Arguably one of the best starting pitchers to take the mound, Clayton Kershaw has dazzled fans with his unwavering composure and dominance. A three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, Kershaw has remained consistent from one grueling MLB season to the next. Kershaw’s pitching repertoire has enabled the gifted athlete to keep hitters guessing, making him one of the most versatile pitchers in the game of baseball to date. Seeing as how Kershaw has been on top of his game throughout his career, it begs the question of how much is the perennial MVP candidate actually worth?
Clayton Kershaw’s Net Worth as of 2017: $52 Million
How did the nearly flawless starting pitcher get there? And how have his sensational contributions enabled him to accumulate this type of wealth? Let’s take a closer look.
2008 – 2012
Selected with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kershaw immediately proved his immense value. After quickly working his way through the Dodgers’ farm system, Kershaw made his major league debut on May 25, 2008. His first start was a promising sign of things to come as Kershaw struck out the first batter he faced and went on to strikeout six more en route to giving up just two runs over six innings. Despite finishing his rookie season with an overall ERA of 4.26, Kershaw was clearly one of the most dynamic pitchers in baseball and would only improve his command as his career progressed.
Kershaw came into the 2009 season ready to prove that his moments of brilliance last season were not simply a succession of mirages. Sure enough, two weeks into the season, Kershaw masterfully struck out 13 batters over seven innings against division rival San Francisco. He was the youngest Dodger to strikeout 13 or more batters since Sandy Koufax in 1955. Although his overall record of 8-8 was unimpressive, his numbers in nearly every other category were spectacular (opposing batting average of .200, allowed only 6.26 hits over nine innings and had an overall ERA of 2.79).
While the 2010 season was unremarkable initially for Kershaw, the young starting pitcher took it upon himself to become more versatile on the mound. Specifically, Kershaw credited his slider with being the catalyst that allowed him to return to form. Kershaw emphatically finished off the regular season when he pitched his first complete game shutout against the San Francisco Giants. His end of the season numbers reflected Kershaw’s tenacity and adjustments throughout the year as he had an overall ERA of 2.91 and compiled 212 strikeouts.
Impressed with Kershaw’s strong finish during the previous season, the Dodgers named the electric pitcher as their Opening Day starter in 2011. Unlike last season, Kershaw never wavered on the mound as he pitched back-to-back complete game victories while recording double-digit strikeouts in each game. As a result of his dominance during the first half of the season, Kershaw was selected to participate in his first All-Star game. By the end of the season, Kershaw led the NL in wins (21), strikeouts (248) and ERA (2.28). Aside from winning his first Cy Young Award, Kershaw also won the Triple Crown Award and garnered a gold glove as the best fielding pitcher in the NL.
Given Kershaw’s overall dominance in 2011, the Dodgers did not hesitate to sign their consummate ace to a two-year, $19 million contract. The new contract did not deter Kershaw from continuing to assert his greatness as he was selected to his second straight All-Star game in 2012. Once again, Kershaw’s numbers were indicative of a stingy starter that could expertly send even the best hitters back to the dugout (2.53 ERA and 229 strikeouts).
He reportedly earned $7.5 million in 2012.
2013 – Present
Coming into the 2013 season, Kershaw continued to befuddle the hitters of the San Francisco Giants. On Opening Day, Kershaw pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only four hits while sealing the deal with a solo home run. Of course, Kershaw easily made his third straight All-Star game as he had an ERA of 2.70 by the middle of the season. By season’s end, Kershaw had established a new career low ERA (1.83) with a WHIP of 0.92. Kershaw easily won his second Cy Young Award and became just the sixth pitcher in MLB history to finish in the top two in voting three years in a row. During the offseason, the Dodgers made it abundantly clear that Kershaw was their franchise ace as they signed him to a seven-year, $215 million contract extension.
In 2014, Kershaw became just the fourth Dodger to make his fourth consecutive Opening Day start. Unfortunately, Kershaw experienced severe back pain before his second start and was placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career. A month later, Kershaw was reinstated off the DL and made up for lost time when he had an unbelievably dominant month in June. His 0.82 ERA and 6-0 record was more than enough to earn Kershaw his fourth straight All-Star game appearance. By the end of the season, Kershaw had done what many thought was impossible. He posted a new career low ERA (1.77) and finished third in strikeouts despite not playing for a month. He became the first pitcher in MLB history to win four consecutive ERA titles. Although Kershaw struggled mightily in the postseason, his historically great regular season was enough to earn him his third Cy Young Award and NL MVP honors.
Unsurprisingly, Kershaw got the nod to start on Opening day for the fifth year in a row. While Kershaw did not get selected initially for the 2015 All-Star game, he was ultimately selected to replace Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer. Never to be outdone by his accomplishments from the previous season, Kershaw became just the 11th player in MLB history to strike out 300 batters or more in a season. As usual, Kershaw posted another impressive season ERA of 2.13
While the 2016 season got off to a fantastic start for Kershaw when he won his sixth straight Opening Day game, his electric start was marred by lingering back pain. Although Kershaw made the 2016 All-Star roster, he was unable to participate due to his lingering back ailment. Despite being shut down for the second half of the season due to injury, Kershaw still played in 21 games and posted a 1.69 ERA.
2017 has seen a much healthier Kershaw continuing to do what he does best: strikeout batters like clockwork. Kershaw has already struck out 72 batters and has a 2.01 ERA on the season.
At just 29 years old, Kershaw has already established himself as one of the most dominant pitchers of all time. While his somewhat inconsistent postseason performances are a bit disconcerting, his unwavering determination every season is what allows him to excel more often than not. Given all of the individual accolades Kershaw has accumulated in his career, the natural thrower needs one more to be truly legendary: a World Series championship. If Kershaw can stay healthy and continue to pitch this effectively on a regular basis, it seems unquestionable that the fearless starting pitcher will inevitably obtain at least one championship ring.
He reportedly earned $33 million in 2017