Tag Archives: Clayton Kershaw

Today’s Sports Stat: March 7, 2018

Can Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw dominate in his 30s like he did in his 20s?

Kershaw turns 30 on March 19th. He enters the 2018 season (and his 30s) with 144 career wins and only 64 losses, a .692 winning percentage. Kershaw’s career in his 20s was one of the best in MLB history. Consider this:

  • Kershaw is one of only 34 pitchers in baseball history to have 140 or more wins in his 20s.
  • Kershaw’s .692 winning percentage is the second-best all-time of the 171 pitchers who won 100 or more games in their 20s. Whitey Ford was 105-40 (.724 winning percentage) in his 20s, the highest winning percentage in this stat.

Kershaw is one of three active pitchers who won 140 or more games in their 20s. C.C. Sabathia won 157 in his 20s, while Felix Hernandez won 143 in his 20s. (For the record, Sabathia has won 80 in his 30s; Hernandez has won 17.)

As I stated in the opening paragraph, the question will be can Kershaw, now age 30, match the success he had in his 20s. Can he reach 200 wins? How about 250? Or 300?

Looking at the 31 non-active pitchers who reached 140 or more wins in their 20s, it’s interesting to note that not all had success in their 30s. In fact, nine of the 31 did not reach 200 career wins after posting 140+ before hitting their 30s. Others flourished in their 30s… some even winning more games in their 30s than their 20s. For example, these pitchers with 140 or more wins in their 20s won more in their 30s than their 20s;

Pete Alexander (won 160 in his 20s; 213 in his 30s)
Roger Clemens (won 152 in his 20s; 202 in his 30s)
Greg Maddux (won 150 in his 20s; 205 in his 20s)
Tom Seaver (won 146 in his 20’s; 165 in his 30s)

There have been 11 pitchers who won 140+ in their 20s who won less than 40 games in their 30s. Unfortunately, some of these pitchers passed away during their baseball careers. For others, injury or other performance factors played a role in them not matching their win totals from their 20s. Those 11 pitchers are:

Dizzy Dean, 3 wins in his 30s… 147 wins in his 20s
Addie Joss, 5 wins in his 30s… 155 wins in his 20s
Wes Ferrell, 18 wins in his 30s… 175 wins in his 20s
Hal Newhouser, 22 wins in his 30s… 185 wins in his 20s
Ken Holtzman, 23 wins in his 30s… 151 wins in his 20s
Don Drysdale, 32 wins in his 30s… 177 wins in his 20s
Fernando Valenzuela, 32 wins in his 30s… 141 wins in his 20s
Chief Bender, 36 wins in his 30s… 176 wins in his 20s
Lefty Gomez, 36 wins in his 30s… 153 wins in his 20s
Dave McNally, 36 wins in his 30s… 148 wins in his 20s
Dwight Gooden, 37 wins in his 30s… 157 wins in his 20s

One final note: There are only two active pitchers under the age of 30 who have accumulated 100 or more wins. Rick Porcello sits at 117 career wins. He dies not turn 30 until after the end of the 2018 season. Madison Bumgarner has 104 career wins and doesn’t turn 30 until August 1, 2019. He certainly has an outside chance of reaching that 140 career wins in his 20s.

 

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Today’s Sports Stat-July 19, 2017

The Dodgers Clayton Kershaw upped his record to 15-2 this season with a win over the White Sox last night.

With more than two months remaining in the season and probably 12-14 more starts to come, Kershaw is a good bet to win over 20 games this year. Whether he can keep his loss total at two is another story.

Kershaw is one of seven pitchers in MLB history who has won 20 games in a season with three or fewer losses. He went 21-3 in 2014.

The pitchers who won 20+ games in a season with three or fewer losses: Kershaw (21-2 in 2014), Max Scherzer (21-3 in 2013), Cliff Lee (22-3 in 2008), Roger Clemens (20-3 in 2001), David Cone (20-3 in 1988), Ron Guidry (25-3 in 1978) and Preacher Roe (22-3 in 1951).

 

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‘Six Stats’ you may not know about this year’s Cy Young Award winners

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congratulations to Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer for winning this year’s Cy Young awards. For Kershaw, it was his second Cy Young honor in three years, while this was Scherzer’s first. Kershaw becomes the 16th pitcher in major league history to win two or more Cy Young awards in his career.

Here’s six stats you might not know about these pitchers and their honors.

1. Of the 16 pitchers who have won multiple Cy Young awards, Kershaw became the fifth pitcher to win his second award before his 25th birthday (he is also the first left-hander to accomplish this feat). The others: Roger Clemens, Tim Lincecum, Denny McLain and Bret Saberhagen.

2. Kershaw became the third pitcher to win multiple Cy Young honors before he had pitched in 200 games in his career. Clemens had 105 games under his belt when he won his second Cy Young in 1987, and Tim Lincecum had only pitched in 90 major league games when he won his second Cy Young Award. Kershaw has pitched in 184 games in his career.

3. Scherzer, who had a 21-3 record, this season became only the third pitcher in MLB history to win 20 or more games and not have a complete game. Scherzer joins Roger Clemens (he had 20 wins with the Yankees in 2001 and no complete games) and Mike Mussina (he won 20 games in 2008 with the Yankees without a complete game).

4. Kershaw had a record of 16-9 in 2013. He became the sixth starting pitcher to win the Cy Young with less than 17 victories (does not include pitchers who won the awards in strike-shortened 1981 and 1994 seasons). The six starting pitchers to win the Cy Young with less than 17 wins in that season:
1984: Rick Sutcliffe, 16-1
2006: Brandon Webb, 16-8
2009: Tim Lincecum, 15-7
2009: Zack Greinke, 16-8
2010: Felix Hernandez, 13-12
2013: Clayton Kershaw, 16-9

5. Kershaw became the 20th pitcher in the history of the Cy Young Award to win the award with an ERA under 2.00. Kershaw now holds the 11th best ERA of all Cy Young Award winners. The ten pitchers in front of Kershaw: Rollie Fingers (1981) 1.02, Bob Gibson (1968) 1.12, Eric Gagne (2003) 1.20, Dwight Gooden 91985) 1.53, Greg Maddux (1994) 1.56, Greg Maddux (1995) 1.63, Dean Chance (1964) 1.65, Sandy Koufax (1966) 1.73, Ron Guidry (1978) 1.74, Pedro Martinez (2000) 1.74.

6. Scherzer became the sixth pitcher in MLB history to win 20 or more games with three or fewer losses. The six pitchers:
1951: Preacher Roe, Brooklyn, 22-3
1978: Ron Guidry, NY Yankees, 25-3
1988: David Cone, NY Mets, 20-3
2001: Roger Clemens, NY Yankees, 20-3
2008: Cliff Lee, Philadelphia, 22-3
2013: Max Scherzer, Detroit, 21-3

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What’s happened to this year’s Opening Day pitchers?

Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Usually, we think of a team’s Opening Day pitcher as their number one starter in the rotation. In many cases that is true. But in others cases, injuries, contract disputes, or other factors put a team’s best pitcher on the sideline when the season opens.

Let’s take a look at Opening Day 2013. Thirty different pitchers took to the mound as their team’s Opening Day hurler. The question is, how many of those pitchers who took the ball in their team’s first game of the year have had success so far in 2013?

First, did you know that three pitchers who were Opening Day starters this year are no longer with those teams? The three are Ricky Nolasco (he started Opening Day from Miami and was traded to the Dodgers), Ian Kennedy (he started for Arizona and was traded to San Diego, and Bud Norris (he started for Houston and was traded to Baltimore).

At the top end of the scale, two pitchers, Adam Wainwright (St. Louis) and Justin Masterson (Cleveland) have 13 wins so far this season. Seattle’s Opening Day starter Felix Hernandez is the only one of the 30 Opening Day starters who has a winning percentage of .700 or better (he is 12-5, a .706 winning percentage).

At the other end is Matt Harrison. He started Texas’s first game of the year and quickly fell to 0-2 before his season ended with lower back surgery.

Here’s a look at the current pitching records of the 30 Opening Day-2013 starters.

Wins, Pitcher (record, team)
13: Adam Wainwright (13-7, St. Louis); Justin Masterson (13-8, Cleveland)

12: Justin Verlander (12-8, Detroit); Felix Hernandez (12-5, Seattle)

11: Jhoulys Chacin (11-6, Colorado); Clayton Kershaw (11-7, LA Dodgers)

10: Jon Lester (10-7, Boston); C.C. Sabathia (10-10, N.Y. Yankees)

9: Ricky Nolasco (9-9, Miami/L.A. Dodgers); R.A. Dickey (9-11, Toronto)

8: Tim Hudson (8-7 Atlanta); Yovani Gallardo (8-9, Milwaukee); Edinson Volquez (8-10, Cincinnati); Chris Sale (8-11, Chicago White Sox); Bud Norris (8-9, Houston/Baltimore)

7: Matt Cain (7-8, San Francisco); Jason Hammel (7-8, Baltimore); James Shields (7-8 Kansas City); Jered Weaver (7-5, L.A. Angels)

6: Stephen Strasburg (6-9, Washington); Jeff Samardzija (6-11, Chicago Cubs); David Price (6-5, Tampa Bay)

5: Cole Hamels (5-13, Philadelphia); A.J. Burnett (5-8, Pittsburgh)

4: Jonathon Niese (4-6, N.Y. Mets); Johnny Cueto (4-2, Cincinnati); Ian Kennedy (4-8, Arizona/San Diego)

1: Vance Worley (1-5, Minnesota); Brett Anderson (1-4, Oakland)

0: Matt Harrison (0-2, Texas)

In addition:

* Of the 30 Opening Starters in 2013, only 13 have a record of .500 or better; seventeen have a record under .500.

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Will the Nationals franchise finally end their 33-year 20-game winner drought?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

English: Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Forty percent of the major league teams (12 of the 30 teams) have not had a 20-game winning pitcher on their staff this century. Two teams, Colorado and Tampa Bay, have never had a 20-game winner in their history.

Of those teams that have had a 20-game winner in their franchise’s history, two teams, San Diego and Washington (previously Montreal) have not had a 20-game winner since 1978. The Nationals, however, are knocking at the door to end this drought. Through games of August 29, the Nationals have two pitchers with 15 or more wins, Gio Gonzalez (16) and Stephen Strasburg (15), although there is quite a bit of discussion that Strasburg will be shut-down sometime in September and will likely not have a shot at 20 wins.

In 2011, two teams ended  long droughts of not having a 20-game winner. American League Cy Young Award winner and league MVP Justin Verlander won 24 games last year, giving the Tigers their first 20-game winner since Bill Gullickson won 20 in 1991. In the National League, the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw won the league Cy Young Award and 21 games, giving Los Angeles their first 20-game winner since 1990 when Ramon Martinez won 20.

Following are the teams that have the longest drought since their last 20-game winner.

Team, Last 20-game winner year, pitcher

San Diego: 1978-Gaylord Perry

*Washington: 1978-Ross Grimsley

Baltimore: 1984-Mike Boddicker

Milwaukee: 1986-Teddy Higuera

Cincinnati: 1988-Danny Jackson

Kansas City: 1989-Bret Saberhagen

NY Mets: 1990-Frank Viola

Pittsburgh: 1991-John Smiley

Colorado: 1993-Never had a 20-game winner

San Francisco: 1993-Bill Swift/John Burkett

Tampa Bay: 1998-Never had a 20-game winner

Texas: 1998-Rick Helling

* Previously Montreal

With just about a month to go in the 2012 season, a couple of other teams on the list above may be close to ending their drought like the Nationals. In Cincinnati, Johnny Cueto leads the N.L. with 17 wins and three more victories for him would give the Reds their first 20-game winner since 1988. The Mets have not had a 20-game winner since 1990 with Frank Viola. R.A. Dickey has 16 victories and will have a good shot at reaching that 20-win mark for the Mets. Pittsburgh’s A.J. Burnett has 15 wins this season and could end the Pirates more than two-decade drought of 20-game winners.

In the A.L., Tampa Bay’s David Price has 16 wins, and Texas Rangers’ starter Matt Harrison has 15 wins (he lost his attempt for number 16 on Wednesday versus Tampa Bay. Both have a shot at 20 wins.

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