This is the second year I’ve used this category to list guys that are often discussed, but for myriad reasons, they don’t quite merit inclusion elsewhere on the watchlist. It does tilt towards older guys, which I think is a natural prejudice, especially for guys that have underperformed or have been hurt (which was a category unto itself last year).
Bloxom was “stuck” behind Chris Marrero and Tyler Moore on the inaugural watchlist and remains on the radar in large part because the position of first base is so thin. He finished 2013 strong (.324/.417/.392) but whether that’s enough for him to make it to Syracuse remains to be seen, especially with the signing of AAA veteran Brock Peterson.
After a breakout season in 2011 at High-A Potomac, Hood suffered an injury-plagued 2012 and did not improve in 2013. He turns 24 in April and will benefit from the departure of Billy Burns as only Michael Taylor is a lock to move up from the Woodbridge outfield.
Martinson tore though High-A in his second turn through the level (he split 2012 between Potomac and Hagerstown) but struggled at Double-A with an abysmal finish of .141/.225/.282 in August. One encouraging sign: his K rate actually went down slightly after the promotion, which is unusual for a player that racked up 400 strikeouts in 337 games between Low- and High-A.
The “Groovin’ Aruban” played a career-high 108 games in 2013, but one has to wonder if the time lost to injuries in 2011 and 2012 will be too much development time lost to overcome. He’ll be 25 on Opening Day, but it’s far from a given he won’t spend at least part of a third season in Potomac.
Let’s get this straight: Keyes will never be confused with Don Mattingly with the mitt, but he’s far from the worst 1B to play full-time for P-Nats. Still, he repeated the level in 2013 without improvement and wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the aforementioned lack of depth at 1B as well as his raw power potential.
Ramsey has been a name frequently bandied about in the Natmosphere for the past three seasons, often enough that he’s repeating in this category. He’s also performed solidly for three years, though he’s been old for the level every season. The suspicion here is that he’ll stick around for at least one more year and contribute no matter how he’s used.
After splitting time with Spencer Kieboom in Auburn in 2012, Manuel was shifted to a backup role in 2013 behind 20-y.o. Pedro Severino. However, with Kieboom coming off TJ surgery and no clear-cut successor from Auburn (Auburn’s Matt Reistetter was chosen in part because he’s only 21), Manuel could theoretically be “held back” at Hagerstown but become the everyday catcher.
Kieboom missed most of 2013 with the aforementioned elbow injury but is a year younger than Manuel. Thus, the possibilities could include backup/DH duty in full-season ball to start the season or a stint in XST before getting a short-season assignment. With the catcher ranks thinned considerably, Kieboom remains a name to remember.
Yezzo is a project: A 1B-only player for an N.L. team who can’t run well, fields what he gets to, but can hit. He posted a Nintendo-esque .410/.453/.714 line last year for the Univ. of Delaware, which earned him POTY honors for the Colonial Athletic Association and got him drafted as a junior in the 7th round in 2013.
Ranked the #29 IFA by BA, Franco signed for $900K the day he turned 16 (August 15) and will most likely play 2014 in the DSL. He’s considered well on his way with the glove and the arm, and scouts like his potential to fill out (listed at 6’1″, 186) and develop his power, which right now is of the five-o’clock variety (only seen in BP).