It’s early in the season, but based on his performance to date, I have a hunch that Clayton Kershaw will end 2013 as the #1 fantasy baseball asset.
In 3 starts to date, here’s Kershaw’s ratios:
6.25 (Strikeouts/Base on Balls)
Here are his 4 year trends (2010 > 2013):
K/BB: 2.62 > 4.59 > 3.63 > 6.25
Ct%: 76.8 > 76.8 > 76.1 > 71.8%
HR/FB: 5.8 > 6.7 > 8.1 > 0.0%
GB/FB: .95 > 1.12 > 1.38 > 1.73
While there will be some regression back to his expected trend, I think at age 25, we can expect dominant performance that winds up being between his 2012 and 2013 performance to date. While his ERA is thus far a miniscule 1.16, his expected ERA’s are all under 2.42. Since his first full season in 2009, he’s had an ERA under 2.92 including 2.28 in 2011 and 2.53 in 2012. I fully expect a repeat of last year (OR EVEN BETTER) where he was ranked #9 on ESPN’s player rater. Thus far he’s ranked 14th overall, and I have to think almost everyone above him on the current list should drop out other than McCutchen, Harper, J Upton and Fielder.
If the trends hold true (even to a less intense degree), and his negative HR/FB trend regresses back to the mean or his GB/FB ratio remains remotely this elite, we’re talking 2011 Kershaw here which will provide quite the positive statistical outlier across the board for your fantasy staff.
Pre-season I tailed off most of his ratios but still had him at #5 overall with a 2.83 ERA, 1.1 WHIP and 234 K, but my projections weigh expected ERA’s, such as xFIP and SIERA more heavily, and consistently he comes in well below. A 2.5/2.6 ERA, WHIP approaching less than 1.0 and 230+ K’s could and should incur a #1 rating this year unless the power of Justin Upton, average of Prince Fielder, and awesomeness of Byrce Harper don’t simmer.