There is no question that Clayton Kershaw is amongst the greatest pitchers of his time. However, the Dodgers star is already one of the all time greats.
Since the 2011 season, Clayton Kershaw has established himself as one of the best pitchers in the game today. Just 23 years old that season, the Dodgers ace won the pitching Triple Crown, winning 21 games while posting a 2.28 ERA and a 0.977 WHiP, striking out 248 batters. It was not a surprise that he made his first All Star Game, and went on to win the Cy Young award.
Since that season, Kershaw has continued to dominate, He won four consecutive ERA titles, and would have added a fifth last year if he remained healthy. Kershaw has made the All Star Game each season, and won two other Cy Young awards, along with the 2014 NL MVP award. Even in a season where he missed two months, Kershaw still finished fifth in the Cy Young ballot.
If there were any concerns that Kershaw would slow down this season, they have been assuaged by his start. In his typically dominating way, Kershaw has picked up right where he left off to start the 2017 campaign. He has a 7-2 record with a 2.15 ERA and a 0.833 WHiP, leading the National League in wins, starts, WHiP, and innings (62.2).
This performance to start the season has just added to his career marks. While his 133-62 record is impressive, especially for a 29 year old, it is his ERA and WHiP that truly stand out. Thus far, Kershaw has a 2.36 ERA and a 1.003 WHiP, the best marks of any active pitcher with 1000 or more career innings.
In fact, that ERA and WHiP rank amongst the best of all time. Of all the pitchers in MLB history with over 1000 innings, Kershaw is 24th in ERA, and fourth all time in WHiP. Amongst active pitchers, Kershaw’s ERA is nearly 60 points better than Chris Sale, who is second. Sale is also second to Kershaw in WHiP, only 0.047 baserunners behind.
These are not the only areas where Kershaw ranks amongst the all time greats. He already ranks 78th all time with a 54.8 WAR, which is better than Whitey Ford or Sandy Koufax. Kershaw is eighth in winning percentage, and trails only Nolan Ryan for the fewest hits allowed per nine innings. These are some of the true legends that he already stands with over the course of his career.
Considering that Kershaw is in the midst of his prime, these numbers could get even better. Although he may not get to the 300 win plateau, Kershaw’s stellar performance in every statistical measure ensures that his greatness will not be overlooked. With another decade potentially ahead of him, Kershaw may well find himself amongst the true immortals of the game when his career comes to an end.