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The season that was: Tyler Clippard

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A look back at Clippard’s 2018 season

Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Blue Jays signed Tyler Clippard to a minor league contract on March 7th of this year. Spring training was already started. Clippard had 3 weeks to show the Jays that he was worth a roster spot. We had a few other veteran relievers looking for a spot in our bullpen.

Tyler was 33, had played 11 seasons in the MLB. In 2017 he pitched for 3 teams, the Yankees, White Sox and Astros. He didn’t have the best of starts, a 4.77 ERA, with 5 saves, 31 walks, and 72 strikeouts in 60.1 innings. The big number was the 10 home runs allowed.

We had two polls, one asking if the over/under was a 4.00 ERA would you take the over of the under. 60% got it right picking the under.

The other poll was asking if the under/under was 45 innings would you take the over or the under. 63% of us got it right, taking the over.

The real question should have been how many times I would misspell his name. I’m not sure how many times I typed either Taylor or Clippart, but I’m sure the over would have won.

Tyler had an ok spring. 3.86 ERA in 7 innings. He allowed 4 hits, 2 walks with 9 strikeouts in 7 innings. And, of course, 2 home runs allowed.

He made the team out of spring training and pitched in our first game of the season.

Standard Pitching
W L ERA G GS SV IP H ER HR BB SO HBP WP ERA+ FIP
4 3 3.67 73 1 7 68.2 57 28 13 23 85 2 7 115 4.24
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/6/2018.

Baseball Reference has him at a 1.3 WAR, FanGraphs at a 0.5 WAR, giving him a value of $4.3 million to the Jays.

Tyler had a 4.24 FIP and a 4.28 xFIP, both higher than his ERA, which is a career trend.

His BABIP against was .272, up from .248 last year.

Compared to 2017, Clippard’s strikeout rate was up (29.8%, from 27.3) and walk rate was down (8.1%, from 11.7).

His line drive rate was up (20.3, from 16.9), ground balls way down (19.2%, from 32.5) and fly balls up (60.5%, from 50.6). His fly balls left the park at about the same rate (12.5%, from 12.8).

Tyler gave up more hard contact (31.4%, from 27.0) and more soft contact (23.4%, from 17.0).

Surprisingly, at least to me, he has a much easier time with LHB (.210/.252/.345) than RHB (.234/.321/.504).

Tyler had a higher ERA at home (4.21 ERA, batters hit .224/.300/.418) than on the road (3.06, .221/.278/.443) even though batters hit much the same off him both at home as on the road.

He was better in the first half (3.15 ERA, .207/.280/.396) than the second half (4.70 ERA, .250/.307/.489). He pitched more in the first half (48 games) than the second (25 games). Gibby tend to lean on the ‘hot hands’.

Cippard by month:

  • April: 1.88 ERA batters hit .109/.241/.304 in 15 games, 14.1 innings.
  • May: 4.97 ERA, batters hit .280/.362/.460 in 13 games, 12.2 innings.
  • June: 2.92 ERA, batters hit .217/.234/.457 in 13 games 12.1 innings.
  • July: 5.56 ERA, batters hit.273/.319/.545 in 12 games, 11.1 innings.
  • August: 4.66 ERA, batters hit .237/.268/.421 in 11 games 9.2 innings.
  • September: 2.16 ERA, batters hit .219/.306/.375 in 9 games 8.1 innings.

He was our closer for a brief time. He had 7 saves, 6 blown saves. He also had 15 holds.

Tyler was very good with RISP, batters hit .164/.284/.344.

The Jays were 39-34 in games he appeared in.


You might remember Tyler had the one start. It didn’t go well, 3 hits, 2 earned, 1 walk, 1 home run in 1 inning.

He pitched more than an inning just 3 times. I’m a fan of relievers being able to go more than an inning, Tyler really isn’t that type.

You know, he got a lot of strikeouts, didn’t walk all that many. On the bad side he gives up a lot of home runs and that’s a tough thing for a late inning reliever.

Tyler turns 34 in February and he’s looking for a job. I’d think if I ran a team with a big ballpark I’d give him a call. He’s an adequate reliever, not great, not terrible, but he can give you innings.


It’s tough finding a ‘moment of the season’ video for relievers, but I’d imagine Tyler feels this was the best moment of his season: