Alberto in arbitration adds to his story

The bizarre and unexpected story of Orioles infielder Hanser Alberto includes how he’s first-time eligible for arbitration. And how that’s actually an interesting development.

Alberto made $578,000 this season and you can say he earned it.

Lost and reclaimed via waivers in spring training, Alberto appeared in 139 games with the Orioles and that alone is a stunner. He wasn’t supposed to beat out veteran Alcides Escobar for a utility infield job until he did.

Jack Reinheimer and Zach Vincej never made it out of Triple-A because the infield was set with Jonathan Villar and Rule 5 pick Richie Martin sharing shortstop, Villar and Alberto sharing second base and Alberto also playing third base with or without Rio Ruiz on the roster.

Jace Peterson didn’t play his first game with the Orioles until July 25 and they outrighted him on Sept. 5 along with pitcher Tom Eshelman.

Alberto-Pumped-Up-MD-Flag-Jersey-Sidebar.jpgAlberto was serviceable in the field and a southpaw abuser at the plate. Though he cooled late in the season, Alberto still ranked second in the majors behind the Red Sox’s J.D. Martinez (.404) with a .398 average against left-handed pitching.

The 88 hits off lefties were the most in the majors and in Orioles history, surpassing the 73 hits by Rafael Palmeiro in 1998. They also were the highest total in the majors since Tony Gwynn collected 90 in 1987.

How much will that buy you in arbitration?

Alberto’s 3.1 WAR per Baseball-Reference.com placed him fourth on the Orioles behind left-hander John Means (4.6), Villar (4.0) and outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini (3.3).

Andrew Cashner, traded to the Red Sox in July, was fifth at 2.7.

Means had the fourth-highest WAR among qualifying rookies, topped only by the Braves’ Mike Soroka (5.7), the Mets’ Pete Alonso (5.0) and the Nationals’ Victor Robles (4.6).

Alberto completed the season slashing .305/.329/.422 with 21 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 51 RBIs. He drew only 16 walks and struck out only 50 times.

He was a heavyweight who won more with his jab than right hook. Death by a million paper cuts.

Does it work against Alberto in any arbitration argument that he slashed .238/.269/.340 against right-handers or that he batted .237/.267/.320 in September?

He’s still getting a nice raise.

Is it weird that he slashed .268/.302/.420 at home and .345/.359/.424 on the road?

He’s still getting a nice raise.

Alberto fell out of the batting race in the American League - and I found it amusing that his placement in it was a story despite how average no longer is deemed an important statistic.

The deadline is Dec. 2 for teams to offer 2020 contracts or non-tender unsigned players on the 40-man roster.

Alberto seems to be one of the easier decisions for the Orioles, who also have Mancini, Villar and pitchers Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens, Richard Bleier and Miguel Castro on their list.

Today’s question: Are you Team Tanner Scott or Team Tayler Scott?

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