Hanser Alberto now owns a Baltimore Orioles record.
When I look back at the 2019 season, three things immediately come to my mind; all of which are positive. There was the moment Anthony Santander became the crown jewel of the United Kingdom, the emergence of MLB All-Star John Means, and Hanser Alberto.
So he isn’t a Gold Glove defender and his average against right-handed pitching is 162 points lower than his average against left-handed pitching, and pretty much no one in baseball hits the ball softer than he does, but Hanser Alberto has been a real delight in 2019.
Alberto was an after-thought when putting together possible 25-man roster projections during spring training. Beginning the offseason with the Texas Rangers, Alberto was claimed off waivers by the Yankees, designated for assignment and claimed by the Orioles, DFA’d and claimed by the Giants, and then DFA’d again before the Orioles re-claimed the utility infielder.
Entering play on Sunday, Alberto ranks third in the American League with a .321 average and has set the Orioles franchise record for hits off a left-handed pitcher, a record previously held by Rafael Palmeiro. His double off Eric Skoglund back on August 30th broke the record.
In August, Alberto hit .354 with 13 extra-base hits and drew five walks. Those five walks were a high for a single month by the free-swinging infielder. His 151 wRC+ ranked second on the team behind Villar and he was held hitless in just seven of his 27 games played in August.
Not only did he break the Orioles record for hits against a lefty on August 30th, he went 5-6 at the plate and joined Renato Nunez and Anthony Santander as fellow Orioles with five-hit days. As pointed out by MASN’s Roch Kubatko, this is just the second time in Orioles franchise history where three different players have had five-hit performances in a season.
Word is that teams are interested in the 26-year-old and it’s unlikely that he can repeat his .414 average against LHP, but Alberto may be worth keeping around for at least another season, especially if Villar is moved.