The New York Yankees have a huge hole to fill. It’s much bigger than the one left by Robinson Cano or Curtis Granderson. There will be someone other than Mariano Rivera on the mound in the ninth inning for the first time since 1995. Rivera is the best closer to ever play the game of baseball and has huge shoes to fill.
The de-facto replacement is David Robertson. The Yankees haven’t signed another reliever (yet) to compete for the job. However, if they don’t, the Yankees will be in good hands with Robertson on the mound. He has some closer experience, but not a whole lot. He had a career-high three saves last season and eight total.
As the set-up man in Rivera’s final season, Robertson recorded 77 strikeouts and finished with a 2.04 ERA in 70 games. He had 258 punch-outs in the last three seasons. Robertson also has great control on the ball and rarely makes a mistake. He had an average 1.93 ERA over the last three years and has given up just 11 home runs in that span.
Robertson’s ranking among closers varies from source to source. ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft has him at No. 17, ESPN’s Rankings Summit came to a agreement at No. 10 and the average CBS rankings have him at No. 13.
Heading into the draft, Robertson should be the 15th closer taken off the board. There is some great depth at the position and with Robertson going into his first season as the closer, there are questions about his consistency. The amount of innings won’t change much (66.1 to Rivera’s 64.0 in 2013), but the pressure will become greater knowing the games relies on his arm. Will Robertson fold under or rise above it?
If he can log 30 saves and keep the ERA under a 3.00, then Robertson will finish the season as a top-10 closer, which is all the Yankees need from him right now.