Despite falling short of his normally god-like standards, the Dodgers‘ ace Clayton Kershaw will be finding himself in his eighth MLB all-star game. Kershaw is the only pitcher to win the NL MVP since Bob Gibson did it all the way in 1968. He missed the all-star game for the time since 2010 last year because of an injury and he’s excited to be back there this year.
“They all mean a lot,” Kershaw said about all-star games to the Los Angeles Times. “I think from where I was in spring training to where I am now, I don’t know if I necessarily thought I’d get to go. So with that [said], I think that’s a little bit more rewarding, especially after not getting to go last year.
It seemed like Kershaw may have been in the twilight of his career after an injury-riddled year in 2018. He has definitely seen a decline in recent years and his recent playoff performances do him no favors. However, he’s proven that he’s still one of the best pitchers in the game and he continues to move up the record boards.
Kershaw in Elite Company With Strikeout Feat
As it currently sits, Kershaw has struck out 2,366 batters in his careers. That’s good for 50th all-time and he’s just 33 away from tying fellow Dodger legend Sandy Koufax. Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer has dominated the NL in strikeouts since 2016, but Kershaw has led the NL on three different occasions in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Kershaw is one of only three active pitchers that have thrown at least 300 strikeouts in a season. The other two being Scherzer and Chris Sale. Kershaw’s only gotten over 200 one other time since he broke 300 in 2015. While he’s certainly lost velocity over the years, Kershaw can still strikeout batters. He’s got 91 on the year and look for him to pass up Koufax before the season ends.
Out of all active pitchers, Kershaw ranks seventh in all-time strikeouts behind CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels and Felix Hernandez. Thing is, Kershaw is younger than all six of those guys so he’ll have a good chance to move past some of them on the leaderboard. Kershaw is certainly an elite strikeout artist, but at the end of the day, he’s just really good at keeping teams from scoring points.
Don’t Forget About His Legendary ERA
Out of all the active pitchers in baseball, only one pitcher is ranked in the top-80 in career ERA. With a career ERA of 2.43, Kershaw ranks 30th in all-time ERA. The only other active pitcher in the top-100 is Jacob deGrom, who ranks 81st with a career 2.73 ERA. Even though Kershaw is in the midst of a down year, Kershaw ranks seventh in the NL with a 3.09 ERA. It’s likely Kershaw will move down the ERA all-time leader board as his career goes on, but it’s still impressive that he’s been able to reach the heights that he has.
Wins Above Replacement
WAR isn’t taken as an official stat by the MLB but is what many analysts use to understand how much a player is contributing to the team. In terms of WAR, Kershaw currently has the 47th best WAR out of every pitcher in MLB history. Only Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander rank higher than him among active pitchers. At a 1.6 for 2019 so far, Kershaw’s WAR isn’t great. He could improve that number, but he’d have to improve it significantly to make it up the leaderboard. Clayton Kershaw may not be the force of nature he used to be, but he still can deal and he’s already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history.