When they were prospects: Kershaw

No. 4 ranking in 2008 hinted at reigning NL MVP's greatness to come in LA

When they were prospects: Kershaw

While no one could have predicated that Clayton Kershaw would become the first NL pitcher in almost 40 years to win the MVP Award, there was every reason to believe he was destined for stardom when MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo ranked him as the No. 4 prospect in baseball heading into the 2008 season.

As we gear up for the unveiling of MLB.com's Top 100 Prospects for 2015 -- which will be revealed on MLB Network and MLB.com at 9 p.m. ET on Friday -- we're looking back at what was written about some of today's superstars back when they were still on prospect lists.

Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers
No. 4 on 2008 Top 50

Kershaw is so good that he'd likely still be the highest-ranked pitcher on this list even if he were right-handed. His combination of size, mound presence and stuff was the best the Minors had to offer. The fact that he does it all from the left side is icing on a pretty good cake.

Kershaw, at age 19, was the best pitcher in the Midwest League and then seamlessly handled the jump to Double-A. His fastball-curve combination completely befuddled hitters in the lower levels of the Minors. Upon reaching the Southern league, he started to mix in a changeup, allowing him to finish second in the Minor Leagues in strikeouts per nine innings.

He can throw his pitches for strikes at any point in the count and aggressively goes after hitters. The jump to Jacksonville officially put Kershaw on the fast track in the Dodgers system and while they've had some cautionary tales with young arms getting hurt, it's not hard to envision Kershaw reaching Los Angeles before his listed ETA.