Clayton Kershaw thru age 29 and other thoughts

One thing stands out for me when reviewing the accomplishments of the greatest pitchers in baseball history through their age 29 seasons.  Of the fourteen pitchers to have accumulated at least 50 bWAR only two of them are left-handed. Clayton Kershaw and Hal Newhouser.

Only one of them pitched their full career in the 21st century and that is Clayton Kershaw.

Only two of them have a K% > than 25% and they both pitched for the Dodgers. Pedro Martinez and Clayton Kershaw.

Eleven became Hall of Famers.   Kershaw should be unanimous even if he retired today while Roger Clemens is basically like Barry Bonds, a HOF in spirit just waiting for the smell of steroids to eventually waft away.  Leaving Wes Ferrell who never had another good season after the age of 29.

Only three of them have an ERA+ > 160. Walter Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and Clayton Kershaw.

Player              ERA+  WAR   To   Age     IP    H   ER    K%   BB%          Tm
Walter Johnson       166 99.1 1917 19-29 3474.1 2669  655 17.3%  5.2%         WSH
Christy Mathewson    145 75.3 1910 20-29 3259.1 2690  702 15.4%  5.4%         NYG
Roger Clemens        152 63.1 1992 21-29 2031.0 1703  631 22.8%  6.7%         BOS
Bert Blyleven        126 59.7 1980 19-29 2841.1 2554  933 19.4%  6.6% MIN-TEX-PIT
Tom Seaver           142 57.9 1974 22-29 2167.1 1723  595 21.5%  6.6%         NYM
Clayton Kershaw      161 57.4 2017 20-29 1935.0 1431  508 27.9%  6.7%         LAD
Pedro Martinez       169 57.1 2001 20-29 1693.0 1262  501 29.4%  6.9% LAD-MON-BOS
Hal Newhouser        134 57.1 1950 18-29 2672.0 2362  880 14.8% 10.2%         DET
Bob Feller           134 56.4 1948 17-29 2471.0 1961  822 19.2% 12.0%         CLE
Robin Roberts        123 55.7 1956 21-29 2608.1 2468  923 12.3%  5.0%         PHI
Don Drysdale         122 52.5 1966 19-29 2848.1 2543  950 18.0%  6.2%     BRO-LAD
Pete Alexander       141 51.5 1916 24-29 2104.0 1765  509 14.4%  6.0%         PHI
Wes Ferrell          123 50.7 1937 19-29 2406.2 2569 1031  8.7%  8.8% CLE-BOS-WSH
Greg Maddux          137 50.4 1995 20-29 2120.2 1877  679 17.0%  6.5%     CHC-ATL

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/28/2017.

How about a completely different look. The greatest pitchers after the age of 30. Will Clayton Kershaw also make this list when his career is over?

Eighteen pitchers accumulated more than 50 bWAR after the age of 30. Only Roger Clemens, Walter Johnson, and Greg Maddux made both lists. Four of them were left-handed giving credence to the idea that lefties take longer to get in the groove. We can blame Lefty Grove for this. I like the idea that Lefty Grove actually threw right handed but alas he really was a southpaw.

While those who care are arguing about the HOF case for Curt Schilling, ex-Dodger Kevin Brown waves his hand much like Gary Sheffield.

Player           ERA+  WAR From   To   Age     IP    H   ER   BB   SO    K%   BB%
Lefty Grove       153 81.0 1930 1941 30-41 2686.1 2658  909  731 1429 12.6%  6.5%
Randy Johnson     147 89.9 1994 2009 30-45 3062.0 2512 1062  879 3749 30.1%  7.1%
Kevin Brown       143 50.7 1995 2005 30-40 1977.2 1757  644  473 1655 20.6%  5.9%
Cy Young          137 72.7 1901 1911 34-44 3312.1 2900  779  413 1563 12.3%  3.3%
Roger Clemens     137 76.3 1993 2007 30-44 2885.2 2482 1076 1028 2799 23.3%  8.6%
Curt Schilling    134 63.7 1997 2007 30-40 2272.2 2118  870  420 2316 25.2%  4.6%
Pete Alexander    132 65.5 1917 1930 30-43 3086.0 3103  967  452  995  7.9%  3.6%
Bob Gibson        131 56.3 1966 1975 30-39 2436.0 2028  732  750 1907 19.2%  7.5%
Walter Johnson    131 53.2 1918 1927 30-39 2440.0 2244  769  666 1204 12.0%  6.6%
Greg Maddux       129 54.2 1996 2008 30-42 2887.2 2849 1077  438 1900 16.2%  3.7%
Dazzy Vance       126 63.0 1922 1935 31-44 2933.2 2774 1050  817 2027 16.6%  6.7%
Eddie Plank       125 53.1 1906 1917 30-41 2895.0 2470  706  717 1462 12.9%  6.3%
Gaylord Perry     119 73.1 1969 1983 30-44 3989.2 3714 1384 1040 2533 15.5%  6.4%
Jack Quinn        117 53.4 1914 1933 30-49 3232.1 3517 1191  707 1060  7.8%  5.2%
Red Faber         117 54.4 1919 1933 30-44 3071.2 3227 1181  881 1004  7.7%  6.8%
Warren Spahn      117 67.1 1951 1965 30-44 3960.1 3685 1360 1029 1930 11.9%  6.3%
Phil Niekro       114 88.9 1969 1987 30-48 4800.1 4516 1840 1653 2999 14.8%  8.2%
Nolan Ryan        113 54.9 1977 1993 30-46 3451.0 2584 1243 1615 3629 25.2% 11.2%

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/28/2017.

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1 Comment

  1. 68elcamino427

    Another excellent list.

    We are fortunate to have seen Kershaw perform in person.
    I got to watch Drysdale and Koufax too and watching these guys was a similar experience.

    In the history of baseball only 136 pitchers have thrown 3,000 innings or more.

    Of these only 40 pitchers have thrown 4,000 innings or more.

    13 pitchers 5,000 + innings pitched.

    Pud Glavin 6,003.1 IP

    CY YOUNG
    7,356 IP

    Kershaw 1,935 IP

    I still believe Kershaw first tweaked his back from turning awkwardly in the middle of a pre-game stretch reacting to the Philly Phanatic harassing him.

    I could be wrong, but this was my first reaction seeing it live on tv, that this would hurt his back.

    I hope Kershaw makes it to 4,000 IP, but with his back issue known I just appreciate it every time I can see him play.

    “This could be the last time”

    – The Rolling Stones

    Like

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