'Roy Oswalt headed out to the mound' photo (c) 2011, Matthew Straubmuller - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I love the Player Profiles, digging deep into a player and trying to ferret out whether or not expectations are too high or too low for the guy. Alas, I don't want to become monotonous in the way that I cover the world of baseball, so I'm throwing a change up. Today I'm gonna touch on a handful of stories that have cropped up over the last 24-48 hours and give my take on players as diverse as Oswalt, Pujols, Trout, Marcum and Webb.

Shaun Marcum is still without a team, though Jon Paul Morosi is reporting that the Padres, Pirates and Rangers are all showing interest in the righty hurler of late (the Indians, Royals and Twins have also been mentioned as possible landing spots). There are issues concerning his health, he was limited to just 124 innings last season and has a history of issues with the wing, but whenever he is on the hill he's been a damn fine big league hurler (last year's 3.70 ERA and 1.27 WHIP were both four year highs). If Marcum's healthy he's an ideal #4 starter with SP3 upside.

Roy Oswalt hasn't decided if he wants to pitch this season, but it sounds like even if he does return he may pull a Roger Clemens and only pitch for half the year. Oswalt was a huge letdown last season in his 59 innings with the Rangers posting a 5.80 ERA and 1.53 WHIP. Given that his career numbers are 3.28 and 1.20 you can see just how off the rails things were last year. It may be hard to tell given how bad he was onteh surface, but Oswalt still did some awfully nice things last year. He struck out a better per inning. He posted a 1.68 BB/9 mark which was a six year low. The result was a 5.36 K/BB ratio which was his best mark since his rookie season of 2001. He had a GB/FB ratio of 1.42, only four hundredths below his career mark an actually a four year best. He was done in by a career worst .378 BABIP (just .079 points above his career mark) and by a HR/F ratio of 18.6 percent (in his previous 10 seasons only twice did that ratio even reach double-digits). If he wants to, if he's motivated and healthy (his back is an issue), he can still help out plenty of teams on the hill.

Have you ever had a Mexican torta? I'm getting me one for lunch today from the local taqueria.

Justin Smoak hasn't lived up to expectations – about as obvious a statement as saying that Mike Trout is a really good baseball player (more on Trout below). The Mariners have brought in vets this offseason, and if guys like Jason Bay, Raul Ibanez and Kendrys Morales are up to speed, it's possible that Smoak would be without a spot in the daily lineup (what do you expect when you've hit .223 with a .683 OPS over 355 career games). The Red Sox, still uncertain about how the Mike Napoli situation is going to play out, have apparently reached out to the Mariners to gauge whether or not the club might be willing to deal the first baseman. Smoak still could end up being a productive run producer, think Carlos Pena at the dish without the walks, though that would obviously be a significant issue for Smoak since he's shown an inability to get on base (career .306 OBP).

For the hell of it – puppies.

Mike Trout continues to be the early leader for the #1 selection in fantasy leagues according to ADP. I knew it would happen, didn't we all, but I'm still a bit surprised by it. How anyone could take him over Ryan Braun and Miguel Cabrera is beyond me.

The D'backs still sound like they want to deal Justin Upton. I just don't get it. For more on this situation check out my piece entitled Pujols at End of Road? That article also gives a rundown of what you should be thinking about Mr. Pujols heading into 2013.

Brandon Webb is drawing a bit of interest on the market with the latest team reportedly kicking the tires being the Rockies. Webb is just the type of arm that the Rockies covet as he's a guy who disdains the fly ball. For his career Webb owns a 64.2 percent ground ball rate, and each of the six seasons he threw at least 180 innings that mark was at least 61.8 percent. Unfortunately he last threw a big league pitch in 2009, and even then it was just four innings worth of throws. Webb has had surgery and been doing his best to get his arm back in shape – his shoulder is the issue – so I wish him luck. The odds are about as strongly against him as possible in his bid to return to big league baseball though.

By Ray Flowers


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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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