Friday, January 17, 2014

David Robertson vs. Grant Balfour - The Ultimate Battle

I am growing more and more aggravated with the idea among Yankees fans that Grant Balfour should be closing for the Yankees in 2014 and not David Robertson. Instead of waste all the stats and knowledge in a comment, we have a great discussion going on in our comments section by the way for those who have missed it all these years, I thought I would rather put it into a post for all to see. I really think it is a gamble to put Balfour in the 9th inning role for the Yankees, and I want to point out that I would be more than willing to have him set up for Robertson and he has said he would be willing to pitch in the 8th, and I think it is a fools bet for anyone who thinks otherwise. I can sit up here all day on my soap box and tell you about the risks and rewards of going all in on Balfour but I would rather just show you. Read on...

One of the more common complaints about D Rob is that he walks too many batters:

D Rob's BB/9 in 2013 - 2.4
Balfour's BB/9 in 2013 - 3.9 

Another is that D Rob throws too many balls and plays with batters too much:

D Rob throws a ball 35.6% of the time in 2013
Balfour throws a ball 38.4% of the time in 2013

"But D Rob screws around too much and sees too many 3-0 counts:"

D Rob 3-0 counts seen in 2013 was 10
Balfour's 3-0 counts seen in 2013 was 14

"Well D Rob throws too many pitches!"

D Rob threw 4.02 pitches per plate appearance in 2013
Balfour threw 4.35 pitches per plate appearance in 2013

"Well closers put guys away quick!"

D Rob saw 65 0-2 counts in 2013 and threw 35 strikes in those counts
Balfour saw 58 0-2 counts in 2013 and threw 32 strikes in those counts

oh and David had 13 strike outs on three pitches in 2013
Balfour only had 12...

"Strikeouts make for a good closer:"

D Rob had 77 K's in 2013
Balfour had 72 K's in 2013

"But Balfour has more fire!"

Well you got me there. Worked for Mariano so it should work for Balfour as well. Oh wait...

Balfour gave up seven home runs to Robertson's five home runs and if you remember my BIP post on Balfour from earlier in the offseason if Balfour had pitched in Yankee Stadium in 2013 his home runs could have doubled, or more!! Double the home runs which means you add runs to the ERA, the 2.59 ERA that was already 0.55 points higher than Robertson's 2.04. You also add some points to the WHIP, the same 1.197 WHIP that was 0.157 points higher than Robertson's 1.040 WHIP in 2013. That also means lowering that 145 ERA+ to a number even farther below Robertson's 199 ERA+ in 2013.

Leave the "fact" at home that Balfour is doing it in the 9th inning and Robertson is doing it in the 8th because I don't wanna hear it. Robertson is doing it in a bigger market and in a smaller stadium in a better division with more success. It's not like Robertson has ever been given a real shot at closing anyway because if you can remember he was injured himself a mere 12 days after Mariano Rivera tore his ACL in 2012 and lost the job to Rafael Soriano, not because Robertson was necessarily bad, albeit he wasn't great, but because Soriano was too good to put back in the 8th inning. Looking at the above and using common sense tell me again why anyone wants Grant Balfour closing games in New York next season?


  1. Daniel great article and I still want Balfour because I guarantee you two things. First he has closed time and time again and second he doesn't have the deer in headlights look when closing. Again great article

  2. The only reason Robertson hasn't been a closer for years is because he played second fiddle to THE GREATEST CLOSER OF ALL TIME.

    Speaking of which... You don't think Mo taught David anything too?

    1. Nothing that Grant Balfour didn't already know ;)

    2. Daniel, very well done article. But, the closer should be Grant Balfour, hands down.
      Lets try clarification. Or, lets put it under a laser beam.

      a) ...Forget the foul territory theory. Let's start with 74 K's in 62 innings.
      b) ...A seasoned closer, who will tell Big Popi...."shut-up, and sit down ".
      c) ...No aborigine here. All time leader in strike outs, from Australia.
      d) ...Turning the field watering hose on the fans, who are cheering for him ( a fact )
      e) ...The wife.

      He was born to be on this stage. This is not Joba, and his dumb hat.
      Again, nice article.

    3. a. You also forgot Robertson struck out more guys and more guys per 9
      b. There was a time when Mo and Balfour werent seasoned closers but they were given a shot.
      c. I led the Spring Valley Little League in home runs two years in a row, whats your point?
      d. confused.
      e. Robertson has a wife too.

    4. Hmmmmm !..With Dennis Fogarty pitching, during a stick ball game....I hit a home run,
      that went straight down some families chimney....We ran away.

      d)...Confused ?...Check out the ' Balfour ' images, on the net. The photo is there.
      e)...We all have wives.. Balfour has the ' magic ' wife..

      this is hopeless.

    5. Damn Daniel...
      Thay's a good one, I played baseball for five generations+ and never hit a ball over the fence. I have a multitude of inside the park HRs but never a true one!

  3. HOMER BAILY....revisited.
    In team / player arbitration. The Cincinnati Reds, and Baily....are $3 million apart.
    If Tanaka says deep dish Chicago pizza, and he may. Then the Yanks should look at
    the Baily situation.
    I know the fit is not so good, that is why there are three team trades.

    Homer Baily & Grant Balfour...are you not improved ? With monies left over !

    1. I still like Garza because of his stay in the AL East, yes I know he has had problems and all I keep hearing is the Yankees have plan A,B,C,D,E and my concern is that the king of the dumpster dive Cashman will assemble spots 4 and 5 from scrubs

    2. KEN HANS....well said ! All points taken.

    3. Garza also sticks around for 3-6 years while Bailey is a free agent next season with Kuroda making us in the same position all over again.

  4. WATCH OUT !...for the Chicago Cubs....Sporting News reporting : "Cubs pushing hard for Tanaka."
    If money is the line in the sand for Tanaka, than the Yanks may have trouble here.

    Tanaka is not the end of the world. Being smart, and creative with the money saved
    could be a blessing. No need for candles here. I think he goes elsewhere.

  5. I like you article very much, very well done as expected...

    Thus, Belfore as a back-up is ok, but, D-Rob earned the shot at a fair chance as the closer.
    My dissertation on him can be thrown out, I gave how and why he does what he does...boring! You did a better job of showing the results. No one cares how it is done, they care about getting it done like Mo. You showed he can do it as well as Belfore, if not better!
    Very well done, I really like your way of explaining things so anyone can understand it.

  6. ROCKET REED....don't be foolish. Your dissertation was breath taking. Powerful piece !

    That is why I have it taped onto my refrigerator. My grand children will be made to memorize it, and
    recite on demand. Unless................they continue to wear their Grant Balfour t-shirts.

  7. ANOTHER sign that man, from 'down under'...G. Balfour.

    Who has been the most animated / over the top /explosive pitcher to come out from the
    Yankees bullpen in recent years ?
    Yes...Rafael Soriano. Pulling his shirt out fro his pants, was his statement. Why did he do that ?
    If this is what you crave, then don't even expect that,... from David Robertson.

    1. I think we're all here to win... not be entertained. This isn't the WWE. Mo was never flashy, never showed emotion, and was loved because he won. Unless you ignored the article you know that D Rob gives us a better shot to win

  8. Daniel :
    This is not about Mariano Rivera. He is no longer is with the team.
    This point of mine from the start was....putting together a bullpen, that has grit. And is
    not afraid to show it. Maybe even having fun.
    The WWE, were not words. If anything, my words may have a bit too much humor for you.
    If so, sorry. That is how I write.

  9. I like D-Rob for our closer with (maybe) Belfore as the 7th /8th inning pitcher.
    We have enough bodys on the field, what we don't have is two guys to make the game a 6/7 inning game!
    What we don't have is 5 or even 4, dependable starters.
    What we do have is; three starters with big question marks....
    CC, can he learn to pitch well without his fastball?
    Kuroda; can he be babied enough to be affective over the whole year?
    Nova; Can he be the pitcher we think he can be the whole year, not up and down?
    Then we come to the rookies and others; can any one of them step up and get it done?

    Now, is there any reason why we DON"T have to have the man from over the sea?
    If there is, I for one, would like to it is now...we have a MAYBE good starting 3!

    It ain't gona get da jobs done yu'll gots to nose tis da truff!


Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)