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Buster Olney Does Not Rank Clayton Kershaw as the Number 1 Starting Pitcher in the League

Dodgers
Oct 19, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) and catcher Austin Barnes walk to the dugout before game five of the 2017 NLCS playoff baseball series against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Buster Olney is highly respected across the industry. Both fans and teams all check Olney’s tweets to get informed about the latest news surrounding the baseball world. Recently, Buster Olney made a ranking decision that might not sit well with Dodger fans,

For the first time in three seasons, Buster Olney did not rank Clayton Kershaw as the number one starting pitcher in the league. Despite yet another Cy Young caliber season, Kershaw came in at number 4 on Buster’s list.

What’s unreasonable about Olney’s rankings is that Kershaw didn’t even come in second. Olney ranked Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber, and Chris Sale ahead of Kershaw. While each of those pitchers are great, they’re not better than Clayton Kershaw.

A significant factor in Olney’s rankings is health. Kershaw hasn’t exactly been the healthiest starting pitcher over the last two seasons and missed six weeks last season with a back injury. When healthy it’s difficult for anyone to deny Kershaw as the best pitcher in the game. But that’s when healthy.

Maybe I’m missing something. Olney is a knowledgeable man that is in tune with baseball better than the next guy. Could this mean that Kershaw is no longer the pitcher we make him out to be? I’m not ready to say that, but as Kershaw joins the wrong side of 30, it could be fair to accept this notion that Kershaw is no longer the best in the game.

Kershaw has dealt with back injuries the past two season that has limited his production. Yes, when healthy Kershaw is dominant, but that’s the thing, when Kershaw is healthy. Can the Dodgers expect a full season from Kershaw? Unfortunately, I’m not so sure anymore.

Kershaw’s talent is undeniable. But it might be time to accept the fact that he’s not the best pitcher in the game because he can’t stay healthy for a full season. I respect Buster Olney’s opinion, and while it may not be the most popular decision, I can see what he’s thinking by mot ranking Kershaw number 1. Kershaw is still one of the best pitchers in the game, but Kershaw might not be the best anymore considering his age and health issues.

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Written by Cesar Becerra

Cesar recently received a BA in Literary Journalism from the University of California, Irvine. Cesar is a Los Angeles native and currently employed with UC Irvine where he works with a center that assists first generation, minority, and low-income students achieve higher education. Cesar has a strong passion for Dodger baseball and is gratified to be able to hear the greatness of Vin Scully and Chick Hearn. Cesar has been publicized in the New University newspaper, ClutchPoints, Hypun, and OC Weekly.

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  1. I just want to know the odds that the Dodgers sign Kershaw to the huge deal that he will get somewhere. It’s rough. If he leaves, there is money to spend, but starting pitching becomes a huge question mark unless Urias is Koufax. It’s also immensly depressing that he left without winning a World Series. Would a team with Machado but no Kershaw be better? Unlikely. Would a team with Harper but no Kershaw be better? Maybe. And I’ve got a bad feeling about 2018.

    • I don’t see this FO resigning Kershaw to a big contract especially when you know the Yankees will be lined up for Kershaws services and happy to get into a price war. It will be Grienke situation all over again. Also if Buehler and Urias perform well in 2018, this could the last year we see Kershaw in a Dodger uniform so here’s hoping the Dodgers win it this year!

  2. Buster Olney is a New York Yankee fan that has proven time and time how bias he is. He’s a great article on how critical Olney was of Dodgers when it was rumored they were about to trade for Chapman, While in the mist of a domestic violence case. Then the Dodgers balk at the trade only to see the Yankees later pull off the trade for Chapman and Olney then praising the Yankees for a brilliant trade:

    http://www.dodgersnation.com/dodgers-yankees-involvement-with-chapman-shows-double-standard-in-coverage/2015/12/29/

    My point is that while Onley maybe respected by some, he clearly is bias and that should be taken into account anytime you read he work.

  3. Somebody please tell Olney that Kershaw missed significant time last year and STILL had more wins and a lower E.R.A . than his three golden boys did.

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