Kershaw continues to get even better 

July, 27, 2010

Sure, Kenley Jansen recorded his first major league save on Sunday, but what about the guy that got the Los Angeles Dodgers in position for that event with eight shutout innings?

We're dreaming on the kind of numbers Clayton Kershaw can put up at his peak, and he continues to make strides forward in his third big league season. He ranked 24th in our Player Rater among starting pitchers last season, and has moved into the top 15 this year, thanks to ranking in the top 10 in the National League in wins (10), ERA (2.96), and strikeouts (138 in 130 2/3 innings.) Of course, he's also fourth in the league in walks.

Still, the trends continue to be encouraging for the 22-year-old southpaw. His strikeout rate continues to hold steady at more than 9.5 batters per nine innings, while his walk rate, which is remains higher than you would like, has dropped from 4.8 batters per nine to 3.9 this season, and it's starting to help him address the criticism that he doesn't go deep into games often enough, running his pitch count up too early. His innings pitched per start has increased in each of his seasons in the majors, and is at 6.2 this season.