The Dodgers will see their catchers and pitchers report to spring training in just over a week. Clayton Kershaw will report as he looks to pass Sandy Koufax in two statistical categories in 2019.
One week from Wednesday, the pitchers and catchers will report to spring training for the Dodgers and then a week from Thursday they will undergo their first workout session as a team. Among those pitchers reporting will be the future hall of famer Clayton Kershaw as he arrives with something to prove for the first time in his career as an established Ace.
Last season, Kershaw once again missed time due to injuries although this time his biggest issue had to do with his pitching arm and biceps tendonitis. His fastball averaged a career worst 90.9 miles per hour which is ticking closer to his slider velocity which is not a good thing. The Dodgers hope that better mechanics and an off-season to recover will help Kershaw’s fastball velocity gain a few ticks on the radar gun.
There are two statistical categories that Clayton could pass Sandy Koufax in during the 2019 season, and those two stats are wins and strikeouts. Koufax has 165 career wins and Kershaw will likely start opening day with 153 career wins. Clayton has averaged sixteen wins a season although he had just nine wins in 2018. Kershaw should be a lock for thirteen wins if he can hold up for an entire season.
Sandy Koufax finished his career with 2,396 strikeouts and Kershaw is just 121 strikeouts behind Sandy with 2,275 career punch outs. Besides his rookie season, last season was the lowest strikeout total in a season for Kershaw and he still finished with 155 strikeouts. Barring more injuries, Clayton should be able to pass 121 strikeouts in 2019 with ease, even if his fastball stays around 90-91 miles per hour.
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Whenever you think of the best pitchers to ever play for the Dodgers, Sandy Koufax and Clayton Kershaw are likely two pitchers that come to mind. It’s only fitting that their career statistics are very similar although Kershaw should pass Koufax in most statistical categories due to Sandy’s early retirement.
In terms of all time Dodger records, Kershaw trails Don Sutton and his 233 career wins a Dodger by 80 wins to begin the 2019 season. That number is more of a question mark since Clayton would likely need to play five to six more seasons to reach that number.
Sutton also holds the Dodger record for strikeouts with 2,696 K’s so Kershaw would need 422 more strikeouts to set the Dodger all time record. That number is attainable if Kershaw can put his back issues behind him for the next three years of his contract.
All eyes will be on Kershaw in 2019 to see if he can regain his fastball or reinvent himself in other ways to stay an elite starting pitcher with diminished velocity. Given how Kershaw is always compared to the great Sandy Koufax, it would only be fitting if he passed Koufax’s win and strikeout total this coming season.