May 30th, 2008 (2nd major league start)
The southpaw from Texas was drafted out of high school as the 7th pick in the 2006 draft, and he has lived up to the hype, blowing through the minor leagues (10+ K/9), and debuting in 2008 just after his 20th birthday. He's 22-18 for his career, with a 3.30 ERA and 1.30 WHIP. Last year, only his 2nd year in the majors, he had a 2.79 ERA, good for 5th in the NL. Since he started throwing his slider on June 4th last year, his ERA was 2.04, 10.2 K/9. I went to his 2nd big league start (at Shea), and he showed glimpses of promise, but lasted only 3 2/3 innings. Last year versus the Mets he threw six shutout innings, only five base-runners and striking out seven.
Kershaw throws over-the-top with an excellent downhill angle. He was made famous for his "public enemy #1" by Vin Scully in Spring Training, but he rarely throws it for a strike and batters have taken notice. He throws his fastball 70% of his pitches and it averages 93 mph. His slider is his 2nd best pitch, throwing it 20% and 82 mph. His curveball is 73 mph, but he throws it less than 10% of the time. He will throw one or two change-ups a game (84 mph). He gets swing and misses around 11%, blowing away the league average of 8.4%. He throws 1st pitch fastball 73% of the time, and relies on his fastball and his slider as his strikeout pitch.
He's made 20 starts (122 innings) this year, and is 9-5 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. He's still striking out a ton of hitters (9.9 K/9), but he's walking > 4 per 9, which is a bit high. He's a flyball pitcher who has gotten very lucky and not allowed a lot of HRs (7 in 122 innings). His last start he went 6 innings versus the Giants and allowed 4 runs (2 earned), while allowing 6 base-runners and striking out 6. He's been death versus lefties, striking out 14 per 9 innings, and has a batting average against of .175.
Kershaw is a future ace (if he isn't one already), and is only 22 years old. The Mets will have their hands full with him.