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Hansel Robles: The Mets Reverse Lefty Specialist

 

Hansel Robles the hard throwing right hander for the New York Mets made his debut with the big league club in 2015. He put together a solid rookie year, and built upon in 2016. Through his career so far Robles has maintained 3.55 ERA with a 3.7 FIP, he has struck out 146 batters in 131.2 innings. He has been very welcome addition to the middle of the Mets bullpen.

 

According to Brooks Baseball, one of the leaders in tracking PitchF/X data, Robles pitch repertoire is as follows

“His fourseam fastball generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers, has well above average velo and has slight armside run. His slider results in somewhat more fly balls compared to other pitchers’ sliders. His change is thrown extremely hard. His sinker (take this with a grain of salt because he’s only thrown 4 of them in 2016) is basically never swung at and missed compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ sinkers, is blazing fast and has slight armside run.“

 

When pouring over Hansel Robles stats, one of things that will jump out at you is the fact that despite being a Right handed pitcher, he excels versus lefty batters. In his career, Robles has thrown 56 Innings versus a lefty and held their slash lines to .172/.259/.318. Which in comparison to righties who hit .246/.325/.434 against him. Just to add more context to this, when facing lefties he strikes out more batters with an 11.09 K/9 versus 9.16 K/9, he walks slightly less batters 9.5BB% versus 10.1 BB%. Another stat that really jumps out is the change in WHIP, versus lefties Robles has a WHIP of .98 compared to 1.39 versus right handed batters.

 
Heading into 2017 it will be interesting to see how Terry Collins chooses to use Hansel Robles. In 2016 it was mostly Jerry Blevins being used as the lefty specialist while Robles being used as a full inning guy or even long relief in certain positions. From my personal opinion, knowing how stubborn Terry Collins be with his guys it can be very easy to see Robles continuing his role as a full inning guy. He has lowered ERA and FIP in each of his first two season, and most Mets fans expect him to continue to progress in 2017. If he can come out pitching well early in the season and continue his progress in allowing more soft contact and less home runs, especially with the potential Familia suspension looming he very well could be locking down the 8th inning this season, while Addison Reed takes the 9th inning role.

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