Clayton Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
Los Angeles Dodgers
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Even Kershaw wasn’t immune from the 2017 home run barrage as he recorded a HR/9 north of 1.0 for the first time, allowing 23 long balls, by far a career high. He also averaged just 6.5 innings per start, his first season below 7.0 since 2012. The lefty also missed over a month due to injury for the third time in the last four seasons. Still, Kershaw remains the top fantasy starting pitcher, though durability likely precludes him from top overall player consideration. He’s as dominant as ever, though his 2017 walk rate (1.5 BB/9) regressed back to career norms after his ultra-stingy 2016 campaign. While it’s tempting to overlook the issue as Kershaw’s health appears fine, back woes often hibernate; they rarely go away. Injury risk puts him atop a tier with fellow aces Max Scherzer, Corey Kluber and Chris Sale. The days of tossing 230-plus innings are likely over anyway, even if he stays healthy all year. Read Past Outlooks
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$Signed a three-year, $93 million contract extension with the Dodgers in November of 2018.
Inks new three-year deal
PLos Angeles Dodgers
November 2, 2018
Kershaw signed a three-year, $93 million contract with the Dodgers on Friday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports.
Both parties were able to come to an agreement prior to Kershaw's option deadline Friday afternoon. Per Rosenthal, there will be potential bonuses for Kershaw, though there's no options or any opt-out clauses attached to the deal. Instead of the two-year, $65 million he would've had by "opting in" to his existing player option, Kershaw will now make slightly less per year ($31 million as opposed to $32.5 million) but will add another season on top and have some incentives. This new deal will take the left-hander through his age-33 season. In 2018, he logged a 2.73 ERA and 1.04 WHIP with 155 strikeouts across 161.1 innings in the regular season.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
Even Split
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .209 424 122 12 85 11 2 13
Since 2016vs Right .209 1449 407 58 287 57 3 35
2018vs Left .243 143 34 5 33 5 0 6
2018vs Right .223 507 121 24 106 25 2 11
2017vs Left .248 140 36 5 33 3 2 7
2017vs Right .203 539 166 25 103 17 0 16
2016vs Left .138 141 52 2 19 3 0 0
2016vs Right .201 403 120 9 78 15 1 8
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 2.13 0.85 249.1 20 6 0 10.1 1.4 0.9
Since 2016Away 2.40 0.98 235.0 19 7 0 9.5 1.2 0.9
2018Home 2.58 1.02 83.2 3 3 0 8.8 2.2 1.0
2018Away 2.90 1.07 77.2 6 2 0 8.5 1.0 0.9
2017Home 2.58 0.92 90.2 9 2 0 11.2 1.5 1.4
2017Away 2.03 0.98 84.1 9 2 0 9.5 1.6 1.0
2016Home 1.08 0.57 75.0 8 1 0 10.3 0.5 0.1
2016Away 2.31 0.88 74.0 4 3 0 10.5 0.9 0.9
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Stat Review
How does Clayton Kershaw compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
90.9 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Despite missing two months with a back injury -- specifically, a herniated disc -- Kershaw finished as the No. 6 pitcher last season in terms of earned 5x5 fantasy value. He was more dominant than ever when on the mound, posting an otherworldly 172:11 K:BB in 149 innings (65:2 K:BB in May). His 15.3 percent swinging-strike rate would have tied Max Scherzer as the best among qualifiers had he logged enough innings to qualify, and Kershaw's command and control reached unprecedented levels as he shaved his walk rate to just two percent. There were no noticeable lingering effects from the back injury upon his return in September (0.86 ERA) and he looked plenty strong into late October as he carried the Dodgers on said back to the NLCS. Entering his age-29 season, Kershaw still looks very much in his prime and remains worthy of a first-round pick, if not top-five overall.
It had been 13 years since we had seen a pitcher strike out 300 or more in a season (Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling in 2002), but Kershaw finished with 301 punchouts en route to winning 16 games with a 2.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. After posting sub-2.00 ERA seasons in 2013 and 2014, it's amazing to think some view 2015 as a disappointment for Kershaw, but that's what happens when expectations are sky-high. Kershaw's 11.6 K/9 was easily the best mark of his distinguished career, and as usual his control was excellent with a 1.6 BB/9. It's fair to wonder whether we have seen him peak, but Kershaw is only headed into his age-28 season, so he's firmly in his prime. Like all pitchers, there is always the possibility of a massive drop-off or some sort of arm injury, but few would give any other pitcher the title of "best in the game," making him a sure-fire 2016 first-round pick, particularly given the strikeout ability.
What could Kershaw possibly do to improve upon his three straight ERA and WHIP titles with a pair of Cy Youngs and a second-place finish in between? Surely, he can’t get better, so even though you can expect greatness, it’ll likely be regressed from 2013. Well, not exactly. Left with the seemingly impossible task of one-upping himself, Kershaw somehow did just that and then some, winning titles in the aforementioned categories, including career-bests in each, as well as his third Cy Young and his first NL MVP. And all of that despite missing April and failing to reach the 200-inning mark. At this point, it would be foolish to suggest he can’t possibly best himself yet again. How about a 1.00 ERA? He is the unquestioned best pitcher in the game and a surefire first-rounder regardless of league size and format.
Kershaw took home his second NL Cy Young award in three years, recording the lowest ERA (1.82) since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in the 2000 season. Kershaw also led the league in strikeouts (232) and WHIP (0.92) while tossing a career-high 236 innings. Basically, he's the best pitcher in "real life" and in fantasy. Amazingly, he'll pitch all of 2014 as a 26-year-old, and the 2.0 BB/9 that Kershaw carried last season was actually the best result he's ever returned in that department.
Kershaw finished second in the NL Cy Young voting to R.A. Dickey, but it was another solid season for the left-hander. Kershaw led the league in ERA (2.53) for the second straight season while finishing with 229 strikeouts, second in the league behind Dickey's 230. Kershaw had a 2.10 ERA after the All-Star break, while continuing to average 93 mph with his fastball with excellent control (2.5 BB/9). It's amazing to think that he's only entering his age-25 season, so another Cy Young caliber performance seems likely barring an injury. He should be one of the first three pitchers off all draft boards this spring.
Kershaw was named the National League Cy Young winner after winning the NL's pitching triple crown with 21 wins, a 2.28 ERA and 248 strikeouts. The key to his success was a marked improvement in his control, as his BB/9IP trend over the past three years looks like this: 4.8, 3.6 and 2.1. It's pretty much impossible for Kershaw to markedly improve upon his 2011 season, but considering he's just 24, he should be very good for the next several years.
Kershaw took a big step towards ace status in 2010, finishing as one of only four NL starters with at least 200 strikeouts (212) and an ERA under 3.00 (2.91). A big key to his success was in dropping his walk rate from 4.8 BB/9IP in 2009 to 3.6 last year (and 3.0 after the All-Star break). Kershaw will look to build on that in 2011 as a 23-year-old with 483 big league innings already under his belt. The sky is certainly the limit.
Kershaw played all of 2009 as a 21-year-old in his first full season, and the results were impressive, even though the 8-8 win-loss record was not. Among National League pitchers, Kershaw's 2.79 ERA ranked fifth and his 185 strikeouts were 11th. The big problem? His 93 walks ranked third. Seemingly the only thing preventing the former seventh overall pick from annual NL Cy Young contention is that wavering command, and encouragingly, Kershaw made some adjustments in the season's second half that resulted in a 4.0 BB/9IP rate versus a 5.3 mark before the All-Star break. He's already a top-30 fantasy pitcher, with the potential for far more as early as 2010.
Kershaw acquitted himself well in his first taste of major league action, going 5-5 with a 4.26 ERA and 100:52 K:BB in 107.2 innings for the Dodgers. Kershaw's command wavered from time to time, though he finished with a 60:24 K:BB in his final two months after starting with a 40:28 mark. He will be counted on as the team's No. 5 starter and could approach 200 strikeouts once given 180 innings of work (to limit the strain on his golden arm). Kershaw is projected as a true ace, though that day may not come for a couple years.
Kershaw skipped High-A ball this year, jumping straight to Double-A in August at the ripe old age of 19. It was Kershaw's first full season as a professional after being drafted seventh overall out of high school in 2006. Between Low-A and Double-A, Kershaw had a 2.95 ERA and 163:67 K:BB in 122 innings. He'll return to Double-A to open 2008, but if Kershaw can improve his overall command and show improvement in his changeup, he could be a huge factor for the Dodgers down the stretch in 2008. He's probably baseball's top pitching prospect yet to debut in the big leagues.
The team's No. 1 pick (seventh overall) in the 2006 draft, Kershaw, despite his youth, is already one of baseball's top pitching prospects. Unlike other young Dodger pitchers, the control bug has yet to bite the young left-hander. In 37 innings for the GCL Dodgers, Kershaw posted an impressive 54:5 K:BB ratio featuring a fastball that already touches 96 mph, a plus curve and an advanced change. He'll make his full-season debut in 2007 (likely for the organization's new affiliate in the Low-A Midwest League), and while he won't be major league ready until sometime in 2009, long-term keeper leaguers should have Kershaw on their radars.
More Fantasy News
Option deadline extended
PLos Angeles Dodgers
October 31, 2018
Kershaw and the Dodgers agreed to extend the deadline on his option decision until Friday.
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May opt out of contract
PLos Angeles Dodgers
October 29, 2018
Kershaw said Sunday in the aftermath of the Dodgers' World Series loss to the Red Sox that he hasn't decided whether he'll opt out of the final two years of his contract and become a free agent this winter, Ken Gurnick of reports. "I've got three days now to think about [the contract situation] before anything happens. And so it will be an eventful three days for me, and I'll try to figure it out."
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Set to start Game 5
PLos Angeles Dodgers
October 27, 2018
Kershaw was announced as the starter for Game 5 of the World Series against the Red Sox, Ken Gurnick of reports.
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Officially named as Game 1 starter
PLos Angeles Dodgers
October 22, 2018
Kershaw was confirmed as the starter for Game 1 of the World Series in Boston on Tuesday, Pedro Moura of The Athletic reports.
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Expected to pitch Game 1
PLos Angeles Dodgers
October 21, 2018
Kershaw will likely take the hill for Game 1 of the World Series against the Red Sox on Tuesday, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports.
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