Clayton Kershaw may be the best pitcher in baseball, but how does he rate against other members of his draft class?
Over the years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have become synonymous with identifying and developing talent. Their major league roster is a testament to their ability to draft talent that will one day be contributors at the big league level. And while a lot of that talent has come around in recent seasons, and under the current management group, you can’t talk about the developed talent without starting with Clayton Kershaw.
Picked with the 7th overall pick of the 2006 MLB Draft, Kershaw has been the epitome of the perfect pick. Selected out of Highland Park HS, Kershaw advanced through the Dodgers system, unlike most high school arms. He lasted just two and half seasons in the minors before getting his first take of the majors. After making his debut on March 25, 2008, Kershaw never looked back.
The rest they say is written in history.
In his 12 MLB campaigns, Kershaw has been the unequivocal ace of the Dodgers. He owns a lifetime record of 169-74, a 2.44 ERA, a 2.74 FIP, and 2464 strike-outs (9.7 K/9). Depending on which service you subscribe to, Kershaw is either the top pitcher (Baseball-Reference) in terms of Wins Above Replacement or second (FanGraphs) to only Justin Verlander since 2008.
Needless to say, the pick of Kershaw worked out well for the Dodgers. However, as we all know, the MLB Draft is never a sure thing, and the other teams that picked in 2006 enjoyed some hit and miss throughout their picks. The draft as a whole was fairly top-heavy in terms of current MLB players and success outside of the first round was a rare feat.
So how Clayton Kershaw compare to the rest of his draft class? What other stars joined the ranks and signed in 2006?