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Wednesday 23rd Aug 2017

Early in the Mesozoic period of fantasy baseball (with the advent of Daily Games, we are now in the Cenozoic Phase), Pedro Martinez was the Zeus of all pitchers.

From 1997-2003, Pedro was beyond dominant. Martinez was so much better than the next levels of pitchers that it was like comparing Rickey Henderson to Rich Becker.

As an example, during the middle of that seven-year spread (2000), Martinez, now deservedly a member of the Hall of Fame, went 18-6, 1.74, with 284 strikeouts over 217 innings and an 0.737 WHIP. The Major League average ERA that season was 4.76. (In contrast, this past season--Clayton Kershaw's seventh in the Majors--the Dodger Southpaw was 21-3, 1.77 with 239 punch outs over 193.3 innings, while the MLB average ERA was 3.74.)

During that '97-03 span, owned by Pedro, several strategies specifically designed around obtaining the slender hurler were concocted. My favorite was John Hunt--formerly the USA Today's "fantasy guru"--opening the bidding for Martinez' services at $50, a strategy previously unheard of. When Hunt tried it, his LABR (League of Alternative Baseball Reality) mates were certainly caught off guard, for Hunt got crickets, got Pedro, and if memory serves, got a title.

Well, as we can see from the numbers above, pitching overall is now more than a run improved from 2000 (4.76 to 3.74), so though Kershaw is much better than the bulk of his counterparts, the gap is not as much as it was between Pedro and his respective colleagues.

However, the reality is both hurler's first seven Big League seasons, the numbers of Martinez and Kershaw are remarkably close, as you can see below:

Player W L PCT ERA IP H SHO IP H BB K WHIP
Martinez 107 49 0.686 2.84 247 181 11 1351.3 1044 409 1526 1.080
Kershaw 98 49 0.667 2.48 211 209 9 1378.3 1035 424 1445 1.059

Going into the 2015 season, Kershaw, 27, is one year younger than Pedro was going into his eighth season of play, and all these thoughts and comparisons made me wonder just how much of an impact building a team around the Dodger's lefty would pose? Could there be the same impact in 2015 as there was with Martinez in 1998?

I think this could be both fun and interesting to track, so, much like I did the Pedro Report in 1999, during which we tracked the impact/cost of Mr. Martinez on his team and roster, we will look at Kershaw's impact on his leagues--ostensibly 15-team draft, mixed auction, and NL-only auction, and perhaps a couple of other formats where we can get some stats--in the coming year.

I am anticipating one piece on this just prior to the draft, one during the All-Star break, once going into September call-ups, and then one final entry to wrap up the season (though note some of these articles might appear under "Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down" once the season starts).

When I solicit data, I hope you will be kind enough to share your parameters as a Kershaw owner.

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