Cole Hamels, Hisashi Iwakuma, Mike Minor, Derek Holland, Kris Medlen, Patrick Corbin, A.J. Griffin, Jarrod Parker, Aroldis Chapman, Yu Darvish and now Clayton Kershaw (he has a wonky back that will cause him to miss a start but the hope is that he will be fine after that). How bad are things on the mound with only two games of major league baseball completed? As I've said, and written, for years now, I'm just not a supporter of drafting pitchers early for a variety of reasons.

(1) Starting pitchers only contribute in four categories (no saves). Wins are variable as well an often out of the control of the hurler.

(2) There are always pitchers on waivers that you can add to your team.

(3) Flunky pitchers always emerge each year.

(4) Any minor tweak can send a pitcher to the DL for two weeks. Throwing a baseball might be the most unnatural thing to do in sports. The fact is that the human body simply isn't meant to throw overhand. Sooner or later nearly every pitcher goes under the knife, and it's growing exceedingly rare for a pitcher to make it two seasons in a row without spending some time on the DL.

You can have your pitcher at the beginning of the draft. I want no part of anyone who throws the baseball at the top of a fantasy draft.

Robbie Erlin will be the Padres' fifth starter to begin the year. He will be taking over for Josh Johnson who figures to be sidelined until at least May with a strained flexor muscle in his forearm. Erlin made nine starts and 11 appearances for the Padres last season with a 4.12 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 6.59 K/9. Like most he had lots of success pitching in Petco where he had a 2.18 ERA and held batters to a .554 OPS over 33 innings. He makes for a solid NL-only option in his home starts.

Dillon Gee ended spring with a 1.08 ERA in 18.2 innings this spring. He also finished last season with a 2.74 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over his last 13 starts. He's not that good of course, but this is yet another example why diving into the pitching pool in the first few rounds of a draft is simply not a necessity if you hope to win a championship. You can find solid options later in drafts.


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I'm getting jazzed about the second Captain American movie that is coming out on April 4th (The Winter Soldier). Yes, there is truth to the rumor that I was asked to model the costume for Hollywood (that is me looking sharp). Oh, and I'm one of the few fellas out there that doesn't have the hots for Scarlett Johansson. Love her voice but she just seems a bit manly to me. Did I just lose my man card?

So much for Brad Peacock being a strong late round option in AL-only leagues. Well that's obviously not fair, there are still 162 games to be played, but Peacock wasn't able to secure a spot in the Astros' rotation (to see the five men in the rotation see the link to Evan Drellich's column). Peacock didn't help himself out at all with a 10.80 ERA in spring, but I would still expect him to get a starting shot soon. Be patient in AL-only leagues.

Anyone out there ever re-financed their house? I fell like it's more complicated to get all the paperwork turned in to complete that task than it is to crack the case of cold fusion.

Erasmo Ramirez has a 1.14 ERA in spring after allowing one run in five innings to the Rangers Wednesday. A great AL-only option, I'd be plenty content if Erasmo was my 6th or 7th starter in a mixed league.

The Rangers are really going to start Joe Saunders this season? How bad were Tommy Hanson (released) and Alexi Ogando (banished to the bullpen)? My goodness. Saunders had a 9.72 ERA this spring and was 11-16 with a 5.26 ERA and 1.60 WHIP last year for the Mariners and the Rangers are giving him a shot in the rotation. Yikes. The Rangers will close out their rotation with Nicholas Martinez, and yes you are forgiven if you have no idea who that is. Martinez has never thrown a pitch above Double-A and it was a safe bet a month ago that he wouldn't see the bigs until at least September. Now he's in the starting rotation. Martinez profiles as a 4/5 big league starter who just doesn't have overpowering stuff. He's got a repeatable delivery and could have a nice career, but he just doesn't own the stuff to dominate big leaguers, is pitching in the AL, and will call home a ballpark that favors offense.

Anyone take note that C.J. Wilson, who has a fan in The Oracle, finished spring with a 1.88 ERA and 35 Ks in 28.2 innings? As I've said over and over, give me those 170 Ks and 200 innings... in this day and age of injury a performance like that should mean a lot more to folks than it does.


Ray Flowers 

FreakyFatGuy - (1) Here is my Player Profile for Matt Cain: (2) Justin Verlander Profile: I do not change cause of what someone else says. I purposely try to insulate myself from others so I can make my own calls. I'm diff, I do hours, days, weeks, months of research so I have TONS of reasons to believe what I do. Hard to hear one person disagree for 45 seconds and then questions all my work. Asking questions though... never a bad thing.


Maybe I have become such a Ray Flowers disciple I cannot even see my nose in front of my face anymore. I was listening to the Sirius/Xm host draft yesterday and was cringing at the first few rounds. Verlander 3rd pitcher before the likes of Cliff Lee. Pujols before Freeman. Philips coming on and getting interviewed and deciding if he wanted Hosmer or Andrus then going with a hurt Anibal Sanchez. All seems like nonsense. Here are the questions I have. 1. Steve Phillips was a GM and a player. I have been listening to Jody Mac since his do me a favor days. Are they just crazy trying to sell us on Verlander and Pujols or are we the ones who are nuts. 2. Jody was on again this morning and pointed out all the things Verlander has done and compared it to Matt Cain. Saying you like Matt Cain after one bad year but not Verlander. I also like Matt Cain, but Jody sounded pretty convincing. Again are we missing something or is it them? 3. Do you ever find yourself questioning your own convictions because of these guys, how they draft and what they say? Even Kyle with his insane love affair with Yoenis Cespedes. Sometimes I hear them talk and I immediately feel the need to go out and try and grab Verlander and Pujols. Thoughts? Of course we all have to maintain some of our own ideals. I for one will not draft Castro or BJ Upton no matter how far they fall. Also, I like to have at least one elite closer as opposed to most people. As far as first round talent I will take Braun or Cano every time over Hanram, Tulo, Cargo, Ellsbury or even Harper because I haven't seen any inujry risk there. Which means more to me then the upside of others. Only thing is when you listen to experts all the time you tend to hear things that can get you thinking and questioning. How do you handle that?

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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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