Looming in Chavez Ravine may be the best hitter/pitcher combination in baseball. Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are legitimate award contenders on a dreadful baseball team. Their SABRmetric numbers are tops of any hitter/pitcher combo in baseball, by far.
Matt Kemp is 3rd in wOBA at .417 and 7th among hitters in WAR at 5.9 has a disgusting TAv of .347. Kemp is also 3rd in baseball in wRC+ at 168 runs.
Clayton Kersahw is 4th among pitchers in WAR at 5.3 and 2nd in FIP at .255. He strikes out almost 3 more batters per 9 innings than he gives up hits, with his rates at Hits per 9 innings of 6.86, strike outs per 9 innings of 9.75.
Kershaw pitches 20% of the Dodgers games, but 30% of the Dodgers’ wins this season have come in Kershaw starts. The Dodgers have a .653 winning percentage when Kershaw is the starting pitcher, and have only a .400 winning percentage when he is not on the hill.
Dodgers have scored 8 runs per win this season, with 448 runs and 56 wins. Of those 448 runs Matt Kemp has created 168 of them, or 38%. Dividing Kemp’s runs created by wins, he has accumulated 21 of the Dodgers wins this season. To exaggerate the point even further lets just say Kemp and Kershaw’s wins were entirely separate and that the 21 games that the runs Kemp attributed to were separate from Kershaw’s wins, that would be two players with 38 wins by themselves, that is 68% of the Dodgers wins this season.
The Dodgers payroll this season is in the area of 115 million dollars, before trading away Rafael Furcal and his 13 million dollar deal, so let’s say in the area of 110 million. Kershaw and Kemp will make a combined 7.6 million dollars, or just 6.9% of the Dodgers payroll. Thus, their two best players make little or no money, and are an incredible core to build around. If only the Dodgers had used the remaining 102 million dollars to sign legitimate players to surround their two stars.
However, they have not come anywhere close to doing so. This is part of what makes baseball so great, a team needs a solid 25-man roster to win. In basketball, having two superstar players would make a team a legit contender, but that is not the case in baseball. Kershaw can only pitch in 1 out of every 5 games, and Kemp cannot play ever position or hit in each spot in the order; thus, having two superstars with no one around them is just an incredible waste of talent and value out of two of baseball’s brightest stars.