Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw | XL Sports Blog

Dodgers Kershaw Assumes Title of Baseball’s Top Pitcher

Posted on 28. May, 2013 by in MLB

In a season already marred by numerous injuries and surprising ineffectiveness, at least fans with Dodgers tickets have Clayton Kershaw to cheer for. Kershaw has shown no ill effects from a late 2012 hip injury and has continued to baffle hitters early this season. Through 11 games in 2013, Kershaw is leading the majors with both 80.1 inning pitched and a 1.68 ERA while holding opposing batters to a minuscule .175 batting average against. He has a diverse arsenal, with great fastball velocity for a left-handed starter, a wipe-out slider and one of the prettiest curveballs in the majors. With Verlander effective but hardly the dominant force he was the past couple seasons, Kershaw has earned the title of greatest pitcher on the planet. It may be hard to believe, but while Kershaw has pitched in the majors since 2008, he only just turned 25 this past spring. His age, combined with his impeccable track record, makes him one of the most valuable commodities in all of baseball, and should earn him the largest contract ever awarded to a pitcher. The Dodgers have shown no concern with adding salary to an already gigantic payroll, so expect Los Angeles to make Kershaw a very rich man this offseason.

It may be a little premature to suggest this, but Kershaw appears to be on a Hall of Fame trajectory. His career ERA of 2.71 puts him among some of the best pitchers to ever play the game, and he has continued to lower that mark the last several seasons. While that mark is likely to go up once Kershaw reaches the latter stages of his career, he has already given himself a great chance of ending his career with an ERA under 3.00. The Dodgers certainly have not done him any favors in the win column, as his career win-loss record of 66-40 is good but hardly as dominant as it should be, and he is unlikely to reach the 300 win mark that has always assured pitchers of HOF entry. However, the pitcher win statistic is not as highly regarded as it used to be, and this should not hold Kershaw back assuming he continues to pitch as effectively as he has to begin his career. The Dodgers have myriad issues this season, but they still have a shot as long as Kershaw is taking the mound every fifth day.

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