The Preliminary 2012 Watchlist, Part One

Now that the season reviews are done and the Top 10 (or 11, or 15, or 20) lists are around the corner, I’ve decided it’s time to start looking towards building the 2012 Watchlist. I’ve gone through this year’s season reviews, the Florida Instructional League invitees, and put them in a format similar to last year’s.

A few caveats…

It’s not a depth chart — I’ve arranged this by the highest level played thus far, with some exceptions (Anthony Rendon, who may not even stick at the position). Clearly you can see some gaps, but the point here is to list the players we’ve got our eye on — organizing it by position is just a logical extension.

It’s based on 2011 usage — We’ve already begun speculating about position changes, but until they actually occur, we default to how they were last used. I don’t think, for example, that Justin Bloxom will be the starting third baseman for the Senators, but I do think he’ll be on the roster.

It’s preliminary — Before John Sickels finalizes his lists, he takes feedback from his followers and I’m no different. I’ll listen to pitches for and against inclusion before I finalize it, but I also want to keep the list a manageable size (though easier than last year, I’m still going to have write reports for everybody).

It’s broken into two parts — So I can get in two posts before the Thanksgiving throngs hit the roads, the malls, and the liquor cabinet (preferably in that order). It’s infielders and catchers today, pitchers and outfielders tomorrow.

A couple final reminders: One, I tend to favor performance and a track record over reputation and youth. Two, remember that players’ families and friends are reading here and most are not like Dirk Hayhurst’s grandma*. You don’t have to be relentlessly positive, but try not to be needlessly negative (yeah, yeah: pot, kettle).
*I finished my master’s degree while renting out a room from a retired IRS agent just like her; I’m fairly certain he’s not exaggerating.

C 1B 2B SS 3B
Derek Norris Chris Marrero Steve Lombardozzi Zach Walters Justin Bloxom
Sandy Leon Tyler Moore Jeff Kobernus Jason Martinson Blake Kelso
David Freitas Steve Souza Adrian Sanchez Rick Hague Anthony Rendon
Adrian Nieto Justin Miller Hendry Jimenez Bryce Ortega Matt Skole
  Arialdi Peguero “Fred” Ortega Wilmer Difo Jean Carlos Valdez
Jose Marmolejos-Diaz Junior Geraldo Diomedes Eusebio

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of Potomac is his home base as a season-ticket holder, but he has visited every affiliate north of Florida at least once, with multiple trips to Hagerstown and Harrisburg.

27 thoughts on “The Preliminary 2012 Watchlist, Part One”

  1. Sue, if you value track record and performance over projection and ceiling, than that puts you directly at odds with Baseball America.

    1. Other than the obvious picks ie. Strasbourg , uptown,et al the folks at BA don’t have any better record than anyone else in fact sometimes not as good. Performance should always count highly if an organization is to act with integrity.

  2. Worth putting Solano in the catcher column just by virtue of the team adding him to the 40-man?

    I realize the move was probably less about Solano being an upper end prospect and more about protecting spare parts, but of all the players on that list he’s most likely to appear first in a MLB game if someone goes down with injury. Well, except for Marrero, who very well may make the bench in 2012.

  3. 100% agree with Todd on Solano.
    Isn’t Bloxom a 1st baseman basically? I mean, you can take a tomato and call it a grapefruit for a long time, but it’s still a tomato.

    1. Yes, yes he is but the way he was used in 2011 suggests that he’s not going to play 1B if he’s on the same roster as Souza, who the org seems committed into turning into a 1B. Believe me, I thought about going the fantasy route and condensing into CIs and MIs but thought that would be worse.

  4. Solano should be on there. He’s not bad behind the plate and last year he had a pretty good season of hitting. Jhonatan’s got to be there. On a side note I just saw his stats on Baseball Ref and go figure he’s played one or two game sat 2nd since be in the minors for the Nats. ha!

  5. We look great at 2B but stunningly void at SS. Although some would argue our future SS is at 2B for the Nats right now.

    The biggest thing I like about Solano is that his teams win, I’m not saying he’s the main reason or couldn’t do it without the other guys but the guys that he won with in Potomac, aren’t necessarily the same guys he won with in Harrisburg. You have to wonder if it’s his game calling, because certainly it’s not all the 1-5 rotation in A or AA that he worked with ..

    1. I appreciate what Solano brings to the table, and the role that he plays, but there’s little to suggest that his inclusion on the 40-man — which is not a factor in the equation — was anything but procedural.

  6. Is there anything there with Walters? I just don’t see it. He had 2 opportunities in 1 AFL game with bases loaded and less than 2 outs and struck out both times. while there wasn’t even a pitching change! It wasn’t like they brought in Tyler Clippard in a tough situation. The next game he had the same situation and struck out. That is either really bad luck or for lack of a better phrase, “He sucks”.

    1. Yes. You’re talking about a kid that began the year as a 21yo in Low-A and basically spent one month at High-A and then was thrown up against AA/AAA pitchers and put in the field at an unfamiliar position (21 out of 190). I liked what I saw from him in August.

      1. I hear what you are saying but 6 errors shouldn’t matter if you are High A or AAA. The hitting I can understand what you are saying.

  7. Kelso reminds me of Jamey Carroll in many ways. I see you have him under 3rd base. I really hope he gets promoted to see what he is all about.

  8. I cant argue with any of these, the only one I would consider adding is Alvarez. His true test will come this season, but I think that he is an interesting guy to watch. Others that I might include are Cuevas, and Moldenhauer, but I can understand perfectly why they where left off, and I probably agree with leaving them off.

  9. However, BinM and Sue Solano is ranked by Randy Knorr as the best defensive catcher in the system and his favorite. To show just how agile an athlete he is Knorr played him at second base in order to get all three catchers in the lineup (they were hitting and well the rest weren’t). He plays second base in winter ball.

    This is kind of like knocking Michael Morse because he was too old. Where did that get you?

  10. The experiment that placed Bloxom at third base did not fare well. Rendon has to be considered better based on his college experience (Which some mark as just short of AA and perhaps in his case a tad higher. This is not Jason Heyward; he had an OBP of around .500. He has Derrick Norris’s eye, a better bat with the same speed plus unlike Norris he can field.)

    1. Be thankful you didn’t have to see it in person. It’s a testament to Bloxom that he didn’t let it affect his hitting.

    2. College baseball regardless of the conference is not even close to minor league baseball. In fact AA is thought by many to be the hardest level! College baseball is somewhere between Rookie and A ball.

      1. If I might add a little here as well. The move to AA ball is probably the hardest Transitional level that any players pass through short of the jump to MLB. As any given player climbs the ladder toward the top rung, they face a tighter concentration of overall higher skilled, better conditioned players than they have at previous levels. The best & brightest make the jump, while the very good, but slightly flawed end up in AAA.

        I’d probably agree with you that NCAA baseball equates to low-A / Rookie league ball for most players, simply based on season length, with players from southern climes gaining a slight edge due to longer playing seasons. From there, it’s all about the individuals ability to apply their talents & learn new skills that starts the upward progression.

      2. As much as you might dislike him Boras and his staff really appear to know their stuff. He’s like Santa he knows who is good and he knows who is bad. Like Santa his business relies on it.

        He thinks Rendon is the best positional college baseball player in over a decade. He also believes he is capable of AA ball even if college ball falls somewhere under that … he may be a better hitter than Bryce Harper albeit with less power.

        Point being: if you think Harper moved through the system fast wait, and if Rendon is healthy, wait until you see this guy.

  11. A minor consideration for addition…
    At Catcher, perhaps Jeremy Mayo (2010- 31st rd; 23yo)? Decent slash line of .230BA/.346OBP/.416SLG/.260BPA with stops at GCL/POT/AUB in 2011.

    Otherwise, the names look right, but I might take Marmelejos-Diaz over Peguero at this point in time, just because he’s much younger & had a much better OBP.

  12. I read on another site the Souza is done with baseball. This is not from an actual source, just some guy saying thats what the nats said, but its supprising how often thoes people are right

          1. Souza retiring….they’ll probably send him back to Hagerstown. I’ll believe this retirement thing when I see it. 🙂

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