Reviewing The 2013 Watchlist

First off, the point of this post is not to report on the players per se but the list itself. Now, a little background. The watchlist is something I created in 2010, the first year the site was in operation. I knew I didn’t want to rank the players from 1 to 50 (or, as it turned out that first year, 89) in part because it’s specious to compare pitchers to position players but mostly because that kind of stuff leads to pointless arguments about who was ranked too high/low, or at all.

So I created something that listed the players by position and usage, ordering them from high to low (i.e. AAA to DSL). The intent was not to create a depth chart, but that’s how it turned out [insert quote about luck being the residue of design here]. I got more selective in the next iteration, cutting it down from 89 to 69 names, but kept the original categories.

For 2013, I decided to strike a balance by condensing the pitchers into dexterity (ending the carping about whether X was a starter or a reliever, natch) and creating four new categories:
     • DSL Guys
     • M*A*S*H
     • Notable Arms
     • Notable Bats

Are these guys full-fledged members of watchlist? Yes and no. Yes, in that we have an eye on them; no, in that these categories, by definition, are caveats. The first two categories are self-explanatory. The second two aren’t, but as I put it last November: they’re a means of acknowledging the ones that don’t quite merit full-fledged watchlist treatment, but are often discussed or mentioned.

I’m keeping these categories for 2014 because in a couple of months I’m gonna have some ‘splaining to do. [Here’s where we kind of get to the player performance part]. As is always the case, there are some players that hit their ceiling or underperformed in 2013. So long as they’re not old, it’s pretty easy to stash them in the notables if I decide they’re not up to snuff. When they’re not, well, then it gets difficult.

I’m leaning towards a no-repeat principle for the notables. If a player wasn’t hurt (in which case, he could be a M*A*S*H), he either played his way on or off the list. Otherwise, it feels like I’d be playing favorites. Maybe I’ll call it the Billy Rowell rule (who, if you’re not familiar with, was invariably tagged with a reference to his youth when his chances of making it out of A ball were assessed).

Graduating from the 2013 list are Anthony Rendon, Taylor Jordan, and Chris Marrero. All three have surpassed the limits for rookie status (plate appearances, innings pitched, or time spent on the 25-man roster), which is the standard that I and a lot of folks use for prospecthood because it’s objective. Who else comes off the list in 2014? Sorry, not going to single anybody out because it doesn’t serve much purpose, plus the list is something I create in the course of doing the affiliate reviews, which I still hope to start publishing in early October.

Otherwise, I feel like the 2013 Watchlist achieved its mission — to list the most prominent names primarily by virtue of their performance or progression in the year prior, not their bonus or draft status.

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.

12 thoughts on “Reviewing The 2013 Watchlist”

  1. Ty!
    The big board is like peeking in the office
    Wall of Doug Harris in a way
    Much of the talk for fans between themselves
    Or within themselves seems to be who can
    Perform up the list or whether brass will be
    Prudish in handing out advancements or not.

  2. Love the list, but is there a reason you don ‘t update it during the year?
    Still showing Giolito on the Mash Unit.

    1. The watchlist is compiled after doing the affiliate reviews in the offseason, then the player capsules are written once I receive the major scouting books. It serves as a season preview, hence this review. It is updated afterwards for status changes, such as trades, releases, graduations, etc. Making additions and changes leads us down a very slippery slope, not to mention a maintenance nightmare.

  3. When guaging players, Luke, how much emphasis can be placed on the GCL. There are obviously players there that have made an impact, but how seriously can one take this?

    1. With a more than a grain of salt, just as any short-season team/player. It’s tempting to get overheated, but we have to remind ourselves that the bulk of the wins came against the other three teams in the GCL East.

    1. Still barks at her own reflection – breeder said an outbreak of mange was the reason for her being sold as a pet. I’ve since come to suspect that’s a euphemism for too dumb to be trained.

  4. Perhaps its time to add a new category to the watch list: potential managers-to-be? Given DC baseball history the grizzled Captan is going to be extremely hard to replace and it seems like a high risk move at this point …

    1. I’m not sure why such angst. The current bench coach has won a championship in the minors (where he also managed most of the homegrown players), and was both a catcher and a backup in his playing days. To me, it makes the most amount of sense to simply promote Knorr.

      1. Also, goes to show how patience can pay dividends. Had Bo Porter given it another year, he’d have been a shoo-in for the job, instead of stuck in the clusterfudge of a team that is currently the Astros.

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