Tag Archives: Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw v. Koufax, 7

Highland Park freshman FB. Kershaw, 51; copyright

Highland Park freshman football. Clayton Kershaw, 51

[image copyrighted; do not use without permission.]
Clayton Kershaw was a bit more pudgy as a high school freshman, played center, snapped the ball to Matthew Stafford.
Actually, it’s Kershaw v. Josh Johnson tonight.
Interestingly, Dave Cameron at Fangraphs rates Marlin ace Josh Johnson at no. 30 in trade value and Kershaw at no. 29, and Chad Billingsley at 28:

#30: Josh Johnson, RHP, Florida: 3.4 WAR
…The strikeouts and groundballs skillset is an ace package, and Johnson throws strikes too. His present value is extremely high, though health concerns and the fact that he’s a free agent after 2011 make this the highest he’ll ever rank. Still, a 25-year-old ace making $1.4 million this year? …
#29: Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Los Angeles: 1.9 WAR
Kershaw’s stuff is so good that even with well below average command at age 21, he’s still a good major league pitcher. He’s certainly still a work in progress, but there’s enough present value, combined with his enormous potential, to place him here during his pre-arb years.
#28: Chad Billingsley, RHP, Los Angeles: 2.4 WAR
Here, we start to get into the list of guys who just aren’t going to get traded. The Dodgers aren’t giving up their ace – he’s 24, he’s a frontline starter who they have under club control through 2012, and even with his arbitration reward coming, he’ll be vastly underpaid the next few years. Like Kershaw, he could stand to throw a few more strikes, but that’s just nit-picking.

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Kershaw v. Koufax, 6

Ebbett's Field in Brooklyn

Ebbett's Field in Brooklyn

Kershaw vs. Houston tonight: 7 innings, 1 walk, 2 hit, 5Ks, win; he also played goalie on one groundball up the middle, stopping the ball with a kick save and throwing the batter out at first. He played soccer goalie as a kid in Highland Park (actually University Park; Highland Park was the name of the school district/high school, but Clayton lived in University Park, next door to Highland Park. Grew up almost across the street from Dick Cheney’s place. Only about three miles from Bush’s new digs.)

Some are starting refer to Kershaw as the staff ace; while his progress is remarkable, this designation is really unfair in a number of ways.

Career stats for Sandy Koufax (SK, aka K1) as of 10/15/57, age 21y 9mo, and Clayton Kershaw (CK, aka K2) as of July 19, 2009, age 21y 4mo.

SK: IP 205.2 W 09 L 10 H 182 HR 26 ER 91 K 182 BB 108
CK: IP 214.1 W 13 L 10 H 179 HR 16 ER 86 K 204 BB 112

SK: ERA=3.99, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.0
CK: ERA=3.61, WHIP=1.36, K/9 innings=8.6

Note: While Kershaw’s stats are starting to look better than Koufax’s, remember that up to this point in his career, Koufax was mostly a mop-up man, and was pitching in Ebbett’s Field, which was a great hitter’s park.

Ebbetts Field Park Factors:
Year Runs Home Runs
1955 106 122
1956 103 120
1957 133 145
Whereas today’s Dodger Stadium is the toughest park in the majors to score runs.

The only real significant difference between the two Dodger lefties seems to be their investment strategies.

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Koufax v. Kershaw, 5

koufaxsidekershaws
through today’s game v. Milwaukee.
Career stats for Sandy Koufax (SK, aka K1) as of 10/15/57, age 21y 9mo, and Clayton Kershaw (CK, aka K2) as of 7/01/09, age 21y 3mo.

SK: IP 205.2 W 09 L 10 H 182 HR 26 ER 91 K 182 BB 108
CK: IP 207.1 W 12 L 10 H 177 HR 16 ER 86 K 199 BB 111

SK: ERA=3.99, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.0
CK: ERA=3.73, WHIP=1.40, K/9 innings=8.6

Notes:

Koufax was a “bonus” baby who could not be sent to the minors, so he learned “in the show.” He was quite wild, obviously not unlike Kershaw, until he was 25 years old. Many of Koufax’s appearances were in relief, as a “mop-up” man. Kershaw has a tougher role as a starter, going through the lineup two or three times in each appearance.

Sunday’s game at Milwaukee was a real trial for Kershaw. Those who watched the game could see that the strike zone was about the size of a lunchbox. Kershaw could easily have given up 8 walks instead of five, and the hitters could have waited for him to groove the ball. It is a credit to him that he was able to manage the situation. It seems like Ausmus does a good job with Kershaw; I wonder if Torre is going to make a habit of pairing the two.

It is striking to watch how few hitters get good swings at Kershaw’s pitches, and how few make good contact. In a way, he would be better off in terms of pitch count if he let batters put the ball in play. Of course, he has so many runners on base from walks that his WHIP is already high even without hits. His HR allowed last year was 0.9, and this year is only 0.5. That may be partly related to a different set of opponents this year but certainly Kershaw seems to keeping batters off stride better than he did last year. Watching the radar gun readings, he seems to take more off his fast ball, as well as throwing more off speed pitches for strikes. It is in HR allowed that we see the only real statistical difference between the young Koufax and Kershaw. I suspect that can be largely accounted for by ball park differences.

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Kershaw v. Koufax, 4

mannyclayton

Including today’s game:

Career stats for Sandy Koufax (SK, aka K1) as of 10/15/57, age 21y 9mo, and Clayton Kershaw (CK, aka K2) as of 7/01/09, age 21y 3mo.

SK: IP 205.2 W 09 L 10 H 182 HR 26 ER 91 K 182 BB 108
CK: IP 201.1 W 11 L 10 H 175 HR 16 ER 85 K 195 BB 106

SK: ERA=3.99, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.0
CK: ERA=3.80, WHIP=1.40, K/9 innings=8.7

(Notes: Kershaw’s low HRs allowed this year may be due to the low HR totals of the Dodgers’ opposition..
Many of Koufax’s appearances were in relief.)

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Kershaw v. Koufax watch, 3

Sandy Koufax

Sandy Koufax

After game of 7/1/09:
Career stats for Sandy Koufax (SK) as of 10/15/57, age 21y 9mo, and Clayton Kershaw (CK) as of 7/01/09, age 21y 3mo.

SK: IP 205.2 W 09 L 10 H 182 HR 26 ER 91 K 182 BB 108
CK: IP 195.1 W 10 L 10 H 172 HR 16 ER 85 K 188 BB 104

SK: ERA=3.99, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.0
CK: ERA=3.92, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.7

(Notes: Kershaw’s low HRs allowed this year may be due to the low HR totals of the Dodgers’ opposition..
Many of Koufax’s appearances were in relief.)

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Kershaw – Koufax watch, part 2

see prior post.

Career stats for Sandy Koufax (SK) as of 10/15/57, age 21y 9mo, and Clayton Kershaw (CK) as of 6/26/09, age 21y 3mo.

SK: IP 205.2 W 09 L 10 H 182 ER 91 K 182 BB 108
CK: IP 190.1 W 10 L 10 H 171 ER 85 K 178 BB 94

SK: ERA=3.99, WHIP=1.41, K/9 innings=8.0
CK: ERA=4.01, WHIP=1.42, K/9 innings=8.7

If you don’t think that’s spooky, you’re not paying attention.
(yes, I know SK was pitching at Ebbets Field and doing a lot of relief pitching, and probably didn’t have great defense behind him; but still….and Kershaw is 6 mo younger. Physically they are virtual clones.)

See also this.

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Sandy Koufax v. Clayton Kershaw, @ 21 years

In an internet chat yesterday, Clayton Kershaw was asked about Sandy Koufax:

Koufaxk32: What do you think of the comparisons between you and Sandy Koufax?

Kershaw: It’s an honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Koufax. But I have a ton of work to do before the comparisons are warranted.

Well, certainly Kershaw’s career can’t be compared with Koufax’s career. The best we can do is look at where the two were at about the same age. Turns out they are eerily close.
Sandy Koufax was born Dec. 30, 1935. He turned 21 on Dec. 30, 1956. As of the end of the 1957 baseball season, he was about 21.8 years old, and he had pitched slightly over 200 innings for the Dodgers. He was about 6-2 and 210 pounds, and threw lefthanded.
Clayton Kershaw was born March 19, 1988. He turned 21 on March 19, 2009. As of June 22, 2009, Kershaw was about 21.3 years old, and had pitched about 182 innings for the Dodgers. He stands 6-3 and weighs about 220 pounds, and throws lefthanded.
Koufaxafter his 21 y.o. season Kershaw now, 21 y.o.
Tell me which line belongs to which Dodger lefty:
W 9 L 10 IP 205.2 H 182 ER 91 ERA 3.99 K 182 BB 108
W 9 L 10 IP 184.1 H 166 ER 83 ERA 4.05 K 175 BB 98

Kershaw’s line is the lower one. In the next twenty innings, he will probably get even closer to Koufax numbers; he will certainly pass him in strikeouts. You can do the WHIP, etc, but let’s not put too fine a point on it. Long story short: Kershaw is following in the footsteps.
I’ll keep you posted.
For now, I’m calling him “K2″.

K2, the mountain

K2, the mountain

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