'Chicago Cubs Wrigley Field Groom's Cake' photo (c) 2011, sweetfacecakes - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

There's an outfielder with the Red Sox who is a huge question mark heading into the 2013 major league season. A Cubs' hurler is working back toward health. An ace from 2012 is having a hard time finding a job. The funniest major league baseball player on Twitter is trying to get his career back on track. Is the real Marlins' slugger, you know that outfielder that changed his name, worth taking a shot on at the top of a draft? Finally, why can't the guy who leads baseball in saves the past three years find a job?

Jacoby Ellsbury will hit leadoff for the Red Sox this season. Duh. It's a huge season for Ellsbury personally, and for his fantasy outlook as well. I know that he had one of the greatest fantasy seasons ever in 2011 (.321-32-105-119-39) but consider these facts before going all in with Ellsbury. (1) In two of the last three years he's failed to appear in 75 games. (2) He's has one season of 10 homers. (3) He's had one 10/10 season. (4) He's hit under .275 in two of the last three years. (5) The last time he stole 40 bases was 2009. Tread carefully.

Matt Garza's lat strain sounds like it will end up being a minor issue. He'll likely start throwing in a few days to make sure that he's physically good to go as he works his way back from last years elbow issue. I believe he's currently a sold draft day bargain given his suppressed cost (the NFBC has him listed as the 42nd starting pitcher off the board). Remember, this guy is as stable an option as any in the game. He owns a 3.84 career ERA. That mark has been between 3.32 and 3.95 each of the past six years. His WHIP is 1.29 for his career. The mark has been between 1.18 and 1.26 each of the past five years. It should also be noted that that last two seasons he's produced the two best K/BB ratios of his career (3.13 and 3.00), and for the first time his K-rate has been over 8.30 in two consecutive years.

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Kyle Lohse is still looking for a home. Turns out the draft pick compensation, a team could lose a first round draft pick if they sign Lohse, is causing a bunch of teams to be very wary of signing Lohse. I'd caution any team looking to sign him that they should also read his Player Profile to learn that the guy they are looking to buy might not actually be the guy they think they are getting.

Logan Morrison has started to run on a treadmill as he works his way back from knee surgery that he had in September. Hard to think that it's been five months and he's just starting to run is a good thing, but he did have his patella tendon repaired so it wasn't a minor situation. The Marlins desperately need LoMo to help protect Giancarlo Stanton in what is shaping up to be a rather anemic lineup. Can LoMo fill that role even if he's healthy? I have doubts. In 1,002 career at-bats, Morrison has gone deep just 36 times while batting .250, and that .339 OBP is nothing to get all worked up over either. The bottom line is that he's failed to live up to expectations to this point, unless we're talking about his work on Twitter which is flipping excellent. Will 2013 be the turnaround to what ails him? Speaking of Stanton...

Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the noggin' by a pitch from phenom Jose Fernandez, but the good news is that he escaped serious injury – there is no concussion. The question that we should now all be asking is Stanton worthy of being a top-20 selection this year (he's even been going in the first round on occasion). For his career, let's give him a 550 at-bat season at his established levels, Stanton has produced a .270 average, 39 homers, 96 RBIs, 83 runs and seven steals. I know his potential is immense, but are those really first round numbers? Last season Josh Willingham hit .260 with 35 bombs, 110 RBIs, 85 runs scored and three steals. Have you heard anyone even talk about drafting Willingham in the top-100 overall this season? Just some food for thought.

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SO YOU WANT TO DRAFT A CLOSER?

Jose Valverde is still looking for a home, and it doesn't sound like the Tigers are any more inclined to bring him back into the fold now than when they let him walk after his contract expired. This story may seem like nothing, especially since Valverde is no longer the pitcher he once was (his K/9 rate has literally gone down for 6-straight years and it was just 6.3 per nine last year), but there is this angel to consider.

Last season Valverde had 35 saves, tied with John Axford for 8th in baseball.

Over the last two years Valverde has 84 saves, the second most in baseball (Craig Kimbrel has 88).

Over the last three years Valverde has 110 saves, the most in baseball.

The guy with the most saves in baseball, the most, can't find a job. Major league teams don't even value the save. You shouldn't overspend on draft day for closers... it's such a fickle position.

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-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own 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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