The regression hammer was bound to hit for David Robertson, who was riding high on a 0.00 ERA through his first month of 2012. I made the not-so-convincing case of trading Robertson back then, under the assumption that his numbers were very close to running out of luck, and his arm was replaceable in a stacked bullpen. It was my opinion that you should always maximize assets at a replaceable position, such as our beloved but lucky setup man. Regardless, Mariano Rivera went down with his injury, and the bullpen was no longer stacked. Then Robertson returned to earth in perhaps the most unfortunate way possible, by blowing his second save and subsequently getting injured. I’d like to say it’s a bitter-sweet I told you so, but despite what you may think, I’m a big Robertson fan, and there’s nothing sweet about one of your guys blowing games.
Sure, his numbers are now revolving around that mid-2.00 ERA I expect him to produce, but he’s looked way too hittable since returning from the disabled list. In the 6.2 innings since returning, he’s actually posted a 2.70 ERA, along with 11 K’s and 2 walks. The raw hit numbers aren’t there to back me up, but his fastball has looked flatter, and there seems to be less command of the curveball. It crossed my mind in his blown game against the White Sox, that perhaps he isn’t fully healthy, and Joe Girardi’s post-game comments didn’t inspire much confidence in his setup man.
“His velocity has been not as consistent as before he got hurt, so I’m watching him,” Girardi said. “I’m going to be cautious.”
|Pitch||Sel||H Mvt||V Mvt||Vel||Spin||RPM||Whiff|
The PITCHf/x data above, courtesy of TexasLeaguers.com, not only show a lack of velocity, but also a lack of movement. Going forward, please keep in mind that the data is somewhat inaccurate with the Gameday identification confusing some cutters and four-seams, but still useful. The selection appears to have changed in favor of the four-seam over the cutter, but this is where the identification fails us, and the lack of cutters ID’d shows the lack of movement on the pitch. The cutter is showing much less rising action, along with over an inch less horizontal movement. Although the four-seam appears to show little deviation in movement, this is largely due to the weak cutters being misidentified as straight four-seams, and the curveball is showing a similar lack of movement. The spin angles are all similar, so the the clear culprit is the drop of several hundred rotations per minute on all his pitches. So what’s he doing differently?
The clear difference here is how pre-DL Robertson releases the cutter before post-DL Robertson. If you pay attention to the follow through, you’ll see that he was finishing in more of an upright position in May, at right around 45 degrees with his upper body, and using his oblique to straighten up and decelerate the torque on his trunk. Now, in June, we see him finishing his delivery bending over. When you consider that his DL stint was based on an oblique issue, this looks like a clear sign of him trying to protect the area by redistributing the torque. I believe this is the reason why he’s hesitant when beginning his stride. He may or may not still be suffering oblique problems, but I believe he’s at least protecting the area. His mechanics need to be corrected for him to regain the rotation and velocity on his pitches, and I’d prefer to see him have more side sessions doing this, rather than face hitters in his normal high-leverage situations. Roberson is not back to his old self, which is a clear problem in the bullpen that’s already cost the Yankees a couple of games over the last week.
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