That means plenty of hitters left to buzzsaw, plenty of bats to crack, and, yes, plenty of young pitchers left to inspire.
Kershaw’s early debut, at the age of 20 back in 2008, does afford him a unique opportunity, though. In all likelihood, he’s about to run across a generation of young big leaguers who he inspired as he wraps his career.
Some of those pitchers are going to make their tributes more obvious than others.
A clip of Cleveland Guardians pitching prospect Will Dion went viral this weekend, as the “hints of Kershaw” in his windup are extremely overt. Would love some commentary on this from the big man himself — especially while he’s feeling extra jovial after dominating in his first 2022 appearance.
Cleveland Guardians prospect Will Dion pitches exactly like Los Angeles Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw
Dion, a 2021 ninth-round pick out of McNeese State, is a Sulphur, LA native, so his connection to Kershaw worship isn’t abundantly clear.
Ask yourself, though: what 22-year-old left-hander who was raised on baseball between the years 2009-2018 wouldn’t try to rock and fire like Kershaw … especially if they tried it, and it worked?
So far, Dion’s career is going exactly according to plan. His 2021 pro debut was absurd; split between Rookie League and Single-A Lynchburg, he plowed through 12 innings, allowed just a single hit, and struck out 21 men. His 2022 season, which has begun at Lynchburg once more, has started off similarly well, with nine more whiffs in 6.2 innings (alongside two earned runs).
We’ve seen superstar mimicry before. Look no further than Ryan Castellani pulling off a solid Max Scherzer imitation in the comments.
But we’re not sure we’ve ever seen someone pull off such a seamless tribute to one of the game’s greats.
We heard a lot this week about how much Charley Kershaw looks and acts like his old man, thanks to a perfect Opening Day photo of the family. Maybe it’s time to do a DNA test on Dion to see if we might need to expand the picture a little.