Dodgers: Three Underrated Relievers Still Available
Tyler Clippard (RHP)
By far the best reliever available on the market after All-Star Craig Kimbrel, Clippard has long been a subject of interest for teams looking for a late-inning reliever who could help push a team into the playoffs. Over the last four seasons, Clippard has played for SEVEN teams, with three of those coming in 2017, when he pitched 10+ innings for the Yankees, White Sox, and Astros.
Last season with the Blue Jays, Clippard finally got to settle down into a city for a full season for the first time since 2014, a career year for the lanky righty. In 2018, Clippard threw 68.2 innings, his most since 2015, with a respectable 3.67 ERA and 7 saves. While he obviously wouldn’t be in line for saves in LA, with Jansen’s shaky health last season, having an experienced closer on the roster couldn’t hurt.
While Clippard’s numbers don’t look great on the surface, he actually was an awesome reliever last season and the only All-Star-caliber reliever on the market who has the potential to be worth more than he costs. Clippard matches up well with the top Dodger relievers at just a fraction of the cost.
Only 16 qualified relief pitchers had a swinging strike percentage above 15% last season. Clippard was not one of them, but his 14.4% mark was 27th amongst this group, placing him ahead of Kenley Jansen, 13.5%. This mark is used to demonstrate what percentage of strikes thrown is swung on and missed. Amongst free agents from the 2018-2019 class, only Craig Kimbrel beats out Clippard in this statistic, including Robertson and Ottavino.
The 6’3 Clippard had a top-30 K/9 rate at 11.17, placing him ahead of Joe Kelly and Kenley Jansen and tied with Kelly in hard contact allowed at 30.6%, a top-40 percentage amongst qualified relievers.
One of the elite changeups in the game over the last five seasons, Clippard could be a low-risk, high-reward add for the Dodgers.