After being cut in Spring Training, Albers returned to the Nats on a minor league deal. Injuries and struggles in the Nats’ bullpen gave Albers an opportunity with the major league team, an opportunity he took full advantage of.
Throughout the first half of 2017, the Nationals had the worst bullpen in the entire league. However, Albers was a surprise contributor. He does not necessarily look the part and was not even on the Opening Day roster, but he was by far the Nats’ most reliable reliever in the first half. and would’ve been in the second half as well if it weren’t for a few acquisitions
2017 was a huge season for Albers, as he even picked up the first two saves of his professional career. When all was said and done, he pitched to a 1.62 ERA in 61 innings.
Most of what made Albers so successful in 2017 was his ability to consistently throw strikes. He only issued 17 free passes all year, which was good for a 2.5 BB/9.
If the Nats bring Albers back in 2018, they should be prepared for at least a little regression. He was absolutely outstanding in 2017, which may not be repeatable.
That is not to say that the Nats should not attempt to bring him back; they just need to know that he may not be the same pitcher. He will finish the 2018 season as a 35-year-old, so he is past his prime and should theoretically begin to decline soon.
While Albers may not be the same pitcher in 2018, the Nats should definitely attempt to bring him back.