One of the biggest questions heading into the 2014 Major League Baseball season is where should Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw be drafted?
Judging by drafts so far, that answer is very early.
Despite the temptation to take Kershaw that early, I still believe an ADP of five is too high.
Fantasy owners know that to win leagues, you pretty much have to go offense early. I just don’t believe you can jump for a pitcher that early. In most 12-team leagues, you can still get arms such as Cliff Lee (ADP 40.5), Justin Verlander (46.8), Chris Sale (49.5), Madison Bumgarner (50.8), David Price (65.0) and Zack Grienke (66.0) in rounds four and five.
If you reach for Kershaw early and end up with Brandon Phillips as your best hitter, chances are you aren’t going to win your league.
However if there were a season I would recommend taking pitching early, this could be the year.
That is based on the fact that Kershaw is a safe pick.
Plain and simple, there is nothing to dislike.
He’s averaged over 227 innings pitched the past three seasons, has a K/9 over one per inning, doesn’t walk people, pitches in the National League and does so in a pitcher friendly ballpark.
I’m very comfortable with all of that.
That especially rings true when you look at the offensive players that have gone after him so far, including Chris Davis, Carlos Gonzalez, Adam Jones, Ryan Braun, Robinson Cano, Jacoby Ellsbury, Bryce Harper and Hanley Ramirez.
The bottom line is that there are question marks about each and every one of those guys that are going in first rounds.
If there was a year to do it, this would be the year I would consider it.
However I just can’t make a strong enough case.
There’s a wealth of pitching to be had in the later rounds. Sacrificing offense early on to grab Kershaw in the first round will leave you chasing production all season.
I recommend doing a few mock drafts and selecting Kershaw with the fifth or sixth pick and see how your team comes out. Chances are you probably won’t be happy with it.
There’s no doubting that Kershaw will go between the No. 5 and No. 8 overall pick in every draft. I just don’t recommend you being the one pulling the trigger.
Let someone else reach on Kershaw early.