Categorized | Mark Timmons

Kershaw is Much Better Than Sandy Koufax Ever Was…

at 20 years of age!   I have heard every reason in the world why the Dodgers shouldn’t call up Kershaw at age 20 “He’ll be another Edwin Jackson.” Koufax was 19 when he canme to the majors.  Clayton Kershaw is a year older.  Sandy Koufax NEVER pitched a game in the minors.  Clayton Kershaw has spent parts of 3 seasons in thew minor leagues.  Sandy Koufax pitched from a mound that was much taller and could add 2-3 MPH to a pitchers’ speed, plus give the hitter a more difficult angle. 

In Clayton Kershaw’s 1st season in the minors, at age 18, he struck out 54 batters in 37 innings while walking only 5.  One poster said that Koufax was a strikeout pitcher, Kershaw is not?  I guess he never saw Kershaw blow away Lowell, Drew and Casey of the Red Sox or strike out 5 out of 6 batters in one of the the Spring games.  To jump off the Kershaw Bandwagon after one bad start is absurd!  Will Kershaw be the strikeout pitcher Koufax was?  I dobut it because of the height of the pitchers mound.  Koufax pitched in an era when the mound was 15 inches in height, but there were accusations that the mound at Dodger Stadium was as high as 18 inches.  Today it is 10 inches!  Clayton Kershaw will always strike out a lot of batters, but give him an 18 mound and he’d be electrifying!

Last year at AA Jacksonville Kershaw struckout 134 batters in 97 innings while walking 50.  That’s too many walks, certainly, but at age 22 Sandy Koufax struck out 131 batters in 158 innings while walking 105!  Now, I know that we are comparing minor league stats to major league stats, but that is all we have.  We also have people who have seen both pitchers pitch and the similarity of their motions is uncanny.    I for one, get flashbacks of Koufax everytime Clayton is on the mound.

Sandy Koufax always walked a lot of batters.  Later in his career, his walks per inning pitched dropped, but he still walked a lot of batters.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again:  Clayton will struggle at times.  It may appear that he is taking one step forward and two steps back, but his character and determination will carry the day.  Today, we have much more scientific and high-tech aspects to coaching and training and Clayton is exposed to more help than Koufax ever was, including Sandy Koufax himself.  Know for a fact that Sandy is just a speed dial away for Clayton!

Clayton Kershaw will be our Ace, sooner than later, but don’t expect him to be Sandy Koufax out of the gate, because evene Sandy Koufax wasn’t sandy Koufax until age 26!

Clayton Kershaw’s Stats

Sandy Koufax’s Stats

DODGER NOTES:

  • Andy LaRoche started at 2B last night for the 51′s and was 1-4 as they were shutout
  • Jason Schmidt pitched 3-2/3 innings last night and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3.  Michael Schwartz of MLB.com had this to say:

Jason Schmidt felt “pretty good” after throwing 65 pitches in 3 2/3 innings Saturday in his fourth rehab outing with Class A Inland Empire.   Schmidt increased his workload from 45 pitches in a rehab start on Monday, this time allowing four hits and two runs while striking out three and walking three. Of his 65 pitches, 37 went for strikes.

“Every outing I feel a lot smoother mechanically,” said Schmidt, in his 11th month of recovery from major right shoulder surgery. “I think I’m still off quite a bit. But it’s just still a work in progress. I bounced back quicker this last time, so that’s a good sign.”

For the second straight start Schmidt’s fastball topped off at 91 mph, hitting that mark 12 times on Saturday.

“It’s fine, I mean obviously I’d like to be a little further along in that, but it is what it is,” Schmidt said. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been out there and let the ball go, so I’ve got to build on that.”

Inland Empire pitching coach Charlie Hough saw Schmidt’s velocity as a positive because he also hit 90 about 14 or 15 times, maintaining that velocity throughout the game. In his previous outing he did not hit this mark so frequently, often throwing his fastball at 88.

  • Jon Broxton has blown 4 games for us!  What are we going to do about it?

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

24 Responses to “Kershaw is Much Better Than Sandy Koufax Ever Was…”

  1. original dodgerman says:

    You left out that Sandy is Jewish and Kershaw is a Gentile.

  2. Roger says:

    As Badger has said — Broxton needs to learn to pitch on the corners, and up and down. This over the heart of the plate will drive him out of baseball.

    Again, these younger players are indeed having to learn to play the game in the major leagues, and then put it together.

    The D-Backs are having the same problems.

    What concerns me about todays game with the HR as a key weapon — is that the Dodgers do not have a weapon at all — being last in HRs.

  3. mark says:

    … and when you look at the young players the ‘Backs have you can only conclude the their hitting philosophy is the diffrence. They almost all have lower BA’s and higher HR Totals.

    Is there a solution? Can Mattingly fix it?

  4. Badger says:

    The best young pitcher I have seen is Tim Lincecum. In his first 216 innings he has 226 K’s and a .230 BAA. He is 23.

    Kershaw might get there in his first 216 innings, but he I have my doubts he will get there this year. By the time he is 23, he should be ok.

    I have been watching MLB since 1959, actually went to my first game in 1955 (saw Mickey Mantle and Bob Cerv both hit 2 in Kansas City) and Sandy Koufax is the best pitcher I have ever seen. He did things from age 27 to 30 that we will never see again. Ever. To compare Kershaw, or anyone for that matter, to Koufax is rather silly. Kershaw is left handed and throws fast fastballs and sharp curveballs. End of comparison.

    Like I mentioned last night, if I am Broxton’s pitching coach, I tell him to take the Ryne Duran approach. Remember him? He threw the ball about 99 mph and had glasses as thick as coke bottles. When he came in the relieve he threw his first warm up pitch at 99 right to the backstop. Broxton has good enough control to miss badly, under a chin, the come back over the plate. I just don’t see why he is trying to get strike one with a breaking ball. Strike one from him should be a 95 mph heater, and maybe following ball one that goes to the backstop. I think it might make him a better pitcher if stops throwing his slider over the heart of the plate. Miss with it, then come back with heat. Just my opinion.

    Don’t know what to make of our lack of power. I think it will come. It’s about scoring runs and good hitters do that, if they can hit WRISP. For some reason, as a team, it would appear we don’t do that well either. Haven’t really checked the stats, but I would guess we are near the bottom in that category.

    The snakes are in hibernation. We should be taking advantage of this, and we are not. Losing games like the one we did yesterday doesn’t build my confidence.

  5. You had me worried there for a second, I was about ready to lambaste you for comparing a poor rookie to the great Sandy K. But once I got past the title, I breathed a little sight of relief. I agree, Kershaw is a rookie and is bound to struggle at times. As a manger, fan and teammate, you just have to be willing to stick with him while he works through the kinks. If you do, you have an ace on your hands.

  6. You make several valid points, Mark. But, I still think that it is unfair to compare statistics from Spring Training to the statistics compiled during the Regular Season.

    I do not think that Kershaw at this moment is as good as Koufax ever was at. When I look at Clayton Kershaw, I think of sushi. His skills are still raw, but yet a little bit of seasoning from an experience can make him into a tasty meal. Kershaw should develop into a phenomenal southpaw, but he is still on the drawing board now.

    Kershaw may be better than Sandy in an age-to-age comparison. But, Kershaw is definitely not better than Koufax in his prime.

    http://dodgers.tumblr.com

  7. lawdog says:

    Koufax was consistently faster–though not by much. His curve was slightly better as well literally starting at a right handers head and winding up in the dirt in Rosboro’s glove–a strike. But that was in his later years. Sandy in 1958 which was the first year I saw him pitch could throw the pill probably 99 mph on a consistent basis–and his curve had even more break and bite. Trouble is, everybody was ducking and running and he couldn’t get people out on a consistent basis. Kershaw is also wild in a strangley similar way on both those pitches. The diference, he’s wild in strike zone most of the time when he’
    s wild–not just felony wild like the hyoung Koufax was.

    He might not have quite the stuff–although Koufax was working on a slow forkball at the end of his career and they say Kershaw can already throw an effective chnange although I haven’t really noticed a good one from him yet.

    Nevertheless, I believe Kershaw will dominate and soon. Koufax took several years to reach that point.

    I like what I see in young Kershaw. Let’s home he can hone his pitches and develop that change at the major league level and become a major league Koufax –and not burn out like a second coming of Mike Morgan through overuse and underdevelopment.

  8. Roger says:

    Koufax was a “Bonus Baby.” And I believe in those days a team could sign a player and call them a Bonus Baby — the catch was, that they had to stay ont he 25 man roster and could not be sent down for two years.

    Here is the source:

    The Bonus Rule was a rule instituted by Major League Baseball in 1947 that prevented teams from assigning certain players to farm clubs.[1] The rule stipulated that when a Major league team signed a player to a contract in excess of $4,000, the Major League team was required to keep that player on the 40-man roster for two full-seasons.[2] Any team that failed to comply with the rule lost the rights to that player’s contract. The player was then exposed to the waiver wire.[1] If the player did remain with the team for a full two-seasons, the team could then send that player down to the farm teams without repercussions. The rule went through several variations until it was finally abolished in 1965.

    ———————

    Other wise Sandy would have probably been sent down to the minors — and spent several years learning his craft. He would have pitched more and MAYBE developed faster, or many over pitched and never have been a star —

    But — let us enjoy Kershaw and hope that he can become a winner in the majors.

  9. mark says:

    Hey, all I am saying is that Kershaw is better than Koufax at 20, 21 & 22, and maybe 23! I am not saying Kershaw is better than Koufax in his prime, because he isn’t! But in 3 or 4 years, let’s compare it again. He has a chance to be as good.

    I wonder if Koufax would have been as good as he was without the 18 inch mound? Don’t forget that…

  10. Harold says:

    There is no doubt in my mind Sandy was slowed down by the bonus baby rule. He needed to pitch in the minors to hone his skills. I expect he might have done that faster at the minor league level.

    To me it is pointless to try to compare them. Sandy is what actually happened, Clayton is what we hope for. I, for one, think he got rushed for reasons not in his best interests.

    Clayton has to learn to control his pitches just as Sandy did and hopefully it will be sooner than Sandy. Sandy really didn’t walk a lot of runners unless we simply count walks. He walked 817 batters in his career. That sounds like a lot. But looking at it in a context, he pitched for twelve years, some of them with not many innings and when he was still raw. He struck out 2396. That means his K/BB ratio was about 3/1 for 2324 innings pitched. It also means he struck out an average of 9 per 9 innings and walked about 3 per nine innings during his career. In his last five years he struck out 1454 batters and walked 316, that’s a K/BB ratio of about 5 to 1. Sandy gave up 1754 hits in that 2324 innings. Combined with his walks his career WHIP was 1.106.

    That is not to diss Clayton. It is simply to say that the likihood of another Koufax is rather memote. In his prime he tenacity, his stuff and his control all contributed to his brillance. I hope Clayton can come close to that because if he does he will be a superstud. I also really dislike it when we put such a hype on players.

    In any event time will tell, and time is on Clayton’s side at a tender 20 years of age. However, I would prefer not to compare him to Sandy. Set the bar high, but not impossibly high.

  11. Badger says:

    Hey Roger, about the same time you posted the Bonus Baby notice, I posted the same thing on the other thread.

    Great minds hey?

    Except you have your PhD.

    Me? I have my b.s..

  12. mark says:

    Well, there WILL never be another Koufax because of the 10 inch mound…

    But, here’s something else: I am not sure you learn control pitching in the minors when your pitches are major league ready. You can slip strikes past minor leaguers that will be killed by major leaguers, so the argument that a super pitcher can “learn” control in the minors is not valid in my opinion.

  13. mark says:

    Hey Badger,

    I’m a college dropout, but I’ve got BS.

    And a PHD (Piled Higher and Deeper)

  14. Harold says:

    Not to beat it to death but, Sandy had 137 complete games in 314 starts. He pitched inside with no fear, yet hit only 18 batters in that 2324 innings. He did have 87 wild pitches. Technology and training methods are different now for sure but the biggest asset for a pitcher with stuff is to trust himself and that stuff. That’s where the minor league play comes in.

  15. Badger says:

    And Roger writes books.

    I read one once.

    So I am watching the game and what do I see? Kuroda throwing the ball right down the middle to guys like Wright and Beltran.

    The difference between what teams like the Mets do and what we do is simple – they spend $18 million on guys like Beltran, we spend $18 million on guys like Jones.

    That ’bout sums it up.

  16. Harold says:

    No good to speculate on the height of the mound just as it is no good to speculate on whether Sandy would have been better with today’s “…much more scientific and high-tech aspects to coaching and training and Clayton is exposed to more help than Koufax ever was, including Sandy Koufax himself.” Perhaps they balnce out.

    Sandy did what he did under the circumstances of the time and Clayton will do what he does under present day game circumstances. I suppose one could argue that the ball was not as lively in Sandy’s day but also fewer and stronger teams, at least pitching wise.

    Pitchers perhaps can’t develop control in the minors, although I suspect they can. There is more to it than just control – learning to pitch, working on the third pitch, working on holding runners, developing stamina, meeting better hitters as they go from A to AA to AAA. I do hope they can develop control as Greg Miller has given up no runs in his last 8 innings, has struck out 13 and walked 6, still too many, although 3 came in one innings but yielded no runs. If Miller, Elbert, Morris, etc. can’t develop control in the minors, they are lost to us.

  17. Badger says:

    The strike zone was considerbly bigger then too. Knees to arm pits. Today, it’s top of knees to navel. And you cannot minimize that mound issue. All hitters will tell you it is much harder to hit a ball coming down at such a severe angle.

    This just in….. Dodgers suck.

    I just heard that Dodger shortstops are now 0 for the last 28 and are hitting a collective .128 since Furcal went down. Maza down to .250. Anyone really surprised?

    Why not just let Kuroda stay in for at least 5? He had 2 outs in the third, let him get the last out and save the bullpen for crying out loud. They have Santana on the mound, we are the weak ass hitting Dodgers, why not let Kuroda work through it?

    Kemp with another misplay in center. He is still our best option. Kent showing some range for an old fart.

    I think we have a long way to go with this team. We are not a championship caliber club.

  18. Roger says:

    Driving home from a dinner tonight, I was thinking about Jones. Signing that big contract. The Dodgers expected a big bat out of him.

    But it did not work out and now he had to go under the knife.

    He was under .200 and had a lot of Ks. Fans bood him.

    You know, that really does not help a player. That only builds the pressure.

    Joe gave him a lot of rope. Kept him in the lineup, hitting in good spots and all.

    Maybe when he comes back — Dodger fans needs to cheer him on. He needs to know that the fans believe in him. Not trash him.

    Almost every time he would strike out and walk back to the bench, he had a smile on his face. I Believe that was a smile of pain. Real pain. And we only cut into that pain further with boos.

  19. Badger says:

    Well Roger, that’s a reasonable and very compassionate point of view.

    Maybe if Judy agreed to give his paycheck to charity until he snaps out of it, I would be willing to cheer him on.

    It’s going to be difficult for me because I never believed he should have been brought here in the first place. I think his numbers in Atlanta may have been drug aided. The guy is only 30 and his numbers have fallen faster than Bush’s approval ratings. And, have you noticed that this happened concurrent with the clamping down on steroid use? I don’t know that his name has been mentioned in any reports, but for him to fall so fast at such an early age begs for explanation.

    Since we own him, I hope for best, but I really don’t expect anything different than what we have seen. Hope I am wrong about this.

  20. Roger says:

    Hey, have you noticed that Loney is getting really great at warning track power !!!!!

  21. Robert Cole says:

    Interesting take on Jonesed and roids. It has plenty of plausablity. As for the booing… I too think it takes a toll on him. I sit in left center, three rows from the field, well within jones’s earshot and have personally seen his shoulders slump as he gets heckled. But I was also there at the colliseum game as well as opening day where he got standing ovations as a welcoming mat. He was cheered for for a good 4-6 weeks into the season before the boos started. And it’s not like he doesn’t deserve it. We’re paying that guy a ton of money and getting nothing in return. If he wants respect from the crowd, he needs to earn it.

  22. Badger says:

    I have seen enough Dodger games to see ball after ball fall out of the sky at the warning track. The outsthat don’t go that far are usually weak ass grounders. I also see the highlights of other teams as balls fly out of parks and teams are hugging and bouncing around after walk-offs.

    This is a very strange Dodger team. I keep waiting for Kemp to hit one 500′, I keep waiting for that clutch two out hit WRISP to win or take a lead. I keep waiting for that complete game shut-out.

    And I keep waiting.

    This team looked, on paper at least, to have a real chance at greatness. What happened? Furcal going down hurt, but even before that, our big guys just don’t seem to have extra base hits in them. Right through our lineup I saw the potential for 8 guys to hit close to or better than .300 and I saw 5 guys capable of 30 HR’s. Maybe it will come together as summer comes along. Sure hope so.

  23. lawdog says:

    I’ve seen that same type of smile on over priced over-the-hill players when they repeatedly fail in the clutch. Whether they are taking a fatball down broadway for strike three with the bases loaded or swinging wildly at would have been ball four but has been transformed into strike three, again wrisp. Or that same silly $hit eating grin after they’ve misplayed a routine pop fly into a game winning triple. Always the same grin with absolutely no pain in the eyes.

    Because when Judy fails and gets booed all he can think about is the pile of cash he supposedly “earned” that day for performing absolutely nothing but showing up to collect his pay. He might be getting booed by the fans and there is no question he let his team down when they needed him most, but you see, he’s already got that “on the way to the bank” look on his ugly mug.

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