The 2018 Watchlist

Thanks to a lot of thoughtful comments last month—and more time spent following the GCL last summer—this was easier to put together than last year.

One thing I did do this time around vs. pervious years is let the “Notables” be a larger contingent than usual instead of agonizing over whether to put a guy into a positional column (sounds dirtier than what it really means).

I also broke form a little bit and did put one guy with zero AB’s as a professional (Freeman) and moved a guy that I knew in my heart was only there in the first place because the position is so thin (Davidson). And I’m already bracing myself for soap-opera name Chance Shepard to be the 2018 version of Connor Simonetti (a 1B that made the list because the Nats have so few and flamed out in Auburn).

Away we go with the eighth annual watchlist – the five dozen or so players that are worth watching a bit more than the rest.

Reminder: very few of these guys will actually make it to the majors for any organization. In fact, the majority won’t even make it past Potomac, which is roughly in the middle of the organizational ladder (three steps down from MLB, three steps up from the GCL).

Now for the obligatory caveats…

It’s not a depth chart – Players are listed primarily by the highest level they’ve played in the minors. Do not assume that the guy at the top of the column is better than the one at the bottom.

It’s not a prediction of usage – At times, I’ve broken apart the pitchers by starter or reliever, but it’s easier to go by dexterity. Many of the infielders have played three or more positions, especially at the GCL and the NYPL.

It’s not fair – A couple of names have been dropped, a few have been moved around since the preliminary list was released. Being lefthanded reduces your life expectancy in the real world, but on the diamond, it extends it. As I’ve already mentioned, some positions are very shallow, and power is in short supply almost everywhere.

I will soon add this to the sidebar on the right. I’m hoping that our expanded editorial department will be better than in years past.

The next few weeks will be spent writing the player capsules while I wait for the handbook(s) to arrive. I’ll hyperlink the category pages when I’m done and will keep you updated as usual.

In the meantime, feel free to discuss in the comments…

C 1B 2B SS 3B OF
Severino Marmolejos Freeman C.Kieboom Ward Stevenson
Read Corredor Noll Antuna Gutierrez Robles
Gushue Shepard L. Garcia Jo. Sanchez Franco Johnson
Reetz       Meregildo Soto
          Ri. Mendez
RHPs LHPs DSL Bats DSL Arms Notable Bats Notable Arms
Fedde Borne Perez A. Hernandez Bautista Adams
Suero Howard Liriano R. Gomez Abreu Valdez
J. Rodriguez Braymer L. Pena Adon Davidson W. Davis
Baez Troop Aquino N. Gomez Lora Y. Ramirez
Sharp Chu Sanfler P. Gonzalez Agustin B. Hill
Bogucki Romero     O. Ortiz Infante
Crowe Raquet     Barrera Jimenez
Klobosits Galindez     Pineda Stoeckinger

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.

7 thoughts on “The 2018 Watchlist”

  1. I see very few quibbles. I would suggest that Noll be listed ahead of Freeman since that’s the way he figures to fall within the organization. Perhaps Kyle Johnston might be considered for the Notable Arms, as it’s hard to know which of the 2017 draftees will break out.

    I’m a fan of Eric Senior’s breakout potential, but I also understand that Connell and Mendez played the full half-season while Senior barely got on the field at all. The other hitter I think could make a leap (and stomp on Shepard’s small Chance) would be Jamori Blash.

    Also, if there was ever a year to consider resurrecting the MASH category, this might be it. It’s hard to ignore Mapes, both Lees, Harper the Elder, and Ryan Williamson.

    My totally irrational pick to put things together in 2018 is Nick Banks. Of course I said the same about Rhett Wiseman last year. Still waiting . . .

    Last but not least, it seems weird for Kieboom the Elder to be left off as a catcher who hit .275 at AAA. I understand the logic since he’ll turn 27 before the season starts and is no longer on the 40-man. But he’s also much more likely to get MLB time at some point in his career than 80% of the guys who are on the list, including Gushue and Reetz.

    1. quiet question KW: does Wiseman earn the bump to get his bat in small City Isle confines since
      POTNATS filled with Augustin, Perkins, Banks, Soto (?). Is DK Carey even in org. come April?

      1. Quick note on Carey: during the games I’ve seen at Potomac, he looked like a real leader type — leading pregame drills, taking several turns as 1B coach, etc. Those things will A) keep you around an organization longer, and B) have the organization looking to keep you around in some way after your playing days. My understanding was that Jake Johanssen was a similar type of “good makeup” guy, which explained the 5th, 6th, and 7th chances he got, long after performance seemed to dictate. Luke has seen a lot more Potomac games than I have and may have more insight on Carey.

      2. When you start to think about it, it’s really hard to project where the OFs will fall in the organization, even Robles. He would seem to be ticketed for Syracuse, but the Chiefs already have two CF types in Stevenson and Bautista, in addition to Raburn and maybe Hernandez, perhaps with Marmolejos getting some time in LF as well. There’s still more teaching that goes on at Harrisburg than at Syracuse, and Robles is still learning, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s back in Central PA.

        Johnson didn’t get a lot of time at Potomac, but age may dictate moving him on up . . . unless they still want him in CF and Robles is at Harrisburg. Does Soto move up, or does he go back to Hags since he didn’t get much time there? Perkins is ready to move up, but what if Johnson is still in CF at Potomac?

        The bottom line would seem to be that the placement of Robles and Soto, and Johnson to a lesser extinct, will sort of dictate where everyone else is filled in around them.

        And yes, I do think Wiseman gets more or less a social promotion to Harrisburg. He’s got good pop. It’s contact that has always been holding him back.

    2. KW you like midevil stories since you coin the phrase Kieboom or Harper the Elder. Game of Thrones. Yes game of 2018 WS
      Very interesting to see how the left handlers piled up in GCL/ DSL fare in 18. Jose Jimenez comes to mind .
      Hello from ABQ, NM

    3. Banks breaking out of his two year
      Adjustments to injury @ College Station then pro ball is not irrational.
      Einstein would agree .

      1. Banks had been an OF starter for Team USA the summer before his junior year and was projected as a mid-first-round pick. I was thrilled when the Nats got him in the fourth round; thought it was a steal. Was it? Time for the talent to start showing.

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