Blue Jays: Reviewing Every Reliever After the First Month
Tyler Clippard – Journeyman Extraordinaire
Similarly to Axford, not much was expected of 33-year-old veteran Tyler Clippard. At best, the front office hoped he would toss some decent innings out of the pen. The signing was, just like Axford, low-risk, but very high reward. He was lights out in Spring Training and rightly earned himself a spot on the Opening Day roster.
So far this season, Clippard has pitched to a dazzling 2.03 ERA, with 12 strikeouts over 13.1(!) innings, walking eight and appearing in 13 games. Also worth noting is that Clippard has a 3-0 record, and is tied for the major league lead in wins among relievers. Wins obviously are not the only clear sign of an effective relief pitcher, but this is a neat figure nonetheless.
His WHIP currently stands at 0.98, and he’s held opposing hitters to a stingy .116 average. With closing experience, Clippard has also appeared in some late-inning situations. I’ve detailed the specifics of his hot start here.
With how great Clippard has been, there’s not much to argue with here. He’s mixed speeds effectively, kept runners off the base paths, and has looked as confident as ever. He’s shown he can keep up with the big boys in the pen and has certainly earned the trust of his manager.
While relief success can be extremely volatile, the Blue Jays should continue to ride Clippard while he’s still successful. For now, he’s one of their best arms and looks poised to stay that way for the near future.