The Three Ways Clayton Kershaw Is Dominating Hitters
If you believe in reports from the start of the 2016 season, the strike-zone for the MLB could be shrinking next season. It seems every so often, particularly since the start of the decade, efforts are made to increase offense. The powers that be have messed with the strike zones and floated the idea of the DH coming to the National League (no, just no). What can be overshadowed by these somewhat pedantic debates is that baseball, and in particular the aforementioned NL, currently is experiencing a Golden Age of pitchers. Amongst all the eye-popping statistics and spectacular performances so far, one name seems to be at the fore-front of almost every Cy Young debate: Clayton Edward Kershaw.
Clayton Kershaw is almost unbelievably trailing Jake Arrieta of the Cubs in Bill James’ Cy Young Predictor, but the narrow margin is probably due to a slight boost for Arrieta due the Northsiders outperforming the Dodgers. The raw statistics tell a tale that decidedly edges in the Los Angeles southpaw’s favor. He tops the NL in ERA, WHIP, and pitcher WAR. His WHIP of 0.64 would be the best ever, edging out all the famous pitcher seasons (1999 Pedro, 1968 Bob Gibson, any of Greg Maddux‘s four straight Cy Young seasons). But one of the more ludicrous figures is his 20.33 K/BB rate, which even if he falls off his current pace, would more than likely shatter Phil Hughes’ single season record for K/BB rate of 11.63 in 2014. As far as durability, he also leads the league in innings pitched with 100 and 2/3 over 13 starts, good for just over 7 and 2/3 innings per start.
To look beyond the surface stats we must start with a rather obvious statement: Kershaw is a strikeout pitcher.
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