Jose Albertos offered only a glimpse of his potential last season with a single outing in the Rookie-level Arizona League before the Cubs shut him down due to forearm discomfort. This summer, the teenager is making his presence felt in the Northwest League.Making his eighth start of the season and
Jose Albertos offered only a glimpse of his potential last season with a single outing in the Rookie-level Arizona League before the Cubs shut him down due to forearm discomfort. This summer, the teenager is making his presence felt in the Northwest League.
Making his eighth start of the season and sixth with Class A Short Season Eugene, the second-ranked Cubs prospect struck out seven over five scoreless innings in the Emeralds' 3-2 win over Hillsboro on Wednesday at Ron Tonkin Field. He allowed two hits and two walks while inducing seven groundouts.
"He commanded the strike zone and was able to repeat his delivery really well," Eugene pitching coach David Rosario said. "He was pounding the zone, pitching ahead and when he was ahead, he was able to execute really good changeups. We were facing six left-handers in the lineup and they had no shot with Albertos' changeup today. He was also able to use his fastball in and out really well, keeping guys off-balance through the five innings of work."
Gameday box score
The 18-year-old right-hander established his command of the lower part of the strike zone from the outset as he notched five of his first six outs via ground balls while allowing only an infield single to D-backs No. 16 prospectDaulton Varsho in the second.
"He was throwing up to 96 mph today with good downhill plane," Rosario said. "He would get some jam shots on the hitters because he's got a heavy fastball that when he keeps it down, it's really tough for hitters to elevate and get the barrel on it."
In the third, Albertos turned to his swing-and-miss stuff as he struck out the side on 15 pitches.
"In that inning, he got the first guy with a changeup and changed the sequence on the second guy and spun a fastball away for the punchout," Rosario said. "The last guy was a right-hander and [Albertos] punched him out with back-to-back sliders, so he able to use all three pitches in different sequences in that inning. And that was really nice to see him do that."
The only problem Albertos encountered came in the fourth when he walked top D-backs prospect Pavin Smith and gave up a single to No. 5 prospect Drew Ellis with two outs before striking out Varsho on four pitches.
The Mexico native worked around a one-out walk to Connor Owings in the fifth and finished his outing on 78 pitches, 55 for strikes.
"He's a young kid," Rosario said. "He's just 18 years old, so he's still at a level where he's learning to recognize his delivery, learning to make adjustments on the mound to keep his composure through adversity. We pulled him back because we want to keep him healthy. He's super-talented and he was able to just focus on getting hitters out and combining pitches well instead of worrying about throwing strikes."
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While Albertos, who was signed for $1.5 million in 2015, has yet to pitch past the fifth inning as a pro, Wednesday was the third outing in which he did not allow an earned run since a promotion to the Northwest League on July 5. He began the season in extended spring training before making two starts in the AZL, where he tossed four hitless innings, then allowed four runs over 4 1/3 frames.
"He's poised," Rosario said. "He's a young kid, but he's pretty confident. He's a tough-minded kid and he competes that way. You don't find too many 18-year-old kids that can keep composure on the mound and good presence, but he does. He's got quality with all three pitches and what's important for him right now is more about teaching him his delivery, teaching him how to make adjustments, what are the key factors to help him get better, and teaching him a routine so he can continue his development. And, hopefully, a few years from now he can be in the big leagues."
Keegan Thompson (1-2) gave up the lead by allowing two runs in the sixth but picked up the win with a scoreless seventh before Austin Filiere doubled home the go-ahead run in the eighth.
Luis Aquino struck out three over the final two innings to pick up his seventh save.
Michael Peng is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @MichaelXPeng.