot standards. Born and raised in Canada, he was a ham-and-egger in hockey so he played baseball and badminton. Yes, badminton, a sport that he excelled at, and even played in the Canadian equivalent of a state tournament.

Since baseball wasn’t a sanctioned high school sport in his province, Albers played travel ball in the summer and eventually was recruited to the University of Kentucky.

The San Diego Padres drafted him in the 10th round in 2008 but released him after he returned from Tommy John surgery. Albers pitched as a reliever in a Quebec independent league the following year.

In a last-ditch effort to save his career, he drove his Buick LeSabre from his home in Saskatchewan to Phoenix and then to Fort Myers for tryouts with three clubs, hoping one might offer him a spring training invitation. He spent 60 hours on the road with nothing but his thoughts and his radio to keep him company.

Albers squeezed in a trip to Kentucky to train before his scheduled auditions. At the urging of Kentucky coach Gary Henderson, Twins scouts Earl Winn and Tim O’Neil attended one of his workouts.

  • related content

  • Chart: Top Twins pitchers in their first two starts

    Friday August 16, 2013

    How they faredHere’s a look at how five of the top pitchers in Twins history fared in their first two...

  • He’s in the majors, but some Twins fans envision loftier goals for Andrew Albers.

  • Lefthander Andrew Albers, right, readily accepts the truth that he is more of a hard worker than a hard thrower.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)


San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington 6:00 PM
Carolina 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh 6:30 PM
Montreal 7:30 PM
Arizona 8:00 PM
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question