David Robertson has been a beast all season. Last week, I wrote about him and how he’s been doing things that’ve helped him improve (up the grounders, down the homers, keep the strikeouts consistent) and today, I’ll be discussing how awesome Robertson has been in high leverage situations this year.
Going into last night’s game against the Royals, Robertson had a ridiculous -0.82 FIP (0.04 xFIP) in high leverage situations. His K/9 was an unfathomable 16.88. Before last night, he hadn’t walked anyone in a high leverage spot (per FanGraphs). Whatever Robertson’s been doing in high leverage spots, he’s been doing it right.
Last night, Robertson entered the game with the leverage index (the higher the more pressure packed the situation was at 3.55, the third highest situation he’s faced this season. Though he did walk someone to load the bases, he got two big strikeouts and left the game with the Yankees still ahead, and they’d never give up that lead. His .228 WPA was the highest he’s had all season.
Robertson is showing us again how valuable a high strike out relief pitcher is to have when there are men on base. Not including last night, hitters are OPSing just .574 against D-Rob when there are runners on. Before last night, 13 of his 37 plate appearances with men on ended with strike three. Including last night, that total rises to 15 in 40, or 37.5%. For reference’s sake, Robertson’s had 59 PA against him this season and has struck out 18, or just over 30%, which is already a high number. Strikeouts in high leverage situations keep runners from advancing and eventually crossing the plate. Strikeouts are what Robertson does best, especially in the big moments in 2011.
Big ups to Marc Carig for tweeting the tidbit on Robertson/WPA during last night’s game. After my post yesterday on MSM members who skirt advanced metrics and analysis, it was great to see Carig drop that nugget on the masses. He’s one of the few who consistently mentions advanced metrics and I hope he keeps it up. It’s nothing but a service to the baseball-reading community.
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