Jim Callis Draft And Prospects Chat

Brodey (Midwest): Trey Ball is pitching well early in his season in limited pitch counts (50-60). As of last week, based on reports, it seemed scouts finally figured out that he's a pitcher... Hold the phone! He has four home runs in his last four games... Honestly, we can expect this to continue all season. Do teams really have to decide on what position he has to play? Why not draft him and let him do both in rookie ball?

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Stunned to enter the chat room and find 195 questions waiting already … Teams would prefer a player focus on hitting or pitching because it’s hard enough to make it to the majors without dividing your attention. Though it would have been interesting to see what Dave Winfield might have done. I think whoever takes Ball will take him as a pitcher, though sometimes you see a guy (such as Casey Kelly) express a preference to play every day and the team gives him that chance to sign him.

CyMature (Western Mass): Jim, thanks. Taijuan Walker: nice start to the season. No-hit stuff, still refining control and command? ETA?

Jim Callis: That’s Taijuan. Some of the best stuff and athleticism in the minors. The Mariners aren’t going anywhere this year, so no need to think about promoting him before 2014.

WF Choy (Malaysia): What's happen to Josh Dezse and Kennan Kish? the 2 former Yankees draftees.

Jim Callis: Dezse (now at Ohio State) has yet to play this year because of a stress reaction in his lower back. Kish only got into three games at Florida this spring before being knocked out with a hip injury.

Brian (Denver): If Dylan Bundy has TJ surgery, is he still a top 10 prospect next year?

Jim Callis: First, I want to point out that we don’t know that he’ll need Tommy John surgery, that’s just speculation. I would think TJ would push Bundy out of next year’s top 10 on the overall Top 100 list, because it would push back his timetable and ding his value in that regard. Long-term, the expectation would be that he’d return as good as ever. Let’s hope he doesn’t need elbow reconstruction.

Alex (Houston): George Springer seems to have adjusted nicely to AA. Making consistent contact was the big question with him, if he gets that under control, what's his projected timetable to Minute Maid Park?

Jim Callis: His strikeout rate actually is a career-high 30 percent of his PA this year, though it’s only 18 games. That’s his biggest need, as you mention. Could see Springer in September perhaps, it’s an exciting package of tools, but there’s not really anything to be gained by promoting him this year. Mid-2014 makes more sense.

Chuck (Wichita): Will Jared King be a first round pick? What is his ceiling?

Jim Callis: I like King, an OF from Kansas State, but I think he’s more of a second- or third-rounder. He’s a switch-hitter with some pop, runs very well for a 6-foot-1, 215-pounder, played well on the Cape last summer. He has the tools to be a solid big league regular and stands out in a down year for college position players.

Dave Walker (North Branford, CT): What are your thoughts on Tony Kemp and Hunter Renfroe? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Renfroe, a Mississippi State outfielder, is having a great year with the bat and has hit his way into the first round. Kemp, a 2B/OF at Vanderbilt, also is having a terrific year. He’s a great college player but is 5-foot-6 and 160 pounds, so I think he’s more of a senior sign for next year.

Mike (iowa city, ia): Hi Jim, I was wondering if there is any word about when David Dahl is expected to return to low-a? Do these discipline issues warrant major concern for his future, or are they growing pains?

Jim Callis: The initial report out of Denver was “a few weeks,” so I’d think he’d be back in low Class A soon. My understanding of the situation is it was just a youthful mistake, nothing to worry about long term.

Ken (Lakewood CA): Hi Jim. Really look forward to your chats. What am I missing? Why are top prospects Wil Myers and Nolan Arenado not up and playing with their respective teams? Hasn't the date for saving a year of major league arbitration time passed for them? Looking at the batting averages of some of the starters TB rolls out everyday, you can't tell me they wouldn't benefit by having Myers' bat in the line up? And what is really in the way of Arenado playing 3B for COL? Help me understand. Thanks.

Jim Callis: I’d promote both of them. Their free agency already has been delayed a year, but to push back arbitration would require keeping them in the minors into June. The Rays hope to contend and the Rockies are surprising so far, and Myers and Arenado would be upgrades.

ED (Charlotte): Who are the top prospects you believe will be available when the Mets pick in the first round as of right now?

Jim Callis: I think they’ll have a shot at at least one player from among Kohl Stewart, Colin Moran (those two are probably the best-case scenario), college pitchers Braden Shipley and Ryne Stanek, maybe Trey Ball.

John (Baltimore): If Dylan Bundy were to go down, who would be the best pitching prospect in the minors?

Jim Callis: Gerrit Cole for me.

Diedrick (C-town): Thanks for the chat Jim! Highlight of my day! Please rank these SS in terms of Upside: Roman Quinn, Jose Peraza, Luis Sardinas, Orlando Arcia, and Tzu-Wei Lin.

Jim Callis: Tons of upside there. I’ll say Sardinas (provided he can stay healthy), Quinn, Lin, Peraza, Arcia

.Ergi (Lendale, CA): Which power hitter will eventually fade first out of the prospect spotlight for good, Nick Williams or Joey Gallo?

Jim Callis: I like Gallo as a prospect more than Williams. Both are high-risk, high-reward prospects, and the Rangers have lots of them. The ones that pan out are going to be very, very good.

Nathan (UCLA): Hi Jim. Thank you very much for taking my question. Would the Dodgers be smart to take advantage of Joc Pederson’s bat sometime this year? For two years in a row he has now proven he can hit in leagues in which he is young for.

Jim Callis: He’s off to a great start after a breakthrough 2012, but the Dodgers have $53 million worth of outfielders in Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier. So I don’t see Pederson getting many if any big league ABs this year. Same for Yasiel Puig.

Carl (Phoenix, AZ): Jim, who are your personal favorite future impact hitters in this draft class?

Jim Callis: If I can pick one each from high school and college, I’ll say Georgia HS outfielder Clint Frazier and San Diego third baseman Kris Bryant.

Craig (Wisconsin): As much as the Dodgers left side of the infield is struggling (Sellers/Cruz/Hairston), why won't the Dodgers not bring up Dee Gordon? Is he in the doghouse? Are they burying him? He was such a highly touted prospect....

Jim Callis: I don’t understand it either. Alex Castellanos could help too.

Mike H. (Oakland): Jim, any real concerns with Jonathan's Gray's ability to command pitches for strikes?

Jim Callis: None. His command is much improved this year. He has given up 13 walks in 74 innings while holding opponents to a .159 average, so he’s locating his pitches just fine. And his pitches are more than just fine: a fastball touching triple digits, a wipeout slider and an effective changeup. That’s why he might go No. 1 overall in the draft.

Ryan (Indy): Could the Hoosier state have two Top 10 picks in Manaea and Ball?

Jim Callis: They very well could. I think Manaea will go in the 4-8 range and Ball could go in the 8-10 area.

Dennis (Chicago): Who do you think Cubs prefer to draft, who do you think they will draft? Will pitching dominate their draft?

Jim Callis: I’d be surprised if they didn’t take a college pitcher at No. 2, either Appel, Gray or Manaea. They really need arms and will stock up on them in the draft.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Robert Stephenson has a 6+ ERA so far, yet his peripherals have been dominant (27 K vs 6 BB in 17.1 IP, 2.43 G/F, but a .478 BABIP against). Is this just a small sample size fluke or anything worth being concerned about?

Jim Callis: I’d be happy with the dominance and not sweat the ERA. He’s still showing outstanding velocity and the stuff is there.

Keith (Manchester, CT): Thanks Jim. What do you make of Anthony Ranaudo's hot start: living up to his potential or small sample?

Jim Callis: Can I pick both? When Ranaudo stays healthy, he can be very good. But he hasn’t been able to stay healthy consistently.

colin (toronto): Jim, i loved how Houston handled the draft last year scooping up a high upside HS'r for well below slot then supplementing with other expensive high end talent that fell down the draft board. I was kind of thinking they should do the same thing this year with another HS such as say a Frasor or Stewart. Then i thought, heh, they could have had Appel last year and be adding a Gray or Manaea to give them 2 very advanced quality arms. That sure sounds nice with the constant battle for quality pitching that is going on. I'm sure they'll get value from the HS'rs they picked, but makes me wonder if they are, or should be, second guessing themselves on their strategy. Any thoughts?

Jim Callis: I don’t think they’re second-guessing last year at all. They had more leverage than Correa, so they were able to save significant money that helped them land McCullers and Ruiz. Correa wasn’t a reach, though. He was No. 2 on BA’s Top 500 and a legitimate No. 1 overall pick for the Astros, who got the best of both worlds.

Zach (MN): Twins draft question. I think drafting a SP is imperative, but I don't think you pass on best available for best available that is closest to the majors, given their current roster make-up. So, if Appel and Gray are gone, which they most likely will be, do the Twins go Manaea or is there a high school SP that they should target even though it will require more patience? Thanks.

Jim Callis: I’d take Manaea. At his best, Kohl Stewart could put himself in that discussion, but I’d take Manaea over him.

Mike G. (Charleston, WV): Where is Aaron Blair, RHP from Marshall University looking to go in the draft? Is 1st round a real possibility?

Jim Callis: He could go at the end of the first round. He had a very good summer in the Cape and his velocity has been up this spring.

Joel (KCK): Clint Frazier or Austin Meadows...who do you take and why? Thanks

Jim Callis: I’m in the minority at Baseball America, but I like Meadows slightly more. Frazier has the more explosive bat but I prefer Meadows’ all-around package a little more.

Joel (KCK): Jim, if you could draft any six college players regardless of eligibility, who would they be and in what order? Thanks

Jim Callis: Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, Carlos Rodon, Sean Manaea, Kris Bryant, Colin Moran.

John (New York): Has Matt Harvey exceeded your expectations?

Jim Callis: Ten minute warning, so let’s transition to the lightning round … Yes, he has. Knew he was talented, but the inconsistency at UNC worried me a little, didn’t think he’d be THIS good.

Elmo (Hartford): What's your take on Aaron Judge? Are there any comps for a player of his size and skillset? Do scouts think he has the ability to tap more into his power or is he going to be an ok player with very exciting BP sessions?

Jim Callis: If you believe in him, you can dream of Dave Winfield, but I’m worried that the BP power is more impressive than the game power.

Mike (Chicago): Jim while the bonus pool allottment continues to increase arbitrarily year-by-year, the talent in this year's draft class certainly does not sound to warrant increased spending--at least in the cases of players other than maybe Appel and maybe Gray. Shouldn't players be paid based on their future potential, not where they're picked relative to their draft class?

Jim Callis: A lot of players, especially at the top of the draft, aren’t going to get full pick values. The numbers are so high at the top to give the worst teams extra spending power they can use elsewhere. And even though the numbers are high, they’re less than what players would get on the open market.

Craigary (San Francisco): Hi Jim, does Dodgers' prospect Corey Seager still project as a 3B? Seems like he's still exclusively playing SS but I always hear he'll eventually be at third. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: He’s 6-foot-3, I think size will dictate a move to 3B as he fills out.

Mike (Maryland): Who does Jonathan Gray remind scouts of? Does any MLB pitcher come to mind for you? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I keep hearing Gerrit Cole comps.

Steve Z (Pittsburgh, PA): Moran lasts until pick 9 in June's draft?

Jim Callis: Tough call. I think he goes right around there, could go either way.

Mike (Maryland): How does Kohl Stewart compare to former pitcher/quarterbacks like Archie Bradley and Zach Lee? Seems like he has Bradley-esque stuff with Lee's build. Anyone else come to mind for you? Thanks, Jim.

Jim Callis: In terms of stuff, I think Bradley has more (and showed it more consistently) than Stewart, who has more than Lee. In pro ball, Lee has settled in as a guy with average to solid stuff who can really pitch.

Mike (Maryland): If Tyler Beede were eligible for this draft, would he go in the top 5 picks? I see quite a few similarities between him and Appel.

Jim Callis: I’d be more comfortable saying top 10. His control/command aren’t as sharp as that of Appel, Gray, Manaea.

brian (fargo): Are the Twins destined to take a college pitcher at #4 or will they take the best player available, even if that means another high school outfielder out of Georgia? I've followed the draft long enough to believe they should take the best player available, regardless of position.

Jim Callis: I think they’d like to go BPA, but I can’t see them taking another young outfielder when they have so many and need pitching so desperately.

Walter (Plano Texas): Seems everywhere I look and every scout I talk to Billy McKinney is now entrenched in the first round. (Plano West HS) What are you hearing on his tools, value and draft position?

Jim Callis: The same. I think he goes 21-30, one of the best pure HS hitters in this draft, also has some power and speed.

Casey (texas): Who would you rather have: Buxton or the 2013 draft field?

Jim Callis: Buxton.

Ben (Conway, AR): Jim, Ryne Stanek was in the conversation for 1st overall pick by scouts/writers prior to the season. He struggled early with command and slid but his last 5 starts have been nothing short of excellent (0.54 ERA, 0.80 WHIP, 32 K/8 BB, 33.2 IP). I know Gray and Appel have raised the bar for the #1 overall pick but shouldn't Stanek be somewhere right after those 2? Seems like writers are still not showing him a lot of love

Jim Callis: Stanek could go in the 7-15 range, he’s definitely back on track.

Craig (Charlotte): Is Ryan Boldt's stock fallen any as he hasnt been able to play outside yet? Do you see some late helium pushing him back up into the top of round 1?

Jim Callis: That won’t hurt him, because people saw him last summer, just makes it harder to evaluate him. Still could go in the first round.

Craig (Charlotte): When do expect BA's first mock draft to be out?

Jim Callis: Still about two weeks away. I’ll do our first one for our Draft Preview issue, then it will go online ASAP . . . Thanks for the questions, I’m back to hitting the draft phones now. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @jimcallisBA.