Clayton’s World

In the post-steroid era, there has been an enormous amount of impressive pitching performances including perfect games, no hitters, twenty strikeout games, and microscopic ERA’s; now is the time to be a pitcher. In this stretch of dominant pitching there has been one man who has managed to stand above the rest, Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw already has three National League Cy Young awards and an N.L. Most Valuable Player award under his belt. The southpaw may have already cemented himself as the best pitcher of this generation and just may be working on the best season of his career which is really saying something about a player with his resume. Through ten starts, Kershaw is 7-1 with an ERA of 1.48, a WHIP of 0.658 and after Monday’s win against Cincinnati, has already thrown three complete game shutouts. When looking over Kershaw’s current season you could say it is like looking at numbers from a video game, although I am not sure you could end up with numbers this good if your four-year-old nephew was holding the opposing controller. Kershaw’s 2016 season is filled with eye popping numbers and some insane statistical comparisons to his peers who despite what some of the stats may say, are in fact playing the same sport as Kershaw.

  • After Monday’s outing, Kershaw has walked just five batters in 79 innings. Kershaw has a strikeout to walk ratio (K/BB) of 19:1. The next best ratio belongs to Noah Syndergaard at 8.44:1. Entering Tuesday’s games, there were 16 different starting pitchers who currently qualify for the ERA title with a K/BB ratio of less than 2:1.
  • In seven games, Kershaw has struck out ten batters or more. 2015 N.L. Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta has only one game with 10 or more strikeouts this season.
  • Kershaw has the highest WAR among all pitchers at 3.8. Noah Syndergaard and Johnny Cueto are tied for second with a WAR of 2.5. The difference of 1.3 is the same the difference between Mike Trout, who currently has the highest WAR among hitters (3.1), and the twentieth best hitter so far in 2016, Josh Donaldson (1.8).
  • Kershaw has 7 wins. The Minnesota Twins have 11 wins as a team.
  • Kershaw has allowed 13 earned runs in ten starts in 2016. Last season’s A.L. Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has allowed 18 earned runs in his last three starts.
  • As of May 23rd,  three of the nine best game scores in 2016 belong to Clayton Kershaw.
  • In the month of May, Kershaw allowed a total of three runs. In a game last week, Reds’ relief pitcher Steve Delabar walked in four straight runs against the Indians.

I chose to highlight just a few, but there are many more statistics that show how dominant Clayton Kershaw has been so far in 2016. The dominance Kershaw is showing this season rivals with anyone else in sports right now and he is doing it in a sport that typically has extremely high variance in outcomes not just season to season, but game to game. The lesson to be learned from all this is if Clayton Kershaw has a start on television on a given night, make sure you watch. If Clayton Kershaw is on the rubber at park near you, buy a ticket. Everyone needs as much Clayton Kershaw in their life as possible. After all it’s Clayton’s world, and we are all just living in it.

-Randy Haines

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com

Photo Credit: LA Daily News/Hans Gutknecht

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