Aug 24, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher David Robertson (30) pitches during the ninth inning against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium. New York Yankees won 7-4 in ten innings. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports
2015: David Robertson (ESPN Projections: 2.38 ERA/41 SV/100 K)
2005: Bobby Jenks (2005 Stats: 2.75 ERA/6 SV/50 K)
Bobby Jenks didn’t start the year as the closer for the South Side in ’05. In fact, he was the third closer the White Sox tried out that season. Jenks found a groove in the ninth inning and ended up pitching in high leverage situations deep into the postseason. He’s front and center in the World Series championship celebration photo and when Sox fans think closer they think Jenks.
Jenks had a fastball that could touch triple digits and the crowd heated up when he trotted out to the mound.
In his first full season as a closer, Jenks converted 41 saves, the same amount of saves Robertson is projected to earn this year. That would be the pinnacle of Jenks’ success. He was a solid closer for the next few years, but never surpassed that save total.
Robertson is a natural strike out artist
Jenks and Robertson are both strikeouts pitchers, and you need to be to succeed at U.S. Cellular Field.
The key difference is that Jenks manufactured his strikeouts through heat, while Robertson is a natural strike out artist. Robertson’s velocity hovers in the 92-94 range, and tops out around 95. His curveball generates a nice swing-and-miss rate, and that’s how he piles up so many Ks.
Jenks’ SO/9 rate was 11.4 in 2005, and it trended downward in subsequent seasons. In contrast, Robertson posted a 13.4 SO/9 rate last season, and has a career mark of 12.0. White Sox fans want to hear Hawk Harrelson say “He Gone!” as much as possible, so for that reason Robertson overtakes Jenks as the closer.
Edge: David Robertson
Next: White Sox: Final Roster