Stay Healthy, Please: The Clayton Kershaw Thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Time to start one. He's in the running for greatest young pitcher since WWII.

I found eight guys who’d accumulated 30+ WAR by the end of their age-26 season. (Am I missing anyone obvious?) Ordered by WAR:

                         IP         W        L        H         BB        K        K/BB    ERA     ERA+   WAR

Blyleven 2144 122 113 1880 553 1728 3.12 2.79 134 49.7
Feller 1520 112 57 1199 850 1292 1.52 3.15 136 39.3
Gooden 1714 132 53 1467 505 1541 3.05 2.91 122 36.5
Seaver 1379 95 54 1090 352 1155 3.28 2.34 149 35.9
Clemens 1285 95 45 1088 371 1215 3.27 3.06 139 35.7
Kershaw 1259 86 48 958 404 1313 3.25 2.57 148 35.2
Felix 1620 98 76 1484 480 1487 3.10 3.22 128 33.4
Pedro 1146 84 46 890 373 1221 3.27 2.98 145 30.6

Kershaw still has half-a-season left--he should easily move to third on this list. A few notes.

1) They’re all at different points of their careers. Gooden, at the end of 1991, is clearly not the pitcher he was when he broke in. (Morbius can check me on this, but my recollection is that this was evident at the time—i.e., that no one expected him to return to anything close to where he was in ’84 and ’85. Can’t remember if his off-field problems were already an issue at 26.) Pedro, by contrast, is about to have two of the greatest seasons ever.

2) Almost all of Feller’s numbers are accumulated by age 22, when his military service begins (coming off seasonal WARS of 9.3/9.9/8.1). Give him back the three seasons he missed, and he undoubtedly sits at the top.

3) That aside, Blyleven’s huge WAR lead is pretty amazing.

4) Excepting Feller (product of the era), the K/BB ratios are extremely similar across the board.

5) Kershaw matches up very evenly with Clemens and Seaver.

I do hope that chart doesn't end up all over the place.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 July 2014 12:56 (five years ago) link

Yikes.

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 July 2014 12:57 (five years ago) link

This should be better:

http://i1059.photobucket.com/albums/t427/sayhey1/kershaw_zps76a7a9e6.jpg

clemenza, Tuesday, 1 July 2014 13:33 (five years ago) link

There were a lot of 300 IP pitchers in Blyleven's era. His lead in WAR is partly because he threw a lot more innings than anyone else on the list. On a WAR/200 IP basis, Clemens and Kershaw are in a separate category from the rest.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 1 July 2014 14:17 (five years ago) link

Johan Santana misses your cut (~22 WAR through age-26) because he wasn't a full time starter until age-25. The idea was to keep his IP count down when he was in his early 20's so that he wouldn't burn out by age 30, but shit happens.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Tuesday, 1 July 2014 14:22 (five years ago) link

because i apparently know everything dave cameron has ever said, he's actually come out and said that fWAR underrates kersh -- i know you're using bWAR here but i don't think he was talking about any factor that didn't affect both. i assumed it had something to do with the extreme park factor or maybe league factor. maybe i'll ask him next chat if i remember when it happens.

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Wednesday, 2 July 2014 00:01 (five years ago) link

he threw a lot more innings than anyone else

so . . . he was more valuable

mookieproof, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 00:47 (five years ago) link

Even when the numbers clearly show how Burt Blyleven's value, he doesn't get a shake. If he pitched for the A's, Reds, Dodgers or Yanks in the 70s he would have probably won 325+ games. Those numbers in his early 20s are pretty mind boggling.

Yada yada...I know wins don't matter.

I'd kind of figure with the mastery of multiple pitches and being a lefty, that Clayton Kershaw would be somewhat comparable to Steve Carlton. It would be good to read an article or see an interview with a scout that saw them both in their prime to compare.

earlnash, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 01:04 (five years ago) link

almost 40 years of human evolution on Kershaw's side.

(sorry, I am in the camp that maybe, just maybe, Ruth and Gehrig might be bench players on a current MLB team)

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Wednesday, 2 July 2014 01:31 (five years ago) link

I don't doubt that, but Steve Carlton was pretty ahead of the curve on training for his day, so was Nolan Ryan for that matter.

earlnash, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 01:53 (five years ago) link

On a related note, Jeter tied Gehrig on the career doubles list today. Evolution marches on.

clemenza, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 02:12 (five years ago) link

let's see him do it with lou gehrig's disease

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Wednesday, 2 July 2014 02:14 (five years ago) link

Zach: yes, I use Baseball Reference's numbers, mostly out of convenience. I like Jay Jaffe's method of splitting the difference--Posnanski explained the rationale for doing so in terms of Pedro's '99 and '00 seasons, and it made sense to me.

clemenza, Wednesday, 2 July 2014 02:29 (five years ago) link

Another gem and now it's 36 scoreless innings.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 5 July 2014 04:57 (five years ago) link

8 scoreless in coors counts double i think

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Saturday, 5 July 2014 05:00 (five years ago) link

I'm goin his next start Thursday vs SD at home

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 5 July 2014 14:24 (five years ago) link

High Heat Stats had a little chart the other day showing how close Kershaw and Sale were in most basic categories. Sale had last night's start since then, so I'll update.

IP: Kershaw (87.1), Sale (95.0)
W-L: Kershaw (10-2), Sale (8-1)
H/9: Kershaw (6.6), Sale (6.1)
K/BB: Kershaw (9.58), Sale (6.38)
WHIP: Kershaw (1.077), Sale (1.061)
ERA: Kershaw (1.85), Sale (2.08)
ERA+: Kershaw (190), Sale (193)

K/BB is the only sizable gap, where Sale's struggling along at a 6-1 ratio.

clemenza, Thursday, 10 July 2014 14:11 (five years ago) link

Also, I feel compelled to mention that Kershaw + Sale =

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/backissues/pauline-kael.jpg

clemenza, Thursday, 10 July 2014 14:13 (five years ago) link

welp, 41 innings and "phffft"

LA crowd most upset that they ran out of Hello Kitty travel mugs

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 July 2014 09:04 (five years ago) link

I was looking at the game logs for Kershaw and Wainwright. They've each had three problem starts.

Kershaw:

One bad start: 1.2 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K, 7 R, lost.
Two okay starts: 14 IP, 14 H, 1 BB, 18 K, 6 R, lost both. ("Okay" for Kershaw--both were quality.)

Wainwright:

Two bad starts: 9.1 IP, 18 H, 3 BB, 8 K, 13 R, lost both.
One mediocre start: 7 IP, 7 H, 0 BB, 8 K, 4 R, won.

Together, here's what they've done in their other 27 starts:

202.1 IP, 121 H (5.37/9), 34 BB, 194 K (5.71 K/BB), 17 R (0.76 ERA), 22-1.

clemenza, Sunday, 20 July 2014 23:53 (five years ago) link

fuck ESPN, i thought they might improve but all they care about is big market teams but tonight St. Louis gets the treatment.

Bee OK, Monday, 21 July 2014 01:09 (five years ago) link

three weeks pass...

if not for that DL stint, he's prob be heavy fave for MVP; as of now, should still win it

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 August 2014 15:21 (five years ago) link

yeah who else is there really? lucroy and mccutcheon i guess? they're having really excellent seasons but nothing close to kersh.

LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Friday, 15 August 2014 15:23 (five years ago) link

i would be shocked if anyone other than kersh or puig won

k3vin k., Friday, 15 August 2014 15:32 (five years ago) link

I was going to mention Puig, but didn't want everyone yelling WAR at me (a modest 3.8 on Baseball Reference--negative for defense).

clemenza, Friday, 15 August 2014 15:35 (five years ago) link

McCutchen is on the DL with his rib, who knows how much more he'll play; and aside from Lucroy and Stanton -- who I could see winning only if the Marlins get a WC, or if he hits 45 HR -- most of the nonpitcher contenders got hurt in the last month.

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Friday, 15 August 2014 16:22 (five years ago) link

I heard one of the laziest sports talk radio bits of all time - some challopy shit about Kershaw not being good 'in the playoffs' and only using stats from when he was like 20-21 and one bad start in the last game of the playoffs last year after racking up 250+ fucking IP.

I know its stupid to get annoyed with such things but good lord these people dont know shit about baseball.

panettone for the painfully alone (mayor jingleberries), Friday, 15 August 2014 18:13 (five years ago) link

Eight innings tonight, three hits, two walks, 10 K, 15th win. His WAR should be around 7.0 tomorrow in just over 150 IP.

clemenza, Friday, 22 August 2014 04:38 (five years ago) link

Starting to make a rout of the MVP--his last five or six starts would have to be noticeably bad for the writers to look for other options (none of which are really compelling at the moment).

clemenza, Thursday, 28 August 2014 14:09 (five years ago) link

If I had to predict now, I'd say Kershaw/Lucroy 1-2, unless Cutch heals miraculously and leads the Corsairs to October.

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 28 August 2014 15:43 (five years ago) link

i get the feeling the debate is gonna be cutch vs stanton if the marlins keep being WC relevant

kershaw missed too many games to break the no-pitchers rule and lucroy isn't having enough of a posey/mauer-ish MVP season offensively to make snoozing writers care

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Thursday, 28 August 2014 18:04 (five years ago) link

even with the missed games, he leads the majors in wins and his ERA starts with a 1. there's plenty to like from a traditional standpoint

k3vin k., Thursday, 28 August 2014 18:05 (five years ago) link

he'll win CY sure but so many writers are literally "the MVP is the hitting award", verlander had 24 wins and 250 innings when he won

would be awesome if he and felix both won tho

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Thursday, 28 August 2014 20:08 (five years ago) link

Last night was indeed a marquee match-up for four and two-thirds innings...Posnanski:

In total, Kershaw is on pace to become just the fifth pitcher since Deadball to have a sub-2.00 ERA and FIP. The previous four are all-time seasons:

1946: Hal Newhouser, 1.94 ERA, 1.97 FIP
1963: Sandy Koufax, 1.88 ERA, 1.85 FIP
1968: Bob Gibson, 1.12 ERA, 1.77 FIP
1971: Tom Seaver, 1.76 ERA, 1.93 FIP
2014: Clayton Kershaw, 1.70 ERA, 1.89 FIP

http://joeposnanski.com/joeblogs/era-fip-and-kershaw/#comments

clemenza, Wednesday, 3 September 2014 22:38 (five years ago) link

Doesn't happen very often, I bet: pitcher having a historically great season up against a team that seems to have a historically anemic offense. Of course, to coin a phrase, baseball is a funny game, so if he doesn't pitch a perfect game, maybe he'll give up six runs instead.

clemenza, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 02:33 (five years ago) link

he takes forever to pitch

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 14:44 (five years ago) link

I really don't want to end up as someone who obsesses over WAR, but I'm confused as to why he was 7.8 yesterday, and still 7.8 after an 8-inning start where he gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, and one earned run, and he struck out 8. He did give up a couple of unearned runs. Does WAR penalize for unearned runs? (Which I don't have a major problem with; James always thought runs allowed was more important than earned runs allowed.)

clemenza, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:31 (five years ago) link

are you sure they've updated the numbers yet?

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:40 (five years ago) link

They have. Baseball Reference updates each morning sometime around 9:00; if the standing are updated, that means everything has been updated.

clemenza, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:42 (five years ago) link

i don't think rWAR distinguishes between earned and unearned runs

k3vin k., Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:47 (five years ago) link

for pitching, i prefer fWAR altho it's not perfect.

Van Horn Street, Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:49 (five years ago) link

fangraphs also has daily updates (he got 0.3 yesterday)

had no idea rWAR includes unearned runs though i guess that makes sense

linda cardellini (zachlyon), Tuesday, 9 September 2014 15:53 (five years ago) link

Today, he went up by 0.1 on Baseball Reference. I guess the rest of the league got worse as he sat watching.

clemenza, Wednesday, 10 September 2014 13:07 (five years ago) link

didn't realize hes only given up 33 earned runs and 27 walks all season ¯\(°_0)/¯

johnny crunch, Wednesday, 10 September 2014 14:14 (five years ago) link

19-3 now. take away his horrible start against arizona early in the season and his ERA is 1.38.

LIKE If you are against racism (omar little), Monday, 15 September 2014 05:45 (five years ago) link

If he wins his next start, he'd get to 20 in his 27th start. SweetSpot: "Only one pitcher since 1901 has won 20 games in so few appearances -- Jesse Tannehill of the 1902 Pirates, who went 20-6 in 26 games."

clemenza, Monday, 15 September 2014 13:50 (five years ago) link

wins, feh

son of a lewd monk (Dr Morbius), Monday, 15 September 2014 14:09 (five years ago) link

Jeff Weaver won 20 in only 30 starts in 2012. What's really amazing is that he didn't pitch deep into games like Kershaw does -- he only had 188 IP, and I think that's a record. Kershaw is at 185 IP, so the record is safe.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 15 September 2014 14:11 (five years ago) link

sorry, Jered Weaver, not Taco Weaver.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Monday, 15 September 2014 14:11 (five years ago) link

wins, feh

I would have thought this would be one instance where wins actually are an accurate measure of excellence, along with everything else.

clemenza, Monday, 15 September 2014 15:10 (five years ago) link

Peak Kershaw clearly history, but can he still be a co-ace?

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 1 November 2018 19:16 (one year ago) link

he's still pretty good, just not $35m good. especially if he's going to miss 6-10 starts each year. ehh, the dodgers can afford it

i think buehler's the ace now, tho

mookieproof, Thursday, 1 November 2018 19:28 (one year ago) link

best decision from kershaw's perspective would seem to be extending his deal with dodgers, for sure. i'll be kind of shocked if he signs with any other team

Karl Malone, Thursday, 1 November 2018 19:40 (one year ago) link

i'm not writing Kershaw off quite yet, he's young and a guy like Verlander had his Cy Young peak, went through worse, and bounced back to peak form.

omar little, Thursday, 1 November 2018 21:06 (one year ago) link

he's obviously no kershaw, but i'm interested to see what happens with bumgarner too. year and a half younger, but his peripherals have declined even more. the giants have a $12m team option for 2019 at the end of an *extremely* team-friendly contract and i don't think he'll get the contract, at age 30, that he was expecting three years ago

the giants should obviously trade him but they'll probably sign sabathia, bring back marco scutaro and give the boys one more shot

mookieproof, Thursday, 1 November 2018 21:21 (one year ago) link

i think sabathia stays w nyy on some kind of mutual wakefield-type deal

YouTube_-_funy_cats.flv (Jimmy The Mod Awaits The Return Of His Beloved), Friday, 2 November 2018 12:08 (one year ago) link

I'd say Kershaw's back is probably more a drag on his effectiveness than losing some speed on his fastball. He still has top level control and movement.

I kinda think CC pitches, it will be for the Yanks or I could see Cleveland maybe reaching out to maybe finish career where it started.

earlnash, Friday, 2 November 2018 12:15 (one year ago) link

@Ken_Rosenthal
Kershaw: “I am throwing slower. I know that. And I don’t know if that’s going to be for the rest of my career, either. I firmly believe that I can get that back and I’m going to spend a lot of time this off-season working on that.”

mookieproof, Friday, 2 November 2018 12:57 (one year ago) link

did anyone say how Verlander got his velocity "back"? cuz i'm not aware of that happening for anyone else.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 2 November 2018 15:12 (one year ago) link

this is baseball's greatest mystery for me -- i can understand how players can be faster than me, or make better contact, or hit the ball farther, etc. i don't understand how they throw so fucking hard

the astros have that reliever, josh james, who supposedly added 5+ mph to his fastball after getting his sleep apnea treated. i don't understand that either

mookieproof, Friday, 2 November 2018 15:53 (one year ago) link

Verlander's case was a weird one, maybe it was because the injuries he suffered during that time were more easily manageable? The core muscle surgery, the triceps strain...I'm no doctor, but maybe those are not so much the types of issues that'll have long-term effects.

omar little, Friday, 2 November 2018 15:53 (one year ago) link

knowing nothing at all, i'll just bullshit and say "it's all in the wrist"

Karl Malone, Friday, 2 November 2018 15:54 (one year ago) link

did anyone say how Verlander got his velocity "back"? cuz i'm not aware of that happening for anyone else.

Health and mechanical tweaks.

xpost

Andy K, Friday, 2 November 2018 16:02 (one year ago) link

And some other stuff.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2790162-the-road-that-brought-justin-verlander-back

Andy K, Friday, 2 November 2018 16:03 (one year ago) link

three years, $93m

so he gets an extra year and $28m more guaranteed, will be a free agent following his age-33 season

mookieproof, Friday, 2 November 2018 20:19 (one year ago) link

the astros have that reliever, josh james, who supposedly added 5+ mph to his fastball after getting his sleep apnea treated. i don't understand that either

― mookieproof, Friday, November 2, 2018 11:53 AM (ten hours ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Body is less tired, muscles have more explosion, etc

Sleep apnea is shit.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 3 November 2018 02:02 (one year ago) link

yeah i have some sleep issues too but the specific correlation to a significant bump in fastball speed is astonishing

mookieproof, Saturday, 3 November 2018 02:29 (one year ago) link

I have always wanted to be in a batter's box i just see how it feels like having a 100 mph ball coming towards you.

Van Horn Street, Saturday, 3 November 2018 03:34 (one year ago) link

No idea where you live but most cages will have a machine that hits 90 or so.

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Saturday, 3 November 2018 03:42 (one year ago) link

it's not really the same. the old machines with the levers are better, but the ones with the two tires give you no sense of timing

at least you know it's probably not going to hit you . . . unless you have a sadistic coach who's torqued up the two wheels. rip jack heimbuecher

mookieproof, Saturday, 3 November 2018 03:53 (one year ago) link

I'm a bit confused by the Kershaw deal -- the one extra year doesn't give him much security. Wouldn't he want to hit free agency a year earlier and stand a better chance at getting a good 3-4 year deal when he's 32, rather than 33?

I guess the logic is that if he opted out now, would he get 3-4 years for 100 million total (=what he'll get from the extension)? He must think the answer is no.

NoTimeBeforeTime, Saturday, 3 November 2018 04:26 (one year ago) link

yeah i'm not sure he'd get a better deal, plus he and the dodgers love each other

mookieproof, Saturday, 3 November 2018 04:45 (one year ago) link

three years, $93m

so he gets an extra year and $28m more guaranteed, will be a free agent following his age-33 season

― mookieproof, Friday, November 2, 2018 4:19 PM (yesterday) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

great deal for the dodgers, gives them an out to cut bait if he continues to regress. surprised kershaw took it

k3vin k., Saturday, 3 November 2018 06:28 (one year ago) link

The shape of his career may mirror Seaver's, although the ages don't align precisely.

Seaver was dominant from '69 to '73 (age 24-28), great from '74 to '81 (29-36), and then he tacked on a few years where he was still reasonably effective relative to the league (37-41). There are some blips in there, but you can more or less identify three phases.

Kershaw's dominant phase stretches from 2011-2017 (age 23-29). Maybe last year was the beginning of his merely-great phase.

clemenza, Saturday, 3 November 2018 14:52 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Sinking feeling he's going to take the Koufax parallels too far.
― clemenza, Monday, July 24, 2017 10:33 AM (one year ago)

http://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/dodgers-clayton-kershaw-shut-down-indefinitely-due-to-undisclosed-arm-issue-manager-dave-roberts-says/

I want to strangle the guy who named this thread.

clemenza, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:45 (nine months ago) link

don't feel too bad, it happens to pretty much all of them. :(

Karl Malone, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:53 (nine months ago) link

Per Jorge Castillo of the Los Angeles Times, manager Dave Roberts says Kershaw has ceased throwing after feeling that something was amiss following a bullpen session. Roberts termed it an "arm kind of thing" and gave no timetable for a return to throwing. Kershaw will, however, take part in his usual non-throwing workouts.

yikes, an arm kind of thing.

Karl Malone, Saturday, 23 February 2019 16:54 (nine months ago) link

in the words of Jeff Sullivan, "Pitching is bad, don't do it."

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 23 February 2019 17:00 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

well, his season debut is tonight. i would love to see him be able to have a couple more solid seasons

The immortal Hydra Viridisimma (outdoor_miner), Monday, 15 April 2019 15:39 (seven months ago) link

Yeah, I’m thinking of going.

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:23 (seven months ago) link

There are at least two prominent historical precedents where guys recreated themselves and went from overpowering strikeout pitchers to...I don't know--location and guile: Luis Tiant and Frank Tanana. Must be others. If he can do that, maybe he can put in six or seven more productive years.

clemenza, Monday, 15 April 2019 19:49 (seven months ago) link

cc sabathia is a good example--obviously he never returned to his late '00s, early '10s heights, but he's been effective for the past few seasons.

to halve and half not (voodoo chili), Monday, 15 April 2019 20:08 (seven months ago) link

Was surprised to see him go 7 tonight (I assume he won't be out for the 8th), but only 84 pitches.

clemenza, Tuesday, 16 April 2019 04:19 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

Clayton Kershaw just became the most productive Dodger in history:

64.8 WAR Kershaw
64.4 WAR Sutton
63.4 WAR Sniderhttps://t.co/thNx6cFPvl

— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) August 7, 2019

mookieproof, Wednesday, 7 August 2019 15:27 (three months ago) link

This is almost at the level of Babe Ruth hitting the home run for the hospitalized kid on the shamelessly cornball scale, but I got a kick out of it anyway.

https://www.mlb.com/cut4/dodgers-convince-fan-to-keep-playing-baseball

clemenza, Thursday, 8 August 2019 22:51 (three months ago) link

"Before long, Kershaw will have lost even more fastball velocity. Time wounds all heels, and no one can outrun it forever. For a month, however, Kershaw has turned back the clock. He’s made a simple adjustment that makes batters’ lives harder, and for now that’s enough."

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/what-remains-of-clayton-kershaw/

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 9 August 2019 04:17 (three months ago) link

Passed Koufax in wins last night. 12 seasons each:

Kershaw - 166-71, 2.41, 159 ERA+, 4.27 K/BB, 2.70 FIP, 1.006 WHIP, 3 Cy Youngs
Koufax - 165-87, 2.76, 131 ERA+, 2.93 K/BB, 2.69 FIP, 1.106 WHIP, 3 Cy Youngs

Koufax's Cy Youngs were across both leagues, but the number of extra teams that involved was only a handful.

clemenza, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 16:58 (three months ago) link

Also: big WAR advantage to Kershaw (65 to 53), big postseason advantage to Koufax (only a third as many innings, though).

clemenza, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 17:01 (three months ago) link

kershaw a better hitter, but it's a pretty low bar

mookieproof, Wednesday, 21 August 2019 17:16 (three months ago) link

one month passes...

I don’t think we’ll get anywhere, but I’ll give this another go.

But it's a 'season' that has lasted 12 years (so far) and he literally is not the same kind of pitcher now as he was at the beginning. So, not a season.
― a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius)

Tried to get my head around this and couldn’t. We’re comparing two sets of numbers: Clayton Kershaw, regular-season pitcher, vs. Clayton Kershaw, postseason pitcher. The particulars of how and when they were compiled seem beside the point to me, because it’s the same guy and the same time-frame. Anytime you make a general statement about a guy’s career, you’re talking about that player at many different stages of that career. But you don’t start chopping up the career into smaller segments for the purpose of...I don’t know what the purpose would be. “Willie Mays was a great baseball player”--that’s a general statement that encompasses the 1951 Willie Mays, the MVP of ’54 and ’65, and the barely-hanging-on gate attraction of 1973. The statement stands, though--you don’t need to clarify it any more than that, just like I don’t see any need to start micro-analyzing the statement “Clayton Kershaw has been a mediocre postseason pitcher” (and don’t really get why you’re so invested in doing so).

As for the "pressing" theory, when he threw 8 scoreless against ATL last year in the DS last year, why didn't he press that night?

As I wrote in the same post, I don’t know what’s behind Kershaw’s postseason troubles--the pressing theory is just that, a theory that makes sense to me. It wouldn’t preclude the occasional good or even great outing, though.

clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 13:21 (one month ago) link

Kershaw does have some pretty amazing company on one list:

Worst ERA when facing elimination (Min. 20 IP):

Tim Wakefield - 6.75
Clayton Kershaw - 5.77
Roger Clemens - 5.28
Pedro Martinez - 5.17

(Not sure how many innings you're talking about with Clemens and Martinez--I'm guessing Kershaw's logged a few more.)

https://www.cbssports.com/mlb/news/clayton-kershaw-postseason-timeline-breaking-down-playoff-struggles-of-the-dodgers-ace-after-game-5-meltdown/

clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 13:30 (one month ago) link

chokers all!

“Clayton Kershaw has been a mediocre postseason pitcher”

Overall, that is a true statement, and I don't think anyone is saying otherwise.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:25 (one month ago) link

and Willie Mays had his best postseason at age 40

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/mayswi01.shtml#all_batting_postseason

so hang on for redemption, Clayton.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:29 (one month ago) link

Conversely, I've never once used words like "choker" or "character" as an explanation for any of this--you kind of implied that that's where I was coming from last year, and it's simply not true.

I posted something similar yesterday; assuming he's around for another five or six seasons, I think Kershaw will eventually have a postseason similar to Price's last year (which I loved).

clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 16:46 (one month ago) link

no clem, I'm caricaturing the sound of the mob (ie the worst online Dodgers fans). sorry if you thought otherwise.

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 11 October 2019 16:47 (one month ago) link

Kershaw 2.0 is definitely a different player than Kershaw 1.0, his curveball is flatter and hangs a bit more in the strike zone. His new pitch (slurvy-slider) doesn't have enough zip, and his fastball is uh...

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/eVm29BOKLxu15gyfIWQfX2B-7EY=/0x0:706x449/1720x0/filters:focal(0x0:706x449):format(webp):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/16341430/image1__29_.png

Jersey Al (Albert R. Broccoli), Friday, 11 October 2019 17:43 (one month ago) link

someone somewhere was noting that his fastball and slider are now only 3mph apart -- throwing a harder fastball seems unlikely, but perhaps slowing down the slider would do enough to upset timing

mookieproof, Friday, 11 October 2019 18:44 (one month ago) link

(xpost) Fair enough.

I read that he's held in such high esteem by his teammates, they were going above and beyond when it came to consoling him.

clemenza, Friday, 11 October 2019 19:09 (one month ago) link

Interesting piece for a couple of days ago:

http://blogs.fangraphs.com/clayton-kershaw-and-the-unfairness-of-narratives/

It falls about halfway on things we've been kicking around here: important metrics that are almost the same for him in the regular- and post-season (strikeout and walk rate), one that's much worse (HR).

It does give credence to the idea that it may be tied in with "the little voice in the back of your head":

That’s the math of the situation; it can’t change the feeling, though, the little voice in the back of your head that says “Hey, are you ready for this?” every time Kershaw pitches in October. And if the voice is in your head, you can be sure it’s in Kershaw’s too, every time he gives up a home run or a chain of singles. Is this all luck? Could it possibly be luck? How can it keep happening to me? Am I tipping my pitches? Pressing too hard? Not pressing hard enough?

Saying that someone might be pressing is, to me, just the flip side of saying clutch-hitting doesn't exist. (Which I agree with, although I'd allow that there are probably very isolated cases of players who do consistently perform well under pressure--an argument for somewhere else.) Sabermetrics doesn't buy clutch-hitting because a) the evidence isn't there, and b) why would it be?--you'd have to believe that athletes have some magical ability to change their abilities at key moments. But I also believe that athletes don't have magical abilities to not fall prey to something very human: that doubt creeps in when you don't succeed a few times in the same situation. It doesn't mean that you don't occasionally succeed--get a big hit, pitch a good game--just that the doubt lingers if you also keep back-stepping, and continues to linger until you definitively close that door, like Price did last year. I don't think Kershaw has done that yet. But I think he will at some point.

clemenza, Sunday, 13 October 2019 18:15 (one month ago) link

Believing in clutchness doesn't have to be tied in to a belief that someone can do it over an extended period of time. Someone can be clutch on a given day, where they do something they might not have done on another day because they were in a different frame of mind or they told themselves definitively, "I am going to do this now and I am not going to take no for an answer." I think that kind of stuff happens all the time.

timellison, Sunday, 13 October 2019 23:06 (one month ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.