Blog Entry

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

Posted on: January 19, 2012 9:13 am
 


By Matt Snyder


For the latest installment in our ongoing offseason series, let's take a look at two similar left-handed starting pitchers. They're both under age 27, both made their respective debuts in 2008, were both drafted in the first round and both have already had a top two finish in Cy Young voting (one won it). One plays in the AL East, the other in the NL West. That's right, it's Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers against David Price of the Rays.

The case for Kershaw

Well, gee, where to begin? How about with a 2011 Cy Young Award -- coming in a season where Kershaw won the pitching triple crown, leading the NL with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. Also impressive were Kershaw's 233 1/3 innings pitched, five complete games, two shutouts while sporting an NL-best 0.98 WHIP. On top of all that, Kershaw took home the Gold Glove. He can even hit, as the .225 batting average and 10 runs scored is pretty impressive for a pitcher.

Better yet, Kershaw is only turning 24 this coming March and has already logged over 700 innings in his young career. We're talking a guy who could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate for the next decade-plus.

The case for Price

Upon first glance at the historically basic pitching categories, Price had a down year in 2011. He went 12-13 with a 3.49 ERA. This came on the heels of a season where he went 19-6 with a 2.72 ERA and finished second in AL Cy Young voting. Advanced metrics like FIP and xFIP, however, say Price simply had worse luck in how things shook out. And it wasn't like he was bad anyway. He struck out 218 batters in 224 1/3 innings and sported an impressive 1.14 WHIP. And at age 26, it's very reasonable to expect Price to have a similar looking W/L and ERA in 2012 to what we saw in 2010.

Would You Rather Have
Still, I can hear the cries already. This is a stupid "comparison" because Kershaw's numbers like W/L and ERA dwarfed Price's in 2011, right? Well, the opposite was true in 2010 and let us also consider the competition. Remember, Kershaw is in the NL West while Price is in the AL East.

Kershaw made nine of his 34 starts against the Giants or Padres -- and the only worse offense in baseball belonged to the Mariners. He made two more starts against the Astros. In those 11 starts against dreadful offenses, Kershaw went nuts, to the tune of a 10-0 record and 1.33 ERA. Meanwhile, Price made 12 starts against the top three offenses -- in terms of runs scored -- in baseball: The Red Sox, Yankees and Rangers. Of Price's 34 starts, 21 came against teams with a winning record.

It's fair to point out that Kershaw had good success against the Diamondbacks and Tigers while Price was knocked around by the Twins and A's, for example. But the general point is that Price faced much tougher offenses throughout 2011.

Our call

There is absolutely no wrong answer, but I'm going Kershaw. It might be surprising after those last few paragraphs, but I was merely trying to sell just how tough this decision should be. Glancing merely at the Cy Young voting and traditional stats from 2011 says Kershaw is an easy choice, but it's far from easy. In fact, my choice is based merely on the roughly 2 1/2 year difference in age. Otherwise they are basically the same to me, as the competition level evens out their numbers -- not to mention factoring in 2010.

Fan Vote:



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Comments

Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 4:20 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

O.k. howabout this. Kershaw won the triple crown and Price won absolutely nothing. And I didn't have to use sarcasm or insult anybody to make my point. What an interesting concept!
Still a completely invalid argument.



Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:30 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

O.k. howabout this. Kershaw won the triple crown and Price won absolutely nothing. And I didn't have to use sarcasm or insult anybody to make my point. What an interesting concept!



Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 3:02 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

I was at Jeter's 3,000 hit game last year and 3 of his 5 hits came against Price. Jeter is not close to what he was, yet he made Price look modest at best. Sorry, but there's no way that Kershaw, the way he threw pitches last season, would have surrendered 3 hits to an aging superstar. I take Kershaw before taking a second breath.
That has to be the most retarded logic I've ever heard. Were your parents by any chance siblings?



Since: Jan 12, 2009
Posted on: January 22, 2012 2:15 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

I was at Jeter's 3,000 hit game last year and 3 of his 5 hits came against Price. Jeter is not close to what he was, yet he made Price look modest at best. Sorry, but there's no way that Kershaw, the way he threw pitches last season, would have surrendered 3 hits to an aging superstar. I take Kershaw before taking a second breath.



Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

Now... Matt Moore or Kershaw...


I take Moore



Since: Feb 9, 2007
Posted on: January 22, 2012 12:39 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

Gotta go with Kershaw, although he has a clear advantage playing in the most offensively challenged division while Price plays in the least offensively challenged division



Since: Aug 14, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 2:13 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

David Price shouldn"t be mentioned in the same breath with Kershaw.



Since: May 2, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2012 12:42 pm
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

If i were starting a team...i would rather have Kershaw over Price.  In reality or fantasy. 



Since: Jun 10, 2010
Posted on: January 21, 2012 7:34 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

Kershaw! To win the Pitching Triple Crown in a 'pitchers league' is incredible. So many other great pitchers to contend with...



Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: January 21, 2012 4:56 am
 

Would You Rather Have: Kershaw or Price?

As much as I believe David Price is overrated based on his 2010 performance, I wouldn't say he regressed. His 2010 season was just a fluke. Compare his 2010 numbers with the rest of his career. 2011 is more what people should expect from Price but with more wins. The wins should come but he's not gonna be one of those guys who puts up a below 3.00 ERA or a WHIP around 1.00 year in and year out. It's also doubtful he ever strikeouts a batter an inning.

I think 15 to 16 wins a year is what people should expect and an ERA around 3.50 with an WHIP of around 1.15. I think if you're expecting more than that, you will be disappointed more than pleased.

But I also think Stephen Strasburg is highly overrated. The kid has spent more time injured than he's played and yet a lot still believe he will be a top 5 SP and for some reason he will one day stay healthy. Only way Strasburg stays healthy is if he stops overthrowing which will also make him more hittable.

But back to Price. In the end I don't even think Price will be the second or third best SP on his team. I think in the end both Matt Moore and Taylor Guerrieri will end up better.


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