Prospect Chat With Jim Callis

Q:  Seth from California asks:

Matt
LaPorta seems to be following a similar path as Ryan Braun; is it fair
to say he could put up huge numbers like Braun did when he gets called
up?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Sorry for the delay, got hung up on a phone call for a couple of
minutes. The draft is very much on my mind, so feel free to ask some
questions about that as well . . . Braun has set the bar so high that I
wouldn’t say that LaPorta will match him. Let’s say LaPorta has the
potential to be an all-star and leave it at that.

 Q:  Ernie from Tacoma, WA asks:

Jim,

Brett Lorin got off to a good start, your thoughts on his future ? Higher upside Hector Rondon or Kelvin De La Cruz ?
Thanks

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Lorin is one of the better sleeper prospects in the Mariners system
after signing as a fifth-round pick last summer. He has a solid
fastball/slurve combo. For pure upside, I think you have to go with the
6-foot-5 lefty, de la Cruz. I really like Rondon, too, though.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:

Where will Gamel’s likely permanent destination be once he’s called back up?

 A: 

Jim Callis: He’ll probably break into the majors at third base, but in the long run I think he’ll be a first baseman or corner outfielder.

 Q:  Kelly from San Francisco, CA asks:

Did
Heyward get any love for this list? His average, while not in the
stratasphere like some, is better than others who made your list.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
You know we love Jason Heyward. Remember, the Prospect Hot Sheet is not
a de facto ranking of prospects, it’s a listing of quality prospects
who are hot. A .967 OPS in High A is impressive, but not as impressive
as the guys who made the PHS this week.

 Q:  Steve from Austin, TX asks:

Can you tell me a little about Cory Gearrin? Not in your top 30 prospect book but his numbers are very good.

 A: 

Jim Callis: He’s a sidearming sinker/slider guy, wouldn’t surprise me if he rose quickly to the Atlanta bullpen.

 Q:  Craig from Grand Forks, ND asks:

Jim,

Carlos Gutierrez had a nice opening start, do you see him being developed as a starter or being moved back to the pen ?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Both. Probably will be developed as a starter to get him innings, but I
bet he winds up in the bullpen. He has more arm strength than polish.

 Q:  Daniel from Monsey asks:

How likely is it that the Red Sox will convince Casey Kelly his future is on the mound? If they do, does he have ace potential?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
They think he has ace potential, but his preference right now is to
play shortstop. They let him play there after signing him away from a
Tennessee football scholarship. This year he’ll open on the mound until
he reaches his innings limit, then go back to shortstop. In a perfect
world for the Red Sox, he’d do so well at pitching that he’d decide to
pursue it full-time.

 Q:  Lawrence from Savannah, GA asks:

Ive
been watching Sean Ratliff play this season. He plays with a lot of
energy and the ball jumps off his bat. What are the Met’s plans and
expectations for him?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
He does have a lot of power. If he can make consistent contact, and
that’s a big if based on his Stanford career, the Mets may have
something there.

 Q:  Henry T from Tiburon, CA asks:

Hello
and thanks for the chat, my question is do you thinks it’s possible
Brandon Crawford was picked apart or his draft stock dipped prior to
last years draft given his lengthy time in the limelight? Because I
know it’s a small sample size but he’s raking in San Jose and recently
BA correspondent Andrew Baggarly said on his blog

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/extrabaggs/2009/04/12/observations-from-the-san-jose-giants-opener-thursday/

that Crawford was the most physically impressive player on the field
and remember that the San Jose team is stacked. So my question is were
we wrong?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
I don’t think that’s accurate. Crawford struck out a ton at UCLA, with
Team USA and on the Cape, and he didn’t have a very good year. There
were some significant questions about his bat. He’s athletic and you
can definitely dream on the tools, but he fell because he didn’t
perform with the bat, not because he was in the limelight longer than
most.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:

With
Dice-K injured, what would you do: A. start Buchholz; B. start Bowden;
C. start Masterson, or D. other (please explain. Note: I’d go with
option A.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
I like all three of those options, and Buchholz might have gotten the
call if he didn’t have a minor hamstring issue. I might have gone with
Bowden and kept Masterson in the pen for now, but either is fine.
Option D is John Smoltz when he’s ready, and the Red Sox may have a
good Option E in Junichi Tazawa before too long.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:

V is for Venditte.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
We’ll give Mike two questions in a row because he made me realize I
hadn’t though about Yankees switch-pitcher Pat Venditte in a while. He
doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, especially as a lefty, but he gets
outs and competes. So far so good this year in Low A: his line is
4-2-0-0-0-6.

 Q:  Jon from Lexington, KY asks:

What
numbers could Jake Fox produce as a DH for an American League team
right now? And what kind of return could the Cubs expect if they dealt
him to the junior circuit?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
I think Fox could be a solid platoon DH. The problem is he’s a poor
defender with no path toward playing time with the Cubs, and he’s not
considered very coachable. From doing the Cubs top prospects lists for
BA, I can tell you this: He has a couple of backers who really believe
in him in the organization, but scouts outside the organization aren’t
as high on him. Best case would be that he’d be another Ryan Garko, a
former college catcher just like Fox was.

 Q:  Daniel from Monsey asks:

What
do the As plan to do with Sean Gallagher and Gio Gonzalez? Is their
future really the bullpen and minor leagues? Are they considering
dealing them?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Teams never have enough starting pitching. If they’re in the minors,
they’ll start, and if they’re in the majors, for now they’re serve in
middle relief. But the A’s have few established starters, so Gallagher
and Gonzalez will get a chance to prove themselves in the big league
rotation at some point. Billy Beane isn’t afraid to swing deals, either.

 Q:  Stephen from L.A. asks:

Does Gerardo Parra have a chance at being an elite type prospect, or is he lacking the necessary power?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
If you buy into him as a .300-plus hitter in center field, maybe. I see
him more as a corner outfielder, where the lack of power is more
glaring. He’s a good prospect but I see him more as a future solid
regular than a star.

 Q:  Ryan from PA asks:

Travis
Mattair had a good first week(.348, 2 2B, 2SB 13/5 BB/SO ratio). The
BB/SO ratio was certainly surprising as he had a 38/108 ratio last
year. Can he become a breakout player this year or is it just him
repeating a level?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
He’s still young (20 in Low A) . . . he’s a legitimate breakout
candidate. He has less experience than most players his age, as he
spent a lot of time playing basketball in high school.

 Q:  Dave from Massachusetts asks:

When will BA recognize Chris Heisey is a prospect?

Hitting leadoff for AA Carolina
.417/.563/.875, 2 2Bs, 3 HRs, 6 BB/2 K, 3 for 3 in steals

He may be 24, but he’s coming out of a small school, and he just seems to be getting better and better.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Maybe before the season, when we ranked him No. 22 on our Reds list in
the Prospect Handbook? Maybe going into 2008, if you want to include us
listing him on the Reds depth chart in the Handbook two years ago?

 Q:  Tanner from Cedar Falls, Iowa asks:

Any concern over Eric Hosmer’s start so far?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
None at all, for a variety of reasons. Small sample size, the Midwest
League is a tough place to hit and the weather up here has been
terrible. Remember, Mike Moustakas got off to a bad start last year and
ended up leading the league in homers. I love Moustakas, and I think
Hosmer will be a better hitter than Moustakas.

 Q:  Dave from Pensacola, FL asks:

How
long do you expect Jason Heyward to stay at Myrtle Beach? He’s off to a
nice start with two doubles, two homers and five walks in 30 AB.

 A: 

Jim Callis: If he tears up the Carolina League as expected, I bet he goes to Double-A for the final two months.

 Q:  John from Boston asks:

Hi Jim, was Tim Federowicz given any consideration?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Not really, because he’s not the blue-chip prospect that the other guys
on the Hot Sheet are. But he’s off to a good start, and that pleases my
11-year-old son, a casual fan who once got Tim’s autograph at the
College World Series.

 Q:  Kevin from New Brunswick, NJ asks:

The
Rays seem to be keeping David Price on a pretty tight pitch count(65
last night). When do you think he’ll be up in Tampa Bay?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Just trying to keep him fresh so he has a lot left for another playoff
run in September and October. I’ll be stunned if he’s not up before the
end of May.

 Q:  Mudcatsfan from Raleigh, NC asks:

I
saw that Jesus Montero threw out 2 baserunners the other night. Is
there a good way to track Minor League Defensive stats other than
checking the box score each night? Have you heard anything on his
defense this year?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Not really, no. But even CS percentages don’t tell you everything, and
I have yet to encounter a scout outside the Yankees organization who
thinks Montero has much of a chance to catch in the big leagues.

 Q:  Bob from AL asks:

Another hot starter has been Gordon Beckham. How long before he is bumped to AAA?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
He could jump straight from Double-A to the majors. The White Sox have
holes at second base and in center field and could fill one of them by
putting Beckham at second, or by moving Alexei Ramirez to center and
putting Beckham at short.

 Q:  Kirk from Chicago asks:

It’s
still VERY early, but… considering how the White Sox have very few
quality pitching prospects, could Gregory Infante be in the mix for the
#1 pitching prospect in that organization come next winter?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
That’s fair. It is very early, but the White Sox have few pitching
prospects with ceilings as high as Infante’s, so he could be in the mix.

 Q:  Ryan from Alameda asks:

Do you the Giants will draft another pitcher with the #6 pick this year?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
There’s a good chance they’ll take a pitcher, because there aren’t many
position players worthy of going that high in the draft. Southern
California SS Grant Green, North Carolina 1B Dustin Ackley and high
school OF Donavan Tate are the only ones. The Giants could be very
tempted by all of them, but all could go ahead of San Francisco at No.
6.

 Q:  Jenna from Iowa City asks:

Is
Brandon Allen for real? He’s had a fantastic start thus far with that
stacked Barons team. The K rate seems to be trending in the right
direction.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
The power is definitely legit. He’s still shaky at first base and he
will strike out a lot, but he could find a place in the White Sox
lineup sooner rather than later.

 Q:  Dan from Denver asks:

Do
you see much difference in the offensive numbers that Yonder Alonso,
Pedro ALvarez, and Brett Wallace will put up in the majors? I assume
Wallace will get there sometime this year, followed by Alvarez in
September and Alonso next year? Thanks

 A: 

Jim Callis:
The ETAs look fair to me. I think Alvarez will hit for more power than
the other two guys, and their averages will be in the same territory.
If I have to pick who will hit for the highest average, I’d say Wallace.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, Ohio asks:

Draft
Question: This has been a fairly good year for Big 10 baseball. Who
will be the first 3 Big 10 players to be selected and what rounds?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
The Big Ten has done well this year. My guess for the top three
draftees: Indiana C Josh Phegley (second round), Michigan OF Eric
Decker (second-third round if signable away from football), Indiana RHP
Eric Arnett (second-fourth round).

 Q:  Kelly from Florida asks:

Since you said we can ask you draft questions, I’d like to know the latest on Donavan Tate. Do you think he’ll sign before 8/15?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
His signability is in question, but I think he’ll go high enough in the
draft that the bonus money will lure him to pro ball. He’ll cost a lot,
which normally means no announcement before Aug. 15, though as a
two-sport star, he’s eligible to have his bonus spread over five years
and MLB doesn’t mind if those deals get done earlier. I’ll still say he
waits until Aug. 15, though.

 Q:  Harry from Dover, DE asks:

Jim,

I
asked you earlier in the year about Jason Kipnis and you said that
there were mixed reviews on him. Is that still the case after the
numbers he’s put up this year ?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
He still doesn’t profile great defensively, but his terrific year and
the lack of position players in this draft mean he’ll likely get
drafted before he did as a draft-eligible sophomore (fourth round).

 Q:  Sam from Columbia, SC asks:

Where
is Wieters going to fit into the Orioles lineup with the top of their
order hitting so well? Behind Huff or Markakis? Or should they start
him lower to take off some pressure?

 A: 

Jim Callis: They’ll start him lower to ease the pressure. Eventually, he’ll bat third or fourth.

 Q:  Grant Green from 2nd overall? asks:

How
real of a deal am I? What sort of numbers do you think I’ll put up when
I get to the majors? Will I be an all-star or an all-bust? And lastly,
what position can you see me playing at for the majority of my career?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Though Green hasn’t hit the ball with as much authority and hasn’t been
as steady defensively as scouts would like, I still believe in him. I’d
take him either second or third in this draft. I think the Evan
Longoria comps that were thrown around some in the Cape last summer
were a bit much because Longoria’s bat is ridiculous, but Grant can be
a star. He has the tools to play shortstop but needs more consistency.

 Q:  Brent from Columbia, MO asks:

How good a prospect was Armando Galarraga? Will he maintain last year’s success going forward?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Up and down. He once made our Nationals Top 10 list before running into
shoulder trouble. He snuck into the 2008 Prospect Handbook at No. 30 on
our Rangers list. I think he’s pitching over his head, but he keeps
getting it done, so more credit to him.

 Q:  Sam from Columbia, SC asks:

What
do you think of Sam Dyson and his draft prospects? He reminds me of
Daniel Bard with his very easy motion and has no problem throwing 97-98
late in games when he need to.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
Aaron Fitt, our college guru, loves him some Dyson. He could go as high
as the sandwich round and should definitely be gone by the second or
third.

 Q:  Joe from Saugus,Ca asks:

Was there any talk of Andrew Lambo sneaking into consideration? Looks like this kid can fall out of bed and rake.

 A: 

Jim Callis:
There are only so many spots, and an .819 OPS in Double-A, even at age
20, doesn’t quite get it done for the Hot Sheet. But yes, he can rake.

 Q:  Dave from Pensacola, FL asks:

Obviously
the Braves are known for drafting HS players, but do you see them
taking a college pitcher like White, Crow, or Gibson with their first
pick?

 A: 

Jim Callis:
We’re hearing that Georgia high school righthander Zack Wheeler won’t
get out of the top 10 picks. If that’s true, the Braves seem like the
most natural candidate to take him.

 Q:  Jesse from New Jersey asks:

I
was watching an exhibition game and the Mets announcer compared Lars
Anderson to Dave Magadan. Is that reasonable or does that understate
his future?

 A: 

Jim Callis: Magadan is Boston’s big league hitting coach, but that’s terrible comparison. Anderson will have significantly more power.

Moderator: That’s it for today, as Jim will return to the
draft phones. We’ll be back next Friday with another prospect chat.
Thanks for all the good questions.

Minors | #2009 #Chat

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