Starting Pitcher Preseason Power Rankings

5. Clayton Kershaw

Jeff Gross / Getty Images

Jeff Gross / Getty Images

You cannot make a top MLB starting pitchers list without including Clayton Kershaw. The southpaw has a 2.43 ERA since joining the league in 2008 and last season logged his highest ERA since the 2012 campaign. Dodgers’ fans don’t have much to worry about here though — that “high” ERA was 2.13. He finished the season at 16-7 and had a mind-boggling 301 strikeouts.

Needless to say, this stellar starter is not slowing down anytime soon. Kershaw will also be the uncontested top dog this year after LA’s other pitcher in the dynamic duo, Zack Greinke, left in free agency to join the Arizona Diamondbacks. Not only was Kershaw able to build on his All-Star career by reaching 114 wins at the end of last year, but he was able to cast doubters aside in the playoffs in two games, going 1-1 and logging a 0.88 WHIP to go along with a 2.69 ERA.

Kershaw was one of three pitchers who sprinted their way towards candidacy for the NL Cy Young Award in the second half of the 2015 season. He had three complete games and was 10-1, while allowing opponents to hit just .167 against him in 15 starts after the all-star break. While Kershaw traditionally starts seasons relatively slowly — he was 1-2 with a 3.73 ERA in five games last April — it is hard to believe that he won’t be a dominant force in 2016.

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