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Saturday, June 2, 2018

2018 FANTASY BASEBALL STATUS REPORT: TIME TO START AVOIDING CLAYTON KERSHAW IN DRAFTS?

In what has become a very common occurrence, Los Angeles Dodgers ace SP Clayton Kershaw was placed on the 10-day DL on Friday; with this time being due to a lower back strain.  The injury came right on the heels of Kershaw making his first start since returning from a separate DL stint due to a biceps issue and the early indications from manager Dave Roberts is that this new ailment may keep him out AT LEAST a month.  So once again those who paid a very premium price on Kershaw will not get only at best a half season out of the guy and it brings to attention what I have said going back to the start of 2017 that he no longer is the top starter in fantasy baseball and for 2018, should have been firmly placed behind Max Scherzer and Chris Sale.  While I took a ton of heat for those assessments beginning in 2017, the evidence is clear on a number of fronts that Kershaw is no longer the dominant ace both physically and numbers-wise he always had been.  I always advise ignorning name brands and to stop living in the past when it comes to evaluating the stock of a given fantasy baseball pitcher/hitter and for Kershaw, this is especially prudent.  What is also apparent here is that Kershaw's years of VERY heavy inning totals starting at a very young age (having debuted at the age of 21) have surely taken a toll on his health and his stuff.  The evidence is clear as Kersahw now can't stay off the DL and his back is becoming a chronic problm.  We have seen way too many cases like Kershaw's (Tim Lincecum anyone??) where physical problems began to crop up in the last 20's and early 30's for guys who came up at an early age to throw a ton of innings and this seems to be the case here.  Then there are the numbers slide where Kershaw's K/9 of 9.73 is the first time since 2013 he has been under 10.0 and his ugly 1.29 HR/9 is the worst EVER for his carere.  Perhaps most worrisome is the velocity as Kershaw's 91.8 average fastball is WAY DOWN from 93.1 just the year prior and really speaks to the trouble we are seeing here.  Opposing hitters are having no trouble catching up with Kershaw's stuff given the big uptick in home runs and also the dip in K's.  So it stands to reason that avoiding Kershaw in drafts going into 2019 is something to take under consideration despite the fact his ADP will likely side.  The name brand is still very high here though and so there will still be many seduced into taking Kershaw next season given that he will be just 31 but his body is so much older.  Also durable studs like Scherzer, Sale, and Corey Kluber are so much better buys. 

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