Biographical

Portrait of Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw PDodgers

Dodgers Player Cards | Dodgers Team Audit | Dodgers Depth Chart

2019 Projections (Rest of Season Projections - seasonal age 31)
IP ERA WHIP SO W L SV WARP
88.3 3.29 1.03 88 7 5 0 1.6
Birth Date3-19-1988
Height6' 4"
Weight226 lbs
Age31 years, 2 months, 29 days
BatsL
ThrowsL
8.72015
5.72016
6.52017
4.12018
1.62019
proj
WARP Summary

MLB Statistics

Historical (past-seasons) WARP is now based on DRA..
cFIP and DRA are not available on a by-team basis and display as zeroes(0). See TOT line for season totals of these stats.
Multiple stints are are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA- WARP
2008 LAN MLB 22 21 107.7 5 5 0 109 52 100 11 93 9.1 4.3 0.9 8.4 51% .320 1.50 4.05 4.26 98 4.22 89.9 1.6
2009 LAN MLB 31 30 171.0 8 8 0 119 91 185 7 90 6.3 4.8 0.4 9.7 41% .269 1.23 3.03 2.79 87 3.13 67.0 4.7
2010 LAN MLB 32 32 204.3 13 10 0 160 81 212 13 87 7.0 3.6 0.6 9.3 42% .275 1.18 3.14 2.91 84 3.01 68.0 5.4
2011 LAN MLB 33 33 233.3 21 5 0 174 54 248 15 92 6.7 2.1 0.6 9.6 45% .269 0.98 2.43 2.28 68 2.37 55.0 7.5
2012 LAN MLB 33 33 227.7 14 9 0 170 63 229 16 91 6.7 2.5 0.6 9.1 49% .262 1.02 2.93 2.53 71 2.44 56.0 7.3
2013 LAN MLB 33 33 236.0 16 9 0 164 52 232 11 100 6.3 2.0 0.4 8.8 49% .252 0.92 2.36 1.83 69 2.30 55.2 7.5
2014 LAN MLB 27 27 198.3 21 3 0 139 31 239 9 97 6.3 1.4 0.4 10.8 53% .278 0.86 1.78 1.77 56 1.98 48.6 7.0
2015 LAN MLB 33 33 232.7 16 7 0 163 42 301 15 93 6.3 1.6 0.6 11.6 52% .281 0.88 2.01 2.13 55 1.95 45.5 8.7
2016 LAN MLB 21 21 149.0 12 4 0 97 11 172 8 90 5.9 0.7 0.5 10.4 51% .254 0.72 1.83 1.69 52 2.01 44.5 5.7
2017 LAN MLB 27 27 175.0 18 4 0 136 30 202 23 91 7.0 1.5 1.2 10.4 49% .267 0.95 3.08 2.31 64 2.24 47.8 6.5
2018 LAN MLB 26 26 161.3 9 5 0 139 29 155 17 96 7.8 1.6 0.9 8.6 50% .274 1.04 3.14 2.73 86 3.11 69.5 4.1
2019 LAN MLB 11 11 72.0 6 1 0 66 12 67 10 91 8.3 1.5 1.3 8.4 50% .287 1.08 3.63 3.13 91 3.73 77.7 1.6
CareerMLB3293272168.315970016365482342155936.82.30.69.748%.2721.012.672.42722.5758.067.5

Statistics for All Levels

'opp' stats - Quality of opponents faced - have been moved and are available only as OPP_QUAL in the Statistics reports now.
Minor league stats are currently shownClick to hide.
YEAR Team Lg LG G GS IP W L SV H BB SO HR PPF H/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/9 GB% BABIP WHIP FIP ERA cFIP DRA DRA-
2006 DGR Rk GCL 10 8 37.0 2 0 1 28 5 54 0 88 6.8 1.2 0.0 13.1 52% .354 0.89 0.90 1.95 73 3.24 67.9
2007 GRL A MDW 20 20 97.3 7 5 0 72 50 134 5 96 6.7 4.6 0.5 12.4 49% .302 1.25 2.81 2.77 76 3.26 66.9
2007 JAX AA SOU 5 5 24.7 1 2 0 17 17 29 4 91 6.2 6.2 1.5 10.6 41% .228 1.38 5.20 3.64 123 4.60 94.4
2008 LAN MLB NL 22 21 107.7 5 5 0 109 52 100 11 93 9.1 4.3 0.9 8.4 51% .320 1.50 4.05 4.26 98 4.22 89.9
2008 JAX AA SOU 13 11 61.3 2 3 0 39 19 59 0 103 5.7 2.8 0.0 8.7 47% .239 0.95 2.24 1.91 71 2.28 46.7
2009 LAN MLB NL 31 30 171.0 8 8 0 119 91 185 7 90 6.3 4.8 0.4 9.7 41% .269 1.23 3.03 2.79 87 3.13 67.0
2010 LAN MLB NL 32 32 204.3 13 10 0 160 81 212 13 87 7.0 3.6 0.6 9.3 42% .275 1.18 3.14 2.91 84 3.01 68.0
2011 LAN MLB NL 33 33 233.3 21 5 0 174 54 248 15 92 6.7 2.1 0.6 9.6 45% .269 0.98 2.43 2.28 68 2.37 55.0
2012 LAN MLB NL 33 33 227.7 14 9 0 170 63 229 16 91 6.7 2.5 0.6 9.1 49% .262 1.02 2.93 2.53 71 2.44 56.0
2013 LAN MLB NL 33 33 236.0 16 9 0 164 52 232 11 100 6.3 2.0 0.4 8.8 49% .252 0.92 2.36 1.83 69 2.30 55.2
2014 LAN MLB NL 27 27 198.3 21 3 0 139 31 239 9 97 6.3 1.4 0.4 10.8 53% .278 0.86 1.78 1.77 56 1.98 48.6
2014 RCU A+ CAL 1 1 5.0 0 0 0 2 1 6 1 92 3.6 1.8 1.8 10.8 64% .100 0.60 4.53 1.80 83 1.98 41.9
2014 CHT AA SOU 1 1 5.0 0 0 0 6 2 9 0 116 10.8 3.6 0.0 16.2 46% .462 1.60 0.78 1.80 51 3.47 73.5
2015 LAN MLB NL 33 33 232.7 16 7 0 163 42 301 15 93 6.3 1.6 0.6 11.6 52% .281 0.88 2.01 2.13 55 1.95 45.5
2016 LAN MLB NL 21 21 149.0 12 4 0 97 11 172 8 90 5.9 0.7 0.5 10.4 51% .254 0.72 1.83 1.69 52 2.01 44.5
2016 RCU A+ CAL 1 1 3.0 0 0 0 1 0 5 0 98 3.0 0.0 0.0 15.0 100% .250 0.33 0.37 0.00 43 1.87 41.2
2017 LAN MLB NL 27 27 175.0 18 4 0 136 30 202 23 91 7.0 1.5 1.2 10.4 49% .267 0.95 3.08 2.31 64 2.24 47.8
2017 OKL AAA PCL 1 1 5.0 0 1 0 2 0 8 1 103 3.6 0.0 1.8 14.4 50% .143 0.40 3.12 1.80 54 1.32 28.2
2018 LAN MLB NL 26 26 161.3 9 5 0 139 29 155 17 96 7.8 1.6 0.9 8.6 50% .274 1.04 3.14 2.73 86 3.11 69.5
2019 LAN MLB NL 11 11 72.0 6 1 0 66 12 67 10 91 8.3 1.5 1.3 8.4 50% .287 1.08 3.63 3.13 91 3.73 77.7
2019 TUL AA TEX 1 1 6.0 0 0 0 5 0 6 2 113 7.5 0.0 3.0 9.0 56% .214 0.83 5.93 3.00 105 4.23 86.4
2019 OKL AAA PCL 1 1 4.3 0 0 0 4 2 6 1 102 8.3 4.2 2.1 12.5 56% .375 1.38 5.29 4.15 89 3.86 78.8

Plate Discipline

YEAR Pits Zone% Swing% Contact% Z-Swing% O-Swing% Z-Contact% O-Contact% SwStr%
2008 1754 0.5006 0.4076 0.7720 0.5581 0.2568 0.8571 0.5867 0.2280
2009 2865 0.4695 0.4213 0.7448 0.5695 0.2901 0.8081 0.6349 0.2552
2010 3342 0.5209 0.4363 0.7497 0.5985 0.2598 0.8119 0.5938 0.2503
2011 3453 0.5080 0.4747 0.7462 0.6197 0.3249 0.8418 0.5580 0.2538
2012 3448 0.4956 0.4577 0.7383 0.6167 0.3013 0.8283 0.5573 0.2617
2013 3424 0.5029 0.4807 0.7394 0.6347 0.3249 0.8371 0.5461 0.2606
2014 2608 0.5245 0.5219 0.7149 0.6762 0.3516 0.8205 0.4908 0.2851
2015 3382 0.4991 0.5056 0.6702 0.6611 0.3506 0.7903 0.4444 0.3298
2016 2057 0.5294 0.5109 0.6851 0.6602 0.3430 0.7955 0.4458 0.3149
2017 2427 0.4672 0.5080 0.6983 0.6825 0.3550 0.8307 0.4749 0.3017
2018 2361 0.4820 0.5083 0.7683 0.7083 0.3222 0.8660 0.5685 0.2317
2019 948 0.4536 0.5148 0.7193 0.6535 0.3996 0.8577 0.5314 0.2807
Career320690.49880.47670.72900.63470.31910.82580.53790.2710

Injury History  —  No longer being updated

Last Update: 12/31/2014 23:59 ET

Date On Date Off Transaction Days Games Side Body Part Injury Severity Surgery Date Reaggravation
2014-05-21 2014-05-23 DTD 2 2 Right Lower Leg Contusion Shin - Batting Practice Foul Ball - -
2014-03-26 2014-05-06 15-DL 41 31 - Back Inflammation - -
2012-09-12 2012-09-23 DTD 11 10 Right Hip Impingement -
2012-09-05 2012-09-11 DTD 6 4 Right Hip Impingement - -
2012-05-31 2012-05-31 DTD 0 0 - Foot Inflammation Plantar Fasciitis - -
2012-04-06 2012-04-08 DTD 2 2 - General Medical Illness Flu - -
2012-02-22 2012-02-24 Camp 2 0 - Low Back Stiffness - -
2009-09-06 2009-09-22 DTD 16 13 Right Shoulder Separation AC Joint -
2009-08-19 2009-08-19 DTD 0 0 General Medical Respiratory Flu -
2009-03-24 2009-03-24 Camp 0 0 Hip Contusion -

Compensation

Year Team Salary
2021 LAN $31,000,000
2020 LAN $31,000,000
2019 LAN $31,000,000
2018 LAN $35,571,429
2017 LAN $35,571,429
2016 LAN $34,571,429
2015 LAN $32,571,429
2014 LAN $6,571,429
2013 LAN $11,250,000
2012 LAN $7,750,000
2011 LAN $500,000
2010 LAN $440,000
2009 LAN $404,000
YearsDescriptionSalary
10 yrPrevious$165,201,145
2019Current$31,000,000
11 yrPvs + Cur$196,201,145
2 yrFuture$62,000,000
13 yrTotal$258,201,145

 

Service TimeAgentContract Status
10 y 105 dJ.D. Smart, Excel Sports3 years/$93M (2019-21)

Details
  • 3 years/$93M (2019-21). Signed re-worked extension with LA Dodgers 11/2/18 after opting out of previous contract. $23M signing bonus, paid each June 30, 2019-21. 19:$23,333,333, 20:$23,333,333, 21:$23,333,333. Annual performance bonuses: $1M each for 24, 26, 28, 30 games started. Award bonuses: $1.5M for Cy Young award. $0.5M for second- or third-place finish in Cy Young vote.
  • 7 years/$215M (2014-20). Signed extension with LA Dodgers 1/17/14 (avoided arbitration). $18M signing bonus. 14:$4M, 15:$30M, 16:$32M, 17:$33M, 18:$33M, 19:$32M, 20:$33M. Kershaw may opt out of contract after 2018 season. Award bonuses: $1M for Cy Young. $0.5M for 2nd or 3rd in Cy Young vote. Assignment bonus: $3M if traded during off-season. If traded during season, may void deal after World Series. If traded during off-season, may void deal after one season.
  • 2 years/$19M (2012-13). Signed extension with LA Dodgers 2/7/12 (avoided arbitration, $10M-$6.5M). $0.5M signing bonus. 12:$7.5M, 13:$11M.
  • 1 year/$0.5M (2011). Re-signed by LA Dodgers 3/2/11.
  • 1 year/$0.44M (2010). Re-signed by LA Dodgers 2/10.
  • 1 year/$0.404M (2009). Re-signed by LA Dodgers 3/6/09.
  • 1 year (2008). Contract purchased by LA Dodgers 5/24/08.
  • Drafted by LA Dodgers 2006 (1-7) (Highland Park HS, Dallas). $2.3M signing bonus.

2019 Preseason Forecast

Last Update: 1/27/2017 12:35 ET

PCT W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR BABIP WHIP ERA DRA VORP WARP
90o 7.3 3.5 0 15 15 109.3 78 18 109 11 .239 0.88 2.44 2.64 24.7 2.7
80o 7.2 3.8 0 15 15 104.1 79 18 104 11 .249 0.93 2.74 2.96 21.5 2.3
70o 7.1 3.9 0 15 15 100.4 79 18 100 11 .257 0.97 2.95 3.18 19.3 2.1
60o 7 4.1 0 15 15 97.3 79 18 97 11 .263 1.00 3.12 3.38 17.3 1.9
50o 6.9 4.2 0 15 15 94.5 79 18 94 11 .269 1.03 3.29 3.56 15.5 1.7
40o 6.8 4.4 0 15 15 91.7 79 18 91 11 .275 1.06 3.47 3.75 13.6 1.5
30o 6.7 4.5 0 15 15 88.7 79 18 88 11 .281 1.10 3.64 3.95 11.6 1.3
20o 6.6 4.7 0 15 15 85.3 79 18 85 11 .289 1.14 3.86 4.18 9.3 1.0
10o 6.4 4.9 0 15 15 80.6 78 18 80 11 .299 1.20 4.17 4.51 6.0 0.6
Weighted Mean6.94.20151594.478189411.2681.033.283.5515.61.7

Preseason Long-Term Forecast (Beyond the 2019 Projections)

Playing time estimates are based on performance, not Depth Charts.
Year Age W L SV G GS IP H BB SO HR GB% BABIP WHIP ERA DRA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9 WARP
202032131103333215176452122748.2811.033.593.997.41.98.91.13.1
202133131103232210170422112648.2811.013.503.897.31.89.01.13.3
202234131103333213173422132648.2821.013.513.917.31.89.01.13.2
202335121003030187150361902448.2780.993.503.897.21.79.11.23.0
2024369802424140115301351948.2781.043.764.187.41.98.71.21.9
2025379802424141114301391848.2791.023.674.087.31.98.91.22.1
2026389802323134109271321748.2811.023.624.037.31.88.91.12.1
202739870202011897241161648.2821.033.674.087.41.88.81.21.7
202840760191911092231071548.2811.043.734.157.51.98.71.21.5

Comparable Players (Similarity Index 60)

Rank Score Name Year Run Average Trend
1 78 Roger Clemens 1994 3.22
2 78 CC Sabathia 2012 4.01
3 76 Brandon Webb 2010 0.00 DNP
4 73 Roy Halladay 2008 3.22
5 72 Max Lanier 1947 0.00 DNP
6 72 Johnny Cueto 2017 4.70
7 72 Justin Verlander 2014 4.98
8 71 Lefty Gomez 1940 6.59
9 70 Erik Bedard 2010 0.00 DNP
10 70 Carl Hubbell 1934 2.56
11 69 Jake Arrieta 2017 4.38
12 69 David Price 2017 3.62
13 69 Greg Maddux 1997 2.24
14 68 C.J. Wilson 2012 4.54
15 67 Don Sutton 1976 3.30
16 67 Mike Garcia 1955 4.27
17 67 Roy Oswalt 2009 4.12
18 67 Sandy Koufax 1967 0.00 DNP
19 66 Felix Hernandez 2017 4.78
20 66 Harry Brecheen 1946 2.80
21 65 A.J. Burnett 2008 4.43
22 65 Sean Marshall 2014 9.00
23 64 Adam Wainwright 2013 3.09
24 63 Carlos Carrasco 2018 3.66
25 63 Jose Rijo 1996 0.00 DNP
26 63 John Lackey 2010 4.77
27 63 Cliff Lee 2010 3.56
28 62 Ben Sheets 2010 4.90
29 62 George Pipgras 1931 4.90
30 62 Wade Davis 2017 2.45
31 62 Johan Santana 2010 3.03
32 62 Pedro Martinez 2003 2.51
33 61 Tex Hughson 1947 4.35
34 61 Scot Shields 2007 4.32
35 61 Justin Duchscherer 2009 0.00 DNP
36 60 Lefty Grove 1931 2.62
37 60 Mark Melancon 2016 2.02
38 59 Phil Niekro 1970 4.86
39 59 Wilcy Moore 1928 6.54
40 59 Francisco Cordero 2006 3.82
41 58 Anibal Sanchez 2015 5.10
42 58 Warren Spahn 1952 3.26
43 58 Corey Kluber 2017 2.47
44 58 B.J. Ryan 2007 14.54
45 58 Johnny Sain 1949 5.73
46 57 Ryan Madson 2012 0.00 DNP
47 57 Jonathan Papelbon 2012 2.83
48 57 Bobby Jenks 2012 0.00 DNP
49 57 Jake Westbrook 2009 0.00 DNP
50 57 Chad Qualls 2010 8.54
51 57 Gio Gonzalez 2017 3.09
52 57 Tanner Roark 2018 4.49
53 57 Tim Hudson 2007 3.49
54 56 Joe Nathan 2006 1.58
55 56 Urban Shocker 1922 3.40
56 56 Bret Saberhagen 1995 4.59
57 56 Clay Buchholz 2016 5.17
58 56 David Phelps 2018 0.00 DNP
59 56 Doug Fister 2015 4.89
60 56 Tony Watson 2016 3.33
61 56 Bill Hands 1971 4.16
62 55 Whitey Ford 1960 3.50
63 55 Charlie Root 1930 5.54
64 55 Peter Moylan 2010 3.39
65 55 Ted Higuera 1989 3.72
66 54 Sparky Lyle 1976 2.86
67 54 Tyson Ross 2018 4.39
68 54 Guy Morton 1924 8.76
69 54 Tom Seaver 1976 2.76
70 54 Alexi Ogando 2015 3.99
71 54 Jake Peavy 2012 3.62
72 54 Bob Veale 1967 4.13
73 54 John Smoltz 1998 3.11
74 54 Robb Nen 2001 3.24
75 53 Keith Foulke 2004 2.39
76 53 Joe Dobson 1948 4.55
77 53 Mark Buehrle 2010 4.49
78 53 Bob Gibson 1967 3.18
79 53 Kevin Gregg 2009 4.98
80 53 Orel Hershiser 1990 4.26
81 53 Kelvim Escobar 2007 3.63
82 53 Jeff Fassero 1994 3.50
83 53 Ryan Dempster 2008 3.27
84 53 Gaylord Perry 1970 3.78
85 53 J.R. Richard 1981 0.00 DNP
86 53 Larry Jackson 1962 4.32 DNP
87 53 Michael Gonzalez 2009 3.39
88 52 Red Ruffing 1936 3.90
89 52 Pedro Feliciano 2008 4.05
90 52 Mort Cooper 1944 2.50
91 52 Jordan Zimmermann 2017 6.24
92 52 Mariano Rivera 2001 2.68
93 52 Jered Weaver 2014 3.67
94 52 Cy Blanton 1940 5.06
95 52 George Uhle 1930 4.15
96 52 Darren O'Day 2014 1.83
97 52 Lance Lynn 2018 5.00
98 52 Pat Malone 1934 3.72
99 52 Heath Bell 2009 2.71
100 51 Adam Ottavino 2017 5.06

BP Annual Player Comments

YearComment
2019  Due to publishing agreements, the 2019 player comments and team essays are only available in the Baseball Prospectus 2019 book (available in hardcopy, and soon e-book and Kindle).
2018 There isn't much left to say about Kershaw's brilliant performance. For a seventh straight year he put up one of the five best seasons of any National League pitcher, as told by Cy Young voters. And that'd likely be seven straight top-three finishes if he'd just stayed healthy in 2016. But therein lies the rub: For the third time in four years Kershaw missed time with injury, and most alarmingly it was a second straight back issue. With over 2,000 total big-league innings on the odometer, any carpool of consecutive foundational injuries blares reggaeton alarms out the windows as it cruises by—especially since he's owed another nine guaranteed figures. The big Texan rebounded to dominate for most of his first World Series run, though the sting of a lost four-run lead in pivotal swing Game 5 leaves another mark. He'll shuffle into his third decade still in search of an elusive ring to tie off a résumé that tells the tale of one of the greatest pitching runs the game has ever seen.
2017 It's easy to be at a loss for words when it comes to Kershaw because it is hard to describe an athlete, a man buried under mountains of accomplishment that are in turn emtombed under a crush of expectations, which have been subsumed by praise. He's a Russian Nesting Doll of achievement, operating on the peripheries of what we consider humanly possible. Kershaw debuted as a full-time starter in 2009 and has pitched at a Cy Young level from that point on, garnering three awards and amassing more black ink than a tattoo parlor in the process. He ascended a staircase built on the astonished giggles of Vin Scully describing "public enemy number one," shedding the lofty comparisons draped on him as a top prospect and emerging into his own light. He is one of the historic greats, operating in real time. What once took on an ethereal quality looks far more recognizable these days. Not the results, goodness no, those are still pristine, but rather the process. His curveball, which once arced so effortlessly towards the heavens before snapping down and alighting in the catcher's glove, now rises furiously and descends with purpose, driven hard by the force of gravity to which it had previously seemed immune. Where he once seemed to glide, Kershaw grinds, with remarkable effectiveness. Staggeringly, the more mortal he looks the more godly his performance becomes, with 2016 representing a career-best ERA, albeit in limited innings. To quote Robert O'Connell "[Kershaw] is, principally, a worker." In this way it is easier to relate to him, to recognize ourselves in him, but perhaps just a better, more competent version of ourselves. Which might be why it is so tempting for managers to lean on him longer than necessary come playoff time. It's not that Kershaw can't pitch in the playoffs (4.55 ERA), but rather because he appears so often to be limitless that he is extended well beyond what would be asked of others. This is not to excuse his playoff performance so much as to ascertain a reason. Some would have you believe there's an allergy to the big stage, an aversion to the later innings. Reason would tell you he has his breaking points, distant though they may be, and he's pushed both to and past them in the biggest moments. A most human trait indeed. Perhaps then, we can celebrate Kershaw The Man for making the spectacular become routine, rather than knock Kershaw The Narrative for his humanity.
2016 You know how everyone freaked out about how good Zack Greinke was last season? Kershaw was still better. People forget that, because Kershaw's dominance has become... mundane isn't right, but perhaps expected? Taken for granted, at least. He took his MVP- and Cy Young-winning 2014 campaign and basically hit Ctrl-C Ctrl-V, posting a matching 2.16 DRA while throwing more innings and striking out a higher percentage of those who dared oppose him. Kershaw was quite good in the postseason as well, which still feels worthy of note even though the narrative that he melts in October should've been put to bed in 2013. It's hard to imagine anything but injury slowing Kershaw down, and as the lanky lefty deals in his prime years we simply have the good fortune of watching one of the greatest pitching careers of all time. He's already more than a third of the way to Roger Clemens' career PWARP, yet Kershaw won't turn 30 until 2018.
2015 What can be said about Kershaw that hasn't already been said about bacon, sex and baseball? He's the best, and he proved it with an historic 2014 campaign. He threw a no-hitter and won his third Cy Young in four years along with his first MVP (and the Dodgers' first since 1988). It was the first time a pitcher had won an MVP Award in the NL since 1968. His no-hitter, according to Game Score, was the second-best nine-inning start ever, just behind Kerry Wood's 20-strikeout, should-have-been-a-perfect-game performance in 1998. Kershaw was always a good prospect (he was drafted seventh overall) and had All-Star upside, but when he added a slider to his repertoire, he made the leap from merely very good to historically great. The comparisons to Sandy Koufax look less absurd by the day, and it's worth noting that Kershaw turned the corner and became Clayton Kershaw two years younger than Koufax did. Here's hoping modern medicine means we get 15 more years.
2014 A year ago you could have found a debate over the best pitcher in baseball, but not any more. Kershaw won his third consecutive ERA title (and second ERA+ title), and became the first starter to drop under the hard deck of 2.00 since Clemens in 2005, which suggests the terrifying possibility that he's only getting better. Even scarier: He spent much of the year without a functioning changeup, throwing only a dozen over a two-month stretch after the All-Star break. Instead, his cliff-diving curveball took a more prominent role, holding batters to a .095 average with no extra-base hits in more than 400 pitches. It's not hard to imagine yet another leap forward from Kershaw should he ever really master the changeup; he enters spring training just 25 years old, after all.
2013 Kershaw rolled another Clayton Kershaw season off the assembly line, and were it not for a drop in offensive support (4.0 runs per game) and the narrative arc of R.A. Dickey, he probably would have claimed a second straight Cy Young Award. As it was, he still led the league in ERA and came within one strikeout of the league lead as well. He'd have captured that title for sureas well as the innings onewere it not for late-season right hip impingement that limited him to one start from September 12 through 27. The good news is that he closed the season strong, with a pair of eight-inning starts, and didn't need surgery for what was initially feared to be a torn acetabular labrum. Kershaw still has one more year of club control after the coming year, when he'll earn $11 million. With the cost of long-term contracts only risingalong with the Dodgers' payrollthe team would do well to lock him up before another market-setting deal comes along.
2012 At the ripe old age of 23, Kershaw put it all together, winning not only the Pitchers Triple Crown but the NL Cy Young award. The keyaside from the best offensive support of his career, a modest 4.5 runs per gamewas the continued improvement of his slider. According to the PITCHf/x data at Texasleaguers.com, Kershaw's use of the pitch rose from 19.6 percent in 2010 to 24.6 percent in 2011, while the combined percentage of strikes on whiffs and fouls rose from 33.2 percent in 2010 to 40.8 percent in 2011, helping him get ahead of hitters more often and making them chase more pitches out of the zone. While there's certainly reason for the Dodgers to lock him up long term la Matt Kemp, that's the next owner's job given that this past winter marked Kershaw's first year of arbitration eligibility.
2011 In just his second full season, Kershaw took another large step toward fulfilling his destiny as a major-league ace. Continuing the shift away from his curveball as the primary accompaniment to his mid-90s fastball, he increasingly relied on his slider, which shares the same release point and early flight path as its knee-buckling sibling but generates almost three times as many swings and misses and about 50 percent more fouls. The switch helped Kershaw cut the previous year's unintentional walk rate by 44 percent while still whiffing more than one hitter per inning; the combination of improved efficiency and maturity allowed him to trim his pitches per inning by seven percent and average one more inning per start. He would rank fourth in the league in strikeout and hit rate, seventh in home run rate, and ninth in ERA, all without cracking the game's top 25 in Pitcher Abuse Points. It is staggering to realize that Kershaw is roughly four years younger than Tim Lincecum, Ubaldo Jimenez, Josh Johnson, and Cole Hamels. Dude's gonna earn some hardware sooner or later.
2010 Kershaw took a major step towards elite status in 2009, posting the NL's lowest hit rate, second-lowest homer rate, and fifth-highest strikeout rate. A key was the incorporation of a slider into his already-impressive arsenal of a mid-90s fastball, knee-buckling curve, and changeup. The two off-speed pitches share the same release point and early flight path, making them difficult for the hitter to distinguish from one another until too late; the new pitch produced significantly more strikes via swings-and-misses as well as fouls than its big-bending sibling. Kershaw's numbers from the point of introducing it on June 4 are eye-popping: 2.04 ERA, 10.2 K/9, 2.3 K/BB, 0.2 HR/9. Walks are still an issue, particularly as they run up his already-limited pitch counts, but he's a bona fide ace in the making.
2009 Ranked fifth on our prospect list last year, Kershaw generated tremendous buzz from the outset of spring training; a YouTube clip of Vin Scully declaring his knee-buckling strike-three curveball Public Enemy Number One drew half a million visitors in just a few days. Kershaw debuted on May 25 and initially scuffled, putting up a 33/24 K/BB ratio in 38 2/3 innings over eight starts before returning to Jacksonville in early July. Recalled three weeks later, he exhibited improved controla 67/28 K/BB ratio in 69 inningsand his poise impressed observers as much as his stuff did. The Dodgers carefully monitored his workload all year, and if the final numbers didnt dazzle, they were great for a 20-year-old. Theres no reason to get off this bandwagon; as the Dodgers have shown with Billingsley, they know how to handle a prized pitching prospect as well as any team.
2008 Ladies and gentlemen, start your superlatives. Picked seventh overall in the 2006 draft, this Dallas native stepped to the fore as the top pitching prospect in the minors last year by manhandling the Midwest League thanks to a combination of size and stuff that scouts have called "once in a generation," comparing him to Scott Kazmir, but bigger and with cleaner mechanics. Though Kershaw did pitch poorly in a few A-ball starts, he skipped all the way to Double-A in August and while the results were uneven, the teenager continued to missed plenty of bats. That'll happen when you have a 93- to 95-mph fastball that can touch 97, a plus curveball, and a rapidly improving changeup. A true number-one starter in the making, Kershaw will start the year in Double-A Jacksonville, and his performance, not his age, will dictate his timetable.
2007 With the seventh pick in the 2006 draft, Logan White had the run of the entire prep ranks, and he chose this lefty. Kershaw`s clean mechanics and excellent command of a 92 to 94 MPH fastball and a plus curveball draw raves. He made mincemeat out of GCL hitters, and may have the highest ceiling of any Dodger pitching prospect; our own Kevin Goldstein rated him as the number-two southpaw starter in the minors back in August.

BP Articles

Click here to see articles tagged with Clayton Kershaw

BP Chats

DateQuestionAnswer
2019-02-25 16:00:00 (link to chat)What's the state of Clayton Kershaw? Is he on the decline, or do you see a bounce back to good health in his future?
(Michael from California)
Oof. Yes, he's on the decline. But will there be plateaus of value where he figures out how to get outs with diminished stuff? One would think so. One would hope so. But we've already seen peak Kershaw, that's pretty clear. (Jon Hegglund)
2018-09-10 14:00:00 (link to chat)Justin Mason is mad. He's conducting mock 2019 fantasy baseball drafts this weekend. Which players do you see infiltrating the top 10 picks in 2019 compared to this season's ADP top 10? Jose Ramirez? Aaron Judge? Chris Sale? And who do we see dropping out? Kershaw? Harper? Stanton? (2018 ADP) 1 Mike Trout 2 Jose Altuve 3 Nolan Arenado 4 Trea Turner 5 Clayton Kershaw 6 Bryce Harper 7 Paul Goldschmidt 8 Giancarlo Stanton 9 Charlie Blackmon 10 Mookie Betts
(Tom Pringle from UK)
He is. I think it's the lack of sleep. Ramirez is a no-doubter - forget top 10, he's top 5. Judge's injury probably stops him, although I think he and Sale will be borderline. Kershaw will be out, as will Blackmon, and probablg Goldschmidt. Bryce has been really good for a couple of months now and I think a good last three weeks might just keep him in there. (Darius Austin)
2018-07-30 23:00:00 (link to chat)How much should I give up for 2 months of Clayton Kershaw? Is Florial, Adonis Medina, and Franklyn Kilome too much? Mostly worried about Florial!
(The Chris from Mexico)
If you're in it with a chance to win it, heck yeah, go for it. I'd be more worried about Kershaw's back, honestly, but no guts, no glory.

Deep cut: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLA9hAlrMUU (Wilson Karaman)
2017-10-24 20:00:00 (link to chat)Do any of you have a rooting interest in the Series?
(Jimmie from Mount Holly)
I grew up a Mets fan, and my grandfather passed on his interest in his hometown Rays to me so ... nah, not really. I kind of want to see some of the players on each team grab a ring (Carlos Beltran, Clayton Kershaw, Curtis Granderson). As far as I'm concerned, I'm just rooting for awesome baseball. (World Series Chat)
2017-10-24 20:00:00 (link to chat)Proving why Clayton Kershaw has been mostly ineffective in the playoffs would seem to be difficult, if not impossible, based mostly on the small sample. However, in the name of speculation have any of you ever taken a close look, or read anyone who has, at his various starts, to see a pattern of perhaps why he has so often failed?
(answerdave from Prodigy)
Our esteemed minor-league editor Crake Goldstein did this last winter:

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/prospects/article/30863/deep-but-playable-datum-kershaw/

Crait's conclusion was that he's been somewhat hurt by poor managing and bullpen implosions behind him. Craij still found that he hadn't pitched as well, but it was closer to within the bounds of a reasonable variance from his regular season. It's an interesting piece. -- Jarrett (World Series Chat)
2017-03-13 13:00:00 (link to chat)A couple years ago, my son wrote a book for school about some feat of strength, I can't remember what, and all the Dodgers pitchers tried unsuccessfully to do it, until finally Clayton Kershaw took over and did it. My question: Do you think this book contributed to Zack Greinke leaving the Dodgers? I mean, he was called out by name -- I believe the page said, "Then Zack Greinke tried to lift it, but he wasn't strong enough."
(snidog from Utah)
I want to believe that there was just some sort stuck in a rock sitting outside the stadium one day, no explanation, and if Zach Lee had been the one to pull it out he'd be the ace of the Dodgers now. Maybe Greinke left the Dodgers as part of a vision quest, looking to build up his strength and defeat the man who bested him, and fulfill his destiny. It also might have been the money. (Patrick Dubuque)
2016-12-22 13:00:00 (link to chat)% Chance a Met SP finishes in the top 2 of NL Cy Young voting next year
(Prison Mike from Scranton)
If we're talking Top 2 in a world where Clayton Kershaw exists, then I'd go with something like 20 percent. There's a LOT of variance in Cy Young voting. (If you wanted to eliminate Noah Syndergaard from the discussion, then I'd drop the number down to like three percent.) (Bryan Grosnick)
2016-11-11 13:00:00 (link to chat)Thoughts on Braves signing colon? I could stop there but I also wanted to ask about prospects. Why is a curve so much harder to learn? If it is then why bother with a curve if you can just teach a slider, splitter, sinker or any other pitch?
(Liam from From the past 5 years)
Braves needed reliable innings eaters and Colon and Dickey both make sense for them. They have a ton of pitching on the farm, but most of it is 2+ years away. Gotta fill 324 starts in the interim. Also, if either or both has a good first half, they are flippable at the deadline.

There is a very long answer to your pitching question, but the short one is slider is a grip pitch, curveball is a feel/spin pitch. As for why teach a curveball: Clayton Kershaw. (Jeffrey Paternostro)
2016-09-21 13:00:00 (link to chat)If Clayton Kershaw spent a season as a one-inning closer in the Pioneer League, what would his final stats look like?
(Sam from CA)
Man. I think he'd give up a run or three, but he'd have a K/9 over 18 and I'd guess he posts more ten pitch, three strikeout innings than runs allowed at the end of the year. (Brendan Gawlowski)
2016-09-23 12:30:00 (link to chat)If Clayton Kershaw spent a season as a one-inning closer in the Pioneer League, what would his final stats look like?
(Brendan from WA)
So, let's work backward with a few assumptions. That's 30 innings. I think he'd strike out around 20 per nine. So that leaves around 23 outs for him to get, and I do think he'd have to deal with a *relatively* normal BABIP, especially with those defenders behind him; so call it a .215 BABIP. To get his final 23 outs on balls in play, then, he'd have to face 29 batters (plus walks, HBP). So he'd allow six hits. He's walking less than a batter per nine *as is* in the majors as a starter, and I don't know whether he'd walk more (because batters would give up swinging) or fewer (because lol short-season hitters), but let's call it the same walk rate. So two or three walks.

So, over 30 innings, eight or nine baserunners. Is one of the NINE balls he allows in play likely to go out? No, not likely. So rule out the homers. The odds aren't very good than any three of the nine baserunners would bunch up, but it's certainly possible, so I wouldn't rule out a run. In fact, I guess I'd bet on one run. So, final line:

0.30 ERA
0.28 WHIP
.063 batting average against
.063/.086/.083 slash line (Sam Miller)
2016-03-09 19:00:00 (link to chat)If the opening bid on Clayton Kershaw in NL Tout Wars is $40, do you hear crickets?
(sbnbaseball from NJ)
Probably. Although Ray Guilfoyle of Fake Teams has kicked himself about 100,000 times this winter about not buying Kersh last year and might say $41. (Mike Gianella)
2016-01-29 11:00:00 (link to chat)How badly is LAA going to miss giving up Sean Newcomb? If he can iron out some control issues, what does the ceiling look like? I've seen a Jon Lester comp in several places.
(Dave from San Diego)
Ah the "if game." *IF* he irons out his control issues, he's a frontline starter. The reality is that there's work to be done in that category, and few can go from 4.9 walks per nine to under 2, like Clayton Kershaw did. How much they'll miss him will of course depend on what Simmons, and more realistically, the Angels do in the next few years. (Top 101 Chat with Craig Goldstein)
2015-09-30 19:00:00 (link to chat)What are some of your least favorite MLB players that people try to make comps to? Not like Mike Trout, or Clayton Kershaw, where the prospect simply can't be anywhere near as good, but they are comparing prospect to unicorns, such as when every command/control guy with low whiffs is Mark Buehrle. This is rambling. I'm sorry, Mau.
(James Fegan from Elkhart, IN)
First the good James question.

I know it's not technically what you were asking but I hate it when a right handed dude with solid average to plus command who throws in the 89-91 range gets comp'd to Greg Maddux. Everyone has this warped idea of what Maddux was and it needs to stop. I'm sick of it!

The Baez-Sheffield comps were both irresponsible and irksome when people couldn't properly separate the swing comp to the actual player skills.

And yeah the MB comps are tiresome as well. Comps on twitter are generally awful. (Mauricio Rubio)
2015-07-23 17:00:00 (link to chat)Who's the best pitcher in baseball right now?
(Andy from DE)
Now that he is back on track, Clayton Kershaw. When he's tossing that curve close to the zone (and not spiking it, missing a great deal like he did earlier in the year), he's #1 for me. (Mike Gianella)
2015-04-13 15:00:00 (link to chat)Outpitching Clayton Kershaw in certainly a nice accomplishment, but it's only one game. What can we expect to see from Archie Bradley long-term through the rest of 2015?
(wauzer from Right Here)
I'd like to see him command his pitches and continue to develop into a solid top of the rotation arm. I'm not sure what to expect, but that's what I'll be watching for. (Sahadev Sharma)
2015-02-13 19:00:00 (link to chat)Thanks for the chat, Mike! What are your thoughts on taking Clayton Kershaw in say the Top 5? SP seems deep, and you can build a nice staff later in the draft. The other thing is, in order to keep your advantage in SP cats by taking Kershaw, don't you have to take another pitcher earlier than you'd think, which again puts you behind the curve for hitting cats? By that I mean you don't want to take Kershaw 1st rd, then not another pitcher until 10th/11th rd as that might be just as good as someone who takes pitchers in say 4th and 7th/8th rds, and you've lost the advantage Kershaw gives you, while also losing out a potentially elite hitter in the 1st rd.
(Shawn from Cubicle)
I had a long discussion about this today on Twitter with Ray Guilfoyle of Fake Teams and Dan Strafford of Sirius XM. I think it's OK to do, but given the variability at the bottom of the SP pool, you have a greater likelihood of getting a Johnny Cueto or Corey Kluber type relatively late (like last year) as opposed to getting a great hitter late. If Kershaw tanks, that's 1/9th of your rotation going down in flames, versus if a Bryce Harper tanks that's 1/14th of your offense. My preference is to start taking pitchers in the 6th round or later. I'll pounce earlier on an arm I like if he falls, but generally speaking I hate taking a pitcher in the top five. I would have taken Pedro #1 during his prime without hesitation, but that's as crazy an exception to a rule as you are going to get. (Mike Gianella)
2015-01-12 13:00:00 (link to chat)gerrit cole = cy young this season. tell me why you do/don't agree.
(bloodmoney from detroit)
The easiest answer is Clayton Kershaw. It's hard to pick against the best pitcher in baseball by a fair margin to win an award for best pitcher in his league. (Matthew Kory)
2015-01-12 13:00:00 (link to chat)Expanding on the "Cole for Cy Young" question above, what are your thoughts for him this year? Do we see more of what he was doing to finish 2014?
(EB from Philly)
It's no news that he's an exciting young pitcher. Love the strikeouts and what he did in September last year (7.5 K/BB ratio) was amazing. I don't think he's that guy going forward, but then that's Pedro Martinez/2014 Clayton Kershaw territory so. Expecting him to win the Cy is a bit much. Expecting him to be the best starter on a decent Pirates team is probably about right. (Matthew Kory)
2014-12-18 15:00:00 (link to chat)Craig, I'm a fan of both baseball and Guy Fieri. As you know, Guy likes to compare food to things in Flavortown. I'm wondering what you would compare a Clayton Kershaw curveball to in Flavortown?
(Chris from Seattle)
Donkey Sauce, amigo. (Craig Goldstein)
2014-09-17 14:00:00 (link to chat)If Mike Trout had decided to go one year at a time (or Clayton Kershaw) when he hit free agency, how much would a team have paid for one year? It seems like a real argument could be made that he'd be worth $50M per year, considering how little risk the deal would carry, but would sticker shock allow a team to really go that far?
(Superstar from Los Angeles)
Eventually the market will dictate what a player is worth no matter the sticker shock. If a club has the resources they're going to spend money in most cases. In a vacuum is player x worth 50 mil? Probably. However, you have to take the human element in to account too. If you were 22 and someone offered you 150 million dollars regardless of performance or injury what do you do? On the flip side, whats the difference between 150 and 500 million dollars? 350 million dollars. I do not know if that's something I could walk away from. (Joshua Kusnick)
2014-09-17 14:00:00 (link to chat)Franchise values are skyrocketing, so why are athletes still seen as greedy when their agents are negotiating contracts?
(Alex from Anaheim)
There has always been a disconnect with athletes. Tom Hard gets 20 million dollars to play Bane no one bats an eye. Clayton Kershaw cracks 30 mil for 162 game season and the whole world explodes. The market always dictates a players worth. If a team is willing to pay a certain amount of money for a player then it is what it is. I think culturally sports hit home closer than any movie could because at some point in time we all have played sports while not all of us have acted in a play or movie. As long as TV revenues keep going up players will continue to be compensated at the levels we see today if not more. If you told me some players would make what they make today when I started off 12 years ago I probably would not have believed you. However that is where we are now. A big reason we've gotten here is because the MLBPA has done an amazing job funneling those funds to active MLB players. Not international free agents (with a few exceptions), not the draft, just the players. League minimum is 500k now. When I started I believe it was 350. That's a huge jump in a very short amount of time. Lets hope a labor stoppage doesn't derail all of this because if that happens I believe the bubble will burst. (Joshua Kusnick)
2014-04-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)Given what you've seen to date, and considering it's still only April, who do you think will be in the Series?
(John from CT)
I looked up the staff preseason predictions to see who I had winning the World Series. I chose the Nationals. I also had the Rays and Diamondbacks making the playoffs, and Clayton Kershaw, Mat Latos, and Chris Sale finishing in the top-six of Cy Young voting. So that's a good way to start the chat.

I'll stick with the Nationals for now. In the AL, I'll guess Detroit. (R.J. Anderson)
2014-04-17 12:00:00 (link to chat)What are your thoughts on Steven Matz of the Mets? I recently heard Dan Warthen comparing him to Kershaw, which to me sounds crazy, but coming back from TJ, he did pitch well last year. Do you think he'll shoot up prospect lists this year? Could he form a nasty set of pitchers in NY with Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, and Montero sometime in the future? Thanks in advance Matt. I really appreciate the help.
(Jeff from New Hampshire)
First, how perfect is it that Matz plays for the Metz, er Mets? I personally find it perfect.

Comparing anyone, let alone a minor-leaguer coming off TJ surgery to Clayton Kershaw sounds foolish to me. From what I know about Matz, he might be better off in the pen (high stress delivery and undeveloped secondary offerings). Still, it never hurts to have a young guy who can miss bats with his fastball. I feel comfortable saying he's not Kershaw, but he could help the Mets in a few years and we all know they can use all the help they can get. (Matthew Kory)
2014-04-03 19:30:00 (link to chat)Crag, are you at all worried about Clayton Kershaw? I'm asking because I have a trade offer on the table I'm considering right now. The offer is Kershaw for Mark Appell, Addison Russell, Aaron Sanchez and Noah Syndergaard (I would be the one getting Kershaw). The league I'm playing in is a keeper league with 16 teams, H2H, points-based scoring. I would be able to keep Kershaw for the next four years (2015-2018). Would you pull the trigger on this one?
(Armin from Vienna, Austria)
I talked about my concern with Kershaw before but this is a hell of an offer. I think I'd take Kershaw. As much as I love the prospects, there's a wide variation of how they all pan out. I know it can be scary to give up all that potential, but not having to give up a major league for Clayton F***ing Kershaw is insane. Gotta do it. (Craig Goldstein)
2014-04-03 19:30:00 (link to chat)Hey Craig! Thanks for taking the chat questions today, I love the work you all do. As for my question, how worried are you about Clayton Kershaw's injury? Are the dodgers playing it safe, or is there some legitimate concern?
(Suzy from Louisiana)
Thanks Suzy. As a Dodgers fan I'm distraught. As a baseball fan I'm mad at not getting to see him pitch. Aside from that though I don't think it's huge cause for concern. He's a massive investment and I think they're acting with an abundance of caution. It appears to be a muscle issue and not a shoulder/joint issue, so that's what I'm clinging to. (Craig Goldstein)
2014-02-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)How do you go about understanding why and how certain pitchers with bad mechanics succeed, and certain pitchers with good mechanics fail?
(justarobert from Santa Clara)
Some pitchers can overcome mechanical barriers to find success, but it requires a mastery of their inefficient mechanics. For example, Cliff Lee has very poor balance that should be a barrier to repetition, yet he repeats his limbo-leaning delivery with exceptional consistency. Clayton Kershaw has a triple gear-change in his momentum that used to hamper his command, but he has since mastered it. These guys are the exception, as most pitchers crumble with such barriers to repetition.

Pitchers with great mechanics who fail - that usually comes down to lack of stuff or an inability to repeat the timing of their motion. The timing element is the most crucial and the most volatile, and most pitchers' good and bad days boil down to timing. They can have awesome baseline grades, but can't hone the rotational elements that must be coordinated within hundredths of a second. This is actually reasonably common, because pitching full-speed with utmost consistency is really difficult. Hence why most pitchers miss the majority of their targets.

On the jukebox: Incubus, "Pardon Me" (Doug Thorburn)
2014-01-21 18:00:00 (link to chat)What kind of bump do you give pitchers in a league with a transaction limit (60 moves)(auction league)? thanks!
(shakyhands from NJ)
I'd probably give them a bit of a bump since you're stuck with the pitchers you get, but on the other hand the predictability of most pitchers doesn't change. Bump up the top guys (like Clayton Kershaw) more significantly and don't change the guys in the middle or the bottom much if at all. (Mike Gianella)
2014-01-21 18:00:00 (link to chat)What kind of bump do you give pitchers in a league with a transaction limit (60 moves)(auction league)? thanks!
(shakyhands from NJ)
I'd probably give them a bit of a bump since you're stuck with the pitchers you get, but on the other hand the predictability of most pitchers doesn't change. Bump up the top guys (like Clayton Kershaw) more significantly and don't change the guys in the middle or the bottom much if at all. (Mike Gianella)
2013-10-28 18:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Mike, With a declining K rate, is Price worth the price of $23 in a standard 5x5 ($260) league?
(Cal Guy from Cal)
Hi Cal Guy:

In mixed? He's probably iffy at that price without inflation. Not many pitchers are worth $20 or more unless you're talking about elite level pitchers like Clayton Kershaw. In AL-only, the opposite holds; David Price is a likely keeper unless you're in a league with virtually zero inflation. He earned $19 in AL-only and that was in a down year. I'd throw him back in mixed, keep him in AL-only unless inflation is non-existent. (Mike Gianella)
2013-10-11 14:00:00 (link to chat)In your time evaluating pitcher mechanics, who are some pitchers who displayed an erratic or unconventional delivery, yet managed to succeed on a consistent, year-to-year basis? Why were they successful compared to other pitchers who seem to be at the mercy of their mechanics?
(Nick from Southern California)
Amazing question. Pitchers with mechanical irregularities are fighting an uphill battle, but that isn't to say that it can't be done. My favorite example of this is Clayton Kershaw - he has three different speeds on his way to the plate, which has the potential to greatly disrupt his timing. It was an issue early in his career, but now Kershaw has figured it out and can repeat his delivery ad nauseum. Kershaw has also improved his posture at release point in virtually every season of his career, and the best pitchers are those who make the necessary adjustments over time (Felix Hernandez is another example). Also, keep in mind that "unconventional" is not synonymous with "inefficient," and there are pitchers who have some funk yet possess solid mechanics. There are many pitchers who survive on pure stuff, in spite of their mechanics, and these players tend to fall off the map when their raw stuff starts to wane and the lack of command or shallow release point rears its ugly head.

On the jukebox: Snot, "Tecato" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-10-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Say by some miraculous confluence of events Clayton Kershaw doesn't get extended and hits the open market. How much would you offer, the current free agent landscape being what it is? Does the starting price start at something like 8/250?
(sitrick2 from Minneapolis)
I cringe at the thought of giving out that kind of money and years. It does sound about right, though. (Harry Pavlidis)
2013-08-12 14:00:00 (link to chat)Every time I watch Clayton Kershaw, I'm struck by how odd his mechanics are to watch. Don't reams often try to change pitchers who look that odd, or is Kershaw so dominant that the Dodgers wouldn't want to tinker?
(ttt from Manhattan)
It really depends, as different organization have widely disparate philosophies when it comes to pitcher development, especially mechanics. But when you have a top-end guy who explodes on the scene with continual improvement, then you have to credit the organization for identifying the player as well as getting him in a position to succeed. And if it ain't broke ...

Kersh is an interesting case, but his delivery seems to improve every season. He has that oddball pattern with his momentum, which is sort of a go-stop-go with 3 different gears, and the complicated motion was behind many of the command problems earlier in his career. But he has mastered it, meanwhile improving other facets of his game (most notably balance and posture), so I am inclined to let him keep going on his current path.

On the jukebox: Led Zeppelin, "Going to California" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-08-12 14:00:00 (link to chat)Does Clayton Kershaw have bad mechanics? I noticed he dips really badly with his back leg, but that leads to his deception. So, I didn't know if he was considered to have poor mechanics or just quirky.
(jharrison3 from Illinois)
A little bit of column A, a little bit of column B. He is definitely quirky, but there is also inefficiency in there. On the bright side, Kersh seems to have figured out most of the quirks, and his efficiency gets better every season. Oh, and he might just have the best combo of pitches in the majors in terms of quantity + quality ... bringing it from the left side is just unfair. (Doug Thorburn)
2013-05-02 13:00:00 (link to chat)From today forward, better career: Stephen Strasburg or Clayton Kershaw?
(AJ from Phoenix)
Strasburg for me, but obviously very close. I love everything about Kershaw. (Jason Cole)
2013-05-10 14:00:00 (link to chat)Probably a question best for a fantasy chat, but In a 20-team dynasty league: Giancarlo Stanton, Clayton Kershaw, and Patrick Corbin for Yu Darvish, Shelby Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Neftali Feliz, and Byron Buxton. Assuming the trade benefits the needs of both teams, which side would you rather have?
(Dr. Mike from Milwaukee)
Kershaw and Darvish are nearly a wash (maybe a slight edge to Kershaw), and it's hard to bank on Feliz, so it comes down to Giancarlo-Corbin for Miller-Kimbrel-Buxton. I love Kimbrel, but closers are risky business from a dynasty standpoint, and though I prefer Miller to Corbin by a decent measure, I don't think that Buxton bridges the gap to Giancarlo. I feel that prospects are extremely overvalued in dynasty formats, especially when compared to players like Stanton - Stanton is young enough to still qualify as a prospect and already one of the best players in the game, and his future will be even brighter once he escapes the island of misfit toys in Miami.

On the jukebox: Lagwagon, "Bury the Hatchet" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-04-04 11:00:00 (link to chat)You can have one hitter and one pitcher for the next 10 years... who do you choose?
(Cal Guy from Cali)
Clayton Kershaw and Bryce Harper (Jason Parks)
2013-03-01 13:00:00 (link to chat)Loved thr article on velocity risers. You mention creating hip-shoulder separation as a key element to doing it, and single out the possibility of delaying trunk rotation. Justin Verlander seems to do that really well. Are there specific pitchers you think could find an extra tick or two by just rotating earlier with their lower half, headed into a new season?
(Matt Trueblood from Fridley, MN)
Great question and awesome observation on Verlander. His torque is incredible, with a killer combination of upper-body load, delayed trunk rotation, and mechanical repetition.

There are a umber of pitchers who tend to rotate the hips very late, choosing to fire hips and shoulders together, though this technique places the kinetic responsibility lower on the chain. Some of the pitchers who use this "hip whip," and who would likely benefit from greater hip-shoulder separation include: Mike Fiers, Mike Minor, Matt Harrison, and Clayton Kershaw.

Kershaw's strategy is more than likely tied to his hip problems, and he is the #1 pitcher that I would like to see find a more efficient method for generating torque. The problem is that he has recently found his ideal timing, after years of struggling with repetition, and making such an adjustment could set him back for a stretch while he coordinated the new mechanics. So it's hard to fault the team for not making an adjustment.

On the jukebox: Pantera, "Cemetery Gates" (Doug Thorburn)
2013-01-22 13:00:00 (link to chat)Clayton Kershaw, David Price and Justin Verlander walk into the Owner's Meeting. Who walks out with the biggest contract and for what amount?
(Scott Boras from Columbia, CT)
Probably Kershaw because of the age. Beats me on the amount. Something unprecedented (for pitchers) with a lot of zeroes. All three would get paid extremely well. (R.J. Anderson)
2013-01-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)In a keeper league w/ farm system (7x7 obp, xbh,hld, qs)- I am being offered my choice of Matt Moore or David Price, Tyler Skaggs, R. Soriano, Jonny Venters, and two-4 first round picks for my Gerrit Cole and Craig Kimbrel, and Clayton Kershaw. Yes, No, or Maybe So?
(Mitch from Buffalo)
I'm not sure what's going to be available at those picks, but unless it is substantial talent I would pass. (Josh Shepardson)
2012-10-04 14:00:00 (link to chat)So this was a pretty serious year for the pitcher, no? What was your favorite dominant pitching performance from the year? And do you think next season will be similar? (not in # of no-hitters, mind you, but in the relative success of defense over offense)
(john from chicago)
We certainly saw a lot of remarkable pitching feats this year. I'm biased, as a Giants fan, but my two favorites were probably Matt Cain's perfect game on June 13 (which, by the way, I didn't see live because I was on a flight to Europe) and the duel between Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw on Aug. 20. Kris Medlen's outing against the Nationals a few weeks ago was also very fun to watch.

I don't think there are any obvious reasons to expect significant changes between 2012 and 2013, so I expect that we'll see a lot of the same things, especially as more and more teams adopt the aggressive defensive shifts pioneered by the Rays and Brewers. (Daniel Rathman)
2012-05-21 14:00:00 (link to chat)Who are the best pitchers in baseball in 2017?
(John from Pittsburgh)
Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg. (Kevin Goldstein)
2012-04-04 13:00:00 (link to chat)independent of results, best prospect you've ever seen?
(kramer from anytown)
Clayton Kershaw in the minors was pretty stupid good. On the offensive side, I'd have to say Bryce Harper. I'd like to say someone unique, but he has two 80 tools as a teenager and he can bring them into games. It's not normal in any way. He's the best. (Jason Parks)
2012-02-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)Do you think the Dodgers will be surprisingly competitive with Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, and a healthy Andre Ethier this year?
(Tim from Reno)
I think they'll be better off than last year, in a division where nobody is going to run away. (Jay Jaffe)
2012-01-26 13:00:00 (link to chat)If you could have the next 6 years of any pitcher in the Majors to start your team with, is there anyone to consider other than Matt Moore?
(FutureCloser from NY NY)
Clayton Kershaw would be my first choice (Jason Parks)
2011-11-30 13:00:00 (link to chat)Congradulations! You've just been appointed/sold the Los Angeles Dodgers; what are the first three things you do on the baseball ops end of things?
(Sanchez101 from Santa Barbara, CA)
1) Fire Ned Colletti out of a cannon and poach somebody else's bright young GM/candidate.
2) Sell Juan Uribe to a whale oil refinery.
3) work out a long-term deal with Clayton Kershaw. (Jay Jaffe)
2011-10-04 13:00:00 (link to chat)So you're saying Matt Moore and Clayton Kershaw were both better prospects than Stephen Strasburg?
(Charlie from Bethesda)
No, I'm not saying that. Strasburg is in his own class. Just using a lefty as the comp. (Jason Parks)
2011-06-14 13:00:00 (link to chat)I have a very strong pitching staff in a long term keeper Strat-O-Matic 16 team league and I only need five starters. Which five of these would you keep? Josh Beckett, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Zack Greinke, CJ Wilson, Jordan Zimmermann, Clayton Kershaw, Derek Holland, Alexi Ogando, and Chris Narveson. Keep in mind I can keep them forever.
(jhardman from Apex, NC)
Lincecum, Kershaw, Greinke, and Cain seem like obvious choices. I'd probably go with Beckett for the last spot, though Wilson might be safer, given Beckett's age and injury history. (Ben Lindbergh)
2010-04-21 14:00:00 (link to chat)Who would you take for one year/career? Latos or Masterson? Any other young pitchers ready to take a step forward?
(George from NJ)
If I had to choose between the two for this season, I'll take Masterson. For career, Latos, but the gap isn't that wide, really. I'd go with Latos since he's younger and the scouts have been raving about his stuff. Other young guns ready to bust out? I don't know if you can consider it a break out given what he did last year but this is a big year for Tommy Hanson, and the same can be said of Brett Anderson. I'd also like to see Clayton Kershaw improve his control this season. I might be biased but I also think this is the year Max Scherzer emerges as a true front of the rotation stud. (Eric Seidman)
2010-02-17 16:00:00 (link to chat)Fantasy Keeper question: Which six do you like the best for this coming year? Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Troy Tulowitzki, Nelson Cruz, Felix Hernandez, Yovanni Gallardo, Clayton Kershaw, Tommy Hanson, and Clay Buchholz. Right now, I would say Howard, Utley, Tulo, Felix, Hanson, and Gallardo. But I am having a tough time deciding and was wondering if you could throw in your two cents. Have a great day Tommy !!
(Lopecci from Cubicle City)
Assuming traditional 5x5, I'd say Howard, Utley, Tulo, Felix, Cruz, Kershaw. But at the end there it's pretty close. Oh, and you too! (Tommy Bennett)
2010-01-26 14:00:00 (link to chat)Two part question. Rank in order of who will end up having the best career: Tommy Hanson, David Price, Clayton Kershaw. Also, will Tommy Hanson win a Cy Young in his career?
(Bubba Brown from Salt Lake City)
Order: Kershaw, Hanson, Price

I'd say Hanson has a 25% chance to win a Cy. But that's a WAG. (Tommy Bennett)
2009-10-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)Jay, I assume the Yankees will start Sabathia twice on short rest in order to get him three starts; would the Yankees be wise to start Pettitte once of short rest (games 3+6) in order to get 5 lefty starts in a seven game series? Or is the platoon advantage vs. the Phillies not THAT important? Or do you think the Yankees will through in Gaudin and go with a 4 man rotation?
(Nick Stone from New York, NY)
Hey, Nick! I spent a good deal of time trying to figure out the two teams' rotation options on a game-by-game basis. Cutting and pasting from the preview, here's what I came up with:

Game 1: Sabathia (7) v. Lee (9)
Game 2: Burnett (6) v. Martinez (12)
Game 3: Pettitte (5) v. Hamels (9)
Game 4: Sabathia (3) or Gaudin (11) vs. Lee (3), Happ (10), or Blanton (12)
Game 5: Burnett (3), Sabathia (4, if Gaudin Game 4), or Gaudin (12) vs. Happ, Blanton or Lee (4)
Game 6: Pettitte (3) or Burnett (5, if Sabathia Game 4 and Gaudin Game 5) vs. Martinez (5), Hamels (3), Happ or Blanton
Game 7: Sabathia (3, if pitched Game 4) or Pettitte (4, if Sabathia Game 4) vs. Lee (3, if pitched Game 4) or Hamels (4)

While the Phillies hit lefties about as well as righties in the regular season, they haven't been all that successful doing so in the postseason, batting at a .194/.322/.444 clip, with a few big hits -Ryan Howard's two-run double off Clayton Kershaw, his homer off Randy Wolf, and Raul Ibanez's homer off George Sherrill - offsetting their woes. My read on Sabathia and Pettitte is that they're better than the Dodger southpaw starters at this point in time, so yes, I do think it makes sense to throw more lefties at them, particularly given that Gaudin doesn't match up well with them at all. (Jay Jaffe)
2009-10-08 14:00:00 (link to chat)Which players during the playoffs will do the most to alter the public's perception of them [for better or worse]?
(dtwhite from Toronto)
Dear god, I hope Alex Rodriguez is one of them. Please.

I like Clayton Kershaw to come up big. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-07-24 16:30:00 (link to chat)Topic: Clayton Kershaw discuss...
(Phil from LA)
One of the best young pitchers I've ever seen, and I've made it a habit to watch all of his starts now. I'm honestly about ready to put him ahead of Billingsley as the ace of the staff. Assuming he can cut back on some walks, this is a perennial all-star. (Eric Seidman)
2009-04-20 13:00:00 (link to chat)Hi Joe. Who is most likely to have success this year and long term?: Yovani Gallardo, Clayton Kershaw and Andrew Miller.
(sbryk7 from NYC)
Kershaw's in a different, better class than the other two, in both cases. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-04-16 13:00:00 (link to chat)Is my man crush on Clayton Kershaw justified?
(Mr. Jangles from High Plains)
I don't think he will be striking out 14+ guys per nine all season, but he is one of the few players I was upset about missing out on in my own drafts. He's going to be great. (Marc Normandin)
2009-02-24 13:00:00 (link to chat)Who has the better year between Clayton Kershaw and Joba Chamberlain? Thanks.
(Willigan from Missoula, MT)
Chamberlain will have more value, in perhaps fewer innings. Kershaw may still need a year to work on his command, while still being league-average or a bit better than that.

Connectivity is a bit slow. I'm at a Starbucks on the UWS, but I can't tell if it's my card or the BP site. (Joe Sheehan)
2009-02-03 13:00:00 (link to chat)Crystal ball time -- whose your pick for 2009's Lincecum? Somebody like Kershaw? Baker? Slowey?
(Blake from Portland, OR)
David Price.

Blake, you didn't really just create a list that included Clayton Kershaw and Scott Baker, did you? (Joe Sheehan)
2009-01-29 13:00:00 (link to chat)If Wieters isn't available at the start of the season (Yahoo does some weird things) and I will have one of the top waiver spots, is it a bad idea to just wait on whatever catcher you can get at the end of the draft?
(birkem3 from Dayton, OH)
If you have one of the top waiver spots, you abuse it for all its worth. I held on to my own waiver spot until Clayton Kershaw came up.

I also may have used a press release from the Dodgers to pick him up before my friends saw, but we don't talk about that much out loud. (Marc Normandin)
2008-07-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)What do you think of Clayton Kershaw's brief debut as a 20 year in the Dodger's rotation. Do the mixed results change anything about the way he projects to be down the line. Can he be a very good starter in 1 year? Or 2 years?
(forlostcauses from Portland, OR)
I thought he was very good. He's 20, he made eight starts without ever really getting hammered, he struck out nearly a batter per inning, and he had command troubles, which wasn't a huge surprise. Stock is unchanged. (Kevin Goldstein)
2008-06-23 12:00:00 (link to chat)Hey I have bought the last 3 annuals- cant I get a question answered? Now that they have had some major league experience how would you rate the following highy touted pitchers= Andrew Miller, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Tim Lincecum, Homer Bailey and Clayton Kershaw. If Detroit had a do-over would they still select Miller over Kershaw?
(bpfan from nyc)
Of course you can get a question answered. I'd rank them like this: Chamberlain, Lincecum, Kershaw, Hughes, Miller, Bailey. Though I'm sure they wouldn't say so, I think the Tigers would rather have taken Kershaw with the way it's all turned out. (John Perrotto)
2008-06-20 13:30:00 (link to chat)When it comes to the "business" of baseball, how much does the money invested in a player determine their ascent through the system? Who makes it faster, the non-drafted FA with better numbers in the critical areas or the bonus baby who is riding potential and ceiling?
(adamtkay5 from Boston)
As far as I can tell, statistics don't really get you promoted through the minors no matter what your status. You move forward on scouting evaluations and age, for the most part. I think guys who play very well at Double-A or Triple-A create pressure on their organizations to promote them--I guess Clayton Kershaw and Jay Bruce are the most recent examples. Below that, though, you move based on how you're scouted. I'd be interested to hear Kevin Goldstein's opinion. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-06-04 16:00:00 (link to chat)So, we New Yorkers love to blame someone. Is there a reason what could have been there didn't happen? Something wrong with the development patterns, perhaps?
(Follow from Up)
Well here's the thing. I think it's WAY WAY WA too early to classify the young Yankee arms as that. Like WAY WAY WAY too early. Like as early as the question somebody submitted earlier asking my why I was so wrong about Clayton Kershaw and how people have given up on him. (Kevin Goldstein)
2008-05-27 13:00:00 (link to chat)How have you not taken a question on Clayton Kershaw yet? Did you like what you saw Sunday? Do you think they called him up too early? Is he for real? Can he make a run at RoY, etc.
(bam022 from Chicago - South Side)
I was in a pretty place without cable television over the weekend, so I didn't actually get to *see* his start. But I don't have any problem with promoting your young pitchers aggressively, so long as you handle their workloads carefully. (Nate Silver)
2008-05-09 14:00:00 (link to chat)Christina, I'm facinated by Hong-Chih Kuo. You? To my eyes, he seems to be the perfect 2 to 4-inning reliever. His lines are so dominant except when he's pushed as a starter. Am I crazy or would he be perfect to pair with a rookie, like Clayton Kershaw, to innings-limit the young arm?
(Cary from Washington, DC)
That's part of the fun of the game, some of the unlikely heroes you find yourself following. I think it's a role in which Kuo could succeed very nicely, but the problem with creating that kind of usage pattern is getting a guy who likes it. Nobody wants to grow up to be Bob Shirley, and can you blame them? (Christina Kahrl)
2008-04-25 15:00:00 (link to chat)How do you like Chad Billingsley's luck so far this year--13.94 K/9 and a 9.1 LD% with a .449 BABIP? Also, when do you see the Dodgers calling up Clayton Kershaw?
(dblatnik from Sunnyvale, CA)
That's a very weird line. I was listening to last night's game while working on the Hit List; Billingsley had 12 Ks but allowed five runs in six innings.

I haven't actually seen much of him this year, but that kind of line makes me wonder if he's throwing too many strikes, trying to shoulder a bit too much of the load.

As for Kershaw, a lot of it probably depends on the Dodgers' play improving to the point where there's something to be gained by having him up at this tender young age. Maybe late July, barring any injuries to the Dodger staff, which is an impossibility.

OK, running out of time and gas here. I'll take one or two more... (Jay Jaffe)
2008-04-23 13:00:00 (link to chat)Felix Doubront is tearing it up at Low-A Greeneville. After today's start, he has a 24/1 K:BB ratio, in 20 innings pitched. Is it reasonable for me to be excited about him, yet?
(astein from Boston)
Define excited. He's pitching great, but he's a lefty with plus breaking stuff, so that shouldn't shock you in Low A. He's a decent prospect, but I wouldn't go around telling Dodgers fans to forget about Clayton Kershaw because the Red Sox have Felix Doubront or anything. Decent prospect. (Kevin Goldstein)
2008-04-17 13:00:00 (link to chat)Who is the better pair: Jay Bruce & Joba Chamberlain or Adam Jones & Clayton Kershaw? And by how much?
(Franklin Stubbs from (LA))
Bruce and Chamberlain are the best hitting and pitching prospects in baseball, respectively. So they trump all other permutations. (Nate Silver)
2008-03-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)What do you make of Clayton Kershaw's spring? Do you think he'll be in the bigs around the same of the year that Lincecum made it last year?
(Ryan from Milwaukee)
As good as Kershaw has looked this spring, I think you have to send him back to the minors. He turned 20 two weeks ago and has 25 innings above the Midwest League. He had pretty lousy walk rates last season, not the kind of performances that demand a promotion.

If he performs well at Double-A, there's a decision to be made. Putting him in the rotation now is just setting him up for failure.

Folks, a reminder: shorter questions have a much better chance of being answered. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-03-25 14:00:00 (link to chat)Any thoughts on Clayton Kershaw? Spring stats don't mean much, but he's looked good. Any chance he's the best pitching prospect at the end of the year?
(Wendy from DC)
His spring performance has been strong enough to put him in the Dodgers' rotation picture *in April*, which would have seemed incredible just two months ago, but as you know, he is that talented. Add in being left-handed, and there's an argument right now that he's the best pitching prospect around right now, regardless of rookie status or eligibility or any of that. If his rookie status gets expended this year, that doesn't change, any more than it does for Joba Chamberlain or Clayton Buchholz; they're just an exceptional trio of talents any of us would wish to have on our favorite team for the next ten years. (Christina Kahrl)
2008-03-26 12:00:00 (link to chat)I know it's just spring, but how good is Clayton Kershaw? All the talk has been about Joba, Bucholtz and Hughes, but he seems to be just as good. How would you rank those 4 with some of last year's top guys, Lincecum & Gallardo?
(Wendy from Madrid)
Kershaw is amazing. I love watching on YouTube when Kershaw buckled Casey's knees and Vin Scully was relatively breathless. I think Kershaw takes a bit of a hit because his fastball has the most erratic command of the what, five other guys you mentioned. But then again, Kershaw might have the highest HOF potential of the six. He's the perfect example of attempting to balance ceiling with likelihood of getting there. (Bryan Smith)
2008-03-07 13:00:00 (link to chat)If you were building a Scoresheet team in a NL keeper league, would you rather have Dan Haren or Clayton Kershaw for the next 5 years?
(David from USA)
Haren, and I think that question is pretty much a slam-dunk. (Nate Silver)
2008-02-25 12:00:00 (link to chat)What kind of years do you see Reid Brignac, Clayton Kershaw and Adam Jones having? Do you see any of them potentially becoming busts?
(Dusty from Not Chicago)
I just hope that Jones plays everyday for the Orioles, and if he does, I think what I envisioned and what PECOTA sees are right in line. Kershaw should start in Double-A and could be a really interesting bullpen option at the end of the year as they look to integrate him in with the big club. I would like Brignac best if he went back to Double-A, but I think he gets the whole year in the minors and hits well. He's probably the one with the most 'bust potential', if you will. (Bryan Smith)
2008-01-31 13:00:00 (link to chat)If you look into your crystalball, who do you think will be your top prospect for next year?
(greg from toronto)
Clayton Kershaw. (Kevin Goldstein)
2008-01-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)In his last chat (the transcript seems to be unavailable, so forgive me for not having the exact language) Nate Silver suggested that based on some of the work that he and Clay Davenport have done this offseason the gulf between translations (projections?) for players in the low minors and high minors is wider than previously thought. He specifically mentions Clayton Kershaw as being further away from being an impact big leaguer. I also seem to remember that you described Kershaw as the best pitching prospect still in the minors. Does what Silver is talking about change your thinking on low minor prospects in general and Kershaw specifically?
(aardvark from California)
Not in the least. Ranking prospects combines ceiling and chances of reaching said ceiling. You can't ranking prospect by only going for sure things -- or you'll just have a list of Double and Triple-A guys. Let's say there are 30 fututre impact players in the minors (I just pulled that number out of my you know what, I'm not sure what the number would really be), chances are, those 30 are evenly distributed throughout each level, there's just a greater challenge to finding them to further you move down. (Kevin Goldstein)


BP Roundtables

DateRoundtable NameComment
2009-10-15 17:00:002009 NLCS Game One (Phillies/Dodgers)Sorry, completely forgetted about this. I plead fall cold. I think Clayton Kershaw can cure me. And fix health care. (Joe Sheehan)
2008-10-13 17:00:00NLCS Game FourClayton Kershaw is ready for his guest spot on SNL. That may be more reading than Carroll's done all year. (Joe Sheehan)
 

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