10 Watchlist Guys: Vol. 14

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.

The Watchlist returns after a couple weeks off!

SHALLOW LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 10 or fewer teams)

LaMonte Wade Jr | OF/1B, SFG

How is he rostered in just 15% of ESPN leagues?? Since becoming a regular with the Giants (May 28th), he is 36th in wRC+ with a 134 mark with 15 HR (t-7th most), 38 RBI, 33 R, and 3 SB in 213 PA. He is consistently leading off for a strong Giants lineup, has dual-eligibility, and should be on many rosters than he is currently. The return of Brandon Belt hasn’t impacted his playing time as he has shifted back into the outfield and become the primary RF.

Tyler Wade | 2B/3B/SS/OF, NYY

The Gleyber Torres injury has earned Wade some extra playing time and he is delivering immediately with 4 SB in three starts, all of which were multi-hit games. He is the strong side of a platoon in the absence of Torres and the Yankees only face two lefties in an 8-game week (doubleheader on Tuesday) next week. This is probably more of a full on pickup recommendation because the window of potential production is based on the injury of another player.

Ranger Suárez | SP, PHI

Suarez has had an interesting fantasy season this year. He started as a nondescript middle reliever before emerging as Philly’s closer, a role he took to pretty well. He essentially spent all of July in that role and amassed 4 SVs, 2 Ws, and 16 Ks in 11.3 IP with a 1.59 ERA and 1.24 WHIP. Then Philadelphia converted him to a starter and it was somewhat puzzling. Not so much because they had to leave him closing as they had just acquired Ian Kennedy from Texas, but because he hadn’t started in the majors since 2018.

Alas, he has excelled yet again in a new role. He has just three starts totaling 10 innings as he builds up his stamina, but he has a 0.90 ERA & WHIP in that time with nine strikeouts. His pitch counts are 33, 61, and 82 in those games and he reached 4.3 IP the last time out. He is on the cusp of being at least a 5-inning guy and could get there very soon if he can cut the walks (10% BB on the year). It is hard to roster him in shallow leagues until he is reaching that 5-inning threshold, but he is definitely worth keeping a close eye on right now.

MEDIUM LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 12-14 teams)

Adam Engel | OF, CWS

On another team with an unencumbered opportunity, Engel might be having a sneaky good fantasy season with his power and speed on display. Instead, he has been limited to 121 PA with the White Sox, though he has done well in the opportunities with a 132 wRC+, 7 HR, and 7 SB. He has played in 23 of the last 31 games for the White Sox, starting 21 of them, and the consistent playing time seems to have sparked his production with 4 HR and 6 SB in that time.

He has avoided a hand-based platoon situation with Brian Goodwin despite being the right-hander, though we need to keep a close eye on the groin issue he suffered on Thursday night in the Field of Dreams game. If he plays this weekend and seems healthy, keep tabs on him for a potential pickup.

Tanner Houck | SP, BOS

Houck has been a bit maddening with the up-and-down movement between the majors and Triple-A, but that’s not his fault. That is just the Red Sox leveraging roster management in between his starts. Since returning on July 16th, he has a sparkling 2.21 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 20.3 IP, though he has made it five innings just once in the five outings (4 starts, 1 3-inn. SV). He has 32 strikeouts (40% K%) and 6 walks (7% BB%) in that time while building up his pitch count to about 80 per start over the four starts.

It hasn’t been an easy schedule, either, with the Yankees, Rays, and Jays 2x in that time. The Red Sox seem to finally be committing to Houck with Garrett Richards being moved to the bullpen and if that’s the case, Houck becomes very interesting for the remainder of the season.

DEEP LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 15+ teams)

Seth Brown | 1B/OF, OAK

The suspension of Ramon Laureano opens rightfield back up in Oakland. Brown had been sharing the role with Stephen Piscotty and frankly they were not getting it done. The A’s were 26th in RF WAR at just -0.1, but Brown’s bat has perked up of late and maybe he is ready to take control of that role the rest of the season. Since the All-Star break he is hitting .273/.324/.636 with 4 HR and 2 SB in 37 PA. At worst, he is a strong side platoon bat with some pop.

Jaime Barria | SP, LAA

I really wish there were more strikeouts here, but Barria has three straight quality starts since returning from the IL, including good work against the A’s and Dodgers. He has a 2.29 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in the 19.7 IP of work, but just 12 Ks (15% K rate). He has never been a huge bat-misser, but he has been better than this and his 9% SwStr suggests he can at least get back to his 19% career K rate.

Tejay Antone | RP, CIN

Cincinnati’s best reliever is out on a rehab and should be back relatively soon. He has 2 strikeouts in each of his three outings, giving him 6 in 2.7 IP. While the Reds have stabilized their bullpen a bit with some acquisitions and the return of Michael Lorenzen, I could definitely see Antone instantly becoming the closer upon his return. If you are desperate for saves and pinching pennies with your FAAB budget, this weekend might be the time to jump on Antone so you can save some money, but if not then monitor the rehab assignment and be ready once he returns.

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

Vidal Bruján | 2B, TBR (currently in AAA)

Brujan didn’t do anything in his MLB debut, hitting a meager .077/.077/.077 in 26 PA with 3 R, 2 RBI, and 1 SB. He was sent back down after 10 games and has been great in Triple-A once again, posting a .397/.472/.556 line with 14 R, 12 RBI, and 11 (!) SB in 72 PA. He will likely return to the Rays at some point this year and I’d be willing to dive back in for the potential speed.

NL PROSPECTS

Seth Beer | 1B/OF, ARI (AAA)

I know he is a DH stuck in the wrong league, but shouldn’t the lowly Diamondbacks give him a shot for the remainder of this year just to see what the 24-year-old can do at the dish? He has a 127 wRC+ in 341 PA at Triple-A with a .292/.402/.521 line that includes 13 HR, 47 RBI, and 59 R. His strikeout rate is just 17%, too, which is intriguing for such good power. Two 30-somethings – Christian Walker (73 wRC+) and David Peralta (89) – are blocking him at this point and it doesn’t make a ton of sense.





Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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pedeysRSox
1 year ago

Time for Walker to be considering the NPB or KBO if he gets non-tendered after this season.