David Robertson was coming off a solid season, in 2010, but coming into the season nobody could have expected this kind of meaningful production from him with Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano ahead of him on the depth chart. Now that they are both on the disabled list, he has really stepped up and his stats are definitely All-Star worthy.
Robertson has given up only one earned run over his last 18 appearances, which spans 15.1 innings. Since his blown save on May 11th against the Royals, when he allowed one run after allowing two walks and a hit, he has picked up 28 strike outs and recorded eight holds.
More recently he has also improved on an area of his game that he struggled with some earlier in the season. In his nine appearances between April 29th and May 17th he allowed a somewhat staggering 13 walks, but in his eight outings from June 9th to June 26th the number has been limited to two free passes. The wild spell in early May luckily did not cost the team or him because he only allowed three earned runs during that time period.
He has a very impressive 50 strikeouts through only 30.1 innings, which is a major reason that he has been able to escape so many situations with runners in scoring positions. Taking into consideration that he has only given up five walks and six hits, during 10 appearances in June (10 innings), he basically has zero negatives going against him right now.
Here are some stats that surely go in his favor of being named to the All-Star team. Robertson is tied for first in the American League with 15 holds, which is a crucial stat for a set-up reliever. Also, his 1.15 ERA is lower than any reliever with at least six holds. In addition, among all relief pitchers with at least six holds there is only one that is within 11 strikeouts of his 50 (The Orioles’ Koji Uehara with 46). His 14.36 K’s/9 innings trails only Al Alburquerque and Kris Jensen, and he also has the second highest ERA+. A hold is awarded to a reliever whenever he enters the game in a save situation, records one out or more and leaves the game with his team still claiming the lead.
His WHIP is slightly higher than some of the other leading set-up man but that is because of his high walk rate. This should not be held against him because he has proven that he can easily get out of trouble by very rarely allowing those walks to score. The bottom line is preventing the other team from scoring runs, and he has only given up four earned runs during the campaign.
Robertson has really stepped up because since Chamberlain’s season was ended on June 6th as a result of Tommy John surgery, he has been an extremely reliable replacing Joba as the bridge to Mariano Rivera. Not many pitchers could pull a Houdini act as much as he has, he seems to thrive with runners on base.
Not to be forgotten, David has also started the David and Erin Robertson Foundation, www.highsocksforhope.com, to benefit David’s hometown of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which was devastated by tornadoes in April. He is donating $100 to the cause for every strikeout.