Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw, a front-runner for the National League Cy Young and MVP awards, was named a finalist for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award on Sept. 27.
Clayton Kershaw has been named a finalist for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award.
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According to MLB.com's Cody Ulm, Kershaw would be the first-ever two-time winner of the award should he get the nod this year. He also earned the accolade two years ago:
"The award floodgates have officially opened for Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, who was named the Dodgers' finalist for the 2014 Roberto Clemente Award presented by Chevrolet on Tuesday.
"The prestigious award is annually given out to a Major League Basebal player who best represents the game of baseball through positive contributions on and off the field, including sportsmanship and community involvement.
"If Kershaw beats out the other 29 nominees, one from each team, he'll become the first two-time recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award, having also won it in 2012.
"'When you think about the Roberto Clemente Award, you think about the man first and to be associated with him is an amazing thing,' said Kershaw. 'To be nominated again for such an award and to be mentioned in the same breath as Roberto Clemente is very special and something I don't take for granted.'
"Kershaw's on-the-field excellence has matched his efforts off it, as he and wife Ellen founded the non-profit Kershaw's Challenge in 2011. The organization's goal is to challenge and encourage people to use whatever passion, purpose or talent they have been given to make an impact on the lives of those in need of assistance.
"Most recently, Kershaw's Challenge has supported local charities in Los Angeles, partnering with The Dream Center and ShareFest, as well as charities in his hometown of Dallas (Mercy Street) and in Zambia, Africa (Cure International and Arise Africa).
"Beyond pledging financial support, Kershaw has made a handful of visits to each organization, dedicating his name in community outreach programs while also assisting in baseball camps and donating food and clothes.
"On the diamond, Kershaw has posted a National League Cy Young and MVP-worthy campaign, leading all of baseball in wins (19) and ERA (1.70). Kershaw has also struck out 219 batters in 185 1/3 innings, good for third most in the NL."
The Washington Post's Barry Svrluga states his case for and against Kershaw in winning the 2014 National League Cy Young Award in his Sept. 16 blog:
"The case for: This could go on and on. Here are the categories in which Kershaw leads the National League: ERA (1.70), walks-and-hits per inning pitched (0.826), complete games (six) strikeouts per nine innings (10.6), strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.82), fielding independent pitching (1.86), ERA + (210), WAR from baseball-reference.com (7.6) and WAR from FanGraphs (6.7). Oh, and for those who still care about such things, wins (19) and winning percentage (.864 because he's 19-3). Had he not missed all of April with a back issue following the Dodgers' insane season-opening trip to Australia, he'd likely be leading in strikeouts and be up there in innings pitched.
"One great stat: In 19 of his 25 starts, Kershaw has given up either zero, or two earned runs. Only four pitchers since 1969 have posted a better ERA than Kershaw's current 1.70, and he's right on top of Nolan Ryan's 1.69 from 1981 and Greg Maddux's 1.63 from 1995. Since June 13, he has a 1.12 ERA , the Dodgers have won 13 of his 14 starts, and opposing batters are hitting .177/.211/.251 against him. On May 17, he had a weird blip, allowing seven earned runs in just 1 2/3 innings against (the) Arizona (Diamondbacks).
"Take away that one start -- which produced one-fifth of the 35 earned runs Kershaw has allowed this season -- and his ERA drops to 1.37. On and on with this guy.
"The case against: There isn't one."
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