A little over a month ago I wrote about David Robertson looking like Mariano Rivera. Although September wasn’t his most stellar month, there were a few signs that he’s still evolving as a pitcher. For one, the drop off in curveball selection from August ended in September, where he doubled his amount of breaking pitches from 24 to 47.
More importantly, Robertson also showed a much better ability to throw the cutter with high horizontal movement away from right handed hitters. With an overall increase in movement, Robertson went from a 3.4% whiff rate on the cutter in August, to a 9.1% rate in September. What I focused on in my last article was how well he’d copied Mariano Rivera‘s mechanics, and I think this has a lot to do with the cutter’s success.
However consistent his cutters were in August, he still lacked the pitches with high horizontal movement. When we looked at the pitch movement between Rivera and Robertson, it was clear that he lacked whiff-worthy break in August. Now, it looks like he’s throwing the cutter with just as much movement as Rivera.
Here’s an updated version of the GIF I posted above. The camera angle is a bit better, but the ball also looks to be cutting much better than August. This improvement may come from his mechanics, but I also suspect there was a lingering hamstring injury from May.
In the end, it’s a great cutter, one he can make a living off of, but not without the curveball. The breaking pitch is the reason Robertson ever pitched in the big leagues, and the reason batters can’t just sit on his fastball. No one is Mariano Rivera, and as much as he’s copied him, throwing just cutters borders on ridiculous. Fortunately, it looks like Robertson is settling into the fact that he’s his own pitcher. The cutter still looks to be a significant weapon though, one that can be well coupled with his lethal curveball.
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