Kershaw struck out 232 batters in a career-high 236 innings in 2013 and ended with a near flawless 1.83 ERA with a 0.92 WHIP. The super Southpaw held opposing hitters to a .195 batting average and he has established himself the best arm in fantasy. He just signed a seven-year, $215 million contract and the fireballer deserves every cent of the enormous contract.
Despite his staggering numbers, though, Kershaw may not be worth reaching for in 2014 fantasy drafts. His current average draft position towards the beginning of the second round, and considering the amount of quality starting pitchers in the league right now, it may be a little too high.
Veteran starters like Felix Hernandez, Yu Darvish, Adam Wainwright, Stephen Strasburg, and Cliff Lee will be just as reliable on a weekly basis and will come much cheaper in fantasy drafts than Kershaw. People love to jump on the top pitcher every single year, but it often hinders the depth of their hitters on the long run.
Additionally, Kershaw posted 16 wins last year, which was tied for seventh-best in the majors. With a little more run-support, the fireballer could have easily ended up with over 20 wins. However, the southpaw has only won 30 combined games over the last two seasons and seems to be plagued by low-scoring games year after year. Wins matter in fantasy and Kershaw may have an 18-win ceiling in LA.
Kershaw is obviously the best pitcher in baseball, but don’t feel like you have to reach for Kershaw in the first or second round. There is better value in waiting to grab a different top-five pitcher after the second round and loading up on All-Star quality sticks in the early rounds of the draft.