Dodger Prospect # 1 Clayton Kershaw

LAdugout.com is currently taking a look at the top prospects in the Dodger system. Today we present the one that's ranked at the head of the list.

Name-CLAYTON EDWARD KERSHAW
Position- Starting Pitcher
Residence Highland Park, Tex.
DOB- Mar. 19, 1988
Hit- 6-3
Wt- 210
B/T- L/L
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

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