Should Brewers pursue recently non-tendered INF Hanser Alberto?
After two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Hanser Alberto was one of 59 players league wide to be non-tendered at this year’s deadline. The 28 year old old infielder could now be a target for the Milwaukee Brewers.
Of the non-tendered players who became free agents, Alberto’s 2.5 fWAR from 2019-2020 trails only Kyle Schwarber‘s 3.0 fWAR. The next closest true infielder to Alberto in fWAR from this group is Greg Garcia with a 1.2fWAR.
Alberto finally got his chance to be an everyday player in both the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He hit .299/.322/.413/.735 in these two seasons with 15 home runs and 73 runs batted in. His .305 batting average during the 2019 season with eighth-best in the American League.
While Alberto excels as a high batting average hitter, he is very much a free swinger. His 59% career swing percentage is well above the 46% MLB average.
Why Hanser Alberto makes sense
With swinging the bat often, Alberto is also one of the best at making contact and avoiding the strikeout. His 9.1 strikeout percentage in 2019 was in the top one percentile of hitters and 13.0 percentage in 2020 was in the top fifth percentile.
Despite the higher batting average, Alberto’s advanced numbers do not support him very well. His average exit velocity of 83 MPH over the past two seasons and low hard hit percentages place him near the worst in the league. He thankfully uses a well balanced approach in using all aspects of the field to put the ball in play, which likely helps with his batting average.
As an aggressive hitter, Alberto is not very good at drawing walks. In fact he has drawn just 21 walks over the course of the last two seasons! As an athlete with average speed, he fully depends upon putting the ball in play where the defenders aren’t.
Defensively, Alberto spent the vast majority of innings playing second base as an Oriole, but he did play a significant amount of third base as well. His versatility on defense does extend into having appearances at shortstop and even the outfield as well. If there’s one thing David Stearns loves, it’s versatility.
If the Brewers were to pursue Alberto, he would remain under club control for the next three seasons since this is the first offseason he is eligible for arbitration. MLB Trade Rumors had his arbitration projection at $2.3-4.1 MM. Alberto is likely to draw a fair amount of interest, so the Milwaukee Brewers might have to pay closer to the $4MM mark if they were to sign him.
Alberto could be a good fit with the Brewers, especially if the DH stays in 2021 since this would allow more DH appearances for Keston Hiura. If there is no DH, Alberto is more than capable of playing third base and even shortstop when needed.
The combination of Alberto’s flexibility, club control, and hitting ability all together makes him a very intriguing options for the Brewers and sounds very much like a player David Stearns will have on his radar.