Baseball America

Prospects/Draft/Fantasy Chat With Jim Callis

Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your prospects, draft, major league and fantasy questions beginning at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: 12:06 pm update: I have to make a quick call, so I may be a couple of minutes late to the chat room, but shouldn’t be too long and will give you a full 60 minutes. I promise!

Jim Callis: That phone call didn’t happen, so let’s just get to it. May need to jump off and back on, but we’ll play it by ear. Fire away!

Brodey (Midwest): Jim - When will we get BA's next MLB Mock Draft. It seems things are starting to shake up in the ranks....
Jim Callis: Our first part of our Draft Preview goes to print next week, and we’ll start bombarding the website with that draft content almost immediately. Should see our initial first-round projection and an updated Top 100 Prospects list on Thursday or Friday.

Max (Minneapolis): Any idea what Rockies will do with the #3 overall pick in the draft?
Jim Callis: I feel very confident saying that Stanford RHP Mark Appel and Oklahoma RHP Jonathan Gray will go 1-2 or 2-1 to the Astros and Cubs. Less confident guessing (and at this points, it’s guessing) what the Rockies will do at 3. I had a scouting director tell me yesterday that he thinks one of both of the top HS bats (Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows) might drop to No. 10 or lower. The best college bats (Kris Bryant, Colin Moran) play 3B, not a position of great need for the Rockies (not that you draft for need at No. 3). I’m not sure I like any of the arms at No. 3. So just guessing here, I’ll say Bryant, who may wind up in the outfield anyway.

Kevin (Chicago): We know that Appel will be ready almost immediately for the big leagues. How quickly will Gray be ready for the majors?
Jim Callis: Gray won’t need much time either. But if they do go 1-2, the Astros and Cubs aren’t going to be good next year, don’t really see much reason to get them to the big leagues in 2014.

Steve (Wyoming): What's your take on Jimmy Nelson, the Brewers' prospect who is off to a hot start in AA?
Jim Callis: I like him. Strong build, pair of good fastballs, slider works, could be a No. 3 starter if he refines his command. Might see him in Milwaukee later this year.

Tim (Chicago): Any reports in DJ Snelton and where he could be drafted?
Jim Callis: I think Snelton, a Minnesota LHP, he’ll go in the 5th-10th round range. He strained his elbow and got a late start to the season, but he’s a 6-foot-7 lefty who gets good extension in his delivery. He can touch 95 mph, throws a decent slider and changeup. Scouts don’t love his arm action.

Ben (The Bronx Empire): I'd like to see the Yankees take a college pitcher with one of their first 3 picks bc I think their starting pitching in the farm system is as thin as its been in a decade. Two part question: what % chance do you put on Stanek sliding to pick 26 and could either Wahl or Jon Crawford be viable starting options in the pros? Thanks Jim
Jim Callis: I’d be stunned if Stanek (Arkansas) dropped close to the Yankees. He had a slow start but he has been picking up steam. Wahl (Mississippi) and Crawford (Florida). Wahl has the stuff to start, though his command sometimes leaves something to be desired. Both Wahl and Crawford have seen their stock drop some this spring, but both will get sent out as starters.

Russell Wilson (Seattle, WA/Madison, WI): Who from this year's NFL draft do you think would be the most intriguing baseball prospect?
Jim Callis: First guy who jumped to mind is West Virginia WR Tavon Austin, who went No. 8 to the Rams. He has 80 speed, could be devastating on the bases and a quality CF if you could polish him up. No idea if he ever has played baseball, though.

Frank (Chicago): Rock Shoulders - is he legit or just hot right now?
Jim Callis: More hot than legit, but he has some prospectiness to him despite not making our Cubs Top 30 in the Prospect Handbook.

Rodney Chinn (Ithaca, New York): Why were the Royals unable to sign Jonathan Gray out of high school?
Jim Callis: Not sure what he wanted to sign, but he was basically a raw HS arm at that point. We rated him the top HS arm in Oklahoma, as he could hit 93 mph and had some power to his slider, but he wasn’t really ready for pro ball (or at least a major investment). He lacks consistency and command, needed to get in better shape. Had a scout tell me the story kind of reminded him of Stephen Strasburg’s path.

Camden (Philly): Can you please help me understand what is meant by Maikel Franco's "arm-bar swing?" Does he have the potential to be a top 50 prospect by season end?
Jim Callis: Not sure I can explain this well but I’ll try … It’s an overextension of the front arm in a swing, which adds length to the swing and makes it difficult to handle good inside fastballs. I like Franco some, he’s one of the best position prospects in the Phillies system, but don’t see him as a future Top 50 guy.

Keith (Boston, MA): Hi Jim,

If you were running the Red Sox, who do you hope is there at 7 and why. Also, do you see them being aggressive for high impact in the 2nd round as well, rather than a potential easy sign?
Jim Callis: The Red Sox should have some good options. I’d be hoping either Frazier or Meadows gets there, or Texas HS RHP Kohl Stewart, or whoever I ranked as the No. 3 college arm (Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea?).

Nick (C-town): I really like Jesse Winker's scouting report from a fantasy stand point. Are you bullish on him too? What is his power and BA ceiling?
Jim Callis: I’m bullish on him too, though he’ll need time to develop. Realistic ceiling would be .280 with 20 homers, maybe call it 25 because of the ballpark.

CyMature (Western Mass): Who is the better prospect, Appel or Gray?
Is it too soon to predict where they go in the first round?
Thanks, Jim.

Jim Callis: I’ve been saying Appel, because he has a longer track record. But Gray’s stuff is a little more explosive and he’s throwing a ton of strikes too. Might be starting to lean toward Gray slightly. I think they go 1-2 or 2-1, would be stunned otherwise.

Jon E (Iowa): Is Aaron Judge still there for Detroit at #21? If so, is he a worthy choice at that point?
Jim Callis: Judge might be. It’s a tough call. If you dream on him, he could be a lot better than the No. 21 pick. But the game power is inconsistent (better this year) and he strikes out a lot. So there’s a good deal of risk too. I think it could go either way–I wouldn’t take him before No. 21 (and wouldn’t argue vociferously if he went No. 21), but someone might dream on him and pop him in the teens.

Jim (Montana): What are the chances Kohl Stewart signs if drafted? What sort of prospect ceiling would he have?
Jim Callis: I think he’ll go so high that it will be an easy choice to sign. And while he may want to play QB at Texas A&M, it’s no lock that reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel leaves in a year. So Stewart might not get to start at QB for the Aggies until 2015. He has a huge ceiling–potential No. 1 starter. I’d take him as the third pitcher in the draft, behind Appel and Gray.

Steve Z (Pittsburgh, PA): Starling Marte: For Real?
Jim Callis: Yes. Maybe not this good, but he should hit for average with some gap power, steal some bases and play good defense, as he has been this season for the Pirates.

Ben (Columbus, OH): Are you concerned about Billy Hamilton's slow start (sub .300 OBP)? Or is this just a natural adjustment to better pitching in AAA?
Jim Callis: Not terribly. His bat may be a year away from the majors, but he should be a solid OBP guy when he’s ready. Won’t ever hit for a lot of power, but I expect at least a .360 or so OBP in the majors.

frank (seattle): Mariners DESPERATE for offense. is Nick Franklin ready? can he play SS or is he a 2B? if so, does ackley slide to 1B or bench?
Jim Callis: He’s ready for a shot, but the Mariners aren’t going to contend, so I’d wait before qualifying him for an extra year of arbitration. I think he’s more of a second baseman in the long run, but Seattle probably will see what he can do at shortstop. I bet Franklin winds up at second baseman and Ackley moves to the outfield.

Bill L (Bozeman, MT): Are you hearing any talk of teams re-calibrating draft strategies the second time through with the new CBA?
Jim Callis: Nope. There aren’t really many options and no loopholes. You can draft a guy who fits into your assigned value each round, or you can try to shift some money around (either by underspending at the top or bottom), but that’s about it.

Reid (Austin): Where would Mark Appel or Jonathan Gray rank on the current Astros' top-10 prospect rankings? I'm assuming behind Singleton but in front of Correa due to age and experience.
Jim Callis: I would take Correa ahead of Singleton right now, and put Appel or Gray in between them.

Bret (Toronto): Can you see the Astros going with local, high-upside Kohl Stewart 1-1, saving some money as they did with Correa?
Jim Callis: Let’s shift to lighting-round mode … Don’t see that happening, and no HS RHP ever has gone No. 1 overall.

Andrew (Minnesota): Do you think Miguel Sano is with the Twins sometime next year?
Jim Callis: His bat could make that happen, yes.

Bryce (Minnesota): Thoughts on Byron Buxton thus far in the MWL? Has he exceeded expectations in the first month?
Jim Callis: Tremendous. Though he was the best player in last year’s draft but would need some time to adjust. I was wrong about the second part of that statement.

Andrew (Chanhassen): What kind of timeline is Alex Meyer on to the majors? Also, has Trevor May looked more like he could be a good starter in the bigs, or do you envision reliever?
Jim Callis: Meyer: Arbitration considerations may delay him, but could see him up after the break. May is a reliever for me–don’t trust the control or command.

Andrew (NJ): For rapid fire: your favorite Georgia Bulldog currently in the majors and currently in the minors? [Mine are Gordo and Wood]
Jim Callis: Can I pick Cardinals pitching coach Derek Lilliquist? Went to school with him and he led Georgia to their first-ever CWS. If I have to take a player, I’ll say Jeff Keppinger, who keeps grinding out a big league career and who carried the Bulldogs in the 2001 postseason (including two CWS homers off Mark Prior). I’ll second Alex Wood for the minors.

Scott (Philadelphia): If a mock draft is coming, does that mean we're approaching the time where teams are getting connected to specific players?
Jim Callis: Kind of. The first mock draft is informed speculation at best, a lot of guesswork. Anyone who tried to pretend otherwise is lying.

Evan (Houston): With the news about Bundy's elbow tightness, do you think he will make the Orioles rotation at some point this season, or are you worried about Tommy John surgery in the future? Thanks love your work!
Jim Callis: More the latter than the former.

Mike (St. Louis): What's the latest on Bubba Starling? Seems like his star power is dropping since the draft
Jim Callis: Was always going to need a lot of time to develop, still has huge tools, may always strike out a lot but still can be a good player doing so.

John (Cleveland): If Francisco Lindor continues to hit like he did in April how high does he end up on the top100 at seasons end?
Jim Callis: In the Top 10, maybe Top 5.

Dan (Minnesota): What do you see the Twins doing at 4? College Pitcher, or simply the best player available?
Jim Callis: I think they’ll go pitcher, which might be the best player available as well.

Bill L (Bozeman, MT): Your 8 for Omaha?
Jim Callis: Been focusing too much on the draft to have an informed answer, so I posed this to Aaron Fitt … Says Aaron: North Carolina, Vanderbilt, LSU, Oregon State, Oregon, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Virginia. Says it’s tough to exclude Cal State Fullerton, North Carolina State, Louisville, Arkansas and South Carolina … This is me again: I’ll say Louisville gets in and as an SEC homer, I bet they get more than two teams!

Fonz (Milwaukee): What accounts for Archie Bradley's success so far this year? Is he a top 5 pitcher in the minors?
Jim Callis: Great stuff, improved command.

Brodey (Midwest): Will the MLB ever let teams start trading picks again?
Jim Callis: For the first time ever, they can … but just the competitive-balance lottery picks. Three of them changed hands last summer. MLB may expand draft pick trading in the future, though I’ve heard strong arguments for and against it.

Rich Surhoff (Reading Pa): How high will Colin Moran go in the draft?
Jim Callis: I think somewhere from the No. 6 and No. 10 overall picks.

Bob (Baton Rouge): Any chance Anthony Ranaudo gets called up this season?
Jim Callis: If he stays healthy and keeps this up, he could. This is the guy Boston paid $2.55 million for.

Mark (Boston): Please rank: Best outfielder in 2018: Buxton, Myers, Taveras, or Puig?
Jim Callis: Buxton, Taveras, Myers, Puig. All four could be studs.

Scott (Philadelphia): Which position do you see Hunter Renfroe settling in at as a professional?
Jim Callis: Right field.

Ian (OK): If 1-3 are Appel, Gray, Manaea, what do the Twins do? Can't take Bryant since he'd be sent to high A where Sano is playing third. I'm not sure they'd want to take another OF but I don't know if the 4th best pitcher is a better option.
Jim Callis: Don’t think Manaea goes No. 3 right now. But if that did happen, I might take Kohl Stewart at No. 4.

Doug (Atlanta): While taking Correa last year made some sense (saved money and allowed them to get McCullers) does ignoring the BPA maxim (Buxton) come back to haunt the Astros or at least prevent them from doing something similar this year?
Jim Callis: I think the Astros liked Correa more than Buxton, and we had them 1-2 on our list, so wasn’t like they took an undeserving No. 1. If they get Buxton and sign him for $6 million, they don’t get both of Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz. This year, I think Houston again will take who it thinks is the best player available. If it’s close, they’ll look at price tags.

Michael (Hanover, IN): Jim, what are your thoughts on Pierce Johnson?
Jim Callis: Best starting pitching prospect in the Cubs system (unless you think Arodys Vizcaino holds up in that role).

Jake (Houston): With the recent injury to Ryan Boldt, due you think the Astros could pick him up in the second round, or might he even drop to the third round? Thanks
Jim Callis: Don’t think the knee is a major concern. There are some scouts who question how much power Boldt will really have, so he could be there at the top of round two.

Tim (MN): Can you compare Kohl Stewart's current and potential to any HS pitchers from past few drafts?
Jim Callis: Talked to a scout who said he may be better than fellow Texan Jameson Taillon, who threw harder but couldn’t match the depth of Stewart’s repertoire. The same scout said on the Texas spectrum, he’d put Stewart behind Josh Beckett and ahead of Shelby Miller.

Bluefan (South Gate): In regards to the trading of draft picks ... can you elaborate on some of the arguments for/against it?
Jim Callis: Short answer: Proponents like the flexibility it would give teams, detractors think it would give agents/players too much control to dictate where they go. … And with that, I am back to draftwork. See you again next Wednesday.