From: The Sports Point
Clayton Kershaw is his name and a 97 mph fastball and a killer curveball is his game. The southpaw pitching prospect has been getting rave reviews this spring training and has been promoted to big league camp. The accolades do not stop there for the 19 year-old as Dodgers manager Joe Torre had this to say about the pitching phenom,
> "There was a left-handed pitcher in this organization with only a fastball and curve and he was pretty good," said Torre. "But I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him. He's not too far away from the changeup. He's got it; it's a matter of locating it."
The left handed pitcher he is referring to in the previous quote is not Fernando Valenzuela, but rather none other then Sandy Koufax. Is it to much for a 19 year-old kid to be compared to arguably the best pitcher of all time after only one full season of minor league baseball? Of course it is, but all reviews from Dodgers camp are glowing to say the least. Perhaps the best way to sum up "Clayton Mania" is from what Matt Kemp said of a recent Kershaw performance,
> "I wish you could see a video of what I saw from center field," said Matt Kemp, who made his spring debut in center field Sunday. "He throws that curveball so hard and it snaps 12 to six like you've never seen."
So who is Clayton Kershaw? He was the 7th overall pick of the 2006 draft out of Highland Park High School in Texas. He spent last year predominantly in A ball posting a 7-5 record and a 2.77 ERA. In 5 starts in Double A he went 1-2 with a 3.65 ERA. The lefty is also rated the Dodgers top overall prospect for 2008 according to Baseball America. He features a mid 90's fastball with a serious hook, as Matt Kemp pointed out above and a changeup that is improving everyday according to Torre.
Will the Dodgers organization be tempted to take him west with them as their fifth starter when camp breaks? To that point Torre said he is "about as close to 100 percent without being 100 percent" that Kershaw will not start the season with the big club. He did leave the door open with his next statement by saying "if everything fell into place" he could end up in the bigs to start the season. So at this point who knows, but it does seem when Kershaw does go to L.A. it could be Fernando-mania all over again.
Kershaw promoted to big league camp (MLB.com)