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Dodgers News: Clayton Kershaw In Historical Context

Have you ever wondered just how well Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw stacks up to the rest of history when it comes to his pitching prowess? Well, the fine people over at Dodger Insider put together a comprehensive thing today that looked at his recent five-year stretch.

In short, Kershaw’s recent run over the last half-decade has seen him do something that probably puts him into one of the top five spots over the last century. He’s been that downright dominant, and it’s quite a scary thing for the rest of baseball, but an awesome thing for Los Angeles.

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From Cary Osborne at Dodger Insider:

No pitcher who threw at least 750 innings in a five-year span in the 1920s, ’30s or ’40s had a better five-year ERA and ERA+ than Kershaw.

Between 1915-19, two pitchers had better ERAs and comparable ERA+ marks — the aforementioned  [Grover C.] Alexander and arguably the greatest pitcher of all time Walter Johnson.

Yeah, that’s insane. Think about all the great pitchers that graced baseball during those three decades – 1920’s through 1940’s – and now realize that Kershaw has had a better stretch of success and dominance than they ever have. That’s incredible. But it didn’t stop there.

Among all the pitchers listed in this story, Kershaw ranks sixth in ERA, right behind Koufax. He is third in WHIP — Martinez: 0.9256, Koufax: 0.9259, Kershaw 0.933. Kershaw is fifth in ERA+. He’s second to Pedro Martinez in SO/BB ratio. He’s also third in SO/9.

Basically, Kershaw is one of the greatest pitchers during the last century of baseball. His 2.11 ERA over the last five years is half-a-run lower than anyone else over that time, and his 1249 strikeouts in 1128 innings show his penchant for generating a high amount of swings and misses.

The Dodgers have Kershaw signed through 2020, with an opt for him after 2018. He’s worth every bit of the seven years and $215 million that he signed for back in 2014.

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