The Ultimate Question: Who Would You Choose?
Now that the second half of the 2015 MLB season is officially underway, talk of who is number one and who has performed the best so far dominates most conversations. And with pitchers being the cornerstone of any organization, the question of who is the top pitcher reigns supreme: Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner?
Now in the spirit of competition and classic cinema (“There can be only one”) allow me to shed some of my own light on that question. The majority of baseball fans may not agree with my choice, but if you asked me today who I would choose I undoubtedly would have to go with post season success - Madison Bumgarner.
Now before mass hysteria ensues, let me explain. If you had me choose between Bumgarner and Kershaw for the ace of my rotation, I’d have to pick Bumgarner. Look at it this way, if both Kershaw and Bumgarner were to retire right now who would history remember more?
Let me remind you that history remembers the champions more than the regular season phenoms. Even if we discard Kershaw’s horrid performance in the 2015 All-Star game he still falls short compared to Bumgarner.
Today’s world is all about proof. Well here is the proof ladies and gentlemen.
Sure Kershaw is bound for the Hall of Fame, and sure he’s a dominant pitcher, but only during the regular season. Through four postseasons and six series Kershaw has seen his ERA skyrocket to a 5.12, while through three postseasons and t10 series Bumgarner has posted an fantastic 2.14 ERA.
For my money I’d choose the one guy who has proven he has what it takes when it’s needed the most. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to agree that Bumgarners 7-3 post season record looks a lot better than Kershaw’s 1-5 post season record.
Those records are not flukes. Bumgarners' 77 strike outs combined with only 15 walks and 21 earned runs proves that Bumgarner has earned his 7-3 post season record. Clayton Kershaw on the other hand boosts just 58 strike outs with 18 walks and 29 earned runs, showing why his post season record is abysmal.
Here’s the big kicker, not only has Bumgarner made it to the World Series, but he’s also dominated by winning every start and earning a 0.25 World Series ERA. Kershaw and the Dodgers have yet to advance to the World Series.
What more could you ask from Bumgarner? He’s won it all on the biggest stages during the most difficult times. All the while making it look like a walk in the park.
Like I said before, history is riddled with phenoms who dominate the regular season, but can’t muster the same great performances when it counts most. Sports history will remember their greatness, but the same ending will forever exist: they just didn’t have what it took to be a champion.
That is the very thing that is weighing Kershaw down, stopping him from reaching the top echelon of baseball.
Of the two pitchers only Bumgarner has proven his worth more.
Now if you were to ask me who I’d choose five years from now my tune may very well change. By the time Clayton Kershaw ends his career he will undoubtedly obliterate the record books and make his own stamp on Cooperstown.
But until Clayton Kershaw can make it to the World Series, performs successfully in the post season, and matches the glorious performances of Madison Bumgarner I just can’t choose him. I’m sure that day will come, but since we live in the present my vote goes to Madison Bumgarner.