10 Watchlist Guys: Vol. 8

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.

Jesús Sánchez smacked another 4 HR in Triple-A (7 on the season) and is now hitting .509 in 56 PA.

SHALLOW LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 10 or fewer teams)

Austin Nola | C, SDP

He’s only on 32% of the ESPN rosters which makes him pretty available in shallow 1-catcher leagues. He was a top 10 catcher last year, but he essentially missed April so he has sat on a lot of wires despite being back and playing regularly. He is a solid replacement for the recently injured Carson Kelly, too.

Garrett Richards | SP, BOS

This one might actually be more pickup than watchlist as Richards is rolling lately with a 2.27 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 31.7 innings with 31 strikeouts. He has also won four of the five starts. Richards didn’t reach 94 mph in any of his first four starts and posted a 6.48 ERA. He has been at 94 or better in all five of his good starts. He draws the Braves in his next start.

MEDIUM LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 12-14 teams)

Gregory Polanco | OF, PIT

I want to believe, but I keep my expectations tempered with Polanco. He is hitting .294/.339/.490 with 2 HR/2 SB in his last 56 PA. He is still striking out a ton (27% during the run; 28% for the year), but he is smacking the ball around and finally generating some results with it. I am particularly intrigued by the 4 SBs on the year, more than he tallied in 2019 or 2020 (3 in both years). The playing time is locked in, too.

Alex Cobb | P, LAA

Cobb returned from the IL on Thursday afternoon with a solid 5 IP/1 ER effort that included four strikeout and zero walks. The outing moved his ERA below 5.00 for the first time since early in the season, but his skills have been much better than the ugly ERA. He has a 29% K rate and 8% BB rate in 26.3 innings of work, giving him a 2.34 FIP. He gets Texas his next time out.

DEEP LEAGUES (mixed leagues – 15+ teams)

Danny Santana | BOS, 1B

Santana is still in Triple-A but he’s dominating early on (1.372 OPS in 23 PA) and can play virtually anywhere so he will likely be up soon. It was just 2019 when he went 28 HR/21 SB with Texas. Nobody believed it was 100% legitimate, but there is a lot of wiggle room between that peak and remaining fantasy viable. He didn’t do anything for 15 games last year and then only found a minor league deal so he is kind of an afterthought on the fantasy landscape right now. Be ready when he is called up.

Kris Bubic | KCR, SP

Bubic has quietly delivered three straight scoreless outings (1 start and 2 extended relief appearances) during which he has allowed just five hits in 16.7 IP. He has 12 strikeouts and 9 walks in that time so limiting hits is driving the success. He has a 60% groundball rate, up from last year’s 47% mark. He is slated to started again this weekend, this time facing the Tigers and Danny Duffy’s injury might give him some runway to prove himself as a starter and stay in the rotation, especially if Brad Keller holds a 6.52 ERA.

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

Gabriel Arias | SS, CLE (currently in AAA)

Arias is Cleveland’s 9th ranked prospect and off to a great start in Triple-A with a 130 wRC+ in 52 PA. Owen Miller is also raking (200 wRC+ in 56 PA), but as Eric Longenhagen points out Arias is on the 40-man while Miller isn’t and a team like Cleveland is going to be very focused on such things. Arias has the power and speed to shine brightly upon arrival. If the newfound walk rate (17% BB) is at all real, he will have some margin for error if and when he gets the call.

Jackson Kowar | SP, KCR (AAA)

The Royals haven’t been afraid with their young arms as they have shown with the call-ups of Bubic and Brady Singer last year and then Daniel Lynch earlier this year. Kowar is a 24-year-old righty who has been excellent three starts in with a 1.15 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 22 strikeouts in 15.7 innings. He may not get a shot for a little while, but whenever it looks like there is no room at the inn for someone in a rotation, something almost immediately happens to create a slot.

NL PROSPECTS

Drew Waters | OF, ATL (AAA)

The Braves CF situation has been a disaster with the 3rd lowest WAR in the league (ahead of NYY and DET). Cristian Pache couldn’t seize his first opportunity and then got hurt so it has been a mish-mash of replacements seemingly holding the line until they are ready to give Pache another shot once healthy or see what Waters can do. He has been incredible at Triple-A thus far with 7 XBH out of his 9 total hits. He has a .326 AVG, 3 HR, and 5 SB in 52 PA.

Tony Santillan | CIN, SP (AAA)

Santillan is missing bats like crazy through three starts in the Triple-A season, logging at least 6 in each outing, totaling 20 in 14 innings. The 24-year-old righty has a strong fastball/slider combo that could play out of the bullpen right now, but the Reds are hoping he can develop his changeup and find some health en route to becoming a mid-rotation arm. Luis Castillo isn’t going anywhere despite the 7.44 ERA and Jeff Hoffman’s 4.67 is good enough to fulfill a 5th starter’s role so they can afford to give Santillan some more time to work on his changeup. He will almost certainly get a shot at some point this summer.





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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jonvanderlugtmember
1 year ago

Wow big thanks on the Santana heads-up. My league can roster MiLB players and leave them stashed if they’re called up – Santana was an early-season watch list guy I totally forgot about. 100% worth a MiLB slot stash on Fantrax