Some of you have heard this story, but in the Summer of 2007, I wanted to see this young 19 year-old Kershaw kid pitch. I had seen him on video and read all about him, but seeing a player in person is so much more telling to me. So, I met Rodger Dodger and Voldomar in Chicago and we traveled to Beloit, Wisconsin to see young Clayton. If was a noon game and the park was nowhere near full. There were old ladies and kids on field trips and a few businessmen, but there were lots of people disguised as empty seats. So, we went down and sat in the scout area, right behind home plate. Roger and I sat next to a long time Cubs scout who was polite, but busy pouring over papers and reports, occasionally peering over his reading glasses to look at the players.
The Great Lakes Loons batted in the first inning and then the Loons took the field. At that time, young Clayton took the mound to warm up. I think it was during the second pitch that the crusty old scout put down his papers, took off his glasses and said “Who is that?” Even at 19, it didn’t take long to realize that Clayton Kershaw was something special. As I sat behind the plate and watched his delivery, chills went down my spine as I flashed back to (GASP) Sandy Koufax.
Fast forward to 2012: Clayton Kershaw is the reigning Cy Young Award Winner and while he probably won’t win it this year – he should. Consider this:
- He is 13-9, but the pen has blown at least 5 games for him
- He is leading the NL with a 2.58 ERA
- He is second in strikeouts at 221 (1 behind the leader, RA Dickey)
- He has the lowest WHIP at 1.03
- He is second in innings pitched and he is pitching with a bad hip
- Since the All-Star Game he has a 2.18 ERA and 1.00 WHIP
There is no choke in this guy!
Who is a better Cy Young Candidate? Look at all of the pitchers in the NL and it’s hard to argue they deserve it more than Clayton. If he puts up another spectacular game in his last start, like he did last night, and you don’t give him the Cy Young, you are going to have to say that ERA, WHIP and Strikeouts are less important that wins. Gio Gonzalez is the only one close, in that the league is hitting .206 against him, while the league is hitting .213 against Clayton, but Clayton has more strikeouts, a much better ERA and pitches deeper into games.
As much as Matt Kemp is said to be the leader of this team, it is Clayton Kershaw who day-in-and-day-out never waivers.
If any GM in baseball could have any one pitcher they wanted, it would be a landslide in favor of Clayton, and he’s only 24 years old!