Not only is David Robertson a great pitcher, but he is also back home in Alabama today. Thankfully, his family was not hurt from the tornadoes, but that still does not erase the damage that was done to his hometown.
To help with the relief, David started the "High Socks for Hope" fund. For each of his strikeouts, he will be donating $100 to the relief effort. It looks like that fund will receive a lot of money from Robertson due to his 14.2 K/9.
Let's take a closer look at those strikeouts.
An article from ESPN this morning discussed Robertson's strikeouts. When using his fastball to strike lefties out, Robertson almost always uses his good velocity and extension to get batters to chase fastballs up in the zone. Very rarely, he will use the outside corner with his fastball in order to mix things up.
When using his curveball for strikeouts, his sole intention seems to be to get lefties to chase pitches out of the zone and in the dirt. Except for a small spot, nearly all of his curveballs that strike batters out end up out of the zone or in the dirt.
Since entering the league, Robertson has the second highest K-rate in Major League Baseball, second only to Carlos Marmol of the Chicago Cubs. Robertson's 11.66 K/9 is just a tad behind Marmol's 11.67 K/9. He and Marmol are also tied together in another significant way:
Dating back to 2008, they are the two best pitchers at recording strikeouts against left-handed hitters.
Robertson has struck out nearly one-third of the lefties he's faced in his career, a rate that ranks second-best among right-handers in that time, and fourth-best among all pitchers who have faced at least 300 lefties in that span (behind southpaws Clayton Kershaw and Matt Thornton, and Marmol).
But not only does Robertson excel with striking batters out, he also excels during high leverage situations. In 2011, during high leverage spots, batters have an OPS+ of 47 and are batting a minuscule .194/.286/.226 against him. Robertson has only faced 35 batters during these situations, but he has struck out 16 of them and walked only 4, good for a K/BB ratio of 4.
Amazingly, his exceptional strikeout rate seems to increase as batters reach base, specifically when the bases are loaded:
This season, he's faced eight batters with the bases loaded and whiffed the last seven. Six of the seven strikeouts have come in situations in which the Yankees led by two runs or less.
David Robertson strikes batters out, is great against lefties and righties, and is great in high leverage situations. Even better, he is using his talents to give back to his hometown.
Keep it up, David. We're rooting for you on and off the field.
Special thanks to Baseball-Reference and Mark Simon for helping me write this. Both quotes come from the linked ESPN article.