David Robertson: The Best New York Yankee Reliever Not Named Rivera

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIMay 10, 2011

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 06:  David Robertson #30 of the New York Yankees pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Yankee Stadium on April 13, 2011 in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

Perhaps the reason why GM Brian Cashman had no interest in signing Rafael Soriano was because he knew it wasn’t a valuable use of resources to spend $35 million on a middle reliever. Maybe he didn’t want to spend the money on Soriano because he knew he had something just as good that cost $34 million less.

RHP David Robertson is holding down the Yankee bullpen

While Mariano Rivera gets most of the attention in the New York Yankee bullpen, and deservedly so, there is another guy in the bullpen doing something very un-Yankee like—under the radar.

Very quietly, Robertson has become the best Yankee reliever not named Rivera. While Soriano continues to slump and Joba Chamberlain continues to see his velocity and K/9 drop like Lenny Dykstra’s credibility, it’s Robertson who has become the most consistent bridge to Rivera.

Robertson is eighth amongst all relievers with a 11.7 K/9 ratio and has a 1.46 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, and 46 percent ground-ball percentage in 12.1 innings. The guy is getting it done.

And the scary thing is that Robertson should get better as the season goes on. Hitters have a .364 BABIP against Robertson in 2011. That should go down as the season progresses.

The only thing holding Robertson back from becoming an elite reliever is his lack of command. You would like to see a reliever have a BB/9 around the 2.0–2.5 mark. Robertson is walking 5.1 batters per nine.

Last year, Robertson was 4.8 walks per nine.

If he can somehow find a way to harness his control, then he will become the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting in Soriano. It’s very rare that a Yankee player does anything under the radar, but Robertson is doing just that.