Los Angeles Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw is no longer an elite starter according to some executives.
While Clayton Kershaw might not be the same pitcher he was when he won the National League MVP Award in 2014, he’s still one of the game’s best starters. However, some executives around baseball believe he has lost his elite status.
In a recent industry survey of MLB’s best pitchers, both National League and American League executives had less than flattering evaluations of Kershaw’s current standing as a 32-year-old hurler.
In the story published by The Athletic, one NL exec credited the southpaw’s legacy, but followed that up by saying he would not trust Kershaw in a Game 7. Another executive from the American League went even further in knocking Kershaw down from the top of his game.
"“It’s not so much saying that he’s not good anymore,” one AL executive said to The Athletic. “It’s just he’s not nearly at the level that he used to be. I don’t think I’d put him as a No. 1 or No. 2 in 2020.”"
Overall, Kershaw received 6 “Ace votes” by MLB executives voting on the game’s best pitchers. However, he finished in the second tier of starters within the ranking. Teammate Walker Buehler landed higher up the list with 14 Ace votes.
Clayton Kershaw looks ready for the 2020 season
With many pitchers slowly working their way back to full strength following the coronavirus shutdown, Kershaw threw 91 pitches in his last intra-squad outing for the Dodgers and looks ready for opening day, which is less than two weeks away.
With a shortened schedule that could see him top out at 12 starts, Kershaw is hoping to earn the opportunity to pitch in the postseason with a fresh arm. Normally, he is entering October after throwing close to 180 innings. Perhaps this will give him a chance to shake his postseason reputation.
However, Dodger fans will remind naysayers that Kershaw was looking pretty good in the 2017 World Series before he was forced to pitch in Houston when the team was illegally stealing his signs.
Kershaw is set to extend his team-record number of opening day starts to nine in a match-up against the San Francisco Giants on July 23.