30 Players in 30 Days: Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard


Clippard 10 c.jpgRight-handed pitcher Tyler Clippard experienced a metamorphosis of sorts this season. After being a starter for his entire career, Clippard was moved into the bullpen. He began the season in Syracuse and was promoted to the Majors on June 25 and appeared in 41 games this season, going 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA.

Clippard didn’t earn a spot in the Nationals rotation after Spring Training and was sent down to Syracuse to start the season. It was there that then-pitching coach Steve McCatty turned Clippard into a reliever. He went 4-1 with a 1.92 ERA and a .150 BAA in 24 games (one start) while in the Minors and did not allow an earned run in 19.0 consecutive innings (14 games) from May 18-June 23. After being brought up to the Majors on June 21, he ended up going 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 41 appearances.

Clippard has always been especially strong against left-handed batters. This year, righties hit .234/.360/.500 against him while lefties hit .122/.217/.226.  As he faced both righties and lefties almost equally, 114 and 132 plate appearances respectively, the huge difference between the two is no anomaly. This has been the trend through his short career, even as a starter righties hit .269/.379/.911 and lefties hit .167/.269/.317. It is still early but the numbers indicate that Clippard is a “reverse-splits” pitcher, as his splits are the opposite of what one would assume for a right-handed pitcher. 

“He’s still a work in progress,” Interim Manager Jim Riggleman said. “He’s got to get a little better at commanding his fastball, but he’s really a rare exception to put up good numbers in spite of that. So that just shows you the quality of his other pitches.”

Now a little more comfortable in his role as a reliever, Clippard’s stock is rising. He proved to be a reliable tool in a shaky Nationals bullpen. Clippard now has his sights set on a new goal, to become a closer and is ready to do what it takes to get there.

“Absolutely. I’d love to be able to close,” Clippard said. “But at this point in my career, I’m a young guy in the Big Leagues.

 

Tyler Clippard Final Major League Stats

W

L

ERA

SV/SVO

SHO

IP

H

R

ER

HR

HBP

BB

SO

AVG

WHIP

GO/AO

4

2

2.69

0/1

0

60.1

36

20

18

9

1

32

67

.172

1.13

0.53

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