Only 25, the sky is the limit for Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw.
In his fourth big league season, Kershaw won the 2011 NL Cy Young Award. He led the majors in wins (21-5) and the NL in ERA (2.28) and strikeouts (248) that year. Not too shabby for a pitcher who was just 23 at the time.
The next season, the Dallas native only went 14-9, but led the majors with a 2.25 ERA, while his 229 K’s was just one behind NL leader R.A. Dickey.
Kershaw is a two-time All-Star and won the Gold Glove during his Cy Young campaign.
Through June 10, he features a career 2.71 ERA, tops among all active starting pitchers. Kershaw has 1,070 strikeouts and is 66-41 in his career. He owns four consecutive seasons of an ERA of 2.91 or lower and struck out at least 212 batters three years in a row.
Among active pitchers, he ranks second in strikeouts per nine innings at 9.22 — San Francisco’s Tim Lincecum is first at 9.74. Kershaw also is second among starting pitchers in Dodgers’ history with that phenomena stat, ranking only behind Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (9.28).
It’s hard to imagine what kind of career numbers Kershaw will have 10 years from now —and then, he’ll still only be 35. As long as he stays healthy and continues at his current pace, the lefty should earn a plaque in Cooperstown.