When it comes to frustration on the field from ballplayers, there are only a small number of things that can consistently agitate fans. Bad base running is a no-no. Atrocious defense is another. Then there is the recurrence of walks. Many of the most frustrating players in New York Mets history have been good pitchers who just couldn’t find the strike zone. When you know a pitcher is good yet he can’t seem to find the plate, it’s a lot harder to accept.
Mets fans may find themselves experiencing frustration whenever David Robertson steps on the mound. Even at his prime, walks seemed to pop up a little too regularly. It reached a new level last year. Despite his brilliance at preventing runs from scoring, Robertson was clogging up the bases regularly with free passes.
David Robertson will be a good Mets pitcher yet a frustrating one at times
Robertson was 4-3 with a 2.40 ERA in 2022. He saved 20 games pitching for the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies. He was someone Mets fans wanted the team to add at the trade deadline. Instead, we got Mychal Givens. Where are the Men in Black to erase our memories for that addition?
Robertson was already missing the plate while dominating as the Cubs closer. A rate of 4.2 walks per 9 is a tad too high for the liking of most. It got even more out of control (pun not intended) when he joined the Phillies. While continuing to keep runners from scoring, he started walking batters at a rate of 6.2 per 9.
When the season was over, Robertson had averaged 4.9 walks per 9. His 3.58 FIP suggests he was able to escape a lot of jams.
He wasn’t much better in the postseason, walking 2 in 2.2 innings during the NLCS and 3 in his 4 innings in the World Series. Although small sample sizes, it was a trend from the regular season and into the playoffs. It has been present through most of his career, reaching new levels in 2023.
To his credit, Robertson continued striking out batters regularly. Sometimes fans need to accept seeing a pitcher walk a batter before striking out the next two and getting the third to ground out weakly. This is who Robertson probably is. A proven escape artist, it still doesn’t take away from the frustration he’ll cause when a dirty inning turns into an edge-of-your-seat nail-biter.