10 Watchlist Guys: Vol. 10 by Paul Sporer June 4, 2021 Most platforms have a feature where you can click something by the player’s name to put them on a virtual watchlist. It is smart to use this feature before the season starts because once it starts you be sorting by stats and you could miss out on someone you really want about to get a new role because you sorted by PA and he just didn’t show very high. Previous Watchlists Spencer Turnbull was sharp against the Yankees after appearing on last week’s list and will no doubt be picked up quite a bit this weekend, especially with Seattle on the docket next week. SHALLOW LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 10 or fewer teams) Willi Castro | SS/2B, DET Castro generated some sleeper buzz after a strong 2020 that saw him hit .349/.381/.550 with 6 HR in 140 PA. After hitting just .191/.232/.277 through 25 games, Castro started popping up on a lot of waiver wires and understandably so. He is starting to get picked back up, though, thanks to a .254/.342/.460 line with 3 HR and 2 SB in 74 PA. He still has a 27% K rate in that run and that level of swing-and-miss is likely to foster more of these severe ups and downs. Ride the wave when things are going well! Lucas Sims | RP, CIN It took Sims a month to really find his footing with a 7.20 ERA in 10 IP due in large part to seven walks and two homers. Since then he has 11 innings of a 3.27 ERA with 16 strikeouts and a disastrous 3 ER outing against Milwaukee is doing most of the work on that ERA. He still has the walks during this run (6), but he’s been homer-free and the Reds have been putting him in leveraged situations. Over these nine outings when he’s been good, he has three wins and three saves, the latter coming within his last four outings. He isn’t the unchallenged closer yet, but he is doing enough to at least garner consideration in all formats. MEDIUM LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 12-14 teams) Max Stassi | C, LAA Stassi has suffered through three IL stints which has limited him to just six games since April 12th. He is back now and should resume his role as the primary catcher. He smacked 7 HR with an .886 OPS last year that made him an intriguing catcher on the rise and he was off to a great start the first week of the season before the injuries struck. If you play in a 2-catcher format, consider picking Stassi up immediately. Ross Stripling | P, TOR I know, I’m weak. I’m a long-time Stripling fan and just can’t quit him. He has looked great in three of his last four appearances (3 starts and a 7-inning relief appearance) and even with the 6 ER dud v. Boston, he has a 3.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in 20.7 IP. He has 22 strikeouts and just 4 walks in that time (27% K, 5% BB), too. Shifting away from his slider and back to his fastball has helped fuel the run, but he needs to curb his home run rate to find consistent success. Even in this run, he has a 2.1 HR/9 because Boston hit 3 in that one dud outing. He gets the Red Sox again next week so I’d reserve him until after that start if you decide to pick him up this weekend. DEEP LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 15+ teams) Jake Fraley | SEA, OF Injuries to Kyle Lewis and Sam Haggerty have opened up a chance for Fraley and he has taken advantage. In just nine games, his walk total (15) is twice that of his strikeout total (7) yielding a bananas 42% BB rate in 36 PA. He isn’t just sitting there with the bat on his shoulder, either, as three of his four hits have gone for extra bases. Throw in 2 SBs and Fraley has quickly shown some desirable skills that could make him a deep league format and perhaps even more if he continues to excel and stay healthy (which has been a major issue to this point in his career). Cal Quantrill | CLE, P I was a big fan of Quantrill during draft season, thinking that he would win the 5th starter role and perhaps be the next in line of quality Cleveland starters. He lost out to Logan Allen and was placed in the bullpen instead. Now with just two locked in starters – Shane Bieber and Aaron Civale – Quantrill is being stretched out and could find himself in the rotation soon. His last outing was a 3.7-inning start during which he allowed just one run with five strikeouts. The outing before that was a 3-inning relief appearance which also saw just one run allowed, though only four strikeouts in that one. If they give him a real shot in the rotation, I’m buying back in. With the minor leagues having started up, I’m changing the AL & NL-Only watchlisters into a Prospect Watchlist as the waiver wires are usually pretty tapped out in those formats and almost anyone with a pulse is instantly bid up. Plus, I am not playing in an AL- or NL-Only league this year so figuring out who is actually on the wire in those formats is a bit tough. I think listing four prospects each week will be a lot more useful in the long run. AL PROSPECTS Chris Gittens | 1B/DH, NYY (currently in AAA) Gittens has unquestioned 80 Raw and could be an instant power source if he given an opportunity. He has more walks (29%) than strikeouts (21%) through 70 PA this year and while I doubt both of those rates hold, if the improved strikeout rate has some legitimacy to it, he could be a monster. Kevin Goldstein invoked the name of his would-be teammates Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton when discussing his exit velocity and dubbed him “good Chris Carter”, which is pretty intriguing given that Carter popped nearly 30 HR per 500 PA as a major leaguer. Joe Ryan | P, TBR (AAA) Ryan has put up brilliant skills in 181.7 minor league innings with a 37% K rate and 7% BB rate. He succeeds with his fastball, though not with overwhelming velocity. He sits 90-94 according to Eric but with a release point that keeps hitters off balance and turns the pitch into a major weapon. His role in the majors is still up in the air and knowing the Rays, it will probably be a multi-inning guy in the middle of games, but that’s not necessarily awful as that can be a role ripe for win potential as it was when Ryan Yarbrough used to get an opener in his outings. NL PROSPECTS Seth Beer | 1B/OF, ARI (AAA) Beer has some Gittens vibes to him. He doesn’t quite have as much power, but he also doesn’t whiff like Gittens, especially this year as Beer has just a 16% K rate in 104 PA. Beer is a massive defensive liability so being in a National League organization could make it tough for him to breakthrough, especially with Christian Walker and Pavin Smith occupying 1B for the Diamondbacks. That said, they are dead last with no hopes of doing anything this year so let Smith play outfield and give Beer some run at 1B so we can see him crush some dingers at the big league level! Jerad Eickhoff | NYM, SP (AAA) While I prefer to go for true prospects here, I will occasionally include former major leaguers working their way back. Eickhoff was a legitimate all formats play back in 2016 when he had 197 innings of a 3.65 ERA and 1.14 WHIP. He struggled a bit in 2017 (4.71/1.52) and injuries have derailed him since. The 30-year-old righty has posted a solid 18% K-BB rate, 3.82 ERA, and 1.18 WHIP in 33 innings. His 1.9 HR/9 needs to improve before he returns to the majors, but if he stays healthy, he will no doubt get a look at some point this year.