Baseball America

Jim Callis Chat: April 18

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. It’s great to be resuming the regular-season Wednesday chats. Let’s jump right in!

    Billy (Chicago): How concerned should I be about Brett Jackson's strikeout rate? Is he just pressing or is something wrong?

Jim Callis: Nobody should panic about anything this early in the season unless it’s injury-related. Jackson is always going to strike out—he fanned 138 times last year—but he’s not going to K in
40 percent of his AB. He’s going to be a solid player for the Cubs.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Chris Hernandez has been looking impressive for Portland thus far this year. What does he best project as to you?

Jim Callis: Lefthanded reliever. He can really pitch but he doesn’t miss a ton of bats and I don’t see him succeeding as a big league starter. I could envision him in Boston by the end of this season, however.

    Alex (Tempe, AZ): Where do you see Joey Demichele (ASU) getting drafted? Kid has absolutely torn the cover off the ball the last two years.

Jim Callis: He’s more productive than toolsy but he profiles as an offensive second baseman with sure hands. I think he’s a fifth-rounder or thereabouts, but college players who have proven they can hit often have upward mobility.

    Ben (Leland Grove): If Jose Fernandez and Matt Barnes continue to dominate the Sally League as they have been, should we look for mid-season promotions for them, or are they likely to remain
    there for the duration?

Jim Callis: I see them on different paths. Barnes is a college pitcher, and I don’t see him spending more than two months in low Class A. The Marlins likely will be more cautious with their high school arm, and I could see Fernandez topping out at about 125 innings and staying in the SAL for much or all of the season.

    Andrew (Waterloo): With the Jays needing a 5th starter for their game on Saturday, rumours are abound that Drew Hutchison will get the call... Do you think he is a) ready, and b) in the bigs to stay if he indeed gets the call?

Jim Callis: I think he still could use some more development time—he’s only 21 and has pitched less than 200 innings in full-season ball—so I don’t think Hutchison would be up to stay. But his precocious command and feel would allow him to hold his own if the Blue Jays need him to fill in. I doubt he’d be overwhelmed.

    Every Orioles Fan (Near or Around Baltimore): We LOVE Dylan! We'd also love to see him doing his soon-to-be 4-inning stints in Frederick, as it's clear he's way too good for the SAL. When do you believe that will happen?

Jim Callis: Well, if he never gives up a hit, I suppose
the Orioles will have to promote Bundy at some point. But I bet the plan is to keep him in low Class A for at least half the season. There’s
really no need to rush him. Could he handle high Class A right now? I have no doubt.

    Grant (NYC): Between Chafin and Meo, who is more likely to become a RP?

Jim Callis: Meo. Chafin has better secondary stuff, command and mechanics. That said, I think they both wind up relievers because the Diamondbacks are so loaded with pitching.

    Noah T (Toronto,Ontario): Do you think Travis D'arnaud will be called up soon because of the struggling of JP Arencibia?

Jim Callis: No, because d’Arnaud is struggling terribly
in Triple-A. I think he’ll be up when he’s ready, regardless of how Arencibia is doing, which should be after the all-star break. And I like
d’Arnaud more than Arencibia in the long run.

    Andrew (Waterloo): If you had to guess, when do we see Bryce Harper up with the big club?

Jim Callis: After he figures out upper-level pitching and after it will delay his arbitration eligibility by a year. So let’s say July.

    Paul (San Diego): I'm sure you'll get a few people asking you "Where's this legendary Bryce Harper you've been talking about?" in this chat. However, I'm more interested in his power -
    or lack thereof - in his minor league career. Can you comment on this? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Um, I don’t see the lack thereof. Harper has exceptional power and he hit 14 homers in 72 games as an 18-year-old
in low Class A last year. As a teenager, he has just three homers in 49
games in Double-A and Triple-A, but he does have 11 doubles and he’s about five years younger than much of his competition. The big-time power is still there. I do think people need to realize he’s not just going to walk into the big leagues at age 19 and be Babe Ruth. He’ll be a
superstar, but he’ll need a couple of years.

    Andrew (Waterloo): Which slick fielding glove first SS prospect has a brighter future... Hechavarria or Iglesias? Both
    MLB regulars due to the glove alone?

Jim Callis: I’ll say Hechavarria because he has hit so much better in Triple-A, though a lot of that could just be Las Vegas. Their gloves alone should make them regulars, but Iglesias is going to have to show more with the stick.

    Chuck (Wichita): Who do think will be the best college pitcher available when the Royals pick at 5?

Jim Callis: Kyle Zimmer or Michael Wacha. And while there are few sure things in this draft, I do think the Royals taking a college pitcher is close to a lock, both with their needs and how the picks in front of them will unfold.

    Kelly (St. Cloud): Do you see a possible promotion to Ft. Myers in Sano's future this season, or is he likely to remain in the MWL all year? Thanks, Jim.

Jim Callis: I bet he stays in Beloit all year. The Twins tend to be patient with their youngsters, and he won’t turn 19 until May 11. The power is impressive, but he still needs to work on making more contact and improving defensively. This isn’t that bold, but
I suspect he’ll occupy the No. 1 spot when I do our Midwest League Top 20 Prospects list.

    Frank (Kansas City, MO): Thoughts on Cheslor Cuthbert so far at his new level?

Jim Callis: I wouldn’t worry about 10 games. At 19, he’s young for high Class A. I’m more interested in how he fares over the whole season after he faded late last year, and what the reports are
on his defense.

    Matt (Oklahoma City): Good Afternoon Jim,
    I know Wacha, Stripling, & Naquin are a lock to come off the board in the first few rounds of the draft; but are there any other players on
    the Aggies roster that could make the leap to the next level?

Jim Callis: You’ve hit the main three. The Aggies have a
number of other draftable prospects on their team, though where they go
will tie into signability. Among them: Krey Bratsen, Kyle Martin and Mikey Reynolds.

    Mike (Tampa, FL): This kid Felipe Rivero is impressing the heck out of me in Bowling Green, especially given his slight frame. Can you comment on his projectability? Can he become better than Enny Romero?

Jim Callis: Rivero is 6-foot-2 and 171 pounds, so there’s plenty of room for him to get stronger. I’d give Romero the edge
for now, but Rivero could pass him. He’s a hard-throwing lefty who has added velocity since signing, and his breaking ball has more upside than
Romero’s.

    Andrew Chafin (Visalia): Is this actual improvement in command/stuff since my college days? Or am I just a college pitcher dominating kids with the fastball/slider combo that scouts already said I had pre-draft?

Jim Callis: Too early and too few innings (11) to make definitive declarations. Chafin’s fastball and slider should dominate high Class A hitters, even in the Cal League.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): What are your thoughts on Alen Hanson? Should the K rate vs. RHP be a caution flag?

Jim Callis: See Monday’s Ask BA by clicking here.
And that’s a plug for my weekly Q&A column . . . If you have any longer-form questions, send them to askba@baseballamerica.com with your name and hometown.

    Karl Welzein Jr. (Detroit): Thanks for helping me stay awake during family law class. Which Kentucky players are the best pro prospects? Is Luke Maile just a college power hitter or will it translate in pro ball?

Jim Callis: As a college catcher who can hit, Maile should go in the top 3-5 rounds in June. His power is legitimate and should translate into solid production, though his swing can get long at
times. Lefties Jerad Grundy and Taylor Rogers also will go fairly early
in the draft this year. Great year for the Wildcats, whose winning percentage almost matches that of their basketball team.

    Josh (Lake Charles, LA): Thanks for the chat. I've been seeing from you guys (and others) that Buxton is developing a reputation as the consensus #1 talent in this year's draft. What is the
    gap between him and everyone else and would the Astros be crazy to take
    someone else over him?

Jim Callis: Buxton isn’t head and shoulders over everyone like, say, Stephen Strasburg in 2009, and he will need some time to develop. I keep hearing the Astros won’t take a high school guy—though we also kept hearing last year the Mariners would definitely
grab a bat at No. 2 and they opted for Danny Hultzen. Houston needs so much help that I think it should just identify the top talent and take him, regardless of position or pedigree.

    Chris (S.I.N.Y.): What is a real realistic time table for Bundy? September 2013?

Jim Callis: Yes. Not that the Orioles will be contending by then, and they’ll want to be careful of free-agent implications. He could come up for a couple of starts in September 2013 and open 2014 in the minors.

    Jimmy (Columbia, SC): What can be done to make the Big Ten more competitive on a national level? Given South Carolina's
    struggles can they bring home a 3rd consecutive title to Columbia or are they too green?

Jim Callis: Alter the weather. Otherwise, the best players in Big Ten Country are going to keep flocking to warmer-weather schools. I see the Gamecocks returning to Omaha but not pulling off a third straight title. My pick right now is Texas A&M.

    Chris (S.I.N.Y.): Now that Andrus and Kinsler are signed what do the Ranger do with Profar? If Things stay as they are
    can Profar play another position?

Jim Callis: Profar is athletic enough to play at several spots on the diamond, though the Rangers are pretty loaded. The obvious move would be to put Profar at second base and Kinsler in the outfield, or Profar in the outfield.

    brian (washington dc): Is it a given the Twins take a college starting pitcher or will they consider other positions such as maybe high school shortstop or college catcher? As a fan I'd be thrilled with a stud college pitcher but I mostly want them to take the best player available cause historically that seems to be the best way to go.

Jim Callis: I think it’s wide open for the Twins at No.
2. It would be hard to pass on Buxton, though they do have a lot of athletic center-field types. If they do, their biggest need is for a frontline starting pitcher. But if they don’t love any of their pitchers, maybe they take Mike Zunino and move Joe Mauer from behind the
plate to keep him healthy.

    joe willy (Dallas): See any Texas State players drafted this year?

Jim Callis: Quite a few. Casey Kalenkosky definitely will get a chance as a senior sign, and Tyler Sibley and Jeff McVaney should too. As for the juniors, Colton Turner and Travis Ballew both are
pitching very well.

    rj (wisc): Kolten Wong has destroyed everything he's seen since going pro...is this the start of an elite top5 2B for 10 yrs?

Jim Callis: Don’t know if I’d call him elite but I think he’ll be ready to be a solid big league regular very soon.

    ttnorm (CT): Will Billy Hamilton get 100 SBs this season? ETA to the show?

Jim Callis: If he stays healthy yet. Between his development and the boost he’ll get from the Cal League, he’ll be on base more. His ETA is 2014.

    Seth (WI): Of Jason Martinson and Didi Gregorius, who has the more productive big league career?

Jim Callis: Gregorius. He might be the best unheralded shortstop prospect in baseball.

    ttnorm (CT): Time to worry yet about Hak-Ju Lee?

Jim Callis: Nope. Though I do see him more as a solid regular than as a star.

    Steve S (Sarasota FL): Jim Where do you see Marcus Stroman landing in the draft, and do you see him as a SP or RP in the future?

Jim Callis: It’s easy to say RP because he’s small, but
he’s athletic and that arm is special, so I wouldn’t rule out that he becomes a starter. He’s one of those guys who it really would surprise me how high he went because he has been so good this spring (and in the past). I think he settles in the No. 6-10 range.

Jim Callis: I need to run and make some draft calls, but I’ll be back to do this again next Wednesday. Until then, hit me up at Twitter (@jimcallisBA) or, for longer questions, at askba@baseballamerica.com. Thanks!

Minors | #2012 #Chat

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