Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

    Evan (Chicago): Is Marcus Littlewood a prospect or suspect at this point?

Jim Callis: Still a prospect. He converted to catcher this year and so far, so good. He’ll factor into our Northwest League Top 20 Prospects list when that comes out later this month. He’s still just 20 and had a nice year at the plate considering his age and league.

    Tommy (New York): Jim...In regards to the top 30 Cape Cod Prospects, I was wondering what scouts thought of Daniel Palka of Georgia Tech/Wareham this summer. Thanks.

Jim Callis: They liked Palka, who was one of the best power hitters in the league. There just wasn’t enough room for him on the Top 30, though he would have factored into the 31-40 range if I had gone that deep. He has a big swing but was less pull-happy than he was last year on the Cape.

    Bill F. (Scottsdale, AZ): True or False: 5 years down the road either Tim Beckham or Hak-Ju Lee will be the Tampa Bay Rays starting SS?

Jim Callis: True. I still believe in Lee. I don’t think
Beckham has any chance to be a big league starting shortstop. He just doesn’t cover enough ground there.

    Billy J. (Omaha): Do you think the Royals with contend in the AL Central in the next 2-3 years? They have so much young
    talent, but what's the deal?

Jim Callis: I do think that division is wide open because there’s no juggernaut prepared to dominate for the next few years. It’s no secret that the Royals need to develop pitching to contend. Maybe Kyle Zimmer and Jake Odorizzi will form a potent 1-2 punch at the front of their rotation, but that’s another year or two away.

    Gary S. (Nebraska): Who is the number one Minor League prospect in baseball right now?

Jim Callis: If I’m allowed to take anyone who will qualify as a prospect at the end of the season, it’s definitely Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar for me. As I mentioned in Monday’s Ask BA column, he’s the best all-around shortstop prospect since Alex Rodriguez.

    Conor (Boston): Better Pirates Prospect: Alen Hanson or Gregory Polanco?

Jim Callis: They’re similar players, but give me the guy who’s younger and an infielder (Hanson).

    Randy K (Lenexa, KS): Has your opinion of Devin
    Mesoraco changed this year given his poor performance in very limited playing time or do you just accept it as a acclimation year and expect him to take off in 2013? Think there's room for both him and Hanigan in
    Cincy again next year?

Jim Callis: Acclimation year. My opinion hasn’t changed
on 160 ABs—I still think he’ll be a good big league catcher. The Reds are gunning for the World Series, and I think they’ll go with a similar timeshare next year unless Mesoraco shows he’s ready to handle more.

    a.j. (dallas): Would you trade Andrus to make room for Profar?

Jim Callis: My answer to trade questions is always that
it depends on what the offer is. I prefer Profar to Andrus long term, and he’ll be cheaper for a while. At the same time, if Josh Hamilton leaves, maybe you move Ian Kinsler to the outfield and put Profar at second base. You can play both Profar and Andrus in the same lineup.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Would you consider Brandon Nimmo to be the Mets' top position prospect at this point? Or would it go to Wilmer Flores?

Jim Callis: I still see Flores as a 1B/LF type and don’t like him as much as some might. I’d bet on Nimmo, though he’s farther away.

    Carlos (KC): Now that the cat's out of the bag, did you personally vote for Wil Myers as the Milb POY? If not him, who?

Jim Callis: I did. Thought he had the best combination of performance and prospectiness this season.

    Ben (Leland Grove): When do the League Top 20 lists start hitting?

Jim Callis: They usually start appearing online about two weeks from now.

    Grant (Philly): How would you rank these Phillies' top arms - Morgan, May, Biddle, Rodriguez, Colvin?

Jim Callis: Biddle, Morgan, May, Rodriguez, Colvin.

    cliff jordan (chicago, il): It's been fun to see Brock Holt shoot up the ladder and then get 4 hits last night in a Bucco win. Since he's blocked at 2nd base, 3rd base, and the outfield (hard to believe I'm saying this about the Pirates!), does he have a chance to play major league average shortstop? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Maybe, though he’s probably best suited to be a utilityman.

    Randy K (Lenexa, KS): If you had guess on the MLB arrival schedule of Walker, Hultzen, and Paxton today, what would you say? Doesn't seem nearly as clear as it did at the ASB. Has Paxton
    passed Hultzen?

Jim Callis: Hultzen has lost his control in Triple-A, but Paxton hasn’t passed him. Still think you’ll see all three of those guys in Seattle at various points in the 2013 season.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): How would you evaluate Archie Bradley's season? Do you believe he has more potential than Skaggs and/or Bauer? Potential #2?

Jim Callis: He’s a young guy with great stuff who’s still learning how to pitch. All three of those guys could be potential No. 1s if everything works out. If you’re ranking them based on stuff, I’d go Bradley, Bauer, Skaggs. But if you’re ranking them based on command and feel, I’d reverse the order. Will be fun to see how they all
turn out in the long run.

    James (Orange County): Does Chris Heston have back end of the rotation upside or is he just a guy having a great year?
    I know you have to take minor league numbers with a grain of salt but 2.18 era in AA isn't too shabby.

Jim Callis: That’s his ceiling. Fringe to average stuff that he throws for strikes.

    CA (KSA): Fresh off an exciting Appy League Finals, who do you like better, Byron Buxton or Bubba Starling?

Jim Callis: Buxton. I think he has a better chance to hit and is a little more athletic.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Word is that Billy Hamilton will be playing some OF in the AFL. Do yiu think he starts the
    2013 season at SS or CF? AA or AAA?

Jim Callis: That’s really up to the Reds deciding what they want to do with him. I don’t think he’ll be a shortstop in the long-term, and they have a more pressing need in center field. Wouldn’t surprise me at all if he opened next April as a Triple-A center fielder.

    Sam (N. Carolina): Jim, love your work here with BA, no one better. My question(s) are, do you think Rodon (NC State) and Hoffman (East Carolina) are the best 2 arms in the '14 class?
    I have seen them both, they are athletic, bulldog competitors and can run it up to 96 (and I think Hoffman might have more to come being 6 4 185). Also, do you think they are 1-2 in the '14 draft or can Cousino/Fisher, etc surplant them?

Jim Callis: Right now, I think it’s accurate on both counts. I think they’re the two best college arms and the two best college draft prospects for 2014.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Do you think Tony Cingrani can make the Reds playoff roster as a situational lefty this year?

Jim Callis: I wouldn’t rule that out. He could help them in that role. No one has hit him since he signed as a third-rounder last year.

    Ryan (Baltimore): What do you make of Cheslor Cuthbert's lost season?

Jim Callis: I’m surprised he struggled this much, but at the same time I thought he was overhyped coming into the year. He faded down the stretch in the Midwest League last year, and while he was
very young for that league at age 18, he’s also very physically mature for his age. He’s more developed than most players his age, from a physical standpoint, with less projection remaining.

    Dwayne (Greensburg, PA): Hi Jim, Love the chats! Did I read correctly somewhere that compensation draft picks (I.E. Pirates @ #9) will be a protected spot for an extra year with the new CBA vs not a protected spot in the old CBA?

Jim Callis: Yes, that is correct. The Pirates didn’t sign No. 8 overall pick Mark Appel this year, so they get the No. 9 choice in 2013. If they don’t sign that one, they’ll get the No. 10 selection in 2014. The 2014 pick would be unprotected.

    david almonte (nyc): what are your thoughts on matt barnes and his ETA to the majors and how high his ceiling will be in the majors?

Jim Callis: No. 2 ceiling. The Red Sox rotation is a mess right now, so Barnes could get there before the end of 2013.

    Mike (St. Paul): Will you guys ever do a separate, Pitcher of the Year award?
    If you had one such award for 2012, who would you choose?
    Gotta be Jose Fernandez, right?

Jim Callis: I don’t think we’ll do that. We used to have separate awards on the college side, but we did away with those in 1989. If we did have a Pitcher of the Year award, Fernandez would get my
vote.

    Joe (Milwaukee): When is A.J. Vanegas eligible to reenter the draft and how is his stock shaping up? How about Karsten Whitson?

Jim Callis: Both next year. Vanegas has been inconsistent but showed off a first-round arm in the Cape this summer. Whitson has to prove he can stay healthy and pitch effectively. His stock is very much in flux.

    JD (Arlington): Why was CJ Edwards (TEX) not received much discussion? His numbers in the lower levels were pretty filthy this year. He was a very late round pick though, so were these numbers just a mirage or what?

Jim Callis: Great job of scouting on that one by the Rangers. Our reports had him throwing 92-95 mph this summer, and he’ll make our AZL and NWL Top 20 Prospects lists.

    Cy (Western Mass): Before the season, BA rated Wil Myers as KC's best hitting prospect and Bubba Starling as the best power prospect. After an interesting year for these two outfielders, how
    would you rank them now? Thanks, Jim.

Jim Callis: I’d give Myers the nod on both counts.

    David (Va Beach): Is Paniagua the Cubs second best pitching prospect, behind Vizcaino?

Jim Callis: He very well might be. The Cubs don’t have a
lot of quality pitching prospects. Pierce Johnson, Duane Underwood and Dillon Maples also would be in that discussion.

    Phil (Boston): Do you think Jose Iglesias will be Boston's starting ss at the start of next year?

Jim Callis: Doubtful. I don’t think his bat is ready.

    Mark (Tacoma): Mike Zunino has looked really good. Do you think the Astros or Twins are rethinking their picks at all? ETA?

Jim Callis: No. It’s too early to be second-guessing your pick, especially if you’re doing it on a few summer at-bats. Zunino
is a good prospect, but Buxton and Correa are better prospects. Zunino’s position scarcity and higher floor are in his favor, but the other two have higher ceilings.

    Justin (Nashville): There have been some reports that Dan Vogelbach moves a lot better for a big guy than some scouts first believed. With Rizzo hopefully being the long term solution at 1B for the Cubs, how laughable/ridiculous is the notion that
    Vogelbach could play LF?

Jim Callis: I’ll put it this way: I’ve never talked to a
scout who thought Vogelbach had a chance to play left field. There’s a better chance that he’s a DH only than he’s a left fielder. That said, kudos to him on a great year with the bat.

    Nils (Stamford): How would you rank these UConn alum: Barnes, Olt, Springer?

Jim Callis: Olt, Barnes, Springer. Nice trio of alumni.

    mike (florida): Almora or Soler?

Jim Callis: Almora. More well-rounded set of tools, more position value (center fielder vs. corner outfielder).

    BL (Bozeman, MT): How would you rank these Royals righties: Odirizzi, Ventura, Adam, Zimmer?

Jim Callis: Zimmer, Odorizzi, Ventura, Adam.

    Bill (Bozeman, MT): Nervous at all for UGa-Mizzou?

Jim Callis: No. I’m a Georgia grad, but I don’t live and die with Georgia football. More nervous about the Steelers taking on
the Broncos, though I think people are overrating how good Denver and Peyton Manning will be this year.

Jim Callis: That’s it for today. Thanks for the questions. I’ll be back next Wednesday, and until then you can hit me up
on Twitter (@jimcallisBA) or submit a question to our Ask BA column (askba@baseballamerica.com, and please include your full name and hometown). Thanks.

Minors | #2012 #Chat

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