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Entries in David Robertson (5)


Mo Makes Retirement after '13 official; Who's the next cutter king?

It's official: Mariano Rivera will retire following the 2013 season. The 43-year-old wants to go out hoisting his sixth World Series championship, not crumpling to the ground and tearing his ACL last while shagging fly balls in Kansas City. "The little gas I have left is for this year," Rivera told Jack Curry of YES Network. "After that, I have nothing left."

The story of how the undisputed cutter king discovered his deadly pitch has taken on mythological status. Rivera, playing catch with Ramiro Mendoza back in 1997, began putting bite on the ball that puzzled his fellow Panamanian. Since then, Mo has broken more timber than a Canadian lumberjack.

With Rivera set to check out after 2013, who among his late-inning brethren has the goods to be the next cutter king? Here are three such candidates.

  • Kenley Jansen throws the cutter almost exclusively (89% of his pitches in 2012), and he makes every opponent who gets the pitch look like he's swinging with balsa wood. Jansen held hitters to a MLB-worst .137 batting average and a .244 slugging percentage against his cutter last year. Hitters swung and missed 32% of the time against Jansen's cutter, also tops among relievers and far above the 23% big league average. One notable difference between Jansen and Mo: Pitch location. Rivera masterfully paints the corners with his cutter. Jansen, by contrast, says, "Here it is -- try and hit it."

Rivera's cutter location, 2010-12 


Jansen's cutter location, 2010-12

  • Rivera's set-up man has a not-too-shabby cutter of his own. David Robertson tossed the pitch about 54% of the time last season. He doesn't get near as many swings and misses with the cutter as Jansen (17.4%), but he pounds the zone. Robertson threw the pitch for a strike 68% of the time, well above the 64% average for relievers.
  • While Jason Motte isn't as much of a cutter connoisseur as Jansen and Robertson (he threw the pitch about 25% of the time last year), he's gradually relying more on the pitch to complement his upper-90s gas. He induced a swing and a miss 28% of the time with his cutter.


Top 10 Best Strikeouts/9 innings for Relievers 2008-12

Rk Player SO/9 G
1 Carlos Marmol 12.61 374
2 David Robertson 12.03 269
3 John Axford 11.39 206
4 Jonathan Papelbon 10.84 331
5 Octavio Dotel 10.79 324
6 Jonathan Broxton 10.68 281
7 Sergio Romo 10.68 276
8 Brad Lidge 10.59 225
9 Tyler Clippard 10.46 267
10 Frank Francisco 10.45 267
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/14/2013.

Do the Yankees miss David Robertson more than Mo?

Where is the 2011 David Robertson?

The 2012 version is similar in name only.

Last night, the Baltimore Orioles hit like their Beltway buddy Washington Nationals slamming six homers off Yankee pitchers in a dominant 10-6 victory. I'll give you that Robin Ventura is the Rookie Manager of the Year, but there should be no doubt in any observer's mind that Buck Showalter is the Manager of the Year. As Red Sox owner John Henry told Tom Verducci in (another) brilliant piece for Sports Illustrated in describing his embarrassing Red Sox, “What appeared to be an outlier month in September 2011 turned out to be a harbinger instead.” The same thing could be said for Showalter's Orioles who went 15-13 last September including taking five-of-seven from the Dead Sox and playing the Yankees and the Rays even.

In the opener of a four-game set in sold out Baltimore last night, the Orioles had built a 6-1 lead against Yankee starter David Phelps (the fact that Phelps started last night for NY spoke volumes) but after Orioles starter Jason Hammel left the game (in his first start since coming off the DL, Hammel gave up just one run and six hits in five-plus innings) the Yankees scored five times in the 8th surrounding a few key hits around four walks.

So, with the score tied 6-6 entering the bottom of the 8th, the 2012 version of David Robertson entered the game.

The Yankees certainly can't complain that with Mariano Rivera lost for the season, Rafael Soriano has done an outstanding job as the team's closer replacement, leapfrogging Robertson from his 2011 7th inning role when the Yanks featured a last three-inning trio known as "So-Ro-Mo." And had Robertson performed in a fashion similar to his brilliant 2011 season, the Yankees would have been able to get away with surviving the loss of Mo. But Robertson has been a different pitcher.

2011 4 0 1.000 1.08 70 66.2 40 9 8 1 35 6 100 1.125
2012 1 6 .143 2.77 51 48.2 42 16 15 5 17 0 63 1.212
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Original Table
Generated 9/7/2012.

I can't help but stare at the one homer that the 2011 Robertson surrendered in 66.2 innings and think about the two homers that the 2012 Robertson surrendered while facing three Orioles last night, retiring none of them as Baltimore scored four times to wrap up the 10-6 win. Last season in the 7th through 9th innings, batters hit .175 aginst Robertson, this season the number is 50 points higher and while a .225 average may sound good it's already resulted in five more runs surrendered in 15 fewer appearances.

Check out the cool blue of Robertson in 2011

Now look at the "hotter" 2012 Robertson

Here's what Robertson's two homers and a single looks like

The Yankees aren't tied with the Orioles just because of David Robertson, in fact how much complaining can you do about a guy who is one of the four relievers who has pitched at least 100 innings since the start of 2011 and has an ERA of under 2.00.

1 Eric O'Flaherty 1.41 121.1 132 4 4 .500 0 103 23 19 38 108
3 Craig Kimbrel 1.75 128.1 130 4 4 .500 80 69 26 25 45 221
4 David Robertson 1.79 115.1 121 5 6 .455 2 82 25 23 52 163
5 Mike Adams 1.94 120.2 130 9 7 .563 3 91 29 26 27 114
Provided by Baseball-Reference.comView Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/7/2012.

But it's September and there is no room for error for any contending team. The Yankees had battled back to tie the game and they looked for the 2011 David Robertson and he just wasn't there.

If the interlocking NY wants to see the postseason, they better send out search party for that guy because they need all the help they can get.