This is some loaded young pitching talent. They were sleepers last year, some (Brett Anderson) are major sleepers this year.
There are many, many things going for Clayton Kershaw: he pitches in the national league, has an awesome home park, is only 21, is a lefty, etc. Oh yeah, he just happened to pitch 171 innings last year and post a 2.79 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, while striking out 185 batters (all in line with his minor league track record). The only concern I can fabricate is some sort of sophomore slump. However, Kershaw did pitch 107 IPs in the majors in 2008, so he has logged 278 IPs over a couple of seasons. There simply isn’t a bad thing to say about him.
Tommy Hanson is quite an old fellow compared to Kershaw (he is 23). He only got to pitch 172 IPs last year, but they were glorious (2.89 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 116 Ks). He had a higher ERA than Kershaw but a lower WHIP, His strike-out rate was also a little lower, but that’s not why I’m keeping Kershaw over Hanson. Quite simply, there is a bit more of a track record in the 21-year old than there is with Hanson. No pitcher is a sure thing, but Kershaw is a smidge more of a sure thing than Hanson.
Brett Anderson has two things working against in a game like this: the American league and a worse 2009 than his compatriots. In 175 IPs, Anderson posted a 4.06 ERA, a 1.28 WHIP and 150 Ks. His ERA was a bit high for his WHIP, so that should be lower in 2010. In addition, I think there is room for his strike-out rate to rise (he Ked 243 batters in 225 minor league IPs). This is all by way of saying that the sleeper hype for Anderson is real and you shouldn’t scoff at him. You put him in the national league and his numbers might look a lot similar to Hanson’s.
Keep: Clayton Kershaw
Trade: Tommy Hanson
Drop: Brett Anderson
Reading this column guarantees that you will achieve fabulous wealth and success in your fantasy baseball league. That’s right, you guessed it: it’s time to debate Keep Trade or Drop (KTD).
While there are tons of player rankings available, they are all for 2010 and nothing more. So, if you are drafting in a start-up keeper league, how do you decide who to take? For example, if they’re both on the board, do you go for tried and true Carl Crawford, or do you roll the dice (but only barely) and select the slightly less proven Justin Upton. Read enough of these columns and you might just get your answer.
The KTD series focuses solely on giving keeper league advice. It poses the question: if you are in a keeper league, which player would you rather keep, which would you rather trade and which would you be forced to drop. Rarely is the decision easy to make, but it might just decide whether you compete and win your championship, not just this year, but for years down the road as well. It will also help you make a snap decision when three similar players are on the board and the clock is ticking.