Draft Chat With Jim Callis: May 9

Moderator: Jim Callis will take your draft questions starting at 4:30 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: My top-two-round reports have been submitted to Baseball America, my initial first-round projection is up on the site here and I definitely have draft fever! Only 28 days until the Astros make the No. 1 overall selection. Fire away!

Mike (FL): Heard a lot of conflicting reports on Brian Navarreto, C from FL. What do you think? Thanks, jim!
Jim Callis: We’ve got him as a fifth/sixth-round type. Big arm and power potential but it’s also a long swing that leads to some questions about hittability.

Jake (Chicago): Do you think the Cubs will be able to go below slot for Appel or Gray?
Jim Callis: Not too much. The Rockies at No. 3 likely would jump on one of those guys, so they aren’t going to have to take less than Colorado would offer. The Cubs really need pitching, so I don’t anticipate them trying to get cute.

Nick (NJ): Why would the Mets take DJ Peterson with #11 pick when a power hitting OF like Stanford Austin Wilson is still available and they need?
Jim Callis: Because Peterson is a better hitter and might wind up with more usable power in the long run. Wilson fills out a uniform better, but give me Peterson.

Eric S. (Orlando, FL): Can you talk about what scouts are saying about Jonathan Crawford? I'm surprised to see him still in the first round considering the year he's had. I was secretly hoping he'd fall far enough that a return to school was possible.
Jim Callis: With the college arms, Appel (Stanford) and Gray (Oklahoma) are on a tier to themselves. Next group is Shipley (Nevada), Stanek (Arkansas) and Manaea (Indiana State) in some order. After that, Crawford (Florida) is in a bigger group that includes Anderson (Jacksonville), Wahl (Mississippi), Eades (LSU), Blair (Marshall), Balog (San Francisco) and Alex Gonzalez (Oral Roberts). That third group is still sorting itself out. Crawford could go in the first round, just as easily could last into the second.

Josh (St. Louis): I know you have him going before the Cards pick at 19 in your mock, but are you hearing any interest from the Cards in JP Crawford? If he gets there, do you think the Cards would pop him with their perennial black hole at SS and no solid SS prospects in the system?
Jim Callis: When putting together a first-round projection this early, there’s some solid information (but little concrete) floating around about the top 10 picks, a little info about the next 10 and then not much at all, just murkiness. I can’t say I have any confidence that I have great insight about what will happen at 19, but Crawford would fit nicely for the Cardinals. I think there are enough teams interested in the mid-teens that the best shortstop in the draft won’t get to St. Louis.

Ryan (Sioux Falls): Who is likely to be there at 4 for the Twins and who do they take?
Jim Callis: Appel and Gray are almost certainly gone and San Diego 3B Kris Bryant probably won’t be there. I think the Twins take whoever they believe is the best pitcher left. In my mind, that would be Kohl Stewart.

Bill (Boston): Thanks for doing this chat Jim. I see you have Frazier going to the Red Sox at 7, while there have been of reports that both he and Meadows are slipping down in draft projects. Do you think that Frazier will hit for enough power to play a corner outfield position?
Jim Callis: Definitely. Frazier has the best bat speed in the draft and incredible raw power.

Fitzy (Toronto): Do the Jays have Ball pitch or play outfield?
Jim Callis: I think almost every team would put Ball on the mound. Plus fastball, plus curveball, plus athlete, promising changeup. If he got to No. 13, the Padres might pop him as an outfielder, but they’re the exception. I’m not even sure he gets to Toronto at No. 10, to be honest. He’s rising.

Casey (Oakland): Could you rank by highest upside: Matt Krook, Phil Bickford, Jake Brentz and Hunter Harvey
Jim Callis: Interesting. I’ll put Krook first because at times he can show you 95 mph along with a killer curve. Bickford second, his fastball is nasty and he’s flying up draft boards. Brentz over Harvey because similar velo but he’s lefthanded. Ranking them as prospects, I’d go Bickford, Krook, Harvey, Brentz.

Jim Callis: Getting several questions along the lines of “Will High School Player X make it to campus?” It’s still early on signability on most of these guys. A better question and one I could better answer would be what round could so-and-so go in . . .

Chris (Pittsburgh): If the Pirates end up having an "M&M" draft (Moran and Manaea), which ranks as a better prospect and why?
Jim Callis: That depends on whether I get Cape Cod League Manaea or dinged-up-this-spring Manaea. As of today, I would rank Moran ahead of Manaea. Last summer, I had Manaea at No. 1 and Moran at No. 2 on our Cape Top 30. Moran has a higher floor, Manaea a higher ceiling.

Billy (Minnesota): Gophers LHP Tom Windle- Sandwich round guy?
Jim Callis: Yes, sandwich or second round. Solid fastball and plus slider. There’s some debate on his delivery and athleticism, and whether he’s better as a starter or reliever, but it’s defintely a quality lefty arm.

Adrian (Bordentown, N.J.): Could you see Kent Emanuel being drafted in back half of 1st round to a team looking to save a few dollars?
Jim Callis: I think he fits better in the second round. There are a lot of good college LHPs this year: Manaea, Gonzales (Gonzaga), Windle (Minnesota), Ziomek (Vanderbilt), Overton (Oklahoma), Emanuel (North Carolina). Lots of HS southpaws too.

Bryan M. (Toronto): I know the Jays tend to see/scout almost everyone but any names that you've been hearing moreso than others for their first round pick? Thanks for doing this chat!
Jim Callis: Even as high as No. 10, a team will have to let the draft come to them. I think the Jays will go for a high-ceiling guy, someone like Kohl Stewart, Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows or Trey Ball who unexpectedly gets to them.

Aidan (Seattle): Are there any high school prospects of note from Washington other than Reese McGuire?
Jim Callis: The next guy is Wentachee HS RHP Dustin Driver, who had first-round upside but has backed up a little this spring. Still think he goes in the top three rounds, can show a plus fastball with solid secondary stuff. Depends on signability vs. UCLA commitment.

Jeff (San Diego): Better career in your opinion: Dominic Smith or Austin Meadows?
Jim Callis: I like Meadows more as an all-around player with a chance to play CF. Purely at the plate, Smith could offer a better combination of hitting for average and power.

itto (PR): I did't see Vanderbilt Kevin Ziomek in your list. Do you see him as a potential supplemental round pick?
Jim Callis: Could fit at the bottom of the first round. He’s in that third tier of college pitchers, a few of which will go in the first round. Sandwich pick or second-rounder at the latest. I like Ziomek a little more than most of our writers, I think.

Bill (So Cal): What do you think about Terrian Arbet from Great Oak H.S. in Temecula?
Jim Callis: We’ve ranked him as a fourth-round talent. New to baseball, good actions and chance to remain at SS, solid runner, don’t know on the bat yet.

CUSA Fan (Texas): Where do you think Austin Kubitza of Rice and Aaron Blair of Marshall will go in the draft?
Jim Callis: Blair goes late first or early second round. Kubitzka’s fastball hasn’t been as impressive as his outstanding K rate, and he’s been throwing a lot of slider. I’ll guess third round to a team that likes him and thinks his fastball velo can increase.

Mike (Orlando): Where do you see Jan Hernandez going off the board?
Jim Callis: We’ve lined him up as a third-round talent. Quick bat, projectable power, nice tools across the board.

Doug (Geneva, IL): Which college player is most likely to pull an "Appel" and not sign in this draft to improve their bonus for next year?
Jim Callis: This is pure speculation and not based on any info, but why not Sean Manaea if he doesn’t bounce back in the next few weeks?

Wally (Memphis, TN): Is Kris Bryant polished enough to make a Ryan Zimmerman like ascent to the majors?
Jim Callis: Not that quick, because he’s not as polished a defender as Zimmerman was and swings and misses more than Zimmerman did. Bryant won’t need a lot of time in the minors, but I don’t see him up this September.

Ryan (Boston): Red Sox and Trey Ball?
Jim Callis: He’d fit the high-ceiling profile they’re looking for. I suspect they’d take Frazier and Stewart ahead of him, though. On the other hand, if Ball continues his climb, wouldn’t shock me if he went as high as No. 4 (Twins).

Rick (Sherbrooke,QC): If illigible in this year draft, where would you have rank Rondon & Beede ?
Jim Callis: I’d put Carlos Rodon No. 3 because his command hasn’t been as sharp as that of Appel and Gray. You could argue those guys in any order, though. Beede would fit in the 6-10 range somewhere.

Phil (Where HR's are 2B's): Are the Indians locked in on a college arm or are they linked to any high upside HS guys?
Jim Callis: I think they could go either way. Could go Shipley as a college arm or Frazier or Meadows as the high-ceiling HS guy. They’ve drafted a lot more college guys in the past, though, and I don’t see them opting for a HS arm.

Steve (Bradenton, FL): Do you believe Kohl Stewart is potential ace and how much development is necessary for him to get there?
Jim Callis: I do. One scouting director told me his stuff is just as good as Appel’s and Gray’s, and he’s more athletic. Stewart will need some time to get acclimated to pro ball, do things like refine his command and use his changeup, build up the durability to pitch every fifth day. But with his stuff, he could be in the big leagues in 2015.

Steve (Atlanta): What is the ceiling of Phil Ervin?
Jim Callis: Was very impressed by his performance on the Cape last summer. He’s athletic, a good bet to hit, ceiling is all-star outfielder. Could see him going a few picks higher than I had him on the initial first-round projection.

Bill (Bozeman): Coaches in know in the KC area described Stanek in HS as a two-pitch guy who might not have the secondary stuff to remain in the rotation beyond college. Does he have third and fourth pitches at this point?
Jim Callis: His fastball and slider are his bread and butter. He’ll throw some curves and shows some feel for his changeup, neither is special. But how often does a typical big league starter use his third pitch? I think improving his control and command are more vital to Stanek sticking in a major league rotation.

Andrew (Chicago): With the Cubs dearth of starting pitching, who are a couple of 2nd round arms that they could target?
Jim Callis: I’ll list several college candidates: Bobby Wahl (Mississippi), Ryan Eades (LSU), Aaron Blair (Marshall), Alex Balog (San Francisco), Alex Gonzalez (Oral Roberts), Andrew Thurman (UC Irvine), Tom Windle (Minnesota), Corey Knebel (Texas), Trey Masek (Texas Tech), Andrew Mitchell (TCU), Jason Hursh (Oklahoma State), Kevin Ziomek (Vandy). Some HS names: Devin Williams, Blake Taylor. They will have several attractive options.

Kyle (Maine): What do you think is the reason for the wide range of opinions on Denney? You have him going at the back of the 1st round to the Yankees, but I've seen him as high as the Red Sox at #7, thanks.
Jim Callis: Think his stock is down a little bit after a good/not great spring. Coming into the year, had the upside of a top-10 pick. I think 21-33 is more realistic now.

Bill (Bozeman): Who among the top five projected picks is a possibility to slip to the Royals at #8 and who should I cheer hardest to slip?
Jim Callis: Kohl Stewart.

Colby (Little Rock): Does Stanek go in the top 10?
Jim Callis: I’ve got him at 8 right now to the Royals. May depend on how well Sean Manaea bounces back in the next four weeks.

Jim O'Hara (Chapel Hill): Have the Red Sox picked the worst time in the last ten years to have their highest pick in 45 years? Is it so weak a draft that having the 7th pick is like having the 20th in a normal year?
Jim Callis: It’s a mediocre draft, but not nearly that bad. They might get Kohl Stewart or Clint Frazier at No. 7, which should elate Red Sox fans.

@Jaypers413 (IL): When can we expect the BA Top 500 draft list? Thanks, Jim.
Jim Callis: Our plan is to release a Top 100 (with our usual detailed scouting reports) tomorrow, expand to a Top 250 on May 17 and expand to a Top 500 on May 24.

Bobby (Cape Cod): How would you rank Shipley and Stanek with Wacha and Heaney from last year?
Jim Callis: I like Wacha and Heaney more than Shipley and Stanek. Love Wacha’s pitchability, and Heaney’s too (along with his LHPness).

Joe (Bowling Green): No Alex Gonzalez from Oral Roberts in the 1st round? Why?
Jim Callis: He’s in the mix for some teams. As we get closer, I’ll be able to pin down possible destinations.

Matt (KC): Which player draws the biggest range of opinions? Thanks.
Jim Callis: Of the top prospects? Sean Manaea, because he looked like a No. 1 overall pick last summer but hasn’t been that guy this spring. Which is the real Manaea? Teams are trying to figure that out.

Jim Callis: It feels good to have our first first-round projection and our first all-draft chat. Only four more weeks until the Astros make the No. 1 overall selection. I’ll be back next week with another chat. Until then, feel free to try me on Twitter at @jimcallisBA.

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