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2 To Watch: First Quarter Review

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Each week during the season, I will profile two players that are interesting either because they are in the midst of a breakout, are performing way above their heads, or are widely available and useful. This week, I review my 2 to Watch players so far this year.

My favorite 2 to Watch player so far this season
My favorite 2 to Watch player so far this season
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to week 8 of 2 to Watch! To read previous editions of 2 to Watch, check out this link. I'm going to break from the usual format to review how all of the players I've featured so far this season have done before and after my profiles. I want to be transparent and show you all how good passable I am at identifying players whose stock is going up and those that are on the way down. Consider this my first quarter grade (we are a little bit past the first quarter, but close enough).

Note: all stats from Fangraphs and current up to 5/26

To review all my picks, I'm going to do a table of hitters and a table of pitchers and how they've done before and after being in 2 to Watch. Normally, I love to provide lots of supporting stats to dig deeper, but today I'm only interested in results and outcomes, not the reasons why, so I'm going to mostly stick to the traditional stats. I included whether I said to buy or sell the player and the grade I give myself for that pick.

Let's start with the hitters I've profiled so far.

Player Week on 2tW Pre/Post 2tW PA AVG OBP SLG HR R RBI SB What I Said Grade
Chris Coghlan 2 Pre 27 0.304 0.385 0.696 2 4 2 1 Buy, Deep Lg C
Post 119 0.194 0.269 0.38 5 12 9 3
Jose Iglesias 3 Pre 54 0.396 0.453 0.479 0 5 2 4 Sell A
Post 82 0.293 0.346 0.387 1 5 4 3
Adam Lind 4 Pre 88 0.333 0.398 0.577 4 8 13 0 Buy D
Post 83 0.183 0.301 0.366 3 9 6 0
Ryan Braun 5 Pre 100 0.226 0.28 0.387 5 11 13 1 Buy A
Post 77 0.339 0.434 0.774 7 16 24 4
Shin-soo Choo 6 Pre 119 0.214 0.311 0.417 4 10 14 0 Buy A
Post 66 0.268 0.339 0.482 3 13 9 0
Jimmy Paredes 7 Pre 109 0.346 0.376 0.625 6 18 22 1 Sell C
Post 30 0.357 0.367 0.393 0 2 3 1

Quick thoughts on each hitter:

Chris Coghlan: I said deep leaguers should buy in for his cheap combo of speed and power. So far, the counting stats are still there with 7 HR and 4 steals on the year, but the average, OBP, and slugging have fallen hard. He still has some usefulness because of his decent power and speed, good walk rate, and his average is hurt by his still poor BABIP, but I couldn't give myself better than a C here. It would have been a D or F but I warned in my post that he was for deep leagues only.

Jose Iglesias: I said to sell his hot start and while he is still stealing more bases than I thought he would and his OBP is still pretty high, his power has quickly returned to where it belongs. His BABIP has also fallen back to the range it belongs. His post-2tW line is what I would expect going forward, with maybe some additional average and OBP loss. I gave myself an A for predicting his power drop.

Adam Lind: I encouraged owners to pick Lind up and buy his good start. Well, he has collapsed into a slump that is worse than I would have predicted. His walk rate and isolated slugging percentage are both still very good, but he is partially hurt by a very bad BABIP. I still like him, but had to give myself a D since he is mired in an awful slump and may not become the player I thought he would be this year.

Ryan Braun: I looked at Braun right after he strung together a few good games in a row and after he had taken a couple games off to work on his swing. I tried to determine how he changed his swing to see if his improvements were real and I said you should buy in. Well, I think we can say that whatever he did, it worked. He has been on a tear this month and has been one of the best hitters in baseball in the past two weeks. His BABIP, ISO, and walk rate are all way up. He won't keep up his post-2tW pace all season, but it is safe to say he is healthy and his mechanics are sound, so he should be a top-15 outfielder the rest of the way. Yay! I get an A for this one.

Shin-soo Choo: Just like Braun, I said to buy low while you still can on Choo. I also tried to see if Choo changed his swing at all. I didn't see much of a change, but since the calendar turned to May, he has been hitting like his younger self. Everything but his OBP is back to his usual levels since I wrote about him, so I hope you bought in when you could. I see him maintaining this for the rest of the year. Another A for me, but don't worry, they won't all be As.

Jimmy Paredes: I said that I am not buying Paredes' hot start to the year. His multi-position eligibility and small post-2tW sample size make me unable to definitively say that I got this right, but his slugging has dropped sharply back to what one would expect, despite a 0.450 BABIP since last week! I think he is better than I gave him credit for in my post (shout-out to commenter Stock for his great insights about Paredes), so I will give myself a C for him. He still won't be great the rest of the year, but useful as a middle infielder.

Total Hitter GPA: 3.16

Pitcher time!

Player Week on 2tW Pre/Post 2tW IP ERA FIP xFIP WHIP K/9 What I Said Grade
Nate Karns 2 Pre 12.2 4.97 4.24 4.63 1.03 7.11 Buy, Deep Lg B
Post 38.1 3.29 4.28 4 1.25 8.45
Eddie Butler 3 Pre 16 2.25 4.95 5.26 1.63 5.63 Sell A
Post 27 6 6.69 5.72 2.04 4.33
Shawn Tolleson 4 Pre 9.1 1.93 0.67 1.56 0.86 12.54 Buy A+
Post 13 3.46 3.44 2.61 1.15 11.77
Evan Scribner 5 Pre 15.1 1.17 2.87 2.35 0.72 10.57 Buy B
Post 10.2 4.22 2.57 2.13 1.13 9.28
Colby Lewis 6 Pre 45 2.4 3.29 4.33 1.02 6.8 Sell B
Post 11.2 7.71 3.56 4.35 1.54 7.71
Hector Santiago 7 Pre 48 2.25 4.09 4.58 1.23 8.25 Buy C
Post 6.2 4.05 3.73 3.86 1.2 8.1

My thoughts:

Nate Karns: This was a deep league starter I wanted to keep my eyes on and he has met my expectations so far. He hasn't shown huge improvements, but he is definitely holding his own, so I gave myself a B on this one. I expect more of the same (his post-2tW line) from Karns for the rest of the year.

Eddie Butler: This one is pretty easy. He was clearly heading for a huge crash and it has already happened. His ERA went from 2.25 to 6 in a hurry. Stay away here. I get an A only because he has been so bad, even worse than I expected.

Shawn Tolleson: Here's one of my favorite finds of the season. I recommended buying him after he posted some very dominant numbers as a middle reliever. I only mentioned that he could end up with a bigger bullpen role and possibly become the closer because he was so good and Feliz was somewhat shaky. I did not expect him to assume the role so soon after that post. Since the post, he has regressed a little, but that was to be expected since he was putting up prime Kimbrel numbers up to that point. His post-2tW line is still very good and sustainable all year. I cannot recommend him enough to be your solid closer the rest of the year. His team is not very good, so that will limit his opportunities, but his skills make him very valuable. I gave myself an A+ because he got the closer job.

Evan Scribner: I told you to buy him as an elite middle relief option. His ERA, WHIP, and K/9 have gotten worse since my post, but his peripherals are all still the same or better, so he is still an elite reliever. I gave myself a B because his outcomes have declined some, but he continues to be a very good guy for ratios and holds (if the A's ever start winning).

Colby Lewis: I warned that Lewis' results were unlikely to continue and that you should stay away. Well, in the short two starts since my post, he has been hit very hard, but I can't ignore that his FIP and xFIP haven't really changed and his K/9 has increased. His 1.54 WHIP in those two starts is concerning, but I don't get an A for this because he may still be better than I thought.

Late edit: Lewis got absolutely crushed yesterday with 9 ER in 2 2/3 innings. His FIP is still only 3.74 though, so I'm going to leave the grade as is, but I want to see a few good starts in a row before I can trust him now.

Hector Santiago: Last week, I went back and forth on Santiago eventually recommending him as a buy. In his one start since then, he basically pitched at the level I expect going forward. His FIP, xFIP, WHIP, and K/9 in that start are really good projections for him going forward. I'm still stuck on the fence with him, so I'll just go with a C grade.

Pitcher GPA: 3.25

Overall GPA: 3.2

Well, there you have it. I've had some big hits, some clear misses, and some "meh"s. I hope this was useful to you as you follow 2 to Watch throughout the season. If people like to see me fail (or succeed sometimes), I will try this again in midseason to see how my next batch of players does. If you have any questions about these guys or want to contribute your own data like Stock did last week, post it below in the comments and I will do my best to reply. Thanks for reading and check back next week for two new profiles! Tschus!