A glimpse into just how dominant Tyler Clippard was this season

We’re all aware of how good Tyler Clippard has been since joining the Nationals in the trade that sent Clippard to D.C. and Jonathan Albaladejo to the Yankees.

Fairly lopsided deal there, huh? Wonder how the Yanks are feeling about that one.

In his five years with the Nats, Clippard has appeared in 337 games (an average of 67 per season) and pitched to a 2.72 ERA with a 1.036 WHIP and 10.3 strikeouts per nine innings.

Yeah, decent numbers.

This season, however, Clippard was so good that when he did happen to make a rare misstep, it was noteworthy.

Clippard posted a 2.41 ERA, 0.859 WHIP and 3.04 strikeouts to every walk. He worked 71 innings in 72 appearances - his fourth straight season piling up at least 70 games and 70 innings of work - and had a left-on-base percentage of 87.8.

An average pitcher strands 70-72 percent of runners who reach base. Clippard demolished that number.

There was that stretch where he went 15 straight appearances from June 26 to July 27 where he didn’t allow a single run in 15 innings worth of work, held opponents to a .043 batting average and allowed just seven baserunners.

If you throw out his first six appearances of the season (only two of which saw the opponents scoring runs off him), his ERA for the season drops to 2.07 and opponents hit a measly .152/.230/.277 off him.

If you throw out his first six appearances of the season and his last four appearances of the season, Clippard posted a 1.76 ERA and opponents hit .140/.218/.251 off him and his walks per nine innings.

As an aside, want to know why some people are still scared off by advanced metrics and things like WAR? Because despite how impressive he was this season and how he led Nats relievers in pretty much every category, Clippard posted the third-highest WAR in the Nats bullpen, according to Fangraphs. His 0.4 WAR ranked behind Craig Stammen (1.0) and Rafael Soriano (0.5).

Clippard’s 0.4 WAR slots him 92nd among big league relievers. Didn’t see that coming.

OK, so Clippard was really impressive this season. You didn’t need me writing this blog for you to know that.

But here’s where what he did this year really stands out from the pack.

Clippard finished second among all major league pitchers who had more than 40 innings of work when it came to hits allowed per nine innings. Clippard allowed just 4.69 hits per nine innings, or if you want to look at it another way, he essentially allowed just one hit every other appearance.

Yeah, that’s pretty good.

He finished behind just Koji Uehara, who somehow worked 74 1/3 regular season innings and allowed just 4.00 hits per nine in a historically strong season.

Clippard’s 2013 season might not top his 2011 campaign, in which he worked a whopping 88 1/3 innings, pitched to a 1.83 ERA, had a 0.838 WHIP and struck out 104 to just 26 walks. He allowed 4.9 hits per nine innings that season, slightly above this year’s total, but his strikeout rate was better than this season’s (10.6 per nine compared to 9.3 per nine) and his walk rate was lower than this season’s (2.6 per nine compared to 3.0 per nine).

Regardless, Clippard had a tremendous 2013 campaign, and when you really examine the numbers, you realize just how valuable he is and has been to the Nationals.

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