Clayton Kershaw is not only the most dominant pitcher of his generation, he is one of the greatest pitchers of all time.
The most feared hurler in baseball, Kershaw has the lowest WHIP [walks and hits per innings pitched, an indicator of how effective a pitcher is at keeping opponents from reaching base] of any starter in the live ball [post-1920] era.
In 2017, the median Earned Run Average [ERA] in the National League was 4.34. In the nine seasons following his rookie year, Kershaw has not posted an ERA above 2.91, and three times has gone below 2.00 for the season.
A seven-time All-Star and three-time Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw has led the NL in ERA in five of the past six seasons and has led the league in strikeouts and wins three times each.
In 2014, “Kersh” became the first player in nearly half a century to win both the Cy Young and MVP Awards in the same season. Ten players in baseball history have accomplished that feat, the last being the great Bob Gibson in 1968.
No pitcher in baseball is harder for hitters to figure out than Kershaw. He relies on deception, movement and changes in velocity while keeping the ball hidden, making it harder for the batter to track it.
The 6’4”, 228-pound left-hander has a hitch in his windup – a move that resembles a bicyclist setting his kickstand – that keeps hitters off balance. His overhand delivery is wicked, as is his 12-6 curveball, the best breaking ball in the game.
Kersh modeled his mechanics after his boyhood idol, Roger Clemens. He features a four-seam fastball in the mid-90s, a slider that reaches the plate between 85 and 90 MPH, that filthy curve, and an occasional change.
With a flawless slide step and great pick-off move, Kershaw is difficult to run on and is one of the best fielding pitchers in MLB. Gold Glove winner in 2011, he has a career fielding percentage of .977 and has made only eight errors in ten big league seasons.
Born in Dallas, March 19, 1988, Clayton Edward Kershaw was raised by his mother after his parents divorced when he was ten. He attended Highland Park High School, where he played baseball and was Matthew Stafford’s center on the varsity football team.
An elite high school pitching prospect, Kershaw was 13-0 with a 0.77 ERA as a senior, striking out 139 batters in 64 innings of work. In a playoff game against Justin Northwest, the overpowering southpaw pitched an all-strikeout perfect game.
After being named Gatorade National Player of the Year and USA Today High School Baseball Player of the Year, the 18-year-old Kershaw turned down Texas A & M to ink a $ 2.3 million signing bonus with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
No sport is harder to scout than baseball. Far from a science, projecting a teenager’s high school accomplishments to the professional level is difficult. It seems the Dodgers got it right with Kershaw, the seventh overall pick of the 2006 amateur draft.
The tall Texan’s rise through the Dodgers’ farm system was meteoric. Kershaw breezed through the rookie Gulf Coast League, Midwest League and Double-A Jacksonville before debuting in May 2008 as the youngest player in the big leagues.
Just 20, he earned his first big league win against the Washington Nationals on July 27, 2008.
In only his third full major league season, Kershaw went 21-5 and won pitching’s Triple Crown and won his first Cy Young Award after leading the league in strikeouts, wins and ERA.
The three-time Warren Spahn Award winner as the best left-hander hurler in the National League, Kershaw’s 2014 season was one of the best in the annals of baseball.
That year, Kersh went 21-3 [.875 winning percentage], posted a league-leading 1.77 ERA, and struck out 239 batters while issuing only 31 walks. In addition to receiving the 2014 Cy Young and MVP Awards, the humble Kershaw – who twirled a no-hitter in June 2014 — was named MLB Player of the Year.
In the four seasons from 2011 to 2015, Kershaw won three Cy Young Awards and finished second once. Since coming into MLB in 2008, he has gone 144-64 with a 2.36 ERA.
A relentless perfectionist, Clayton Kershaw continues to get better. He has been in the top three in the league in WHIP in each of the past six seasons, and has finished in the top four in batting average against in eight of the last nine years.
Mr. Kershaw, who will turn 30 during spring training this year, has been named recipient of the Roberto Clemente and Branch Rickey Awards for his humanitarian work. A devout Christian, he is active in a host of charitable organizations, including CURE International, Arise Africa and the Peacock Foundation in Los Angeles.