So something pretty cool happened the other night during the Yankees’ comeback win against the Rays on Monday night: David Robertson threw two changeups. And got a swing and miss on one of them! Why is this remarkable? Because before that gamE. Robertson had thrown exactly zero changeups. In his career, Robertson had thrown changeups just 1.4% of the time in his career. So, yeah, this is a pretty big deal. Why? Because it could have a dramatic impact on Robertson’s future.
While Nova’s new found slider is a nice development, I think we’ll have to wait a bit to see what change this makes in his overall profile.
We could replace “Nova” with “Robertson” and “slider” with “changeup” and have a similar discussion. I’ve always dreamed on Robertson as a future closer. I love his two pitch combination and his apparent knack for getting out of jams (yay high strikeout rates) would serve him well as a closer (though let’s see if he can keep that up, let alone repeat it). Of course, his frequent control issues probably keep that closer ceiling more of a dream than a reality. Adding the changeup to his repertoire could make that dream more of a reality. His fastball and curveball are already fantastic with the late life on the former and the great movement on the latter. A changeup would just add to the deception that Robertson already brings.
Few relievers have three effective pitches. And, of course, Robertson hasn’t shown his changeup to be effective yet. He just turned 26 so it’s not like he has years and years to learn this changeup and, frankly, I don’t expect it to be a fully effective pitch by the season’s end. However, if he works on it over the offseason, he could bring an even better arsenal with him in 2012 and help him climb the ladder to that closer status that seemed completely out of reach just a few days ago.*
*I realize I’m making a big leap here and we need to see Robertson use this changeup more than two times in a season, but I’m excited enough to think it’s worth it that he put in some work on it to make him an even better relief pitcher
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