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View Full Version : Justin Verlander vs. Clayton Kershaw



iAugust
10-24-2012, 01:22 PM
It seems like it's nearly unanimous that Verlander is considered the best pitcher in baseball. I've thought so too. But I wanted to look at the numbers to see just how dominate he was yesterday and they surprised me

Over the last 3 seasons:

A: 98 GS, 665.1 IP, 25.9 K%, 7.4 BB%, 3.48 K/BB, .60 HR/9, .208 BAA, 2.56 ERA, 3.23 xFIP, 2.79 tERA, 3.20 SIERA
B: 100 GS, 713.2 IP, 24.8 K%, 6.6 BB%, 3.77 K/BB, .72 HR/9, .210 BAA, 2.79 ERA, 3.31 xFIP, 3.22 tERA, 3.24 SIERA

The numbers seem to suggest that player A is the more effective pitcher. Player A is Kershaw and B is Verlander. Verlander goes deeper into games (7.13 INN/GS to 6.78 INN/GS) but most of the peripherals actually favor Kershaw.

Also worth noting is that those 3 years are Verlander's 5th, 6th and 7th full seasons, right in the middle of his prime, while they're Kershaw's 2nd, 3rd and 4th full seasons and he is just now entering his prime.

Thoughts?

DodgerB24
10-24-2012, 01:39 PM
Verlander now, Kershaw going forward.

CHRISDODGERS
10-24-2012, 01:48 PM
Kersh is THAT good.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 06:41 PM
I wish Verlander could pitch in the JV league and get to face pitchers that kill rallies and help keep pitch counts down.

2012 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.84 ERA/1.62 ERA
Kershaw - 3.43 ERA/ 2.44 ERA

2011 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.58 ERA/0.75 ERA
Kershaw - 3.00 ERA/2.19 ERA

CHRISDODGERS
10-24-2012, 06:44 PM
I wish Verlander could pitch in the JV league.

2012 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.84 ERA/1.62 ERA
Kershaw - 3.43 ERA/ 2.44 ERA

2011 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.58 ERA/0.75 ERA
Kershaw - 3.00 ERA/2.19 ERA

haha nice try. how many starts did Verlander and Kershaw have against the NL and AL respectively? 3 or 4? nice sample size.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 06:47 PM
haha nice try. how many starts did Verlander and Kershaw have against the NL and AL respectively? 3 or 4? nice sample size.

you dont think facing a pitcher who cant hit vs facing a DH makes a difference? give me a break. one is a near automatic out that often kills rallies and helps keep pitch counts down.

CHRISDODGERS
10-24-2012, 06:50 PM
5 starts for Verlander. 3 for Kershaw. If you think that makes Verlander better.... lol

CHRISDODGERS
10-24-2012, 06:51 PM
you dont think facing a pitcher who cant hit vs facing a DH makes a difference? give me a break. one is a near automatic out that often kills rallies and helps keep pitch counts down.

I remember Jeffy posting the stats for both leagues and they were roughly similar. but like I just posted, a handful of starts doesn't make anyone better.

natsbats
10-24-2012, 06:58 PM
Verlander has been the best pitcher in baseball for two years now.

There's nobody else you'd rather have on the mound in a big game than him.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 07:02 PM
I remember Jeffy posting the stats for both leagues and they were roughly similar. but like I just posted, a handful of starts doesn't make anyone better.

it's not about cumulative statistics. a pitcher who gets essentially 2-3 free outs per game inherently has to work less and potentially has help getting out of jams if runners are on base when said pitcher comes to the plate.

its funny that you think that essentially giving a pitcher free outs doesn't help them though. pitchers rarely walk, they often strike out in 3-4 pitches, they often kill rallies if forced to bat and they help keep a pitcher's pitch count down. not rocket science. if you're a pitcher would you rather face david ortiz or barry zito at the plate?

tons of solid lifetime nl starting pitchers comes to the AL and cant hack it.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 07:21 PM
Tell me this Chris, do you think it's a huge coincidence that from 2000-2012, there has only been 1 season in which the AL had more pitchers than the NL among the top 20 in ERA?

From 2000-2012, 61% of all pitchers (260 pitcher sample size) to finish in the top 20 of the league in ERA are from the NL. Is that another huge coincidence?

StriveGreatness
10-24-2012, 07:21 PM
JV is the best pitcher in baseball so him...

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 07:24 PM
it's not about cumulative statistics. a pitcher who gets essentially 2-3 free outs per game inherently has to work less and potentially has help getting out of jams if runners are on base when said pitcher comes to the plate.

its funny that you think that essentially giving a pitcher free outs doesn't help them though. pitchers rarely walk, they often strike out in 3-4 pitches, they often kill rallies if forced to bat and they help keep a pitcher's pitch count down. not rocket science. if you're a pitcher would you rather face david ortiz or barry zito at the plate?

tons of solid lifetime nl starting pitchers comes to the AL and cant hack it.

the difference between the AL and NL offensively is minimal.

There is a reason why league adjusted numbers are very slight for each.

Yeah, the pitchers are supposed to be easy outs, but they only come up 2-3 times a game, usually bunt once a game, and overall, right now there are better top tier hitters in the NL than in the AL, which keeps it close.


It's amazing really, but the differences between both leagues is minimal, and calling the NL the JV league is a bad joke. Because honestly, if the NL was carrying around a DH, it would be destroying the AL offensively (in comparison)


2012 AL
.255/.320/.411
2012 NL
.254/.318/.400

Oh, and the NL scored about 900 more runs than the AL this year.

It's minimal.



There are a few additional reasons as well. There are some pitchers that are good hitters (but not many). And many DH's in the league aren't that great either (Ortiz and E5 are your exceptions, not the rule). And because pinch hitters come in fairly quickly and help stablize opportunities.

Also, there are just as many pitchers that switch to the AL and have success after struggling in the NL, it's for whatever reason, not talked about. But it's a myth that going to the NL will somehow help a pitcher.

giants73756
10-24-2012, 07:36 PM
I wish Verlander could pitch in the JV league and get to face pitchers that kill rallies and help keep pitch counts down.

2012 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.84 ERA/1.62 ERA
Kershaw - 3.43 ERA/ 2.44 ERA

2011 vs. AL/ vs. NL:
Verlander - 2.58 ERA/0.75 ERA
Kershaw - 3.00 ERA/2.19 ERA

:laugh2: What is that, like 1-2 starts per year for each pitcher with or without the DH?

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 07:39 PM
Tell me this Chris, do you think it's a huge coincidence that from 2000-2012, there has only been 1 season in which the AL had more pitchers than the NL among the top 20 in ERA?

From 2000-2012, 61% of all pitchers (260 pitcher sample size) to finish in the top 20 of the league in ERA are from the NL. Is that another huge coincidence?

No one has denied that the NL pitchers have a small advantage. The argument is that it's MINIMAL. It's a very tiny edge.

Of course facing a pitcher a handful of times a game, and not David Ortiz is going to help a pitcher over the course of a season.

But the reality is that this edge is minute. It's so tiny that it's not even worth bringing up.

Kershaw's advantage in having a lower ERA has more to do with his awesome ballpark for pitchers. And while Verlander is a basically neutral park, Dodgers pitchers have enjoyed their stadium for decades. Kershaw is no different.


If I had to take one pitcher for 2013, I would take Verlander. Because he is a more dominating pitcher in a single game sample, and because he can eat innings like crazy. He is the best pitcher in baseball right now, much the way Roy Halladay was 12 months ago.

Kershaw has a long life ahead of him, and with his age, he should be a top 5 pitcher in baseball for up to another decade. He is an absolute beast, no problem in taking him....unless you are choosing to take him over Verlander.


But the idea that the AL is so much harder to pitch to than the NL just isn't true.

OPS by spot in the lineup
Order AL NL
1st .732 .700
2nd .703 .724
3rd .800 .824
4th .811 .813
5th .760 .756
6th .734 .748
7th .705 .712
8th .676 .674
9th .641 .467

The AL has the superior hitters in the 1, 5, 8 and 9 spots (and barely are ahead in 2 of those) (and Trout is almost single handedly responsible for the leadoff spot being that far ahead, it's kind of funny).
and the NL has the superior hitters in the 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7 spots

Overall, the offenses are crazy similar.

It isn't the JV league

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 07:39 PM
Oh, and the NL scored about 900 more runs than the AL this year.


Huh?

The average NL team scored 683 runs this year and the average AL team scored 721 runs this year. How does that add up to 900 more runs for the NL? lol

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 07:47 PM
Huh?

The average NL team scored 683 runs this year and the average AL team scored 721 runs this year. How does that add up to 900 more runs for the NL? lol

two more teams in the NL ;)


But now the AL will have Houston, who scored 583.

Would have made the averages
AL - 711.4
NL - 689.7

Divided by game that is
AL - 4.39
NL - 4.26

The leagues are much closer than you give them credit for.


It's a little silly to say Kershaw has some huge advantage pitching in the NL.

In fact, if we break this down by division, the AL Central is a crazy weak division, and you would notice an even closer disparity.


The argument would be like giving David Price the AL Cy Young this year because he faced the AL East and better lineups this season than Verlander. And if you do league adjust, it is true.

But it's a basically pointless argument, because there isn't enough of a difference to really make the case.


Either way, Verlander wins this without having to resort to league adjustments.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 07:58 PM
In his career (mostly AL batters) the #9 hitter has a .486 OPS against Verlander.
In his career (most NL batters) the #9 hitter has a .293 OPS against Kershaw.

Cumulative stats for all pitchers in the majors in this case are irrelevant. All it takes is one hit or walk by the #9 batter to extend an inning for an individual pitcher that could have easily been avoided with a 3-4 pitch strikeout of the pitcher. That one individual hit/walk isn't going to have a large impact on the pitcher's slash line against but causes the pitcher to throw more pitches and have to face another batter, both of which can lead to negative results.

The pitchers who can most take advantage of facing a guy who can't hit, are great pitchers like Kershaw and Verlander. Huge advantage for Kershaw to get that 2-3 times a game and Verlander to never get that. That's not even taking into account pitches wasted against an actual #9 hitter versus a pitcher who swings at basically anything.

Just look at how ridiculous Kershaw's SO/BB ratio is against the 9th batter (9.24) compared to Verlander (3.58). Come on. Just facing the pitcher in the 9th slot alone increases Kershaw's K%, decreases his BB% by a ridiculous amount. It's a huge advantage pitching in the NL and the ERA pitching leaders over the last 13 seasons prove it...and if I went back more seasons it would be the same story.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 08:00 PM
two more teams in the NL ;)


But now the AL will have Houston, who scored 583.

Would have made the averages
AL - 711.4
NL - 689.7

Divided by game that is
AL - 4.39
NL - 4.26

The leagues are much closer than you give them credit for.


It's a little silly to say Kershaw has some huge advantage pitching in the NL.

In fact, if we break this down by division, the AL Central is a crazy weak division, and you would notice an even closer disparity.


The argument would be like giving David Price the AL Cy Young this year because he faced the AL East and better lineups this season than Verlander. And if you do league adjust, it is true.

But it's a basically pointless argument, because there isn't enough of a difference to really make the case.


Either way, Verlander wins this without having to resort to league adjustments.

Exactly, that should be taken into consideration. Price pitches in the AL East and Verlander pitches in the weak *** central. I hope voters take that into consideration when they vote...they damn well should. Just like when comparing pitchers in different leagues the competition they face should be taken into consideration, and part of that comparison is free strikeouts and outs every 9 batters.

Sorry, no one is going to convince me that getting a free out or two isn't a big plus for a pitcher versus a pitcher who doesn't get a free out or two a game. Carry on.

giants73756
10-24-2012, 08:08 PM
Tell me this Chris, do you think it's a huge coincidence that from 2000-2012, there has only been 1 season in which the AL had more pitchers than the NL among the top 20 in ERA?

From 2000-2012, 61% of all pitchers (260 pitcher sample size) to finish in the top 20 of the league in ERA are from the NL. Is that another huge coincidence?

If I told you the Giants offense is better than Detroit's because we scored 8 less runs than you without the aid of the DH, you'd be singing a different story.

FortDetroit
10-24-2012, 08:14 PM
If I told you the Giants offense is better than Detroit's because we scored 8 less runs than you without the aid of the DH, you'd be singing a different story.

not really...the tigers O wasnt great this year and the giants play in a pitching park which supresses their numbers. i read they led the NL in scoring in away games by 40 runs. they probably are a better offense than detroit considering the black hole the tigers had at RF, DH, and 2B for most of the season.

have no problem with someone saying that. tigers O is top heavy with bad depth.

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 08:32 PM
In his career (mostly AL batters) the #9 hitter has a .486 OPS against Verlander.
In his career (most NL batters) the #9 hitter has a .293 OPS against Kershaw.

In their respective careers

The 2 hitter has posted a .589 OPS against Verlander
The 2 hitter has posted a .680 OPS against Kershaw

Meanwhile, the leadoff hitter
Has a .712 OPS against Verlander
and a .631 OPS against Kershaw

The point is that it's overall fairly meaningless

Also, weighing down those numbers are the 37 sac bunts against Kershaw, vs the 4 against Verlander

Sac bunts hurt your OBP and Slugging, just not your batting average, so the OPS is being slammed down by it.





Just look at how ridiculous Kershaw's SO/BB ratio is against the 9th batter (9.24) compared to Verlander (3.58). Come on. Just facing the pitcher in the 9th slot alone increases Kershaw's K%, decreases his BB% by a ridiculous amount. It's a huge advantage pitching in the NL and the ERA pitching leaders over the last 13 seasons prove it...and if I went back more seasons it would be the same story.

Kershaw still has to execute the pitches.

The league as a whole carries a .465 OPS against the 9 spot.

And to top this off. I still don't know why you are arguing it. It is an advantage. It just isn't much of one. Of course it's easier for Kershaw to face opposing pitchers than for Verlander to face a weak hitting shortstop. But the point I am making is that it is minimal. It's so tiny that it's not even worth bringing up.

It's that minimal.

Let's remove Kershaw's opponent 9 hitters numbers this season against him
and then let's remove Verlanders

Verlander - 238.1 IP, 239 K, 60 BB, 3.98 K/BB
Kershaw - 227.2 IP, 229 K, 63 BB, 3.63 K/BB

After removal of the 9 spot
Verlander - 215 IP, 214 K, 56 BB, 3.82 K/BB
Kershaw - 203.1 IP, 193 K, 60 BB, 3.22 K/BB


So their K/BB goes from being 91.2% apart to being 84.3% apart

A difference.

But the kicker.

The difference in expected ERA
Verlander - 3.06 turns into 3.18
Kershaw - 2.53 turns into 2.80

It helps, but it isn't that dramatic, which is all I have been arguing.

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 08:34 PM
Exactly, that should be taken into consideration. Price pitches in the AL East and Verlander pitches in the weak *** central. I hope voters take that into consideration when they vote...they damn well should. Just like when comparing pitchers in different leagues the competition they face should be taken into consideration, and part of that comparison is free strikeouts and outs every 9 batters.

Sorry, no one is going to convince me that getting a free out or two isn't a big plus for a pitcher versus a pitcher who doesn't get a free out or two a game. Carry on.

It should be taken into consideration, but the reality is that it isn't THAT much of a difference, and it isn't enough to really sway anything.

Regardless, Verlander is the best pitcher in baseball, yes, even ahead of Kershaw. League and park adjusted or not. He is just the best.

Just to add to this
The 9 hitter:
walks 5.3% of the time
lays down a sac bunt 6.7% of the time
Gets an extra base hit 3.9% of the time
Gets a single 11.2% of the time
And then adds a sac fly/hbp/dropped third strike etc an additional 1.2% of the time
So it's not a 'free out' 28.3% of the time

As opposed to in the AL where it's 30.6% of the time they are not a free out

You have some misconceptions here.

LASportsFan1996
10-24-2012, 08:34 PM
Kershaw

iAugust
10-24-2012, 08:46 PM
Verlander has been the best pitcher in baseball for two years now.

Has he, though?

Last 2 seasons:

Kershaw (66 starts) - 6.98 INN/GS, 26.3 K%, 6.5 BB%, .61 HR/9, 2.40 ERA, 3.04 xFIP, 2.71 tERA, 3.03 SIERA
Verlander (67 starts) - 7.30 INN/GS, 25.4 K%, 6.1 BB%, .79 HR/9, 2.52 ERA, 3.21 xFIP, 3.26 tERA, 3.13 SIERA

So what makes you say that Verlander has been better? The numbers say Kershaw has been better.


If I had to take one pitcher for 2013, I would take Verlander. Because he is a more dominating pitcher in a single game sample, and because he can eat innings like crazy. He is the best pitcher in baseball right now, much the way Roy Halladay was 12 months ago.

I'm surprised to see you say this, Jeffy, as you're usually the one that preaches sample size and whatnot. Look at the samples of the last 2 and 3 years that I've provided, what points to Verlander actually being better? You say he's an innings-eater, the main argument that JV has over Kershaw, but he actually only averages about 1 more out per game than Kershaw, a pretty minimal advantage. Does that one extra out per game really make up for Kershaw striking out more batters, giving up less home runs and having significant advantages in ERA peripherals across the board?

Jeffy25
10-24-2012, 08:58 PM
Has he, though?

Last 2 seasons:

Kershaw (66 starts) - 6.98 INN/GS, 26.3 K%, 6.5 BB%, .61 HR/9, 2.40 ERA, 3.04 xFIP, 2.71 tERA, 3.03 SIERA
Verlander (67 starts) - 7.30 INN/GS, 25.4 K%, 6.1 BB%, .79 HR/9, 2.52 ERA, 3.21 xFIP, 3.26 tERA, 3.13 SIERA

So what makes you say that Verlander has been better? The numbers say Kershaw has been better.



I'm surprised to see you say this, Jeffy, as you're usually the one that preaches sample size and whatnot. Look at the samples of the last 2 and 3 years that I've provided, what points to Verlander actually being better? You say he's an innings-eater, the main argument that JV has over Kershaw, but he actually only averages about 1 more out per game than Kershaw, a pretty minimal advantage. Does that one extra out per game really make up for Kershaw striking out more batters, giving up less home runs and having significant advantages in ERA peripherals across the board?

a lot of Kershaws edge comes from his ballpark helping him out, especially ERA related and HR related.

JV is the K/BB king at this point, and considering the things a pitcher can control, he has the edge. Plus Verlander has been doing this longer, and was better this season (although not as good as Kershaw in 2011)

iAugust
10-24-2012, 09:05 PM
Aren't xFIP and SIERA both park-adjusted? Kershaw still has the edge in those.

iAugust
10-24-2012, 09:06 PM
Also Cliff Lee is the true K/BB king :p

YouCan'tBeatLA
10-24-2012, 09:31 PM
Kershaw, just because he is a Southpaw + is much younger.

iAugust
10-24-2012, 10:21 PM
Also if you're going to use the AL/NL DH differences to make up for Verlander's deficiency in the ERA-based stats don't forget that Kershaw's innings are limited by being taken out of games prematurely by being pinch-hit for all the time. Two sides to that story

todu82
10-25-2012, 10:21 AM
Going with Verlander.

kokes
11-11-2012, 03:22 PM
Verlander is the best pitcher in the league!!! Kershaw is #2 but you put JV in the NL and his numbers would get even better

Krush
12-25-2012, 04:35 PM
The only reason why Verlander goes deeper into games is because he doesn't have to bat.
I would go with Kershaw because Verlander was not as good when he was Kershaw's age, and Kershaw is such a great defender as well.

SenorGato
12-26-2012, 03:18 PM
Kershaw, just because he is a Southpaw + is much younger.

Yeah, that's it for me moving forward.

Objectively it's Verlander and probably not particularly close in a fight between two guys in the top 1%, though relative to them vs. others it's very close.

I think Kershaw is going to have a huge 2013...That Dodgers team in general.

ZurEnArrh
12-31-2012, 04:28 PM
Probably Kershaw.