In 2020, he finally got the World Series ring that he deserved so terribly, cementing his legacy in baseball history.
While his 2021 campaign so far has been closer to good than great, the future Hall of Famer has had some unfathomably impressive years throughout his career.
From Cy Young seasons to MVP seasons, the Dodgers ace has done it all.
Let’s rank his top three campaigns.
3. 2015 season
Oddly, one of the best seasons of Kershaw’s career was a campaign in which he didn’t win the Cy Young Award.
In 2015, Kershaw accomplished some things that very few pitchers on Earth can say they’ve done.
For one, he fanned 301 batters.
Only 19 pitchers in the modern era have accomplished that feat.
Fewest IP in 300-K Season – MLB History
1999 Pedro Martinez 213 1/3
2015 Clayton Kershaw 232 2/3
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 4, 2015
On top of that, he finished the year with a 2.13 ERA, 1.99 FIP, and 0.88 WHIP.
He was virtually untouchable.
Kershaw threw four complete games and three shutouts that year, an achievement that has gotten increasingly rare over time.
He made 33 starts that year and allowed three earned runs or fewer in 29 of them.
He finished the year with an outstanding 7.3 WAR.
2. 2013 season
Kershaw had a historic 2013 campaign.
He made 33 starts and maintained an absurd 1.83 ERA which led the league.
He also led the league in strikeouts (232), ERA+ (194), and WHIP (0.92).
He finished the year with a career-best 8.2 WAR.
He won his second career Cy Young Award that season and would go on to win one more.
From 2011 to 2017, the lefty finished in the top five of the Cy Young race every single year.
It may be a long time before anything like that happens again.
1. 2014 season
Kershaw’s MVP campaign comes in at the top spot.
It’s very rare to see a pitcher nab the MVP award (although we might see it this season with Jacob deGrom).
In 2014, Kershaw posted the best ERA of his career at 1.77.
That mark, or course, led the league.
He complemented it by leading the league in numerous other categories, like ERA+ (197), FIP (1.81), WHIP (0.86), strikeouts per nine (10.8), and strikeout to walk ratio (7.71).
He was a menace.
In addition to the MVP award, he unsurprisingly took home Cy Young honors.
Kershaw delivered a Cy Young and MVP season in 2014, has won 3 NL pennants in 4 years, and became a World Champion in 2020. pic.twitter.com/i1dAXQtcEr
— Dodgers Archive (@DodgersArchive) January 15, 2021
It was one of the most dominant seasons by any player in the 2010s and won’t soon be forgotten.
Honorable Mention: 2020 Season
Due to a variety of well-documented factors, the 2020 MLB season was just 60 games long.
For that reason, Kershaw made just 10 regular season starts in the campaign.
It feels too weird to call a 10-start season one of the best two years of his career, but his 2020 season deserves recognition regardless, mostly because he finally killed his postseason demons en route to a title.
In the regular season, Kershaw pitched to an elite 2.16 ERA, 3.31 FIP, and 0.84 WHIP.
The Dodgers went 8-2 in his starts.
In the playoffs, Kershaw was able to silence the doubters once and for all.
He made five starts and was electric.
He managed a 2.93 ERA, fanned 37 batters in 30.2 innings, held hitters to a .613 OPS and the Dodgers went 4-1 in his outings.
The team wouldn’t have won the World Series without him.