One of the most unheralded performers of the season has been Yankees reliever David Robertson, who is 1-0 with a 1.15 ERA and 15 holds. Wonder how the Yankees feel now about that $35 million they gave Rafael Soriano. Most impressively, Robertson is striking out 14.4 batters per nine innings. Only nine times has a pitcher (minimum of 50 innings pitched) fanned 14 or more per nine innings. Not surprisingly, all were relievers, and Billy Wagner did it three times:
There have been calls for Robertson to make the All-Star team. It's a possibility, although due to 20 walks in 31.1 innings, his WHIP is an unimpressive 1.34 -- a total that doesn't him place him among the top 50 starters, let alone relievers.
In fact, the best argument for an AL middle reliever to make the All-Star team may not belong to Robertson, but to Tigers rookie Al Alburquerque. He's 5-1 with a 1.95 ERA and he's averaging 15.0 strikeouts per nine innings. Like Robertson, he hasn't allowed a home run. In fact, he hasn't allowed much of anything: Alburquerque has allowed just one double and is holding batters to a .126 average. Like Robertson, he's been wild -- 19 walks in 27.2 innings -- but the strikeouts are countering the free passes for now.