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Dodgers 2016 profile: Clayton Kershaw

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Today we start our 2016 Dodgers profiles. The goal is to profile every single person in camp; if not that, then at least every person on the 40-man roster. These will be quick hitters, an overview of every player heading into 2016, with some stat projections and maybe a quote or two, plus a chance for readers to make their own predictions.

The plan is for two of these to run each weekday from now until the end of camp.

Clayton Kershaw is starting for the Dodgers on opening day, and he starts the Cactus League opener, so it's only fitting that he starts off our 2016 profiles.

Kershaw in 10 words or less

Still the best pitcher in baseball.

Question

As absurd as it is to expect a 2.00-ish ERA again from Kershaw, what else would you expect from a man with a 1.98 ERA in his last 1,005⅓ innings*? Just remember how fun it might be when — if Kershaw puts up another sub-2.00 ERA in 2016 — we can look back and wonder what went wrong in 2015, the season Kershaw struck out 301 yet his ERA ballooned all the way to 2.13.

*That 1.98 ERA dates back to July 7, 2011, by the way, a span of Kershaw's last 141 regular season starts.

Quotable

"It takes practice and it takes time, but in the moment you always think you should be able to do everything you want."

That was Clayton Kershaw on Saturday, his first day facing hitters in camp. No matter the date, no matter the meaningfulness of the battle, Kershaw always wants to put up zeroes.

One number

200 Kershaw has 200 or more strikeouts in each of his last six seasons, matching Sandy Koufax (1961-66) and Don Drysdale (1959-60,1962-65) for most seasons of 200+ strikeouts in Dodgers history. No Dodger has had seven seasons, let alone seven straight.

Trivia

Kershaw has averaged 250 strikeouts over the last five years, including a whopping 301 strikeouts in 2015. Should Kershaw strikeout 254 or more batters in 2016, he'd become just the fourth pitcher in baseball history with 2,000 strikeouts through their age-28 season, along with Sam McDowell, Walter Johnson and Bert Blyleven.

Contract status

Kershaw will make $32 million in 2016, and has five years and $163 million remaining on his seven-year contract signed before the 2014 season. Kershaw has the right to opt out of his contract and become a free agent after the 2018 season.

Stats

Year Age IP QS BB% K% ERA FIP
2013 25 236 27 5.7% 25.6% 1.83 2.39
2014 26 198⅓ 24 4.1% 31.9% 1.77 1.81
2015 27 232⅔ 27 4.7% 33.8% 2.13 1.99
2016 projections: Age 28 season
Source IP QS BB% K% ERA FIP
Marcel 196 --- 5.2% 29.9% 2.34 2.34
Steamer 217 --- 5.1% 31.4% 2.08 2.27
ZiPS 215 --- 4.9% 31.5% 2.01 2.14

2016 outlook

An ERA in the low-2.00s seems like the norm here, so let's say a 2.30 ERA with 240 strikeouts in 225 innings.

What is your guess for Kershaw in 2016? Place your predictions in the comments below.