The Absurd Price that Clayton Kershaw is Actually Worth

Over the last few years, a common thought experiment among nerdy baseball fans has been to imagine what Mike Trout would sign for if he was a free agent. He was the best player in baseball before he could legally drink, and if the market had to price a player of his ability and youth, $400 million wouldn’t be out of the question. You could even make a case for $500 million if the contract was long enough. But it was all just fun mental gymnastics, a hypothetical that didn’t exist in reality.

However, Mike Trout isn’t the only historically special player currently dominating the big leagues. Clayton Kershaw has also put up numbers that few his age have ever matched, and since he’s only a year from reaching free agent status, we’re about to find out just what the market will pay for a young superstar on a Hall of Fame track.

For reference, here is the full list of pitchers in the last 50 years who could reasonably be compared to Kershaw through this same point in their careers.

Name IP ERA- FIP- WAR RA9-WAR WAR/200 RA9/200
Roger Clemens 1,029 71 63 33 30 6 6
Clayton Kershaw 1,177 68 75 28 34 5 6
Tom Seaver 1,092 72 84 25 32 5 6
Kevin Appier 837 71 76 21 24 5 6
Pedro Martinez 810 74 73 21 21 5 5
Bert Blyleven 1,745 76 70 46 43 5 5
Bret Saberhagen 1,262 79 76 32 31 5 5

That’s every pitcher since 1964 who has thrown at least 800 innings through age-25 and averaged +5 WAR (rounded up, so it’s really +4.6 or higher) per full season, both by FIP and runs allowed. Only six other pitchers in 50 years have done this; two of them are in the Hall of Fame, one will be next year, and one would be if it weren’t for his links to PED usage. When 2/3 of your performance peers ended up as all time greats, you’re in okay company. The median performance of those other six from their age-26 season through the end of their careers: another 2,500 innings, +61 WAR by FIP, and +60 WAR by runs allowed.

Name IP ERA- FIP- WAR RA9-WAR WAR/200 RA9/200
Pedro Martinez 1,915 64 63 65 65 7 7
Tom Seaver 3,690 81 85 73 88 4 5
Roger Clemens 3,885 70 72 107 112 6 6
Bret Saberhagen 1,233 82 81 27 28 4 5
Bert Blyleven 3,061 90 88 56 55 4 4
Kevin Appier 1,733 88 90 32 34 4 4
Median 2,488 82 83 61 60 4 5

The guys who got worse regressed all the way to Perennial All-Star, averaging about +4 WAR per season after their historic start. Appier and Saberhagen are the health risk examples — sorry, Royals fans — while Blyleven is the performance regression risk, as he went from being otherworldly to just very good. But again, these are the downside examples, and they’re still really pretty great. Appier was an ace for another four years before injuries began to eat away at him, and Saberhagen was regularly dominant when he was healthy enough to take the mound. It’s important to remember that when we talk about health risks for pitchers, this is the kind of health risk we’re most often talking about. The career ending injuries that drive guys like Brandon Webb out of the sport at an early age are not normal.

Yes, pitchers are risky, but Kershaw can fall a long way and still be tremendously valuable. And if he stays healthy for the better part of the next decade, he’ll probably go down as the best pitcher of his generation. If it’s an exaggeration to say that Clayton Kershaw is the Mike Trout of pitchers, it isn’t much of one. Justin Verlander is awesome. Felix Hernandez is special. Stephen Strasburg and Jose Fernandez and Chris Sale all look like they could be remarkable. None of them are Clayton Kershaw, and that’s why the Dodgers are going to open up the vault to keep him in Los Angeles.

So, what’s the price going to be? I think we can basically rule out anything less than $200 million, as Kershaw isn’t going to settle for a contract anywhere near what the Tigers and Mariners gave to Verlander and Hernandez last spring. Not only is Kershaw both younger and better than both, but he’s also only one year away from free agency as opposed to two years away. The 7/$175M template isn’t going to get it done here.

On the other hand, I don’t think we’re going to see either the Dodgers or Kershaw push the total value upwards by going for a 10 year deal at a deflated AAV, as has become the norm for the big contracts in recent years. From Kershaw’s perspective, a seven or eight year deal actually sets him up for a potential second massive contract in a way that a 10 year deal would not, as he could potentially hit free agency again in his early-30s instead of his mid-30s. And while the Dodgers have been aggressive in spending money under their current ownership group, their spending has come in salary, not in years, as their longest commitment to any player has been six years. While many teams have lured players by borrowing from their 2021 budgets, the Dodgers have mostly stuck to five and six year contracts at heightened annual average values.

So, let’s say that both sides agree that they want a seven year contract, which would include the 2014 season that the Dodgers already control at an expected arbitration price of around $20 million. They’d essentially be buying six free agent years, and since it wouldn’t be as long of a contract as many of the other free agent signings we’ve seen lately, the annual salary would have to be higher. Given Kershaw’s performance level and the shorter term, I think you’d have to expect an annual average value of at least $30 million, and that’s probably too light.

Looking at the median performance of the six Kershaw comparisons identified above, we see that the median performance of that group from age-26 through age-32 was +35 WAR (both by FIP and RA9), for an average of +5 WAR per season. Here’s an example of what that kind of forecast would look like for Kershaw, given what we think we know about the market right now:

Year WAR $/WAR Value
2014 5.5 $6.0 $33.0
2015 5.5 $6.3 $34.7
2016 5.0 $6.6 $33.1
2017 5.0 $6.9 $34.7
2018 5.0 $7.3 $36.5
2019 4.5 $7.7 $34.5
2020 4.5 $8.0 $36.2
Total 35.0   $242.6

Based on this kind of expected performance, Kershaw’s market value on a seven year deal would put him around $243 million over seven years. Of course, the Dodgers already control 2014 for $20 million, so what we really care about is the market value of those additional six years, which comes out to $210 milion. If both sides agreed to just give Kershaw market value price a year before he reached free agency in exchange for not requiring a longer commitment, and then they just priced in the $20 million that Kershaw was going to get for 2014 if they didn’t sign this deal, then the total value would come in around 7/$230M, or about $33 million per year.

And that seems about right to me. It makes him the highest paid player in baseball history in terms of AAV, and the highest paid pitcher of all time by a mile. It gives him clear separation over the extensions signed by Hernandez and Verlander last spring, and it still lets him hit free agency again after his age-32 season, when he could potentially be in line for another $200+ million deal.

The more years that get tacked on, the lower the Dodgers would want the AAV to be in order to even out the risk, so if we’re looking at 7/$230M as a decent price for this term, maybe an equivalent longer deal would be 8/$250M, or right around the price that has been rumored over the last 24 hours. I think something in this range is probably what we should expect, and what Kershaw is likely to be worth.

Crazy long deals for pitchers have historically not worked out well, but historically, they haven’t been given to pitchers that are this good or this young. Kershaw’s contract is going to break all kinds of records and probably still not be insane. This is the kind of long term, crazy money contract that could easily work out for both sides.

And about a half hour after publication, news breaks that the Dodgers have signed Kershaw to a seven year, $215 million extension that contains a player opt-out after year five. So, essentially, Kershaw traded a few million in AAV to get the chance to become a free agent after age-30 instead of age-32. Barring a severe injury, we should expect he’ll opt out.



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Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.


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Chris Carruthers
Guest

I don’t agree with calling Kershaw the best of the current bunch yet. Fernandez, Sale, Strasburg, and Harvey are right there too. I’d even throw in Bumgarner.

grundlock_3rd
Member

are you indicating that kershaw is worse than those pitchers, or those pitchers are on kershaw’s level?

i’m just curious.

Chris Carruthers
Guest

I’m saying it’s not clear cut.

grundlock_3rd
Member

ok – well i’d be hard pressed to agree with that, but to each their own.

40/40club
Member
40/40club

I don’t know why this comment got so many thumbs downs. I agree with Chris that it would be very difficult to distinguish between the performance of Kershaw and the other elite pitchers (King Felix, Verlander, etc).

However, the difference is really that Kershaw is hitting free agency at such a young age and hence can be expected to not decline till farther in the future. If Verlander were a few years younger, then it would be a more even comparison, yet Verlander will be close to being out of baseball by the time Kershaw signs his second contract.

Age is the real difference here, not skill or level of performance

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

It’s really not hard to differentiate. Kershaw is much younger than Verlander and Felix, and better than either.

For reference, Verlander didn’t have a 5 win season (by any standard) until he was 26, as old as Kershaw is going to be this year. Kershaw hasn’t had a season below 5 fWAR since he was 22, and hasn’t had a season below 5 bWAR since he was 21.

King Felix hasn’t had a 6 rWAR season since 2010. Kershaw hasn’t had a sub-6 rWAR season since 2010.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49

Nobody is saying that Kershaw was worse in his ages 20-25 seasons or that he’s not most fitting for this contract. We’re saying that right now, i.e. 2014, Kershaw is Verlander and Hernandez’s equal.

Over the past five years, both Verlander and Hernandez have outperformed Kershaw and are near equals over the past four, three, two and one seasons, by fWAR (and any other reliably value metric). Steamer has Verlander and Hernandez as better in 2014.

Additionally, in the future we can’t really expect Kershaw to outperform Sale, Fernandez, Strasburg, etc.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

We have a 4 year sample size, so I have no idea why you keep using fWAR.

Since 2010, Kershaw has been worth 26 rWAR. Felix has been worth 21 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 25 rWAr.

Since 2011, Kershaw has been worth 21 rWAR. Felix has been worth 14 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 21 rWAR.

Since 2012, Kershaw has been worth 14 rWAR. Felix has been worth 10 rWAR and Verlander has been worth 12 rWAR.

Kershaw is a little better than Verlander and much younger than he.
Kershaw is a little younger than Felix and much better than he.

It’s a fact.

Chris Carruthers
Guest

I said yet! We need to see a little more of these other guys and chances are one will overtake Kershaw.

Felix Hernandez and Stephen Strasburg have better xFIPs over the past 2 years. Kershaw is 5th in baseball over that time.

He’s third over the past 3 years (Strasburg still better).

7th over past 4 years (Strasburg, Sale, and Hernandez better)

14th over the past 5 years.

He was also 6th last year!

I will give him the 3 DRS season credit though.

You would expect a clear cut top arm in baseball to at least be 1st or second in a time period like that in xFIP.

Here are my projections I have done:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AiKIdMktKhYNdElkcl9tOC1DY05ZZVN1cDg5c0dKR0E&usp=sharing#gid=0

Kershaw 2nd in RA9 WAR behind Sale.

Link to article:

http://www.breakingblue.ca/2014/01/04/2014-breaking-blue-pitcher-projections/

Chris Carruthers
Guest

I’d also like to point out Steamer has Kershaw 11th in WAR next year. We need to stop using past actual results (ERA, FIP, or WAR) as a proxy for talent. Projections give us a much better idea of actual skill.

Chris Carruthers
Guest

That’s 11th in pitchers. Darvish, Hernandez, Sale, Strasburg are all ahead of him by Steamer.

Along with a little older Scherzer, Sanchez, Verlander, Lee, and Price.

jim
Guest
jim

kershaw’s career ERA over 1180 IP is .7 R/9 lower than his xFIP, .28 R/9 lower than his FIP, and .77 R/9 lower than his SIERA. if we can’t say for certainty that he can be expected to outperform those, we’re pretty close.

Blount
Guest
Blount

Does trolling the internet make you feel like you have friends? Or is it solely for the attention? The dynamic has always confused me. Obvious troll is obvious with the Steamer comment.

Chris Carruthers
Guest

How am I trolling?

To the ERA comment. That’s because of Dodger Stadium and HR/FB luck. The difference from FIP is explainable with Kershaw’s DRS. The ERA to FIP difference is true.

jim
Guest
jim

“HR/FB luck and dodger stadium”

his career road HR/FB is 7.1%, and was actually lower on the road in 2013. i thought after matt cain we were ready to accept that some pitchers have actual skill at maintaining a deflated HR/FB, but i guess not. to reiterate the point from my other comment, if after 1180 IP something in his results isn’t certain, it’s pretty close.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

That’s because of Dodger Stadium and HR/FB luck.

Dodgers team HR/FB since 2009: 8.8%
Kershaw HR/FB since 2009: 6.2%

So he is probably helped by Dodger stadium, but there’s a lot more to explain there too. Why is it that Verlander can post a HR/FB rate consistently below his team average and no one thinks he’s the beneficiary of some good luck?

The difference from FIP is explainable with Kershaw’s DRS. The ERA to FIP difference is true.

What DRS? You mean the Dodgers team defense? Anyway, here’s another comparison:

Dodgers team BABIP since 2009: .284
Kershaw BABIP since 2009: .264

Again, he’s helped by his park and team, but obviously he has more things going for him that just that.

As for luck, well, it can never be ruled out, but the chances of being 2.6 HR/FB points and 20 BABIP points better than one’s team over a sample of 1000 innings by pure luck are minuscule. The overwhelming likelihood is that his true BABIP and HR/FB are a good deal better than average.

here goes nothing
Guest
here goes nothing

“I’d also like to point out Steamer has Kershaw 11th in WAR next year. We need to stop using past actual results (ERA, FIP, or WAR) as a proxy for talent. Projections give us a much better idea of actual skill.”

Errrrr what inputs are you possibly using to make your projections other than ‘past actual results’?

soccrtiger13
Member
soccrtiger13

How come nobody has pointed out that Chris Sale wasn’t even a starter until 2 years ago. You can’t include his 4 year XFIP in an argument of who are the top starting pitchers in baseball unless you are going to also include Aroldis Chapman who may start someday.

Liga del Arbusto
Guest
Liga del Arbusto

HAHAHAHAHA

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49

Why is it so obvious that Kershaw is better than Verlander, Hernandez, et al? The evidence clearly points to the contrary.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

a more attentive reader
Guest
a more attentive reader

in fact, bluejays49, the evidence points to Kershaw, Verlander, and Hernandez as being basically equal, and Cliff Lee being better than all of them.

Then, of course, factor in their birthdates, and it’s pretty clear Kershaw is the guy.

http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=pit&lg=all&qual=y&type=6&season=2013&month=0&season1=2008&ind=0&team=0&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=3,d

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

What evidence? Since 2010, Kershaw leads all qualified starters with an ERA- of 64. The next best is Chris Sale’s 71.

Cliff Lee’s 70 FIP- slightly beats out Kershaw’s 73, but I’ll take Kershaw’s 30 extra innings and 9 point difference in ERA-, not to mention the nine year age difference.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49

Above you used fWAR, here you use ERA-… which is it? You can’t pick and choose the stat you use to fit your narrative. That’s not how analysis works.

Kershaw has 5.725 more innings per year than Lee over the past four (although less fWAR), but that lead evaporates when you expand the time to five or six years. Kershaw’s single season innings capacity is no greater than Lee’s. I would say they’re about equal in terms of performance expectation for 2014.

The nine year age difference isn’t relevant in this conversation since I’m not saying that Lee deserves Kershaw’s contract more than Kershaw. In fact, nobody is saying that.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

You got me! When you expand the timeline to when Kershaw was on an innings limit and Lee wasn’t, Lee has more innings pitched!

Whodathunkit?!

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49

Kershaw was not on an innings cap in 2009. He was merely inefficient.

The point was more about Lee. He has averaged 222 innings since becoming good in 2008. Workload arguments against him are invalid.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Oh, so the reason he usually pitched on 5 or 6 days rest and only had 2 starts in September that year was that he was “inefficient”?

Someone less omniscient than you might think that the Dodgers were limiting the workload of their 21 year old stud.

Lee’s an awesome, awesome pitcher, but there’s no reasonable way to expect them to be similar going forward when the last time Lee hasn’t been close to Kershaw in run prevention since 2011.

Since then, Kershaw has gotten better and Lee has gotten worse.

E
Guest
E

Nice Try.

Ben
Guest
Ben

And they’ve collectively thrown as many innings as Kershaw.

narvane
Member
narvane

Felix has thrown about 700 more innings than Kershaw

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

cass
Guest
cass

Bip, I’m pretty sure pitchers who play for Miami don’t really exist. You can’t expect people to have heard of them, no matter how good they are. No one pays attention to RoY anyway. ;)

Tim A
Guest
Tim A

Deal done, 7/215 with an opt out at 5. I like it for both team and player, he gets FA at 30, the team gets him thru his prime with no decline unless they re-up later.

Tim A
Guest
Tim A

If only you posted this a few hours earlier Dave, his reps would have known what to ask for, and gotten him more.

snydeq
Guest
snydeq

Or, they believe the opt-out clause at 30 after five years is worth taking the $15 million less.

Art Vandelay
Guest
Art Vandelay

Kershaw already has six good seasons under his belt. At least two more than anyone else on your list.

narvane
Member
narvane

I would check Felix’s career, I would say he has 6 good seasons under his belt.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

The guy doesn’t mention Felix.

Hernandez =/= Fernandez

a more attentive reader
Guest
a more attentive reader

Felix wasn’t one of the pitchers Chris mentioned…

jpg
Guest
jpg

Felix wasn’t on the list (Chris’ up top) in question. That list consisted of Strasburg, Sale, Fernandez, Harvey and Bumgarner in which case Art is absolutely right.

The Humber Games
Guest
The Humber Games

You forgot to mention Bruce Chen as well

samuelraphael
Guest

Bravo, good sir.

Dayton Moore
Guest
Dayton Moore

I don’t know about all your newfangled statistics, but I don’t agree with calling Kershaw the best between him and Chen yet. After all, they’re both lefties, they’re both veterans, and as hard as I squint, I just can’t seem to tell the two apart.

Guess it’s just one of life’s mysteries. In other news, I just signed Bruce Chen to a $215m, 7 year contract. It was hard to work into our payroll, but we just thought that it was a once-in-a-generation opportunity we could not pass up.

jpg
Guest
jpg

Being as good as Kershaw is the absolute best case scenario for all of those guys because it’s a near impossible task to actually be better than Kershaw. This is coming from a Mets fan who adores Harvey by the way.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

Harvey is a good example of why the original post is bogus. Harvey, based on last season, has the best chance of anyone the OP mentioned of becoming the best pitcher in the game on a per inning basis, but I don’t need to tell anyone what happened to him.

Not only is Kershaw the best per-inning starter in the game – once you give him even a little credit for consistently beating his peripherals – but he is also one of the most durable starters in the games, throwing the 3rd most innings since 2011. With pitching, making your 30 starts is half the battle, and it’s a battle that Kershaw has survived for his whole career. It’s what sets him apart from guys like Harvey, who rival his effectiveness when on the mound.

Za
Guest
Za

Harvey and Kershaw had similar numbers for most of the season. Harvey’s just about a year younger than Kershaw and Kershaw’s pitched about a thousand more innings at the Major League level already. That’s insane.

There really is no argument that any starting pitcher in baseball is better than Kershaw right now.

James
Guest
James

In a related story, Clayton Kershaw has just purchased the Miami Marlins.

M. Scott Eiland
Guest
M. Scott Eiland

What’s he going to do with the rest of his weekly check? :-)

David
Guest
David

What dispensary do you use? I’m jealous.

jim
Guest
jim

did you even read the article

George Springer
Guest
George Springer

What the hell is with the down votes? Sorry bro, guess you can’t ever deviate from the cultist “truth”.

Kershaw is the best pitcher IMO. But that’s just it. IMO, based on the stats I like to use. But he doesn’t trade out as number 1 across all methods and there are error bars, therefore it’s not an empirical fact. Everyone else gives their opinions.

Why slaughter Chris for giving his, just because it’s not the same as yours?

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

I agree, I would only downvote a post because of its attitude or due to a flagrant disregard of all reason and facts. I don’t think the OP was particularly well thought out, but it wasn’t an insult or a joke.

jpg
Guest
jpg

I think it was the guys he named. He clearly wasn’t arguing best pitcher because he didn’t name JV, Felix, Lee, or Price among others even though his list comprised of the guys he considered the “best of the bunch”. So I guess he was going best young ace. Not sure how you quantify that but all the guys he mentioned are around Kershaw’s age or younger. All that said, it’s pretty silly to suggest that, using only pitching skill as the barometer, and completely disregarding contracts or service time or anything else for that matter, that Kershaw isn’t better, right now at least, than everyone on his list.

bluejays49
Member
bluejays49

Even Fangraphs’ signature stats (FIP and fWAR) point to Verlander and Hernandez being equal or better over the past two, three, four, …, seasons. And the best public projection system out so far (and one Dave Cameron has referenced countless times), Steamer, has both Verlander and Hernandez as superior in 2014.

The only thing Kershaw has on those two is age. He is not the better pitcher.

Bip
Member
Member
Bip

Steamer completely throws out BABIP, HR/FB and LOB%, all of which a pitcher has some control over, however much that is. Doing that deprives both Kershaw and Verlander of a large source of their value over their careers.

FIP and fWAR are fangraph’s signature stats, but Dave and anyone else at fangraphs will readily acknowledge that it is not ideal to throw out variation in the above fields, and that FIP and fWAR do not provide the complete picture of the value a pitcher is able to provide.

Paul Sorrento
Guest
Paul Sorrento

Actually I believe that there is FG research showing that after a certain number of innings a pitcher’s established ERA is more predicative of future ERA than the projection stats due to as yet non-statistically quantified skill. Therefore using the signature prediction model stats as Kershaw’s projected 50% production with up/down variance is not the best predictive model and would actually represent a down performance. I am not vigilant enough to find the article that discusses this, however.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

You do understand that after a 1000 inning sample size, bWAR and RA9 is a better indicator of performance, right?

Za
Guest
Za

No bro. It’s been shown that certain pitchers either outperform or underperform their peripherals. fWAR/FIP underreport Kershaw’s greatness because they assume he really should be allowing balls in play at a higher rate. Considering the sample size and looking at other Dodgers’ starters (same defense, obv.), Kershaw’s doing something unique.

Kershaw is clearly the best overall starting pitcher in baseball right now and has been the best starting pitcher in the game over the past three years.

Ivdown
Guest
Ivdown

What about H/9? It’s not implemented anywhere on fangraphs, but it’s clear there are some pitchers that are better at not allowing hits than others.

Clayton Kershaw is 3rd ALL-TIME in H/9 allowed at 6.83.
Verlander is at 7.95 (107th all-time).
Felix is at 8.23 (204th all-time).
Cliff Lee is 8.74 (475th all-time).
Chris Sale is at 7.5 (doesn’t qualify for the all-time list yet).
Strasburg is at 7.1 (doesn’t qualify for the all-time list yet).
Fernandez is at 5.8 in 172 innings. That’s a beastly season number though.
Matt Harvey is at 6.7 in 237 innings.

The unsung skill from Kershaw is his ability not to allow hits. There is an element of luck involved with any hit ball, but look at the different between the pitchers listed here. The only ones that are close to Kershaw or better do not come anywhere near the innings requirement to qualify for the all-time lists on bbref (1000 innings), though they have shown the ability to limit hits themselves quite well.

Add in this statistic on top of the stuff that Fangraphs has, and Kershaw is very much at the top of the mountain when it comes to MLB Starters right now and likely for the foreseeable future.

cass
Guest
cass

It’s a little unfair. Clearly the OP wasn’t trolling, but they posted a pretty weak argument at the very top of a very popular article.

Also kind of sidetracked the conversation.

Zack
Guest
Zack

I don’t understand the consensus in the sabermetric community that Clayton Kershaw is the undisputed best pitcher in baseball. The 61 downvotes for the comment by Chris Carruthers is an example of the shouting down that I see all the time when anyone dares to dispute it. He’s great but he’s been comparable to Verlander, Felix, Cliff Lee, and others. Even last year, he barely edged out a few pitchers in WAR and had the 6th-best xFIP in MLB. Why are sabermetrically-inclined writers now touting ERA-based stats and RA9-WAR? He had a .251 BABIP last year and pitches in Dodger Stadium in the NL. Don’t ignore the stats that account for those things.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

What about era-? As many others have stated, after a certain number of innings, FIP isn’t as predictive as era- and in that regard there isn’t really any disputing Kershaw has been the best in baseball. Over the past 4 years Kershaw has put up an era- of 65. Verlander and Felix Hernandez clocked in at 72.

Isn’t controlling the running game another way a pitcher can outperform FIP? Correct me if I’m wrong, but wouldn’t the fact that Kershaw also has one of the highest lob% be one of the reasons why his era is consistently better than his fip? And wouldn’t the fact that he is one of the best pitchers in baseball at controlling the running game have a positive effect on his lob%? These aren’t rhetorical questions, I’m genuinely curious if this has been researched at all.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Did Chris Carruthers mention Verlander, Felix or Cliff Lee?

No?

So I guess your comment has nothing to do with why 71 people now agree that Carruthers is wildly misinformed, if not unintelligent.

Boxy
Guest
Boxy

How many projection systems have you come up with? Maybe lay off the snark, keyboard warrior.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Stupid shit is stupid shit, regardless of who said it.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

You, for example, may be a Rhodes Scholar for all I know, but that doesn’t change the fact that “You’ve never created an X, so you can’t criticize this X” is an exceptionally idiotic retort, no matter what “X” may be.

Boxy
Guest
Boxy

“71 people now agree that Carruthers is wildly misinformed, if not unintelligent.”

Calling someone unintelligent is just a little bit different from disagreement in the world I live in. I don’t take any issue with disagreement, obviously. To say that he’s flat out wrong that there are comparable pitchers to Kershaw is pretty hilarious. I don’t care to continue on, but I guess you needed to understand your own post.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

I wasn’t calling him unintelligent. I was saying that he was wildly misinformed, because we know that he’s not unintelligent.

Cool Lester Smooth
Guest
Cool Lester Smooth

Also, there really aren’t any comparable pitchers to Kershaw. Two pitchers (Lee and Verlander) have had comparable performances to Kershaw over the last couple of years, but each is both older than he and trending the wrong way.

Za
Guest
Za

He had a .251 BABIP last year…and he’s shown that his expected BABIP should be around .260 or so. That’s still better than pretty much everyone else. Over the past 5 seasons (FIVE SEASONS), his highest BABIP was .275. He’s clearly doing something repeatable.

Baseball writers are touting ERA-based stats and RA9 stats (much as they did with RA Dickey) because Clayton Kershaw outperforms in areas that FIP/xFIP/fWAR “control” for, BABIP specifically.

Let’s not forget that the guy led the league in ERA three consecutive seasons. That’s a big deal. His ERA in 2013 was 1.83 over 236 innings (obviously the best in baseball). His ERA over the past three seasons, 2011-2013 is 2.21 over 697 innings. This isn’t a fluke we’re talking about, and the simple fact is that the most commonly used “SABR” stats underrate him.

ljc
Guest
ljc

Note that Dave says “he’ll probably go down as the best pitcher of his generation.” Seems like Dave sort of agrees with you on this point.

Mojowo11
Guest
Mojowo11

Since the live ball ERA started in 1920, no starting pitcher with at least 500 IP has an ERA as low as Clayton Kershaw’s.

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