We have a new all-time International League saves leader and his name is Jonathan Albaladejo.
While that doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, the burly Scranton/Wilkes-Barre righthander nonetheless converted his 39th save yesterday in 40 chances, passing Matt Whiteside for the Triple-A league's single-season mark. A 37-year-old Whiteside notched 38 saves for Richmond in 2004.
A full decade younger than Whiteside was when he set the mark, Albaladejo has had a fine year for the Triple-A Yankees, notching a 1.40 ERA in 51 appearances, while striking out 11.5 and walking 2.7 batters per nine innings. Among IL relievers, he ranks first in opponent average (.167) and second in both strikeouts and baserunners (8.1) per nine innings.
So what of Albaladejo's big league chances? He throws a 92-94 mph sinker almost exclusively while mixing in a slurvy breaking ball, a profile befitting of a middle reliever at the highest level.
The results so far back up this assessment. In 55 career big league appearances, including two for the Yankees this season, Albaladejo has struck out 49 (6.8 per nine innings), walked 25 (3.5) and served up eight home runs (1.1) over 65 innings. Not to be snarky, but Albaladejo had previously been released by the Pirates (in April 2007) and traded by the Nationals (to New York for Tyler Clippard in December ’07).
Shelbyville (A.K.A. Quad Cities)
Cardinals' 19-year-old flame-thrower Shelby Miller struck out a career-high 11 Burlington batters, notching his first double-digit strikeout performance. Pitching for low Class A Quad Cities, Miller two-hit the Bees for seven innings, permitting two runs and also two walks. In making his pro debut, the ’09 first-rounder has experienced no second-half slide. In his last seven starts for the River Bandits, Miller has completed at least five innings each time (twice going seven) while going 5-2, 3.46 and boasting a 49-to-10 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 39 innings.
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