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David Robertson

Born: 04/09/1985 (Age: 29)
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Height: 5-11 Weight: 195

Mechanics
From the stretch, pitcher comes set with hands held at belt; moderate leg lift; powerful lower half with some drop and drive; keeps weight over the rubber and displays a long stride toward the plate; breaks hands late and tilts shoulders, swinging his arm low before exhibiting a classic elbow climb to a high three-quarters slot; creates great separation between his two halves; rotates upper half powerfully and releases ball extremely deep; creates massive extension to the plate; allows plenty of room for arm to decelerate; pitcher displays plenty of athleticism throughout an efficient delivery and repeats it well, limiting the probability of injury; 1.5-1.6 seconds to the plate.


Evaluator Ethan Purser
Report Date 10/21/2014
Arm Angle High 3/4
Windup N/A
Rubber Third base
Present Role Years expected to
perform at current level
Future
55; closer on a first division team 3-4 50; low closer/top-tier setup. Robertson has a relatively clean bill of health heading into his age-30 season, which should bode well for his status as a first-division closer into his mid-30s. Beyond that, he has the type of stuff to pitch in the back of a bullpen even considering a slight downgrade in stuff.

Pitch Type Present Grade Sitting Velocity Peak Velocity Report
Cutter 60 89-93 94 Primary fastball, throwing it over 50 percent of the time; displays late, darting slice to the glove side, helping to keep the pitch off of barrels; action is more of a weak-contact offering but has the type of velocity to blow it past hitters when he needs it; will elevate in an attempt to get a whiff late in counts when hitters are sitting on the curveball.
Curveball 70 79-82 83 Plus-plus hammer using a knuckle-curve grip; sharp, late break; will vary the break between 12-to-6 and 11-to-5; can start it thigh high and it will end up in the dirt when he is on top of it; will throw it multiple times in a row and shows the ability to induce a whiff even when a batter is expecting it; capable of generating swings and misses both in the zone and out of the zone; can drop it in early in counts for strikes; generates a high number of ground balls when a batter is able to put wood on the pitch; true swing-and-miss offering that gets outs at the big league level.
Changeup 40 85-87 88 Firm in the upper 80s, though he rarely throws it; will elevate the pitch and leave it up in the zone for hitters; doesn't display the normal sink/run that is associated with circle changeups.
Four-seam fastball 50 89-93 94 Secondary fastball; above-average velocity but very straight and susceptible to fly balls; uses cutter at the behest of his four-seam fastball.
Pitch Usage*
vs LHH vs RHH
FC CU CH FA FC CU FA
Usage 58.44% 38.37% 1.78% 1.42% 66.99% 31.83% 1.18%
Strike 63.83% 66.20% 50.00% 62.50% 63.05% 58.02% 83.33%
Swing / Miss 4.56% 25.00% 10.00% 50.00% 9.38% 20.99% 33.33%

* Only showing top 5 pitches by pitch count. Stats are for the 2014 season

Approach

Robertson's strikeout pitch is his curveball, so he will try to get in counts where this can be properly leveraged. Pitcher likes to get ahead early in counts with the cutter and can induce weak contact, but if a count gets deep, the pitcher can induce awkward swings and misses with the curveball both in the zone and out of the zone. When he is commanding the curveball well, however, Robertson will drop it in any count, making it incredibly tough on opposing hitters.

Makeup

Late-innings mentality; short memory; showed poise and was successful replacing the greatest closer of all time; has shown the ability to make adjustments from early in his career, throwing more strikes as a result.

Strengths

Bulldog on the mound; one of the best curveballs in the game; can generate swings and misses with the pitch in any count; excels at getting hitters to swing and miss on pitches out of the zone; while he doesn't have the high-90s fastball that is associated with closers, Robertson's cutter is both a weak-contact offering and a swing-and-miss offering due to its plus velocity.

Weaknesses

Pitcher is under six feet tall, limiting plane; slow to the plate; runners can steal on him; will elevate cutter on occasion, leading to hard contact in the air; average control; will have appearances where he struggles to locate and will give up free passes/hard contact; command/control comes and goes at times; will occasionally get to the side and hang the curveball; susceptible to passed balls/wild pitches given extreme nature of curveball; changeup is below average and he rarely uses it.

Means of Exploitation

Righties and lefties alike can be victimized by the curveball when the pitcher is ahead, so the best means of exploitation is to sit on the cutter early and try to do damage on this offering and protect against the curveball later in counts when he is ahead. Robertson will occasionally miss with the cutter up in the zone early in counts, which is where both righties and lefties have the most success against him. When behind in the count, the hitter can hope for a hanging curveball in the upper quadrants of the zone.

Overall

While not an elite stopper in the likes of a Kimbrel or a Chapman, David Robertson proved this season that he can handle the closer's role on a first-division squad and have plenty of success. His cutter and knuckle curveball are his bread-and-butter offerings, and his deuce ranks as one of the best in the game. He should occupy this role for the next three to four seasons into his mid-30s. Whether he accepts a qualifying offer from the Yankees, signs a multi-year extension with the team, or signs a free-agent contract elsewhere is to be determined, but Robertson should remain effective for the foreseeable future due to a relatively clean medical history, efficient and repeatable mechanics that should portend health, and perhaps more importantly, legitimate stuff that will play in the back-end of any bullpen.


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beeker99
11/05
Best guy I have ever seen get out of bases loaded jams. You can attach any qualifications that you like-recency bias, selective memory, I'm a Yankees fan who primarily watches the Yanks- but man, if the bases were loaded, he was the reliever Yankees fans wanted on the mound.

Outstanding guy, too #highsocksforhope.
timber
11/05
I just can't see any team giving up a draft pick to sign Robertson, so I'm guessing he becomes the first player to accept a QO.
jfranco77
11/05
I'm guessing the Yankees would rather pay him 3/35 or 4/40 or something with a lower AAV, but they wanted to keep the QO in their back pocket in case he wasn't interested in that.
thesonofhob
11/07
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the Yankees hope he just accepts the QO. They have a ton of unproven relief talent in the high minors, and some barely-proven relief talent at the major league level. A one year overpay of Robertson lets the Yanks really see what they have in Betances, while seeing what minor leaguers stick in the major league bullpen. If none of that work out, then they sign Robertson longterm after next season. If it does work out then they can let him walk (or judge the market and see if a QO can net them a draft pick or not).

However, I don't think he accepts the QO and instead someone signs him for 3-4 years at not-quite-Papelbon money.