Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meet A Prospect: David Robertson

Robertson spent his college years at the hometown University of Alabama and
as a freshman in 2005 appeared in a team high 32 games, three of them as a
starter. Robertson put up a 7-5 record with eight saves and a 2.92 ERA
leading the South Eastern Conference in batting average against, holding
batters to a .183 BAA and was named Freshman All-SEC and Freshman
All-America by Baseball America. He followed up the success in his freshman
year by leading the Crimson Tide to their 25th SEC Championship in baseball
spearing in 29 games. Robertson put up a 4-4 record with a 3.02 ERA leading
the SEC with 10 saves. Robertson was 21 years old at the time of the 2006
MLB First Year Players Draft making him eligible for the draft. The Yankees
jumped all over this loophole and drafted Robertson in the 17th round and
sent him to play summer league games in Cape Cod, in which he was named MVP
of the Cape Cod League playoffs. 

Robertson made his professional debut in 2007 pitching across three minor
league affiliates compiling a combined 8-3 record with four saves and a
Mariano Rivera like 0.96 ERA in 84.1 IP. Robertson only allowed 45 hits all
season long while striking out 114 batters that season. Robertson pitched
for two more affiliates in 2008 and went 4-0 with three save and a 1.68 ERA
in 53.2 IP allowing 28 hits and striking out 77 more batters. Robertson did
make his first appearance with the big league club in 2008 when the Yankees
called him up from AAA on June 28, 2008 only to send him back down on August
28 only to bring him right back to the Bronx on September 13. Heading into
the 2009 season, fresh off a marriage to his wife Erin, Robertson was
recalled to the majors on April 16 to replace Xavier Nady who was placed on
the 15 day disabled list. It lasted a day as he was sent back down the very
next day to make room for first basemen Juan Miranda. Another injury opened
the door for Robertson on May 25 as Brian Bruney was injured and Robertson
was here to stay. Robertson finished the 2009 season with a 3.30 ERA and
13.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 43.2 IP and a World Series ring. In the
2009 playoffs Robertson entered two games in high pressure situations with
multiple runners on base, once in each of the ALDS and ALCS, and managed to
escape both innings without letting a runner cross the plate and receiving
the win in both games. The fireman was born although most simply referred to
him as Houdini. 

Robertson followed up with a 2010 campaign that saw his ERA rise to 3.82 and
his strikeouts drop to a very good 10.4 K/9 in 61.1 IP as he saw himself
transition into Mariano Rivera's set up man and probable eventual
replacement. The Yankees added pitchers Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano
in 2011 and Robertson lost out to Joba Chamberain as the 7th inning pitcher
as he saw his 8th inning spot go to the recently acquired Soriano. Injuries
to Soriano, Feliciano, and Chamberlain put D Rob right back in the 8th
inning role where he struck out 55 batters halfway through the season.
Robertson was named to the 2011 All Star Game to replace David Price for his
first All Star Game appearance of his career. Robertson finished the season
with 100 strikeouts becoming the first Yankee reliever since Mariano in 1996
to hit the century mark in strike outs in a single season. Robertson
finished 2011 leading the league in ERA with a 1.08 average and holds with
34.  Robertson finished second in the AL with a 13.5 K/9 ratio and lead all
of baseball in ERA+ with a staggering 410. Robertson received one point in
both the AL Cy Young Award and AL Most Valuable Player Award voting and won
the This Year In Baseball Setup Man of the Year Award. The Yankees gave
Robertson a contract worth $1.6 million plus $25 K in incentives for his
work and to avoid arbitration for his first year. Rivera was injured in 2012
and his season was over with an ACL injury and Robertson, along with
Soriano, were informed they would be sharing the closing duties for the
remainder of the season. Robertson would be placed on the 15 day DL on May
15 after straining a muscle in his ribcage, a mere twelve days after
Rivera's season ended, and returned to action on June 15 only to soon become
the setup man once again. Robertson was groomed to be the closer by Rivera
himself during his farewell tour in 2013 and goes to Spring Training camp
looking to finally get his full shot at the job this season.

Robertson and his wife Erin, both seen on the Wives and Girlfriends section
of the site, married in January of 2009 and celebrated the honeymoon with a
World Series victory. They have since had their first child, an adorable
little boy named Luke Joseph, on August 12, 2012. Robertson is very active
in the community and has started his own foundation, High Socks for Hope,
which I am a huge supporter of since it helps those in his hometown of
Tuscaloosa, Alabama deal with the tornado strikes in 2011. Robertson agreed
to donate $100 for every strike out that he tallied in 2011, finishing with
100 on the nose, and was nominated for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year
Award for his work. Now Robertson finds himself proving himself all over
again as Mariano Rivera has retired and the Yankees seem skeptical about
handing him the closers job. Whatever inning Robertson pitches in, the 8th
or the 9th, the fireman that they call D Rob will be up to the task.

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