Blue Jays: The Sneaky Dominance of Tyler Clippard

ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 08: Tyler Clippard
ARLINGTON, TX - APRIL 08: Tyler Clippard /

A former All-Star closer, Tyler Clippard found his way to Toronto on a whim, signing a minor league pact to try and break into the bigs once again. So far, he’s fared very well, and has proved vital to the success of the Blue Jays’ bullpen.

2017 was a disappointing year for Tyler Clippard.

He started off the year in New York, pitching out of the pen for the Yankees. He was then traded at the deadline to the Chicago White Sox, where he would last three weeks, eventually being dealt to the Houston Astros. Despite the fact that he earned his first World Series ring with the Astros, the 2017 campaign left him with very few options for employment in 2018 and beyond.

However, on March 7th, Clippard was signed to a minor-league deal with the Jays with an invite to Spring Training ball in Dunedin. Clippard impressed, pitching to a 3.86 ERA over seven frames while striking out nine, holding hitters to a .160 batting average.

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Since then, Clippard has been a fantastic addition to the medley of hurlers that is the Blue Jays bullpen. So far this year, he’s pitched in 8.2 innings, striking out nine and posting a stunning 2.08 ERA. Coming into Wednesday’s series finale against the Royals, he sported a 0.577 WHIP, a 9.03 K/9 ratio and just two walks in nine registered appearances.

Out of nine appearances, four of them have come in the eighth inning. He’s also appeared once in the ninth, twice in the seventh, and once in the sixth. Clippard also appeared in the tenth inning of Tuesday’s ballgame, earning the victory after pitching a scoreless frame against Kansas City.

Really, this is more than what we could’ve hoped for from a minor league signing. He’s been efficient, quick and has been in command in every one of his outings. He’s thrown no more than 21 pitches in a single outing, and has surrendered just one earned run, a solo home run to Giancarlo Stanton on Opening Day.

If Tyler Clippard continues to quietly put away hitters with ease, he could become an incredibly valuable member of the pen. With closing experience and a veteran presence, he could be a real steal for this team as they continue on down the stretch.

Next: Luke Maile channelling his inner Ryan Goins