Fantasy Baseball Offseason Mock Draft: Clayton Kershaw slides in first look at 2019

Head-to-Head points. It's the format most known for elevating starting pitchers, right?

And elevating them has become a trend across all formats as the gap between the haves and have-nots continues to grow, don't you think?

That should theoretically push Clayton Kershaw into unprecedented territory, pitting him alongside first-round mainstays like Mookie Betts and Nolan Arenado, wouldn't you say?

I mean, sure, he wasn't quite as dominant in 2018, but he gets a pass for missing time with injury, right? Right?

The tide seems to be turning on that front. Seven total pitchers went in the first two rounds, and Kershaw was the last among them, barely making the cut.

It wasn't a total surprise. I had him going in the same range in my projected first two rounds, but it suggests the disenchantment is industry-wide. He's still a good pitcher, but with reduced velocity and a lower strikeout ceiling, he's not the standout we've long known him to be. And that's before you factor in the injury risk.

Who contributed to shaping this consensus, at least as far as our first foray into 2019 goes? There were 12 people in all, myself included:

1 - Donkey Teeth, Razzball
2 - Chris Mitchell, RotoExperts
3 - Igor Mello, CBS Sports
4 - Adam Aizer, CBS Sports
5 - Heath Cummings, CBS Sports
6 - Chris Towers, CBS Sports
7 - Jeff Tobin, CBS Sports
8 - Mike Kuchera, The Fantasy Man
9 - Lance Brozdowski, Big Three Sports
10 - Phil Ponebshek, Patton & Company
11 - George Maselli, CBS Sports
12 - Scott White, CBS Sports

A few other observations:

  • Rookie sensation Ronald Acuna went in the middle of the second round while fellow rookie sensation Juan Soto went at the end of the third. Particularly in this format, where Acuna's steals are of less value and Soto's plate discipline is of greater value, they don't need to be so far apart. In this case, I'd suggest Acuna went too high rather than Soto too low.
  • Speaking of rookie sensations, third baseman Vladimir Guerrero and outfielder Eloy Jimenez are shaping up to be the next ones, and they went in Rounds 5 and 6, respectively. Each went about a round earlier than I have him, but the enthusiasm for these two only figures to grow as the season approaches, especially if it becomes clearer they'll be up in mid-April.
  • Walker Buehler apparently isn't going to sneak up on anybody. I wouldn't suggest taking him before Carlos Carrasco, Noah Syndergaard and James Paxton (among others), but is he in the same tier? Quite possibly.
  • Obviously, the offseason is only beginning, and roles figure to change between now and opening day. The Dodgers in particular have several players whose Fantasy value is up in the air. Max Muncy, Brian Dozier and Ross Stripling, all taken between Rounds 9 and 12, are likely to go well before or well after that depending how their roles shake out.
  • Speaking of roles, the most make-or-break of them is still the ninth-inning role, but with teams becoming increasingly reluctant to name one pitcher the closer, there's even more uncertainty than usual surrounding the relief pitcher position this time of year. Once Kirby Yates went off the board in Round 14, there wasn't anyone left who I felt confident would get the majority of his team's save chances next year, especially with so many proven closers — guys like David Robertson, Jeurys Familia, Cody Allen, Zach Britton, Andrew Miller, Greg Holland among them and Kelvin Herrera — looking for work this offseason. The "safe" options may go for a premium this time of year (I've never been one to take two closers in the first 12 rounds in this format, as I did this time), but if things play out as they normally do, we should have a better idea who's closing where by March.
  • Late-season standouts like Jonathan Villar, Luke Voit and Jeff McNeil didn't get much love in this draft, slipping to the Round 19-20 turn. Villar in particular will likely attract more attention in Rotisserie drafts.

Now then ...

Senior Fantasy Writer

Raised in Atlanta by a board game-loving family during the dawn of the '90s Braves dynasty, Scott White was easy prey for the Fantasy Sports, in particular Fantasy Baseball, and has devoted his adulthood... Full Bio

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