I took part in two fantasy drafts on Sunday (not at the same time), and despite targeting Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw as one of the pitchers I wanted, I was not able to draft him. I underestimated the owners in both leagues thinking he would fall another round because Kershaw sits on the level between elite starters and the next level of pitchers.

In the first draft of the afternoon, Kershaw went three picks before me to a known Braves fan in my home league. I followed by taking Braves soon-to-be-stud Tommy Hanson with the mindset that I can trade Hanson to the Braves fan for Kershaw and if all else fails, I still have a great pitcher on my hands. Well I quickly proposed the trade during the draft (maybe too quickly), but the Braves fan turned it down, which got me thinking “who’s going to have the better year?”

While Hanson just made his Major League debut last summer, Kershaw is entering his third season in the bigs. He’s also coming off a great year that saw his ERA drop to a sterling 2.79 with an 8.4 K/9. His 8-8 record is definitely deceiving and those numbers should improve without question in 2010. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he pitches in a pitcher’s haven at Dodger Stadium. He was one of the top prospects in all of baseball and even started drawing comparisons to a former Dodgers lefty in Sandy Koufax. That means you’re doing something right. Kershaw’s potential is up in the sky, and he is set to possibly put himself on the map this year.

Though Hanson made his debut last June, he dominated with an 11-4 record, 2.89 ERA and 8.2 K/9 in 127.2 innings. Not too shabby for a rookie. There’s some concern about a sophomore slump, but Hanson is one of those talents that doesn’t come along too often so I don’t anticipate a decline in his overall stats in 2010. He has the entire state of Georgia excited for the near future because of his ceiling and the things he could do for the Braves organization.

It’s obviously still extremely early in their careers, but both pitchers are on a path to stardom. But if you had to pick one to have on your team just this season, who would you take? It’s really a win-win situation because both young guns should have stellar seasons. The two fantasy magazines I currently have are split on the ranking too…one having Hanson higher and the other having Kershaw ahead though both are ranked on the same tier.

It comes down to who you want more between the two. In my opinion, since Kershaw has the two years under his belt plus with the ballpark factor added in, I like CK as the choice to have a slightly better season. I think this is a very intriguing ranking that I will look forward to tracking this season. With that said, I missed out on Kershaw in my fantasy leagues, but will gladly take Hanson for now and ride the wave of his power arm. And who knows, maybe a good April or couple starts by Hanson will give me enough ammunition to get the Hanson-Kershaw deal done.

Who would you rather have in 2010?

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