Clayton Kershaw's injury has even the most dedicated Diamondbacks fans depressed. While it doesn't seem serious, the mere fact that we've been robbed of watching a great pitcher practice his craft Sunday night stinks. Kershaw's injury inspired Chris Towers to discuss pitcher reliability in his latest blog entry. Towers makes a point to stress how reliable Kershaw has been over his career, making the missed start surprising to some Fantasy owners. It also highlights why we tend to preach taking hitters early over pitchers.
As Towers stated in his post, there are a number of Fantasy-relevant pitchers expected to begin the season on the disabled list. The complete list is Patrick Corbin, Brandon Beachy, Mike Minor, Kris Medlen, Mat Latos, Jhoulys Chacin, Jonathan Niese, Jarrod Parker, A.J. Griffin, Cole Hamels, Josh Johnson and Derek Holland. That list doesn't include guys like Hyun-Jin Ryu, Yu Darvish or Kershaw, who may miss an early start due to injuries. That's 15 prominent pitchers who could see some missed time early.
Take a look at the names on the lists above. Some of those guys have a history of injuries, while others have been as consistent as they come. Hamels, Latos and Kershaw, for example, have all started at least 30 games over the past four seasons.
The point is, pitchers get hurt. In fact, two out of every five pitchers will hit the disabled list this year. It's a staggering number, and highlights the volatility of pitching. Even if a guy has "good mechanics," pitching is still an unnatural motion for the arm. Guys like Mark Buehrle are the exception, not the rule.
That's not to say taking pitchers high in drafts is the wrong move, just the riskier one. While I don't want to speak for all of our Fantasy experts, I think it's the main reason you see pitchers fall in our mocks, and in most experts leagues.