Root for This Man

Minor League Photo Day

This is Daniel Watts. His name will be unfamiliar to you. One reason for that is that he plays High-A ball for the Visalia Rawhide. But there is another, more sinister reason.

Odds are, you have run across someone named Watts. There were 86,000 of them in these United States, at last count. The redoubtable Anglo-Scottish surname comes in at #324 on the list of most frequent American surnames, ahead of such commonplace handles as Norris, Vaughn, Terry, and Bush. By sheer chance, at least five Wattses ought to have appeared in the major leagues by now. Yet no Watts ever has.

In fact, aside from a handful of names with better excuses like Nguyen and Patel, no surname is more poorly represented in the MLB population than Watts. And it hasn’t been from a lack of trying. lists no fewer than 76 men named Watts who have played in the minors — Antione, Dakota, and Llewellyn Watts, Burgess and Haywood Watts, Petey and Pop Watts, Doc and Dre Watts (who should be the beginning of some sort of All-Star Team). For whatever reason, not a one of them has taken the next step. I’m not calling it a curse, but, well, OK, I’m calling it a curse.

Wattses have excelled in science; they have excelled in music; they have excelled in the theater; they have excelled in military and political pursuits; they have even distinguished themselves on the track, the football pitch, and the streetball court. When a Watts decides on a career as a mass-murderer, regrettably, he excels in this as well. There is no reason why baseball should be the exception. No reason, that is, aside from a curse.

Now, Daniel Watts has the opportunity to break it. Drafted in the 32nd round by Arizona, he’s played with a chip on his shoulder ever since, becoming the undisputed ace of the Yakima staff and putting together a solid season in South Bend. But his brief tenure in High-A has been a disaster, as he’s given up 48 runs in 39 innings. The Curse of Watts is preparing to claim another. Friends, Mr. Watts needs all the good vibes we can possibly send towards Visalia. There are no other active Wattses; discouraged, persecuted, marginalized, the tribe is on the verge of collapse. This may be the last gasp of a once-proud people. Help now, before it’s too late.

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6 Responses to “Root for This Man”

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  1. Well-Beered Englishman says:

    I’m startled by how much and how deeply I now care about this.

    +23 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. ettin says:

    If this doesn’t jolt you into action nothing will! I along with the rest of the fine NotGraphs readers will take con-current action to send positive energy to Visalia! Mr. Smith your ohmage to Mr. Watts has not gone unnoticed!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. atoms says:

    We could have had a Patel in the majors if Dinesh Patel had panned out for the Pirates. Alas…

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Aaron (UK) says:

    Watts up? Let’s hope so.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. jim says:

    would rather see Reggie Watts on the mound

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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