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Dodgers: Clayton Kershaw Becomes Best Player in Franchise History

The Dodgers have a new all-time franchise leader in WAR.



Clayton Kershaw has been utterly dominant for the last decade. For as many people who say he is ‘washed’ and ‘won’t get by with his velocity’, he is silencing them with his 2.77 ERA this season. He remains one of the best pitchers in the game, something that did not seem like a feasible statement to make through all the back injuries and 89 mile per hour fastballs.

Kershaw is a Dodger and hopefully will be one until his career comes to an end. He has already been in the league for a whopping 12 seasons. Where does time go?

In his masterful start on Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, Kershaw tossed 7 innings of one-run ball and struck out 9 while only walking one. In the process, Kershaw also surpassed Don Sutton for the Dodgers franchise record for wins above replacement (WAR).

There is no doubt that Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher of this generation. A 2.41 ERA, three Cy Young Awards, and a 2014 NL MVP attest to that.

Now, on the downside of Kershaw’s career trajectory — one that sees him age rather gracefully — Kershaw is now poised to rack up as many pitching records for the Los Angeles Dodgers as possible. He rivals the great Sandy Koufax for the greatest pitcher of not just Dodgers history, but of baseball history.

What we have witnessed for the last 12 years from Clayton Kershaw has been amazing. It has been a thrill ride. One day, though, and one day soon, it will come to an end. So, enjoy it now and recognize greatness because whenever Kersh takes that mound, you are witnessing possibly the greatest pitcher the sport has ever seen.

Written by Daniel Preciado

My name is Daniel Preciado and I am 19 years old. I am a sophomore Sport Analytics major and Cognitive Science and Economics dual minor at Syracuse University. When I am not in New York, I live in Whittier, California --- not too far from Chavez Ravine. I am pretty old-school for being an analytics guy and I will always embrace debate. Also, Chase Utley did absolutely nothing wrong.

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  1. Not sure why you think it will come to an end “soon.” It looks to me like Kersh has every reason to plan for another decade of dominance. He’s gone from the best power pitcher in baseball to one of the 3-4 best control/placement pitchers in baseball, in the mold of a left-handed Greg Maddox. I look forward to watching him rack up another 130-150 wins in a Dodgers uniform.

    • I hope your prognostications come to pass. Although Koufax is the reason I became a Dodgers fan back in the early ’60s, having Kersh rocket to the top of most/all LA pitching stats has been incredible to watch. Haters will bring up his post-season performances, but maybe the huge dependence on him during the regular season has played some role in that. Still, he’s the best pitcher of the past 10+ years.

  2. Kershaw shouldn’t be considered the best player in franchise history until he wears at least a couple of World Series rings.

  3. The Duke of Flatbush has always been my all time Dodger favorite…ever since I became a Dodger fan in 1952 at the age of 8. I remember how overcome with joy I was in 1955 when dem bums won it all. IMHO the three best pitchers that I’ve witnessed playing in person are 1. Sandy Koufax. 2. Bob Gibson. and 3. Clayton Kershaw.

  4. Pro athletes in today’s era are like super hero’s. They are trained with advanced skills, work-outs, technology Etc…
    Baseball hitters are way advanced and much better than hitters in the past. Therefore for a pitcher to outlast and continue to dominate the game as Kershaw is doing. It is amazing and he should be distinguished as an elite pitcher. I believe that he is definitely the best pitcher of our era and maybe the best pitcher to ever play the game. With all due respect to all other amazing pitchers that have made history. My opinion is that if Kershaw would have pitched the way he does right now. The majority of hitters of the past would probably not even be able to make contact.
    Kershaw #1 pitcher of Dodgers franchise.

  5. When the Dodgers needed a must win, they had Koufax to rely. He always came thru. They didn’t count pitches back then and complete games were a real stat that has become meaningless today. Don’t get me wrong, Kershaw is a great pitcher, but Koufax will always be at the top of my list.

  6. Great regular season pitcher. But I could spend all day listing pitchers that I have watched personally that I would rather have pitch in a must win game. Let’s give you a small taste: Pedro, Orel Hershiser, Jon Lester, Dave Stewart, Jack Morris, Andy Pettitte, David Cone, Dwight Gooden, Curt Schilling, Randy Johnson, Madison Bumgarner, John Smoltz, the list goes on. I could do this for a very long time. So let’s cool your jets on this “best pitcher of all
    time” thing. You have to win when the money is on the line to get that title. Kershaw is an excellent pitcher with some great numbers (helped by pitching in the NL) but he can’t sniff an all-time list.

  7. Sandy Koufax was a mediocre pitcher for the first half of his career (sub -.500 cumulatively for 1955-1961, with an ERA in that span of about 4.00. When he finally learned to control his curve ball, reducing his walk rate by about 50% and making all his pitches more effective, he became a *great* pitcher. Dodgers won four World Series during his tenure, but he was not a starter in the first of those series (1955, when he was a rookie).

    It is a great pity that his arm failed at a. relatively young age. I expect that if he had lived a generation later his career could have been extended by “Tommy John” surgery.

    For the five years at the end of his career, he was the best pitcher of all time. Over the totality of his career, he was excellent, but it’s hard to say “greatest of all time” about a pitcher who had more than 10 wins only once in the first six years of his career (11-11), and a cumulative record of 36-39 over that period.

    Post-season? Koufax was on the Dodger roster for four World Series. He won a total of four World Series games (two each in 1963 and 1965). He was the series MVP both of those years. But he was only 4-3 lifetime in World Series games.

    But I am NOT arguing that World Series wins, or World Series rings, is the only test of greatness for a pitcher. In two of the games he lost in the World Series, the Dodgers scored zero runs. With better run support he could have been 5-1 lifetime in the World Series.

    For similar reasons, I think it is foolish to suggest that because Kershaw has not won a World Series, he’s not a great pitcher. WS Rings are the product of a team effort; you can be the absolute greatest player of all time and never win a World Series ring. Case in point: Mike Trout.

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