Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 3 Clayton Kershaw

Clayton Kershaw
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers owe a huge portion of their success this season to their ace starter, Clayton Kershaw, who comes in as number three in the Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players list.

Kershaw continued his dominant pitching in 2013 as he led the Boys in Blue to their first postseason appearance since 2009. Although Kershaw definitely had help from a boost in offensive performance, he also had to fight many tough battles from the mound on his own, with little run support. In fact, this season, Kershaw only received an average of 3.79 runs of support, not that far off from the lowest in the league which belonged to Travis Wood at 3.03.

Kershaw pushed through the unsteady backup and absolutely shut down opponents all season long. During the course of the year, the 6-3 lefty pitched his way to 18 starts with one earned run or less given up. With totals like that, it is not surprising that Kershaw led the majors in ERA at 1.83, having the only sub-2.00 total in baseball this season. Similarly, he had the lowest WHIP, highest WAR for pitchers and ranked in the top three for strikeouts and innings pitched.

With a 2013 season in the books that will almost certainly earn him the NL Cy Young Award, the Texas native continues to be, arguably, the best pitcher in baseball. As the Dodgers head into 2014, the organization will be looking to build around their standout pitching staff to see if they can make a run to the World Series.

With Kershaw leading the way and the offensive stars behind him, it is not surprising most odds makers have deemed the Dodgers the favorites to win next season’s Fall Classic. At only 25 years of age, Kershaw looks to be a perennial pitching star and workhorse for years to come.

Isaac Comelli is a Los Angeles Dodgers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @IsaacComelli, “Like” him on Facebook or follow him on Google.

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Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 6 Max Scherzer

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Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 4 Andrew McCutchen