Although most of the posts here at Baseball is Fun are funny (okay, maybe not most, maybe just some (okay, maybe not even some, but at least admit that I’ve been trying)), not every single post is going for funny. Some even flip the spectrum upside down and go from funny to scary.
This is one of those posts.
While we certainly live in “the era of Mike Trout,” baseball has more than one historically significant player passing through right now. Hitters like Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre are nearer the end of their careers than the beginning, but both are sure-fire Hall of Famers, who’ve already left their mark.
From the mound, however, there are fewer names to remember. But like Trout, there is one that rises far above the rest: Clayton Kershaw.
Last season, Kershaw finished with a 1.69 ERA and 6.5 WAR.
Now, technically, his ERA doesn’t count because his 149.0 inning total (due to injury) was just not enough to qualify (even though he was damn close). You see, rate stats are fluid than other stats. They aren’t just counting up like home runs. So you need a certain number of qualifying innings, so some one doesn’t come in, pitch one great inning of relief, and leave with an MLB record 0.00 ERA, right?
WAR, on the other hand, is somewhat different. While it technically can go down, any averagely good player’s WAR total will continue to rise with time. More chances, more wins added. It’s that simple.
Well, Kershaw’s 6.5 WAR was actually tied for best in baseball with Noah Syndergaard. Do you understand how absolutely insane that is? He didn’t even have enough innings qualify, yet his WAR total was tied for first place! That’s like being the home run leader with 50 long balls at the end of the season, but you stopped swinging the bat at the end of July. It’s nutty.
But despite that and averaging 220+ innings for the six seasons prior to last year, people were still worried about Kershaw heading into 2017. Well, I’d say they needn’t worry, but Kershaw’s pitching has done that for himself.
Check out his ridiculously dominant performance against the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon:
Kershaw struck eleven batters in his six innings of work, allowed just two hits, one walk, and a big fat goose egg in the runs department (Game Score: 81). He may have dealt with some injuries and came up 70+ innings short of his usual performance last season, but I’m thinking he’ll be just fine.
I told you: nothing funny.