Upon breaking through the bigs as a 20-year-old phenom in 2008, he sat in the mid-90s and was always around 94-95 mph with his four-seam fastball.
Now, as a 34-year-old veteran, the pitch averages about 90-91 mph and isn’t as explosive as before.
That’s mostly OK, for two reasons: A) Kershaw’s command is impeccable, and he will be successful as long as that’s true; and B) His Cooperstown Curveball is his calling card.
The velocity of his curve has remained steady.
“Clayton Kershaw’s average curveball velocity: in 2009 —–> 72.8 MPH; in 2020 —–> 73.2 MPH,” Codify Baseball tweeted while quoting a Rob Friedman video showing a stellar 73-mph Kershaw curve.
It’s a thing of beauty.
Clayton Kershaw's average curveball velo:
in 2009 —–> 72.8 MPH
in 2020 —–> 73.2 MPH https://t.co/rcssOBlBYJ
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) September 20, 2022
Hitters have always had a lot of trouble with Kershaw’s hook because it has too much movement and he can place it wherever he wants it.
A Versatile Pitch
He often throws it so high in the zone that it looks like a ball, only for it to fall at the upper part of the zone.
But he can also bury it in the dirt, looking for chases.
The pitch is versatile, as is the man throwing it.
That offering is helping Kershaw have a 2.39 ERA in 109.1 frames this season.
Despite some back issues, Kershaw also accumulates 117 strikeouts, more than one per inning.
His WHIP is an extraordinary 0.93, and he appears to be peaking just before the postseason: the right time.
He struck out ten hitters in his most recent start, and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Kershaw will lead the Dodgers rotation in the postseason, and despite some silly reputation, that’s never a bad thing.