Saunders has some people scratching their heads, as he hasn't exactly been brilliant this spring. But he has attributed much of his struggles to some dead arm from working himself so hard, so quickly, and if Washington and Maddux buy it, so do I.
Still, don't expect Saunders to be a world-beater while he's on the mound. His primary purpose should be to eat innings, something he's more than capable of doing, to give the shallow bullpen a bit of a breather.
As for Martinez, I believe this kid could surprise some people. He posted a 1.12 ERA in 32 innings at Double-A Frisco last year after registering a 2.87 ERA the previous year at Class A Myrtle Beach.
Young pitchers that are worth half their salt usually tend to perform well in their first couple of starts because hitters simply aren't used to seeing them (see Justin Grimm and Nick Tepesch). Hopefully for Martinez, he will only have to pitch two or three times and have the opportunity to build a nice stat line before all is said and done.
The early schedule bodes well for this duct-taped rotation, because although they face talented teams in the Phillies, Tamp Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox, they will have plenty of rest with two off-days sprinkled in amongst the first 10 games.
If Darvish, Harrison and Lewis continue to progress as they are expected to, the Rangers' pitching staff could be close to full strength sooner rather than later. One thing is for sure, the Rangers will need all of their bullets if they want to make a push for the playoffs in an AL West that promises to be significantly more competitive than it has been in recent memory.