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What to Expect From Clayton Kershaw Next Season

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What to Expect From Clayton Kershaw Next Season
Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with the Commissioners Trophy. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images/AFP

Clayton Kershaw became a World Series Champion in 2020 after being called out for having no clutch genes in the postseason. In 2020, he improved his fast ball, up 1.3 miles per hour, after it had declined the previous four seasons. That could be because of a shortened season, but the velocity was higher and it must be shared.

He posted a 2.16 ERA in 10 starts and had his lowest ERA in the last four seasons. Again, these numbers were helped due to a shortened season, but still solid nonetheless. Kershaw reached some milestones last year. He struck out his 2,500th batter and is currently 36th all-time in strikeouts and lowered his career WHIP to 1.00, which is fourth all-time and second behind Marino Rivera in the live ball era. Rivera was a closer. Kershaw is a starter.

It was a weird season for Kershaw to start. He didn’t even make his opening day debut due to back stiffness and then later in the year, his NLCS start was pushed back a couple days due to back spasms. Same old Kershaw, right? Wrong.

Kershaw started in five postseason games and went 4-1 with a 2.93 ERA, striking out 37 batters and holding opponents to a 2.93 ERA. Kershaw has already made it known that he doesn’t care about legacy. He wanted to win a title and finally got one last year.

His stats were brilliant last season and with the lineup that the Dodgers have, there’s hope that he won’t need to pitch in high leverage situations very much this season. Having a lineup that can score in bunches and score fast helps pitchers in many ways, which is something to keep in mind when making MLB picks.

Not only does it help keep injuries away, but it helps pitchers just stick with their game plan, allowing guys like Kershaw to keep attacking. Pitchers would much rather be up 5 and aggressive. In 1-0 games, pitchers aren’t going to attack the way they would attack in a 5-0 game. Other than 2018, Kershaw has been in the running for at least a Cy Young or MVP since 2010. He’s made the All-Star game every year but 2018, where he went 9-5 with a 2.73 ERA and turned things around.

Kershaw is under contract for one more year and will presumably be a free agent in 2021. He’ll earn $23.33 million and a final $7.67 million of his signing bonus in June. He can earn another $1 million for his 24th, 26th, 28th, and 30th starts and would also receive $1.5 million for winning the Cy Young. If he placed second or third in the Cy Young voting, he would make $500,000.

Los Angeles Dodgers
Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images/AFP

In a 162 game season, Kershaw would average 34 games per season. Even if he were to miss four games, he’d be on pace for a lot of money. But knowing it’s his final year under contract, you’d expect Kershaw to bring it just a little extra this season.

Just like every season, Kershaw will be an all-star, he’ll be in the running for a Cy-Young and he’ll maybe have a couple MVP votes to his name after the season concludes. Kershaw is just happy to have a World Series ring. Now the pressure is lessened and he’s able to go out there with expectations, but not high expectations. Los Angeles wants more rings but the reality is, they’re happy to get that one out of the way.

Live MLB odds for Cy Young and MVP have not yet been released but Kershaw will likely be in the top 10 of NL Cy Young when the odds come out. Kershaw is one of the most consistent pitchers in the game, so you know, if you have a wager on Kershaw, he’ll at least make it close and give you a chance to win your wager. That’s all you can ask for a futures wager.