As a long-time ottoneu player, I have come to realize that the traditional waiver wire columns are great for leagues with 23-27 man rosters, but don’t quite hold up when you teams all go 40-deep. So from time to time this year, I will try to offer up names of players who are free agents in more than 90% of ottoneu leagues, but are worth keeping an eye on.
To differentiate from waivers, I’ll call them Watchlist Wonders — guys who are worth adding to your ottoneu watchlist and, depending on your team needs, worth starting an auction for.
Chris Nelson, 2B/3B/SS, Colorado – Nelson was once a highly regarded prospect, but has never really gotten a clean shot to break through. But in both 2010 and 2011, he has put up good Triple-A numbers, and will have another shot to earn playing time this year, thanks to the Rockies cutting ties with Casey Blake. As a third baseman, Nelson is a tough play, even in the deepest of leagues, but he’ll fill any of your MI slots, as well. If he gets playing time, he could well be worth grabbing for a cheap source of decent MI power. He isn’t a long-term option as, best case, he is keeping 3B warm until Nolan Arenado can take over, but playing time is the only thing standing between Nelson and a spot on your ottoneu roster.
Vincent Catricala, 1B/3B/OF, Seattle – Catricala put up a .313/.361/.531 line in the Cactus League this year, which is no surprise considering his 1.000+ OPS across two levels (High-A and Double-A) last year. Marc Hulet ranked Catricala as the number 10 Mariners prospect this year, but he is number two at his natural position (3B, where he ranks behind Francisco Martinez). And that doesn’t even account for Kyle Seager and Alex Liddi who have both shown they deserve playing time and are both most likely to see that time at 3B. So Catricala is trying to transition to the OF. The guy can hit and should arrive, when he arrives, with eligibility at 3B and OF at least, probably 1B as well. He won’t provide much help this year, but if you are looking for a waiver wire prospect with a chance to have a fantasy impact next year, Catricala is worth checking out.
Phillippe Aumont, RP, Philadelphia – A few months ago, Aumont appeared destined for the closer role in Philly, if not this year, then next. Unfortunately for him (and anyone playing in a fantasy league that counts saves), the Phils went out and dropped a rather sizable pile of money on the doorstep of Jonathan Papelbon, locking up that role for the foreseeable future. Lucky for you, you play in a 4×4 or FanGraphs Points league, and are less concerned with saves than some other owners! Aumont needs to get his control in line, but in Double- and Triple-A last year, he flashed his stellar fastball and struck out a ton of hitters – 88 over 53.2 IP. Tack on a 2.05 FIP in 22.2 Triple-A innings, and you have the makings of a top-flight relief arm. Aumont will start in the minors this year, but could absolutely be up in 2012, and could be a strike-out-and-hold-earning beast by late in the season.