For the last 5 seasons Clayton Kershaw has no doubt been the best pitcher in the game, however, this season, he reached a level beyond god-like. Kershaw has become the first pitcher in 13 years to reach 300 strikeouts during one season. Before 2014, he was putting together a stretch of years that hasn’t been seen in similarities since Sandy Koufax back in the early 60’s, so no one though there was another level. However, there was another level, as he not only won the Cy Young Award, but also the MVP in 2014, along with his first no-hitter. So, that was it, he had reached the peak, sike!
300 K’s is just the cherry on top to an already for sure Hall of Fame career. Just like last year, many were skeptical on Kershaw’s health and consistency, yet at the end of the season, the numbers don’t lie. For a 5th straight campaign, the Dodger’s ace has put up a Hall of Fame like year. He not only of course led the league in K’s, but also completes games (4), as well as shutouts (3). Sandy Koufax struck out 300+ men in a season 3 times, but each of those seasons he had pitched in 300+ innings, thus giving him a K/9 of between 8-10, but Kershaw just achieved his 300 K’s after pitching just 232 innings, giving him a K/9 of 11.6.
For a third straight year, opponents have batted below .200 against Kershaw, as did they against Koufax four times. Each of the past 3 seasons, over 80% of Clayton’s starts has been of quality (league average was 51%), just like Koufax during the early 60’s. There have been many comparisons between these two Dodger aces before, but it wasn’t until the 300K milestone that has made Clayton God’s son.
There have been spectacle seasons like this from numerous pitchers in the past, but what Kershaw has done the last 5 years, no one has done except for Koufax. Both Dodger legends put up MVP like seasons for 4-5 straight seasons, begging the question of: are they human? Sure there have been great performances like this from others, but not a string of them. 300 K’s in this time in baseball, in the National League, is a Hall of Fame accomplishment because of the role of the bullpen and coaches watching the pitch count. Clayton Kershaw’s 300 is something out of a storybook.