Position- Starting Pitcher
Residence Highland Park, Tex.
DOB- Mar. 19, 1988
How Obtained- Drafted in first round 2006
06 Club- Dodgers (Gulf Coast) \par \par And why is it that a pitcher with only 37 professional innings is rated above all these other prime prospects who have done considerably well at much higher levels? Because this is all about promise, after all, and there's no one else in the system that has more.
Kershaw started demonstrating his unique talent as a senior in high school. Going into the season he had been considered as, perhaps, a second-round draft choice. But he very quickly showed that he had the ability to go well beyond that. Before he graduated he was named the High School Player of the Year by both Gatorade and USA Today. He was the first schoolboy taken in the draft when the Dodgers made him the number seven selection.
He kept right on as a pro. His debut was in the Gulf Coast League rather than the more demanding Pioneer because of tax purposes. Florida doesn't have a state income tax; Utah does so the chunk taken out of his $2.3 million bonus would have been considerable had he pitched for Ogden.
In a league laced with top draft choices , he was simply the best. He was 2-0 and could have won a lot more except his innings were limited, particularly at the beginning.
He struck out 54 in those 37 innings while walking only five. Batters managed just a .201 mark against him. Most of the hits were early in the count when hitters were sitting dead-red and were bouncers through the infield. There was only one for extra bases- a triple that was well-hit but probably should have been caught.
He does this with a fast ball that's usually in the 93-94 mph range. He reached 96 while still in school and later in the Instructional League. His curve seemed lazy at the beginning but sharpened considerably as the season wore on. It became a formidable weapon as well down the stretch. He just started using a circle change which also seems to be coming along.
For the most part he can throw his pitches where he wants to, an unusual accomplishment for a lefthander so young. He's a competitor, toughest when men get on. He's intelligent so learns quickly. His love for the game is considerable. His body is the perfect frame for pitching. While it may be a tad soft, it should harden nicely.
His delivery is smooth and repeated well. In all he should eventually become a frontline starter in the big leagues. Barring injury, of course. In 2007 he could probably skip Ogden and start at low A Great Lakes with high A Inland Empire well within reach.
The complete top 54 prospects:
1 - LHP Clayton Kershaw 2 - OF Matt Kemp 3 - LHP Scott Elbert 4 - 1B James Loney 5 - 3B Andy LaRoche 6 - LHP Hong-Chic Kuo 7 - 2B/3B Blake DeWitt 8 - LHP Greg Miller 9 - 2B Tony Abreu 10 - SS Ivan DeJesus, Jr. 11 - OF Delwyn Young 12 - RHP Jonathan Meloan 13 - 3B Josh Bell 14 - RHP Justin Orenduff 15 - RHP Bryan Morris 16 - SS Preston Mattingly 17 - LHP Mike Megrew 18 - SS Chin-Lung Hu 19 - RHP Steve Johnson 20 - LHP Eric Stults 21 - RHP Jesus Castillo 22 - OF Xavier Paul 23 - 3B/Of/C Carlos Santana 24 - RHP Josh Wall 25 - LHP Tim Hamulak 26 - RHP Mark Alexander 27 - RHP Zach Hammes 28 - RHP Eric Hull 29 - OF John Raglani 30 - OF Scott Van Slyke 31 - RHP Javy Guerra 32 - 1B Cory Dunlap 33 - RHP James McDonalds 34 - LHP Cody White 35 - OF Bridger Hunt 36 - RHP Casey Hoorelbeke 37 - LHP Brent Leach 38 - 1B Kyle Orr 39 - OF Ryan Rogowski 40 - LHP Wesley Wright 41 - RHP Tommy Perez 42 - INF Travis Denker 43 - OF/C Lucas May 44 - RHP Kyle Wilson 45 - OF Jaime Hoffman 46 - RHP Ramon Troncoso 47 - C Tony Harper 48 - OF Trayvon Robinson 49 - LHP Garrett White 50 - OF Tommy Giles 51 - INF Elian Herrera 52 - OF Drew Locke 53 - RHP Miguel Ramirez 54 - 1B Jaime Ortiz