Pitchers are so erratic that using premium picks for them at this point is dubious at best. I know I will not pick any SP top 4 rounds now save for maybe Santana. None of them can be trusted. RJ (lousy), Ol. Perez (horrible), Schilling (horrible), Schmidt (lousy), Hudson (below avg), Beckett (blister boy strikes again), Sheets (hurt), CZam (win count is down) have all dissappointed to some degree. Why draft any pitcher high in a draft at this point? It is rolling the dice with important core picks. The number of high round SPs that have not been a mess you can count on 1 hand with fingers remaining.
There's a lot of truth to what you're saying.
The starting pitchers taken in the first 4 rounds of my draft:
1st round (6th pick)--Randy Johnson Could be injury, could be age. I didn't advocate taking him in the first anyway.
1st round (10th pick)--Johan Santana
2nd round (18th pick)--Jason Schmidt There were red flags all around with this guy. He's been injury prone his career since his days in PIT/ATL and Alou puts him on insane pitch counts. He was on my "don't draft" list this year.
3rd round (27th pick)--Pedro Martinez
3rd round (28th pick)--Roy Oswalt
3rd round (29th pick)--Tim Hudson Just hasn't been himself.
4th round (33rd pick)--Ben Sheets His first injury was not of the normal type and more of a freak occurrence (the virus). The upper back thing is only going to affect one month. He'll have tremendous value next year.
4th round (34th pick)--Mark Prior Risk/reward
4th round (36th pick)--Carlos Zambrano C-Zam's been good. I'd advocate not taking him high next year due to insane PCs at this young age, but he has nearly as much reward as Prior.
4th round (37th pick)--Curt Schilling
4th round (39th pick)--Roger Clemens
Santana, Pedro, Oswalt, and Clemens have been good this year. That's 4 out of 11 guys taken in the first 4 rounds.
And there are numerous guys who were either drafted late (Dontrelle Willis--15th round) or undrafted (Jon Garland) who have done well. In my experience, there always seems to be pitchers to pick up.
That being said, I still like Prior. Not that he should be taken too high, but if he appears undervalued when I'm drafting next year, I'll take him in a heartbeat (especially if Dusty Baker is replaced as Cubs' manager).