Sunday, March 13, 2011

25 in 25: Tyler Clippard (#8)

In 18 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

Today we discuss, statistically, one of the Nats best pitchers in 2010, Tyler Clippard.

Why?: In 2010, Tyler Clippard lead the Nationals pitching staff in wins... despite being a reliever... Granted, some of these wins were gimmies, coming off of ties or big offensive rallys. It still says something about the pitcher, you have to be having a good season for those breaks to roll your way. Pitching in a team-high 78 games last year, Clippard formed part of the amazing duo, Clip n' Save, with Matt Capps. The two combined to close the door on over 25 games, without much fuss.

Clippard posted a 1.4 WAR, 3.07 ERA, and a 1.21 WHIP in 2010. After leading the Nats in most pitching categories, many thought that Clippard was going to be the Nats representative in Anaheim for the All-Star Game, an honor which went to his partner in crime, Matt Capps.

What should you expect?: A slight regression is probably in Goggles future, but I'm not so sure. Fatigue will definitely become an issue, considering that before his 78 game performance in 2010, his previous high was 41 games in 2009. Contrary to that however is the fact that his stats that determine potential for repeat are solid. His FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) rate was only 0.11 higher than his ERA, a sure indication that it wasn't a fluky performance. Also, his BABIP (Batting Average of Balls in Play) was the highest it has been in his entire career, meaning that with a more solid defense his numbers will actually improve drastically.

Clippard will once again lead the team in appearances, and may even have a prolonged stint as closer, depending on the development of Drew Storen. His ERA should hover around the 2.50-3.00 mark, while his strikeout numbers will stay in the 9+ K/9 range. Hopefully, no offense to Clippard, he will not lead the team in wins next year...


  1. I vote the trade that brought Clippard to the Nats for Alabadejo as the SECOND best deal of the Leatherpants era after the Morse for Langerhans swap. Proof positive that even a blind pig can find the acorn sometimes.

  2. Not to be a negative nellie, but Clippard led the team in wins simply by being a vulture last year; He also led the team (and the league, IIRC), in blown saves. He'll make the team with room to spare this year, but 1) shouldn't be allowed into a game with men on base, and 2) should be kept under 65 appearances.

  3. bdrube: Clippard trade was good, and what made it great is that we got rid of Albaladejo for Clipp. Though there weren't many good things to look at during the Bowden years (save a few, of course).

    BinM: I'm with you here, too though. I think Clippard has a lot of potential by way of a great change, a fastball with zip, and a ridiculous looking wind up. But his wins are clearly a fluke, and he has struggled with men on base. Still, I like the thought of Clippard in the 'pen for the foreseeable future, even if it ends up being in a middle relief role after this season.