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Friday, April 27, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STOCK WATCH: HAS CLAYTON KERSHAW LOST SOME OF HIS ALLURE?

What?  Blasphemy!  How could anyone in their right mind ever question anything when it comes to Los Angeles Dodgers ace and annual Cy Young favorite Clayton Kershaw?  After all, Kershaw is already engineering one of the greatest careers ever for a pitcher and even now at the age of 30 he is sitting with a splendid 2.84 ERA and 1.13 WHIP as the calendar gets set to turn to May.  Well when you take off the blinders for just a second, some things are starting to emerge here that are not so rosy and they are subjects yours truly has talked about the last two years in touting Max Scherzer as the top pitcher in fantasy baseball.  Before delving into the numbers, it needs to be said again that Kershaw is becoming an annual health risk as he has spent sizable time on the disabled list each of the last two seasons and back and hip problems were alarming causes of the time away.  That alone is quite concerning but then when you get into the numbers, more issues arise.

With regards to the numbers, Kershaw's currently touting a 9.95 K/9 rate that if the season ended today, would be his worst mark since 2013.  In addition, Kershaw has seen his BB/9 rate go over 2.00 (2.13) for the first time since 2012 and he comes off an unbelievably bad 6-walk start Wednesday in terms of lack of control.  Want more?  How about the fact Kershaw is giving up home runs at a rate never seen before, with his 1.18 HR/9 matching the career-worst mark he put up last season.  These are not trends folks as we are possibly already seeing years and years of very heavy usage coming to the forefront in Kershaw's ill health and declining ratios.  None of this though compares to the fact that as of this writing, Kershaw's 91.9 average fastball velocity is down from 93.1 a year ago which is a major drop and again indicates trouble with the guy's arm and strength.  While we are not suggesting Kershaw is not still a fantasy baseball ace, we will point out that at least for now, he is not the first-round guy who was a sure-thing monster just a year ago.


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