Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Do or Die Time: Tyler Clippard

Tyler Clippard may be seen by some as an odd choice for this series, as he actually had a career year in 2009. So rather than guessing whether he'll bounce back from an iffy year like Alaniz, Burgess, Marrero and Maxwell, I'll talk about the likelihood of Clippard repeating his awesome 2009 season, specifically because he's out of options.

Tyler Clippard, 25 years old, RHRP
Drafted 9th round, 274th overall in 2003 by the New York Yankees.
Acquired via trade in 12/2007 for RHRP Jonathan Abaladejo.

2009 stats:
Syracuse-AAA: 4-1, 0.92 ERA, 24 G, 0 GS, 1 S, 39 IP, 4.6 H/9, 0.5 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, 0.897 WHIP
Washington-ML: 4-2, 2.69 ERA, 41 G, 0 GS, 0 S, 60 1/3 IP, 5.4 H/9, 1.3 HR/9, 4.8 BB/9, 10.0 K/9, 1.127 WHIP
Total: 8-3, 1.98 ERA, 65 G, 0 GS, 1 S, 99 1/3 IP, 5.1 H/9, 0.99 HR/9, 4.2 BB/9, 9.8 K/9, 1.03 WHIP

Career stats:
Minors: 51-52, 3.59 ERA, 164 G, 131 GS, 1 S, 791 1/3 IP, 7.8 H/9, 0.8 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 9.2 K/9, 1.185 WHIP
Majors: 8-4, 3.87 ERA, 49 G, 8 GS, 0 S, 97 2/3 IP, 7.1 H/9, 1.6 HR/9, 5.2 BB/9, 8.6 K/9, 1.362 WHIP
(Note: before 2009, all of Clippard's ML experience was as a starter for the Yankees, putting up a 6.33 ERA in 27 IP)

The question is not “will Tyler Clippard regress in 2010?” but instead “how much will Tyler Clippard regress in 2010?” There is no way he can sustain a 2.69 ERA a ridiculously low .207 BABIP and a ridiculously high 86.9% LOB%. Add that to his BB/9 rates hovering in the mid-to-high 4's and HR/9 rates around 1.35 and he's not even really an average pitcher.

I expect Clippard to regress to the low to mid 4 ERA range, which is still decent for a Nats reliever (albeit bad for a relief pitcher in general). If he can lower his BB/9 to below 4 while keeping his K/9 in the 8s or above, I think he'll remain a pretty good pitcher.

Recent scouting notes:
"Holy cow! (Clippard's throwing motion) does not look natural"-Driveline Mechanics, 8/3/09.

"0.92 ERA with 42/15 K/BB in 39 innings for Syracuse, 2.50 ERA with 42/18 K/BB in 36 innings for the Nationals. I took flak for rating him this high, so I'm glad to see that he's done well."-John Sickels, Minor League Ball, 8/26/09

"My friend Deric McKamey in his 2007 Minor League Baseball Analyst rates Clippard as a potential number five starter, and points out that he gets his strikeouts with movement and deception, not pure velocity. Baseball America ranks Clippard as the number seven Yankees prospect, projects him as a fourth starter, and notes that he "pitches backward," using fastballs in breaking ball counts and vice versa."-Sickels, 2/9/07

"None of his pitches classify as anything more than average but he does bring three pitches to the mound (87-91 fastball, curve and change). His ceiling is realistically a #4 or 5 starter but I believe his move to the National League and opportunity to work with Randy St. Claire will pay dividends for the Nationals."-Brian Oliver, Nats Farm Authority, 2/21/08

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave your questions and/or comments here and I'll get back to you ASAP!