New York Mets: Is the new Hansel Robles here to stay?

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Hansel Robles
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 24: Hansel Robles /

New York Mets pitcher Hansel Robles began the 2018 season with a couple strong outings. Unlike what happened in past seasons, can his early success continue?

Hansel Robles‘ strong start in 2018 has surprised many. In his first outing for the New York Mets against the Philadelphia Phillies, he struck out all three batters he faced. Against the Washington Nationals in his second outing, he gave up just one hit and recorded all three outs by strikeouts.

In his most recent appearance, he gave up a home run, but it was to none other than Bryce Harper en route to the win.

Over the past week, many have gone on to suggest this is a brand new Robles. This is a much better than last season, one where he pitched to a career-worst 4.92 ERA.

That might not entirely be the case because if you look closely at Robles’ numbers. Historically, he starts the season on hot streaks and the same thing happened before, with fans claiming Robles “turned a corner,” when he, in fact, had not.

Let’s take a look at how he pitched in 2016.

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Robles opened the season in a very similar fashion to how he started 2018, and by the end of April, he posted a 1.69 ERA through 12 outings. By the time May 24th rolled around, Robles was one of the Mets best relievers.

Through 22 outings he had a 1.31 ERA. Immediately after that day, things went south. First, he had two really bad outings to put his ERA above 3 and never looked back. Despite having some good stretches afterward, he finished the season with a 3.48 ERA and a 1.352 WHIP.

At the time, it looked like he just had some bad luck and was ready to take 2017 by storm. Instead, the same thing happened again. He began by giving up a run in three of his first six outings and had an ERA over five.

He finished April with a 1.84 ERA and made it to May 10th with his ERA below 1.50. Like in 2016, everything went downhill after May as he posted a 6.69 ERA over his final 28 outings.

Is history set to repeat itself with Robles in 2018? The number of strikeouts Robles has thrown over his first three innings of 2018 show slight improvement, but there’s some evidence that Robles might not have it in him to go a full season at this rate, whether it’s due to fatigue or some other cause.

Next: Mets of the Future: Dominic Smith starting off strong in Triple-A

It is more than likely that Robles will crash at some point in the next four to six weeks. However, there is still hope for the reliever. Strikeouts are high and he hasn’t walked a batter yet. Even if he does crash, this could be the best year of his career if he’s around a 3.40 ERA.