Two years ago, Clayton Kershaw was a senior, pitching for Highland Park High School in Texas.
In 64 innings, Kershaw struck out almost everyone he faced (139 batters)and finished with a 0.77 ERA.
So, it may not come as a big surprise that as a 20-year-old lefty, after just 201 minor league innings pitched, is getting the call to start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But what can you expect from this prodigy, picked 7th overall in the 2006 draft?
- A fastball in the mid-90s.
- A plus curve in the low-to-mid 70s.
- A circle change.
- Nearly flawless mechanics.
So, naturally, you should sprint to your waiver wire to grab Kershaw, right?
Well, not so fast.
Sure, if there's an obvious SP drop, Kershaw's a no-brainer. And in all shallow mixed-leagues and NL-only jobbers, you almost have to take a flier.
But Kershaw is as inexperienced as he is gifted, and the Dodgers are going to handle him with extreme caution, limiting his pitches by either skipping starts or shutting him down at some point.
And, the kicker: He's not even available on Yahoo! leagues right now.
When will Kershaw show up? Nobody knows for sure, but it will likely be after his expected 4:10 p.m. start against the Cardinals tomorrow. It could very well be Monday.
But if you're in need of a power arm (and who isn't, right?), then you might wanna check in hourly over the weekend. Or, if you have a life, at least a couple times a day.Kershaw is likely the best remaining power arm prospect out there, so it makes sense to use a high waiver position, in case you're in a waiver setup.
But keep the expectations real. He compiled a 2.64 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP, but has only limited AA experience with the Jacksonville Suns.
He's very untested and while his 11+ K/9 inning ratio is probably something that will help any team, Kershaw has never faced Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick before.
Still, half the fun is rolling the dice on young guys so put the Kershaw Watch on high alert this weekend.
After all, with gas prices at $4 a gallon, who's leaving home for Memorial Day anyway.