David Robertson was drafted by the Yankees in the 17th round of the 2006 draft. Armed with a sneaky fastball and a hammer curve, D-Rob reached the majors by 2008 and was there to stay by 2009.
EXPECTATIONS: Robertson had shown flashes of potential in his first three season, but going into the 2011 season the Yankees had at least three relievers who were expected to play bigger roles than him. So his job coming into this season was simply to get outs where he could and shore up the middle of the bullpen.
TAKING OVER THE 8TH: Expectations might have been low to start, but it didn’t take long before Joba Chamberlain was done for the year and Rafael Soriano would have an elbow injury knock him out for three months. With both of them on the shelf, Robbie was suddenly in the important 8th inning role and he thrived. He even landed his first All-Star game appearance.
SNEAKY NO LONGER: D-Rob’s fastball has always been called sneaky fast because even though he averaged about 90 mph with the pitch it was said to get on top of players faster. In 2011, D-Rob’s fastball was still sneaky, but it was also just faster as he averaged 93.1 mph with the pitch.
EVOLUTION: D-Rob has gotten his mechanics down to a science, which is probably how he added three miles per hour to his fastball. He is essentially a fastball-curveball guy, throwing the fastball about 77.3 percent of the time and his curve 20.6 percent, but he also mixes in a changeup to keep hitter off balance. Last season he had a career high K/9 of 13.5 and a BB/9 of 4.73 that is managable because of how many batters he strikes out.
VERDICT: Things couldn’t have gone much better for D-Rob last season. He actually finished 11th in the Cy Young voting and 22nd in the MVP voting. He was so good that even when Soriano came back from the DL, Robertson still held down the 8th inning.
GOING FORWARD: Robbie has just over three seasons of service time which means he should remain under team control through until 2015. He very well could be Mariano Rivera‘s replacement by then. If Mo ever retires.