David Robertson
David Robertson
34-Year-Old PitcherRP
Philadelphia Phillies
10-Day IL
Injury Elbow
Est. Return 4/25/2019
2019 Fantasy Outlook
The Strandman had a solid year despite the 22-percentage-point drop in his left-on-base rate in 2018. Robertson has an uncanny track record of pitching between 60 and 70 innings each season, mostly in single-inning stints, allowing a few baserunners only to leave them stranded by striking guys out in the clutch. Robertson has a 32.4% strikeout rate for his career, and that rate has not been below 28% since the 2010 season. He has a proven record as a solid closer, and it appears that he will have a chance to return to the ninth inning after signing a two-year deal with the Phillies in the offseason. If he does secure the job, it would easily triple his fantasy value as the saves would once again accompany the solid ratios and strong strikeout rate. He would still be rosterable in mixed-league formats even without a full-time closer role. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $23 million contract with the Phillies in January of 2019. Contract includes a $12 million team option for 2021.
Dealing with flexor strain
PPhiladelphia Phillies
April 16, 2019
Robertson was diagnosed with a Grade 1 flexor strain in his right elbow Tuesday, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Robertson landed on the 10-day injured list Monday with what was originally described as elbow soreness, but the injury was clarified via an MRI. The 34-year-old will be shut down from throwing for a few days before being re-evaluated by the Phillies.
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .165 266 108 20 40 8 0 9
Since 2017vs Right .179 314 87 35 49 15 2 5
2019vs Left .235 18 5 1 4 1 0 0
2019vs Right .400 15 1 5 4 0 0 1
2018vs Left .176 132 53 10 21 6 0 6
2018vs Right .188 151 38 16 25 8 2 1
2017vs Left .140 116 50 9 15 1 0 3
2017vs Right .154 148 48 14 20 7 0 3
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 2.18 0.97 74.1 5 1 8 12.3 2.8 1.1
Since 2017Away 3.20 1.02 70.1 12 5 11 11.9 4.1 0.6
2019Home 5.79 1.93 4.2 0 0 0 7.7 3.9 1.9
2019Away 4.50 2.50 2.0 0 1 0 9.0 18.0 0.0
2018Home 2.72 0.96 36.1 1 1 3 12.1 2.5 1.2
2018Away 3.78 1.11 33.1 7 2 2 11.3 4.3 0.5
2017Home 1.08 0.84 33.1 4 0 5 13.2 3.0 0.8
2017Away 2.57 0.86 35.0 5 2 9 12.6 3.1 0.8
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Stat Review
How does David Robertson compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
91.7 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
In his prime years the first time around in New York, Robertson earned the nickname "Houdini" for his freakish ability to get out of jams. That skill did not follow him to Chicago in free agency, but it was apparently just waiting for him to return to The Bronx. Robertson stranded 95.0 percent of baserunners after coming back home while displaying skills worthy of the closer role (13.1 K/9, 3.1 BB/9). The problem for him is that the club has spent a lot of money on Aroldis Chapman, and Robertson likely needs an injury or suspension to Chapman to take the job. In his current role, he can be a very functional piece in AL-only leagues with his strikeout rate and his exposure to high leverage that allows him the opportunity for vulturing wins. In mixed leagues, he is relegated to a speculative reserve pick that is better served on a starter or a hitter with upside and a clearer path to playing time.
Robertson earned the nickname "Houdini" early in his career for his ability to create bad situations, then escape them by stranding runners. After all, we're talking about a reliever who has stranded 79.1 percent of baserunners throughout 519 career innings. In 2016, he stranded 79.9 percent of baserunners but still posted a 3.47 ERA by falling back into the bad habit of giving up free passes, walking 32 batters last season after walking 36 over the previous two seasons combined. Couple that with a drop in his strikeout rate with a 31-point jump in his opponents' batting average, and you get the high reliever ERA. He had offseason knee surgery to clean up a meniscus tear that may have contributed to his struggles, and is expected to be ready for spring training. Unless the injury lingers or the rebuilding White Sox trade him, pencil him in for another 30 saves while, in some cases, handcuffing him with Nate Jones just in case.
The White Sox signed Robertson to serve as their shutdown closer en route to a playoff run. The playoff run did not materialize, but Robertson remained one of the league’s best closers. He dropped his walk rate to 5.2 percent of batters faced while he continued to strike out more than a third of those he saw. His 3.41 ERA was inflated by a few late-season appearances that did not matter much one way or the other. His curve remains his best pitch, generating a lot of swing-and-miss, but his fastball and cutter are also above average. There should be some caution of skill deterioration and/or health flare-ups as he enters his age-31 season, but he enters the year with an unquestioned hold on the White Sox’s closer role.
Replacing Mariano Rivera was supposed to be an impossible task and Robertson wasn't exactly a carbon copy of his predecessor, but he took the baton smoothly and had it not been for two disastrous outings, he would've put up a more Rivera-like season. He allowed eight runs (36% of his season total) in the two outings, totaling just an inning, which sent his ERA from 1.99 to the 3.08 mark we saw at season's end. He recaptured the super-elite strikeout rate from 2011 after two years of decline with another 37 percent rate. In the era of every other reliever popping triple digits on the gun, Robertson survives with a 91-93 mph cutter and a low-80s curveball. He only needed one season to establish himself as one of the best closers in baseball and with his ability to pump 95-100 strikeouts in a season, he should remain one of the top closers after signing a four-year, $40 contract with the White Sox.
While the Yankees have been cautious about anointing Robertson the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, Robertson's performance over the past several seasons certainly justify giving him the job. All of Robertson's peripheral statistics back up his more obvious high strikeout rate and low ERA; his BABIP against in 2013 was .293, and his 6.8% HR/FB was fairly consistent with his career norm. If the fact that the Yankees haven't guaranteed Robertson the closer job knocks a few dollars of his draft day value, jump in and enjoy the numbers of this potential top-10 closer provided that clear-cut veteran option is not obtained before spring training.
Robertson appeared to be next in line to close when Mariano Rivera went down, but some relative struggles and a minor injury opened the door for Rafael Soriano, returning Robertson to his eighth-inning role. While he wasn't quite as dominant as he'd been in 2011, Robertson was still very good with a 12.0 K/9, and dramatically lowering his walk rate from 4.7 to 2.8 BB/9. Robertson has fantasy value even in his setup role, and he appears to be the fallback option behind Rivera as the closer-in-waiting.
Robertson was one of the most valuable setup men in the game in 2011, cementing himself as the next in line should Mariano Rivera ever falter or retire. Robertson's numbers speak for themselves: he struck out an incredible 100 batters in 66.2 innings and his ERA was a sparkling 1.08. He can get himself into trouble with walks occasionally, averaging 4.73 BB/9IP, but Robertson's fantastic power stuff can often get him out of tough spots. Even if he doesn't close many games, Robertson can serve as a valuable staff filler because of the strikeouts (he struck out more hitters than starter Ivan Nova), and he's a particularly great pick if you want to insure an investment in Rivera.
Robertson made his mark as a strikeout machine in 2009 and lived up to those expectations again in 2010, fanning 71 batters in 61.1 innings. Despite a few rough patches, he was one of manager Joe Girardi's favorite bullpen arms and will again be one of the Yankees' most-used relievers in 2011. Command is the biggest area of concern here; Robertson's walk rate has increased every year he's been in the majors.
Robertson solidified his reputation as a young strikeout machine in 2009, fanning 63 in 43.2 innings, resulting in a 12.98 K/9IP ratio that ranked first among AL relievers who pitched more than 40 innings. If Phil Hughes moves into the rotation this season, Robertson should slide into a more vital bullpen role, possibly sharing setup duties with lefty Damaso Marte. After improving in nearly all facets from 2008 to 2009 (ERA, H/9IP, HR/9IP, K:BB), he certainly appears capable of handling such a promotion.
Robertson continued his ascent through the minors in 2008 and eventually had two stints with the Yankees starting in late June. Big league hitters were able to make more contact against him than those at his minor league stops, but Robertson still posted a 10.68 K/9IP rate in 30.1 innings for the Yankees. Featuring a low-90s cutter, curveball and a slider, Robertson appears to have a very bright future in the Yankees bullpen. Despite being undersized at 5-foot-11, Robertson has a closer's stuff, even if he'll be confined to middle relief and eventually a set-up role in New York. There will be plenty of competition for spots during spring training, so he'll head back to Triple-A and be one of the first relievers brought up if he's unable to earn a roster spot during spring training.
More Fantasy News
Lands on IL
PPhiladelphia Phillies
April 15, 2019
Robertson was placed on the 10-day injured list Monday with right elbow soreness, Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
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Pitches scoreless eighth inning
PPhiladelphia Phillies
April 9, 2019
Robertson pitched around a two-out single to throw a scoreless eighth inning Monday against the Nationals, striking out one batter.
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Looks fine in low-leverage outing
PPhiladelphia Phillies
April 6, 2019
Robertson pitched a clean ninth inning in Friday's 10-4 win over the Twins, allowing one hit while striking out a pair.
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Takes ugly loss
PPhiladelphia Phillies
April 3, 2019
Robertson (0-1) took the loss in Wednesday's 9-8 game against the Nationals as he gave up a hit and three walks while failing to record an out.
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Allows two runs in non-save chance
PPhiladelphia Phillies
March 30, 2019
Called on to protect a four-run lead in the ninth inning, Robertson gave up two runs on two hits and one walk over his inning against the Braves on Saturday.
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