Player Spotlight: Clayton Kershaw

Clayton KershawBrad-Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Clayton Kershaw is the best pitcher in this generation and possibly can become the greatest pitcher of All-Time once it’s all said and done.

Kershaw was born in Dallas, Texas. He is 31-years old. Kershaw was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 MLB draft. He made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 25, 2008, when he was just 20-years old, making him the youngest player in MLB. He has been with the Dodgers for 11 years and counting, signing a 3-year, $93M deal to remain with the Dodgers this past off-season.

Kershaw has accomplished a lot throughout his career, he is a 7x All-Star, he won NL MVP in 2014, he is a 3x NL Cy Young Award winner (2011, 2013, 2014), a Triple Crown winner in 2011, Gold Glove Award in 2011, 3x NL wins leader (2011, 2014, 2017), 5x NL ERA leader (2011-2014, 2017), 3x NL strikeout leader (2011, 2013, 2015), Roberto Clemente Award in 2012, he pitched a no-hitter in June 18, 2014, Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award in 2014, 4x Warren Spahn Award (2011, 2013, 2014, 2017). To this day, not many pitchers have achieved Kershaw’s accomplishments.

Kershaw was the first pitcher in MLB history who led the league in ERA for four consecutive years, from 2011-2014. In his career, Kershaw has pitched in 318 games, started in 316 of those games, 2,096.1 innings pitched, 25 complete games, 15 shutout games, a record of 153-69, with a 64.4 WAR, and an ERA of 2.39.

Brandon Heikoop said, “Kershaw’s curveball is an 11-to-6 knee-buckler with substantial bite. The pitch is usually in the mid-70s. Like the fastball, he can do a better job commanding the pitch.” Watching Kershaw’s curveball is a thing of beauty.

There is a tale of two Clayton’s. On the days where Kershaw pitches, Justin Turner said, “You just completely stay out of his way, you don’t talk to him, you don’t make eye contact with him, you don’t sit on his table in the training room, you just let him do his thing, and he’s one of the most intense guys you’ll ever meet, in your life.”

Then there are the other four days, Turner said, “He’s the biggest clown on the team, he’s wearing those goofy flip-up glasses in the dugout, even though it’s a night game, and chewing bubble gum. He always has a baseball in the dugout, and he tries to bounce the ball off the wall, and hit our trainers, who don’t wear cups.” That is the tale of two Clayton’s.

For the past two seasons, the Dodgers have made it to the World Series but fell short both years, leaving Kershaw without a ring. But, this season, they have another shot at making it to the World Series. The third time may be the charm for Kershaw and the Dodgers. If Kershaw wins a World Series Championship, he could very well be the greatest pitcher of All-Time.

I’ve seen Kershaw pitch in person several times, and I will see him pitch again tonight, making his season debut, on Jackie Robinson Day, against the Cincinnati Reds, and former teammates Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, and Kyle Farmer. Kershaw is the greatest pitcher I’ve seen pitch in person, and if any player has deserved a World Series Championship, it’s Clayton Kershaw.

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