It has been three full seasons now since Clayton Kershaw has won a Cy Young award. With injuries and age catching up to him and other pitchers starting to threaten his status as the best pitcher in the game is Kershaw done winning Cy Youngs?
The great Kershaw is still arguably the best pitcher in the game. The three-time Cy Young winner who last won the award in 2014 was recently named by MLB network as the best SP in the league for the 5th year in a row. Although he was recognized by MLB network as the best pitcher yet again, there are some whispers starting to spread if Kershaw truly is the best in the game still.
For years it was undisputed that he was the best but now guys like Max Scherzer who has won the NL Cy Young the last two years has started to take some of Kershaw’s shine. Michael Wittman recently wrote a piece comparing Kershaw’s first ten MLB seasons to some notable hall of famers and to no one’s surprise Kershaw numbers stack up right there with some of the all-time greats.
However, that is not the debate, Kershaw has already cemented his legacy as one of the greatest pitchers ever, but now that he is ten years in it might not be farfetched to say his best seasons might be passed him. Kershaw will turn 30 years old in March and although age wise he isn’t old he has compiled a lot of innings on the left arm. The workload has started to pile up on Kershaw with him dealing with back injuries the last couple of years.
Kershaw is coming off another great season in which he went 18-4 with a league-leading 2.31 ERA. Kershaw is so great this could actually be considered an off year for him. Imagine that, putting up numbers like that and actually consider it being a down year for you. Kershaw’s 3.07 FIP and 7.0 H/9 were his highest since 2010. He allowed a career-high 23 home runs and didn’t throw a shutout the first time he went a whole season with throwing one since 2009.
Kershaw’s last Cy Young season in 2014 was one of the greatest individual seasons by a pitcher in history. That year he went 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA in only 27 starts. He lead the league in wins, ERA, CG, ERA+, FIP, WHIP, K/9, K/BB that season. Not only did he win the Cy Young he became this first NL pitcher to win the MVP since Bob Gibson in 1968. Kershaw could’ve easily won the Cy Young the following season if it wasn’t for his then-teammate Zack Greinke and Cubs Jake Arrieta having once in a lifetime seasons.
For the fifth consecutive season, Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw was ranked the best starting pitcher in baseball by MLB Network’s The Shredder. He also placed first in MLB host Brian Kenny’s and analyst John Smoltz’s respective lists.
On the contrary, Kershaw dropped in ESPN’s rankings. Despite spending some time on the disabled list with a back injury, the 29-year-old still enjoyed another dominant season.
“Being one of the best pitchers in the history of the game, there’s no doubt,” Smoltz said on ranking Kershaw No. 1.
“No one is going to argue that. But I think over time though if other guys have been able to pick up their game, win a couple of Cy Youngs, pitch more innings, then I think you can slip a position and it’s not the end of the world that he may not be No. 1 on some people’s lists.