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David Robertson: The man groomed to replace a legend

02/17/2014 11:21 AM ET
By Doug Williams

Background: A native of Birmingham, Ala., Robertson has been a key piece of the Yankees bullpen since 2008 -- but now it's his turn to close. He only has eight career saves, but Robertson is hoping that his devastating fastball/curveball combination translates well from the eighth inning to the ninth.

2013 Season: 2013 was a typically dominant season for Robertson setting up Mariano Rivera. He finished with 51 holds in 66 innings pitched with an ERA of just 2.04. He also struck out 77 batters and finished with a WHIP of 1.04.

Greatest Strength: Robertson's greatest strength is getting the clutch strikeout. He's been known as "Houdini" in the past for his ability to squeak out of tough situations, and the strikeouts are what allow him to do that. In his six years in Major League Baseball, Robertson has never had less than 10 K's per nine innings.

Greatest Weakness: Though no fault of his own, Robertson's biggest weakness is his inexperience in the 9th inning. We've yet to see if he can really handle the pressure that comes with it-even though there's little to no reason to believe that he can't.

Prediction: Robertson is not going to be Rivera, and D-Rob would be the first to tell you that. However, there's no reason to think he can't handle the pressure. Assuming he secures the job, I see no reason he can't finish with 35-40 saves and a Robertson-like ERA hovering around 2.50.

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