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October 2, 2011 / Nat Anacostia

Fireman extraordinaire

Just one Nationals player appears among the major league leaders for most of the major statistical categories for his position, and his initials aren’t MM, RZ, JZ, or DE. Looking over the leaderboards for relievers at Fangraphs helped me appreciate what an extraordinary season Tyler Clippard has had:

  • He ranked third among major league relievers in innings pitched with 88-1/3.
  • Ranked seventh in ERA with 1.83 (the leader was Eric O’Flaherty).
  • Led the majors in holds with 38.
  • Ranked second in strikeouts with 104 (the leader was Craig Kimbrel with 127).
  • Ranked third in WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) with .84 (the leader was Koji Uehara).
  • Ranked fourth in opponents’ batting average with .158 (the leader was Antonio Bastardo).
  • Ranked tenth in K% with 31.6%.
  • Ranked fifth in infield fly balls induced with 19.0%.
  • Led the majors in win probability added with 5.01.
  • Ranked third in RE24, a measure of contribution to runs prevented that is superior in many ways to ERA, with 26.56 (the leader was David Robertson).
  • Ranked second in REW, a measure of wins above average based on expected runs, with 2.90 (the leader was David Robertson).
  • Ranked third in shutdowns with 40 (the leader was Jonny Venters).
  • Ranked third in “Clutch” (a measure of how much better or worse than normal a player does in high leverage situations) with 1.58.
  • The value of his changeup was rated third in the majors (the leader was Ryan Madson), and the value of his fastball was rated 11th (the leader was David Robertson).
  • He ranked fifth in percentage of strikes that were swung at and missed with 16.1% (the leader was Jonathan Papelbon).

Because he isn’t a closer, Clippard’s name seldom comes up in discussions of the game’s best relievers. However, we Nats fans can appreciate what a valuable pitcher he’s been this season.

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