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Computers vs. Scout: Clayton Kershaw

2/20/2013

Whom to trust, a computer or a scout? By now, every team in the major leagues blends both approaches. So, we thought we’d try to give a fuller picture of what to expect from some of the Dodgers’ key players this season by surveying a veteran scout who covers the Dodgers regularly, and then assembling two of the better known computer projection systems, ZiPS and Bill James.

Today: Clayton Kershaw. Next: Hanley Ramirez.

ZiPS: 17-7, 2.56 ERA, 222 innings, 233 strikeouts

James: 18-7, 2.65 ERA, 221 innings, 227 strikeouts

Scout: 21-12, 2.90 ERA, 230 innings, 235 strikeouts

Scout’s take:

He has learned to minimize pitches and manage counts better each year, something [Chad] Billingsley has not come to grips with yet. He’s much more pitch-efficient than he used to be. I think he’s just more confident with better command of his stuff. I think he realizes, too, that if he can save 10 pitches a start, he can save almost 400 pitches a year on his arm. It just makes sense. We’re not all very smart in our youth, but this guy is so much more mature and professional now. It’s almost like he’s out there going, ‘Just carve ‘em up and get them out.’ Most of the time, he expects to be out there in the eighth inning. I could be a good manager if you gave me three guys like that.

Consensus: Cy Young-caliber season