Clayton Kershaw: Is He Still the No. 1 Pitcher in 2016?


The Los Angeles Dodgers have made a lot of moves this offseason. They still have one of the best in the game, Clayton Kershaw. However, is he still No. 1?

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been busy during the Winter Meetings so far. No. 2 starting pitcher Zack Greinke opted out and eventually signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks. As a result, the team signed Hisashi Iwakuma to fill the void. Many experts see the power shifting from LA to Arizona, but they seem to forget that one of the best pitchers in the game still plays for the Dodgers, and his name is Clayton Kershaw. However, is he still the best?

For years, Kershaw was the best pitcher in the game. Every time he stepped on the mound, he dominated. He recorded over 20 wins and finished with a sub-2.00 ERA twice. He was still amazing in 2015, but his grip on the No. 1 spot is slipping.

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In 2015, Clayton Kershaw started 33 games (tied his career high) and went 16-7 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP and 301 strikeouts (career high) in 232.2 innings. He pitched four complete games, three of which were shutouts. He earned another All-Star appearance and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting. Even with all of those accolades, he was not the best fantasy pitcher in the game.

Clayton Kershaw was ranked third among starting pitchers on the Player Rater, finishing behind Jake Arrieta and Greinke, his former teammate. Of the three, Kershaw led in strikeouts. And that’s it. The other two had more wins and a better ERA and WHIP. The difference between the three on the Player Rater was small, but the difference in stats was big.

While the strikeout percentage improved, some of the other numbers declined. His 0.58 HR/9 was the highest since 2012. His .281 BABIP and 10.1 HR/FB rate were the highest since his rookie season. Like I said, all of the numbers aren’t bad, but there are certain ones that make you raise an eyebrow.

Next: Shelby Miller Traded to Arizona: Fantasy Fallout

Heading into the 2016 season, I still have Clayton Kershaw ranked as my No. 1 pitcher. Despite some of the ratio stats declining, being as consistent as he’s been for as long it’s been is hard to do. However, I do see a possibility of Kershaw not being drafted as the No. 1 pitcher. Arrieta had a great season last year and Greinke could do some damage in Arizona.

Projections: 17-7, 2.10 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 280 strikeouts

Draft: Round 2