Is Clayton Kershaw an Elite Pitcher?
By Matt Carpenter
Clayton Kershaw has quickly established himself as the Dodger’s ace, but can he be relied on as the anchor of your fantasy staff. In 2010, Kershaw racked up a 13-10 record, 2.91 ERA, 212 K’s, and 1.18 WHIP. Certainly everything but the wins qualifies him as an elite starter and the best may be yet to come.
Entering his third full season, Kershaw will only be 23, when he takes the mound opening day. Kershaw’s stats are mouthwatering. In 2010, Kershaw ranked in the top ten in the following categories: K’s, BAA, K’s per nine innings, and hits per nine innings. Did we mention he’ll only be 23 this year? His great stuff combines with the fact that he is pitching in one of the best pitchers parks and in the weakest hitters division in all of baseball.
The primary concern regarding Kershaw has always been his walk rate, which leads to short outings and cuts down on his chances for accumulating wins. Last season Kershaw improved his walk rate from 4.8 BB/9 and pitchers per plate appearance (P/PA) of 4.32 in 2009, to 3.6 BB/9 and 4.00 PPA in 2010. He also increased his innings per start ratio from 5.63 to 6.39, allowing him to reach the 200 inning’s pitched milestone for the first time in 2010. An interesting note is that Kershaw’s road ERA of 2.43 was actually better than his home ERA of 3.33 despite a BAA of .207 at the pitchers haven that is Dodger Stadium, suggesting he was unlucky at home and those numbers should improve.
According to Mock Draft Central, Kershaw’s current APD is 52, the ninth pitcher off the board, right behind C.C. Sabathia and ahead of Dan Haren. His numbers are already top ten and still has as much upside as any pitcher in baseball. This will be the last year he is drafted outside of round three.
Also check out:
- 2011 Fantasy Baseball Profiles
- 2011 Fantasy First Basemen Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Second Basemen Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Third Basemen Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Shortstop Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Catcher Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Outfielder Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Starting Pitcher Rankings
- 2011 Fantasy Closer Rankings