I just went through my many baseball drafts, and what I noticed was the dearth of proven pitching (both American and National league.) There are many, many exciting new pitchers ascending into MLB, but not much that can be counted on.
So I took a blow by blow look at the National League and as much as we lament our starting pitching (as well as our relievers, although I disagree with most Redzoners about the state of our relief corps), there are only four National league teams whose situation could be gleaned better than ours at the top four. So be nice to me, but here is my analysis:
Only four teams have a legitimate case for 3 strong starters:
Atlanta: Smoltz, Hudson and James (although Smoltz is older, Hudson looks to rebound and Chris James is anything but proven)
Philadelphia: Garcia, Myers and Hamels (although Garcia is hurt and erratic at times and Hamels is still relatively unproven)
L.A. Dodgers: Lowe, Schmidt, Penny and Wolf (Although each one of these would have a question mark next to them for one reason or another. Billingsley makes them a bit formidable as he waits in the background).
San Diego: Peavy, Young, Hensley and Maddux (Best rotation in the N.L. if you ask me.)
Everyone else is running short or unsure after # 1 or #2.
Colorado: (No automatics, although they have a lot of potential for the future.)
San Francisco: Zito and Cain (with Lowry and Lincecum having some potential this year)
Arizona: Webb and then Johnson (maybe, depending on which Johnson shows up)
Pittsburgh: Nothing proven although a lot of young exciting talent.
Cubs: Zambrano and then I am not a fan at all after that.
St. Louis: Possible the top three in the National League (Carpenter, Reyes and Wainwright, but only Carpenter is proven.)
Milwaukee: Sheets and Capuano (Injury and uncertainty)
Houston: Oswalt and then Jennings (whom I am not sold on),
Washinton: Patterson and then.... (with Patterson being an injury risk).
N.Y. Mets: No true #1 or # 2 (Glavine maybe)
Florida: Dontelle Willis and then a host of fantastic young talent. (I pick the rotation for tops in 2009)
Cincinnati: Harang, Arroyo (really only one year proven) and then some sleepers in Belisle and Livingston (and maybe even Saarloos-outside chance Lohse) and there is Homer (but many teams have sone kind of potential like that in the minors.)
I guess my ultimate point is that as far as pitching, we have a chance, but we need to have the offense step up and play injury-free, which the last week has proven might be a problem.
Seemingly marginal people like Conine and Ross are really important to the success of this team, more so than the emergence of Josh Hamilton.