The free agent signing of David Robertson this offseason is paying dividends early this season with two saves from the new Chicago White Sox closer in four appearances.
He’s making life a lot less stressful for not only the front office of the White Sox, but fans alike. The ninth innings of baseball games are fun to watch again when he’s able to get the chance to make a save.
Robertson is 2-for-2 in save opportunities, allowing one hit, one walk and no runs in the four innings he’s pitched this season. Opponents are batting .077 off him, and his WHIP stands at 0.50 on Thursday, an off day for the Good Guys.
This offseason, the White Sox took a gamble of sorts by signing a closer with basically one year’s worth of experience as a closer for four years and $46 million, but it was a desperate need for the White Sox after the disaster of 2014 where the bullpen blew 25 games that could have been won with an actual closer on the mound.
White Sox closers totaled 36 saves in their rotating attempt to close out the game in 2014. In fact, White Sox relievers last season were the worst in baseball when it came to strikeouts with 379.
This season, Robertson’s saves have come against the Minnesota Twins on April 11 and on April 14 at Cleveland Indians. In the two save opportunities, Robertson has thrown a combined 27 pitches, 20 for strikes.
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In his most recent save on Tuesday, Robertson took just 12 pitches for the feat against Cleveland, with nine pitches for strikes. In fact, Robertson struck out the side in what was his second save of the season.
Robertson in his four combined outings in ’15 has a total of eight strikeouts on 59 pitches (40 strikes).
FanGraphs.com has Robertson’s K/9 at 18.00 and his K/BB at 8.00, both very solid numbers. His strikeout percentage is 57.1 percent, leading to a 40-percent ground ball percentage, along with a 20-percent line drive percentage this season.
Yes, the body of work by Robertson is a small sample size of the entire season, but so far, so good for the closer of the White Sox, which is something we rarely had the chance to say in ’14.
Apr 10, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago White Sox managerRobin Ventura
(left) and pitching coachDon Cooper
(right) visit prior to a game against the Minnesota Twins at U.S Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Following the White Sox win on Tuesday, White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was “fired up” over the pitching of Robertson.
Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times quoted Cooper following that second save of the season:
"“I was fired up because he threw the ball extremely well. After his first seven pitches, I turned to Robin and said ‘these are the best seven pitches we’ve seen in a row since we’ve met him.’ And it couldn’t have come at a better time.”"
If Robertson, who replaced Yankees legend Mariano Rivera last season, is able to repeat his 39 saves he obtained last year with the New York Yankees, then the White Sox will be a viable and dangerous team in the AL Central as this season has just begun.
Though if Robertson is unable to put up the solid numbers he’s being paid to pitch with, it will be a tough and long season for the White Sox.