Found July 10, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
Here’s the analytical truth: most MLB teams overvalue and overpay relief pitchers. Especially closers, and especially set-up men. Their jobs are glorified, so the argument goes, making their practice more exclusive than it should be. David Robertson has put together a first-half campaign worthy of a trip to the All-Star Game.   That being said, if David Robertson, the set-up man for the Yankees, was released and made a free agent today, you can bet every team in baseball would be knocking on his door. This is partly because traditional knowledge endures, but mostly because Robertson has knock-you-off-your-feet kind of stuff. The kind of stuff that belongs in the All-Star Game, this coming Tuesday at Citi Field. An All-Star for the first time in 2011, Robertson has a shot at his second trip to the Midsummer Classic by way of the A.L. Final Vote. As of this writing, he trails only Toronto’s Steve Delabar for the last spot on the A.L. roster. Granted, with five terrific relief pitchers on the final ballot it’s hard to say one guy deserves it more than any other, but here’s the case for D-Rob. At just 5’11, 195 pounds – decidedly small for a big-league pitcher – the Yankees’ diminutive right-hander can flick away hulking hitters like gnats. His strength comes from his legs, two Roman pillars that more closely befit the body of an NFL running back. His calves appear in an ongoing struggle to burst through the seams of his socks, as though the 28-year-old were still wearing his Little League uniform. His stature is quite the contradiction: a pair of Redwood trunks supporting the torso of a birch tree. The sight of a 95 mile-per-hour heater zipping from the hand of an undersized high-school lookalike is nearly enough show for the All-Star Game by itself. But Robertson doesn’t merely defy physics and throw hard like others do; he defies physics and gets outs. And more often than not, he does it with ease. He features three pitches – fastball, curveball, changeup – but essentially uses two. The fastball, which cuts and hops, sets the table, while the curveball, which falls off a cliff, clears it. The fastball, in particular, is a pitching marvel. Opposing hitters believe it accelerates as it nears the plate, giving it the illusion of rising at the last moment. Robertson throws a ball made out of cork and cowhide and makes it move like a plastic wiffleball. But Robertson has the one thing most wiffleball pitchers lack: command. Despite the magnetic movement of his pitches, he consistently throws strikes. In 36+ innings this year, he has issued only 12 walks, nearly two fewer per nine innings than in his banner year in 2011. Add to that the 23 hits against, and the result is 35 base runners in 36 1/3 innings, good for a team-leading WHIP of .96. Yes, Mariano Rivera was included. In the past, Robertson has been called Houdini by his teammates, for his shrewd ability to escape bases-loaded situations. But those were the days when Robertson was more of a fireman, a guy who would come out of the bullpen to douse a rally. These days, the 8th inning is all his. He starts it, finishes it, and hands the baton to the best anchor in baseball. Robertson works so quickly that a trip to the bathroom may cost you the chance to see him pitch. At the core of his efficiency is this: his batting average against when facing the leadoff man is .176. Like any great relief pitcher, Robertson quells rallies before they happen. When the rare hitter does get on base, his batting average against dips to .157. And when that hitter, by some grace of God, makes it into scoring position, Robertson’s batting average against is a meager .129. When the stakes heighten, D-Rob stiffens. His ability to escape jams when he’s in them owes to his penchant for punch-outs. Over 36 1/3 innings, he has racked up 46 strikeouts, or 11.4 per nine innings. Boston’s Koji Uehara is the only other pitcher on the Final Vote ballot with a WHIP less than 1 and more than 11 K/9. The rivalry always stirs. But the man Robertson needs to catch is Delabar. If he had any say in it, he’d set Delabar up with a pair of nasty cutters and then strike him out with a curveball from hell.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Yankees game 92 lineup: 7/11/13

Now batting, for the New York Yankees. Number two. Derek..Jeter. Number two. The booming voice of Bob Sheppard will once again fill Yankee Stadium when he introduces Derek Jeter, a fitting honor for the longtime Yankee PA announcer, who passed away on this date three years ago. Jeter returns to the lineup eight months and 28 days after breaking his ankle in Game One of the 2012 ALCS...

Yankees Trade for Derek Jeter

The Yankees, at present, are right in the thick of the American League playoff race, and like most teams hanging around contention, they’ve expressed interest in making a midseason splash. Recently there’ve been rumors about Joba Chamberlain, and about maybe trading Phil Hughes for a hitter. But Thursday, the Yankees went ahead and exchanged Travis Ishikawa for Derek Jeter. Jeter...

Caption The Photo: Derek Jeter Looks Miserable Signing Autographs

  Derek Jeter hasn’t played an inning of baseball all season and it’s safe to assume he’s a bit grumpy. Nonetheless, Jeter being Jeter managed to put his pride aside and work hard rehabbing at the Yankees Triple A team in Scranton. As expected he’s been bombarded by fans day and night and well, this pretty much sums up at man who’s ready to get back in pinstripes   Photo...

Yankees Game 90: Offense problems continue

CC allows three runs in tonight’s loss. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) Kansas City Royals 3 — New York Yankees 1   Yankees manufacture one run in tonight’s 3-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals. The top of the Yankees lineup got going early against former Rays’ starting pitcher James Shields. Brett Gardner started the game with a bunt single and Ichiro Suzuki followed...

Yankees game 90 lineup: 7/9/13

The Yankees look to get back to their winning ways tonight after a tough loss yesterday. CC Sabathia takes the mound trying to be the stopper against “Big-Game” James Shields. Kansas City Royals (42-44) Alex Gordon LF Alcides Escobar SS Eric Hosmer 1B Billy Butler DH Salvador Perez C Lorenzo Cain CF Miguel Tejada 3B Johnny Giavotella 2B David Lough RF RHP James Shields (3-6,...

Last night, the Yankees even drained all the energy from Adam Sandler

Last night, in the middle of another one-run debacle, the YES Team welcomed comedian Adam Sandler to its Booth of Death. And if viewers inched forward in their seats, expecting a funny song or patter of jokes, well, it was like listening to a retired librarian interview her former accountant for an NPR Storycorp. Sandler spoke in a hushed tone, so meekly you barely caught his words...

On behalf of the Yankees and MLB, the ghost of Dick Young attacks A-Rod

It was interesting this week to read Billy Madden's tribute to Tom Seaver, who is recovering from Lyme disease and will throw out the first pitch Tuesday at the All-Star game. The Daily News wasn't always so supportive of Tom Terrific. In fact, its lead baseball columnist from the 1970s, Dick Young - Madden's predecessor - ran Seaver out of New York, trashing his Met...

Report: MLB planning to suspend Ryan Braun and A-Rod among others linked to Biogenesis

According to a report from TJ Quinn and Mike Fish at ESPN.com, Major League Baseball is making preparations to suspend Ryan Braun and Alex Rodriguez among 20 other players in wake of the Biogenesis scandal where it is believed that these players received performance-enhancing drugs. Per Quinn and Fish: Commissioner Bud Selig’s office is expected to suspend Braun and Rodriguez,...
CAPTAIN COMEBACK

Jeter returning to Yankees

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter reportedly is expected to make a return to the team's lineup in some capacity Thursday night for a game against the Royals.

Sources: Derek Jeter to return Thursday afternoon

The Captain is back! (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images) According to Ken Rosenthal, major league sources have said that shortstop Derek Jeter will rejoin the Yankees and is expected to be in the starting lineup at either shortstop or designated hitter against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday afternoon.   Sources: Jeter to rejoin #Yankees Thursday afternoon against #Royals. Story...

Inside Man: The Yankees had a paid operative, who surgically confiscated George Brett's famous pine tar bat

Hell of a tale.

MLB drug probe litigation could be lengthy

We may never know exactly what Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun are being accused of in Major League Baseball's Biogenesis investigation - if they beat the rap. That's because details likely will be caught in a tangle of legal gymnastics involving MLB, the players' union and probably an arbitrator, who could rule no discipline is warranted. Lengthy proceedings make it...

Report: Derek Jeter to Return to Yankees’ Starting Lineup, Make Season Debut Thursday

The long road has come to an end. Derek Jeter, who has yet to play this season after undergoing surgery on his left ankle last October, will return to the Yankees’ lineup Thursday, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal. Jeter reportedly is expected to either play his usual shortstop position or serve as the designated hitter as New York hosts the Kansas City Royals. The 39-year...

Remembering the voice of Yankee Stadium

photo credit: nydailynews.com“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Yankee Stadium.” His legacy is remembered as being one of the most iconic sports announcers in history, with one of the most distinct, smooth, clear voices to ever call the game. Reggie Jackson coined him the “Voice of God.” We will forever love and miss the sweet sounds of Bob Sheppard resounding...

Ryan Braun reportedly would not answer questions about Biogenesis

MLB plans to suspend Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez, and as many as 20 other players soon after the All-Star break because of their ties to Biogenesis, ESPN’s Outside the Lines reports. Tony Bosch, who ran the Biogenesis clinic, cut a deal with MLB last month to provide information which helped them build their cases against [...]
Yankees News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.