Mack - Hansel Robles


Good morning.

We might be talking about the next great relief pitcher here.

Ask anyone how many great relief pitchers that the Mets have and most fans will tell you two… Jeurys Familia and Addison Reed… but there are a few of us out there that think the next great one will be Hansel Robles.

Robles was an Omar signee that inked a Mets contract way back in 2008. He pitched at every Mets minor league level, was added to the 40-man on 11-20-2014, and moved up to the 25-man on 4-20-2015. Ironically, he was called up to fill in when fellow relieve Jerry Blevins went down for the count.

The best stat is, after only 132 major league innings pitched, he has compiled 146 strikeouts, at a ratio of 9.95 K/9.

Yes, he still has some issues. His 3.55-ERA needs to come down as well as his 3.68-BB/9 ratio. Like most backend relievers, he throws mostly fastballs and sliders. The fastball does hit 98 (with life) and the slider is in the mid-80s.

And then there is that ‘quick pitch’ thing that keeps rearing its ugly head, especially against the Philadelphia Phillies. It cost him a 3-game suspension that he had to serve beginning on opening day of last season.

Christopher Sotoalso of Mack's Mets, adds this - 

Hansel Robles....is going to be the most important arm in the Mets bullpen in 2017. With Familia suspended and Addison Reed filling in as the closer to start the season, that slots Robles into the just as important 8th inning bridge role. It is a role that he struggled in Terry Collins called upon him to serve a few times in 2016. 

In 22 8th inning appearances, Robles allowed an .848 OPS resulting in a 6.50 ERA. Robles faced 2 problems that contributed to that....A) His poor control as he posted a 6.0 BB/9 rate whenever he pitched in the 8th vs a 3.6 BB/9 in other innings. B) The reduction of the usage and the "quality" of his fastball declined with the elimination of the quick pitch he picked up from LaTroy Hawkins a few years ago. Batting averages against the fastball rose from .180 AVG in 2015 to a .250 AVG in 2016.

There were plenty of positives though from last season despite his issues. Robles did put together a few stretches of brilliance. In the months of April, July, and September.....Robles ERA's under 1.70 each time. The quality of his change-up also improved as he began using it more as a result of his reduced fastball usage. If he can combine 2015's fastball with 2016's change-up that will give the Mets a 3rd closer caliber RP which will deepen the bullpen even more.

Jack Flynn, of Mack’s Mets, said –

The 2016 off-season has been interesting in so many ways for the Mets. Perhaps the biggest storyline has been the glut of corner outfielders, and Sandy Alderson's unexpected inability to use that surplus to acquire a reliever or a defensively competent center fielder to play ahead of Juan Lagares.
The defensive concerns about an outfield alignment featuring Curtis Granderson in the middle are very real. What always seemed to be less of a concern was the perceived need to add a veteran reliever for the seventh inning. The Mets have had a fine in-house candidate for that role in each of the last two seasons - and there's no reason to believe that Hansel Robles cannot excel in that role if given a chance in 2017.

Indeed, the Mets' perceived lack of faith in Robles is curious. The now 26-year-old righty surprised the Mets by even making the big club out of Spring Training - then surprised them even more by sticking with the club throughout their magical run to a National League pennant. He was no slouch either, relying primarily on a hard fastball and a biting slider to strike out more than a batter an inning and to allow just a shade over one base runner per inning. Robles even made three successful postseason appearances, not allowing a base runner over three innings.

Robles became one of the most heavily worked relievers in baseball in 2016, pitching 77.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Mets. The results were not as sparkling as in his rookie season, but Robles certainly pitched well enough for a middle reliever, maintaining a high strikeout rate (9.8 K/9) and cutting down on his home run rate. However, increased usage led to an increased WHIP, which at 1.352 was right on the outer edge of acceptable for a set-up man on a playoff contending team.

Was the decreased effectiveness the result of the league catching up to him? Or was it a result of his attempts to mix in a third pitch, a change-up that primarily cut into his fastball usage? A strong September will give Mets fans hope that Robles has worked out the kinks and is ready to push Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas for seventh-inning responsibilities in 2017. He's young, he's cheap and he may have the tools to become a star.

Opinion:  My guess in Robles is going to step up the challenge and will become a quality reliever this season. He will be a mature 27-year old and knows that a championship team can’t go all the way without three ++ relievers that can handle the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning. The 7th is his to lose and I just don’t see it happening in 2017.


eraff said...

Robles strung together Good appearances and bad appearances...when he was Bad, he was very bad---poor execution and reduced velocity. He needs to decide who he is, and replicate the approach with consistency.

Big arm...closer talent

Tom Brennan said...

I am with eraff here - Robles has thrown too many meatballs for my liking, surrendering 15 homers in 132 innings. He needs to fix that to be a top reliever...otherwise, he will remain a decent 7th inning guy.

bill metsiac said...

I was impressed with Robles in '15, and expected big things from him last season which were only partially realized. I still see him as future closer material if he can improve on his Walls and HRs. For better or worse, he should be a major factor in the success of the pen this season.

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