One of the baseball sites on Facebook recently asked the question: Who was the best pitcher in baseball in the decade? Of the first 14 comments, none of them named the obvious answer: Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Fans have short memories. While Kershaw remains a top pitcher, he isn’t as dominant as he was for most of the decade, but he’s still damn good. In 2019, he was 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA and a 1.043 WHIP – and that was arguably his worst season of the decade.
If there is anything to be held against him, it would be his surprisingly poor postseason record. In 32 games (25 starts), Kershaw somehow is 9-11 with a 4.43 ERA. I thinking hold those 25 starts against his production for a full decade is a little silly, but it is worth pointing out.
For the record, here are some of Kershaw’s accomplishments in the decade, complete with the runner-up in the category. You can see that many are not that close.
Pitchers with at least 1,000 innings in the decade
Best ERA: Clayton Kershaw 2.31. Second: Jacob DeGrom 2.62
ERA+: Clayton Kershaw 164. Second: Jacob DeGrom 147.
Complete games: Clayton Kershaw 25. Second: Justin Verlander 20.
Shutouts: Clayton Kershaw 15. Second: Adam Wainwright 10.
Batting average against: Clayton Kershaw .206. Second: Yu Darvish, .218, and Chris Sale, .218.
OPS against: Clayton Kershaw .569. Second: Jacob DeGrom .605.
In addition to those marks, Kershaw won the National League Cy Young Award three times, and he was the only pitcher in the National League to win the MVP in the decade. He also threw a no-hitter in 2014 and made the all-star team eight times.
Some of those Facebook baseball fans need to at least consider Kershaw in their views.