Tyler Clippard - Age 26 - Arbitration eligible for the first time in 2012
How he became a Nat: Acquired via trade in December 2007 from the Yankees for Jonathan Albaladejo.
[Ed. Note - you know you have been blogging too long when you can spell Albaladejo without looking it up]
The Raw Numbers:
ERA - 1.83
WHIP - 0.838
Holds - 48
K/9 - 10.6
BABIP - .197
IR% - 22% (only two players with 60+ IP were better - Daniel McCutchen and Drew Storen)
Key Stat: 5.2. This was Clippard WPA for the 2011 season. What this essentially means is that when it came down to it, Tyler Clippard got the Nats out of more sticky situations than any other pitcher in the NL. We saw it all year long where Clippard came in with runners on base and retired all batters without allowing his inherited runners to score.
Best Game: Without a doubt, May 6th vs the pathetic Houston Astros. Tyler Clippard started the 7th inning and struck out the side... twice. He faced 6 batters and struck all of them out. Oh yea, and all of them were swinging strike-outs. Tyler Clippard is not human.
Worst Game: August 25th against the D'Backs. Nats were down 2-1 when he entered the game in the 8th inning, and it went downhill from there. Clippard only pitched 0.2 innings and gave up a walk, a double and a home run - leaving the Nats in a 5-1 deficit that they wouldn't come back from.
CapBall Grade: B+... just kidding, it's an A+. Clippard was the Nationals Pitching MVP for 2011. He literally could do no wrong. Value of relief pitchers is always difficult to determine, but there is no question that the Nats would have won far fewer games had Clippard not been around.
2012 Nats Status: I think Clippard is going to have a hard time breaking into the crowded Nats bullpen... Once again, if anyone on the pitching staff should have a reserved spot, it should be Clippard. The 8th inning is his for the foreseeable future (barring trade, which is another story for another day).