Plugging Away at the Watchlist

Plugging AwayOne of the saddest things in the offseason is doing a search for when you last did a post and finding it was roughly this time a year ago. Sadder: About 80% of it I could reuse word for word.

As the headline says, I’ve begun writing the player reports for the 2018 Watchlist and have finished a couple of pages. It’s been a tough go because I can already feel the fan half of my brain fighting the analyst half and have keep reminding myself that the system is top-heavy (and has been for quite some time).

It’s also harder than in years past because I’m down a valuable resource. I used to be able to punt on a dozen or so guys in the hopes that John Sickels would write about them in his annual prospect book.

Now, I can look at the MLB Pipeline page and know that it’ll have about 25 of the 31 guys who will written up in the BA handbook. It also doesn’t help that the Pipeline page often has outdated scouting reports (pro tip to MLB: if you’re going to compete against BA, you need to do more than just poach a couple of its longtime writers).

Following up on a story from this post from last year, Seth Maness, who underwent an alternative to Tommy John surgery in August 2016, was able to pitch all of 2017, albeit for a new club (Kansas City), mostly at AAA, and not at his pre-surgery level of performance.

If he’s able to avoid a second surgery may be the true bellwether—and still pitch this season, natch—but I fear his inability to return to form quickly (or at all) will be how this procedure is judged, which would be a tragedy because it seems that this could be used instead of TJ for minor-leaguers (or, *ack* HS and collegiate pitchers) and have them miss less developmental time.

Until next time…

Author: Luke Erickson

Since 2009, Luke Erickson has been chief writer, editor, and bottle-washer of NationalsProspects.com. 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.

13 thoughts on “Plugging Away at the Watchlist”

  1. The Nats are loaded this year. 2019 will see he departures of Kelley and Wieters. Murphy and Harper also could leave, and Rendon possibly in 2020. I believe the Nats could spend enough to retain 1 or 2 of these guys, but the team will start looking different in 2021. That’s when some of the current prospects might have made the climb to the top. Robles, Soto, Kieboom, Antuna, and Romero might be on the roster. But, they might falter and so we should be looking at the other prospects in the hope that 1 or more will develop. That’s where you come in, Luke.

    1. Very good but far from loaded. They are missing a catcher, second base might become a problem (depending on Murphy’s recovery), and after Scherzer and Strasburg a lot of prayers for rain.

  2. Luke. Is the big board a work in progress ??
    Jason Martinson , Goforth, Smith, JEFF Ames, The former Ranger reliever ..
    Interesting winter signings to join Barrett, Harper the Elder( KW!), Collins , ….Long, Simms, Darnell, Milone , VOTH, Valdez, Fedde…starters depth.
    Lynn and Garcia ??

    1. In the offseason, it’s a guessing game. SpringfieldFan does us all a great service in maintaining it.

      I’ve long held that MLFAs appear to be signed with the intent of plugging them in wherever they’re needed from High-A to AAA.

      As for current players, I can almost guarantee that there will be someone, somewhere who will repeat a level that someone here will disagree with. As a fan, I’d like to see Carter Kieboom and Juan Soto in Potomac on Opening Day, but as a prospect follower I think they could both use some more time at Low-A — especially Soto, who played just 23 games for Hagerstown and 32 total.

    2. Thanks Springfield fan.
      Nats usually post that spring training invitee section in February anyway .
      Luke -state secrets held close to vest .

    3. Another former Royal farmhand for Knorr @ Cuse. Don’t ask me to pronounce his name
      Justin Miller nice stats but better beard!!

      1. Ex- po fans notice three hirings ?
        Casey Candaele. Skipper @ Jays Dunedin affiliate. Rock Raines special asst
        Tigers welcome home boy John VanderWal to Western Michigan on a nice staff. Mariano Duncan hitting coach and Lance Parrish as skipper

    4. I could see the Nats pickup Engelb Vielma from Pirates to help out @ Harrisburg . Challenge Stephen Perez for the Mendoza line

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