Draft Chat With Jim Callis




2007 MLB Draft

Moderator: Jim Callis will chat about the upcoming draft at 4 p.m. ET.

 Q: 

Peter Friberg from Ducksnorts.com asks:
If the Padres do not sign Matt Latos, where will be drafted, late 1st, sandwich, 2nd?


 A: 

Moderator: OK, Jim's running late (we'll let him explain) so John Manuel is here to sub for a few minutes.

John Manuel: Latos has one of the best arms in the draft, but he's basically shooting to set the draft-and-follow bonus record, and at this point, he's not as good a prospect as Adam Loewen was when he set the record in 2002-2003. I don't see the Padres giving him $3 million, nor do I see any other team doing that, so in turning down $1.3 million from the Padres, Latos might not be helping his cause. He'd go around the supplemental range because while he has electric stuff, his makeup is still an issue (immaturity, lack of competing) and he's not as sure a bet as, say, LHPs Ross Detwiler or Daniel Moskos, or RHP James Simmons. For me, Latos is a back-half of the first round pick if he goes back in the pool.

 

 Q: 

JAYPERS from IL asks:
Hey Jim, thanks for the chat. Two questions. One, if the draft were today, where do you see LaPorta going? And two, when will your annual Top 200 Draft Prospects list go live? Very much looking forward to reading it.


 A: 

John Manuel: We're not hearing as much LaPorta love as we thought, and he sounds like a back-of-the-first round pick. A lot of clubs still see him as a DH, a lot of NL clubs are not terribly interested because of the defense. The top 200 goes up Monday, 1-100 on Monday, 101-200 on Tuesday, and then the state-by-state lists start coming, so there's plenty to look forward to. Draft podcasts, draft blog . . . we're going to keep you busy.

 

 Q: 

Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Where do you see Brackman going? Have his inconsistencies dropped him to the late 1st, or even sandwich, round?


 A: 

John Manuel: Brackman's situation is pretty fluid, and it's hard to know where he'll go. He's going through a dead-arm period right now, which is to be expected in some ways, but pitchers also have to learn to win without their best stuff. So far he hasn't shown that ability. He's just a guy who can be summed up with one word--projection. If the price is reasonable, I think he'll go in the first 10 rounds based on talent. If it's not reasonable, if it's Samardzija-esque on the bonus or contract demands, I'd pass, and I think a lot of teams would too.

 

 Q: 

Bradley from Augusta asks:
Whats the dish on the
University of Washington players such as Hague, Stevens, Hagadone, Bishop?


 A: 

John Manuel: I did the West this year and can tell you Hagadone is in a class by himself when it comes to the draft and the Huskies. He could go in the supplemental round, and there may not be too many differences between him and more-hyped LHP relievers such as Moskos or Brett Cecil. Hagadone's been up to 95 mph with a power breaking ball, and he's flashed a change. Like those two ACC LHPs, he could eventually get a chance to start. Hague will go as far as the bat takes him and he has a plus arm, but can he play 3B? Probably not . . . OF corner maybe? Just a toug call. The next-best prospect on the team is either RHP Brandon McKerney (solid average stuff) or SS Danny Cox, who's hot lately and is a draft-eligible sophomore.

 

 Q: 

Will Smeltzer from Tucson,Az asks:
Do you think Mike Moustakas has the chance to turn out to be the best high school hitter in this draft?


 A: 

John Manuel: No, because of Josh Vitters, but they're pretty close in talent. I should say there's always a chance, but not according to what we've heard. But in terms of talent, I think those guys are awfully close.

 

 Q: 

Dwayne from Greensburg, PA asks:
Assume that the first three picks are Price, Wieters and Vitters. Who do the Pirates take at number 4? Keep in mind that Dave Littlefield has publicly questioned how prudent it is to draft a pitcher in the first round considering the Pirates recent string of bad luck. Is this to early to draft Matt Dominquez? Even though he's not the best power hitter on his high school team your magazine still calls him one of the four best hitters in California which is nothing to sneeze at. You also mention how he offers gold glove defense. He seems a safer bet to make it to the majors because of this combo than some other guys that you currently have ranked higher.


 A: 

John Manuel: Lots of Pirates fans in the house today . . . Four is high for Dominguez, whose offensive approach has disappointed scouts this spring. But he is a safe bet . . . he's just not good enough to go 4 overall.

 

 Q: 

Adam from NYC asks:
What separates Blake Beavan from the top HS arms in the draft, namely Rick Porcello? It seems like he is getting less respect as other players, yet his stats, track record, and projectability are on the same level. Any thoughts on where he would go in the draft?


 A: 

John Manuel: Quick answer . . . Beavan's delivery is not nearly as clean or projectable as those guys.

 

 Q: 

john from new york, saratoga asks:
Jim, if Justin Smoak were draft eligible,where would you see him going? What round? Also, do these major league organizations get physicals on some of these pitchers? If I owned the
Pittsburgh Pirates, I would not be happy about the Brad Lincoln situation. Thanks


 A: 

John Manuel: Smoak would definitely go high if he were around this year, probably in the first half of the first round. As for the physicals, yes, they get detailed medical reports, hence guys like Joba Chamberlain falling last year, and the medical reports on Max Scherzer scared teams off last year too. If I owned the Pirates, I wouldn't be happy about more than Lincoln--it would be Lincoln, JVB, Bullington, Bobby Bradley, Sean Burnett . . .

 

 Q: 

Mike from Hillsborough, NJ asks:
Who do you think has a higher ceiling Moustakas or Vitters?


 A: 

John Manuel: Glad you asked . . . I haven't seen these guys in person to evaluate them, but the broad consensus is Vitters is 1, and Moustakas is 1A. Moustakas has the power arm that's exciting, but the hit tool is a slight edge for Vitters, and the power tool is either a push or a slight edge Moustakas. For me, I'd take the LH bat (Moustakas) and the Greek (Moustakas), but the scouting consensus is pretty strongly pro-Vitters, even for guys who like Moustakas a lot.

 

 Q: 

Steve from Owltown asks:
Jim: We in houston have enjoyed watching 3 great junior lefthanders, Joe Savery, Cole St. Clair and Bobby Bramhall, these last 3 years. How do you view their draft prospects?


 A: 

John Manuel: Savery has thrown better of late in terms of velocity, and his shoulder surgery may actually help him--Rice hasn't asked as much of him this spring as it has asked of past aces. Jim and I are both fans of the two-way guys who get better once they give up hitting (such as Tim Hudson or even Casey Janssen). St. Clair's medical situation (shoulder injury) clouds his draft status significantly; no one's quite sure what to make of his health, and I have no idea where he'll go as a result. Bramhall's just not in the same class as those guys and strikes me as a guy Rice will get back as a senior.

 

 Q: 

Mike from Hillsborough, NJ asks:
Do you think it will take more money to sign Scherzer than it took the Royals to sign Hochevar last year?


 A: 

John Manuel: No, because Hochevar (a) didn't have the medical issues Scherzer had last year, (b) had better command than Scherzer and (c) this year's draft is better than last year's. Supply and demand helped put Hochevar to the top of the '06 proceedings. While college pitching is down this year, Scherzer won't go 1 (he's not better than Price), and most teams would have him more in the 10-20 range on their draft boards. Hochevar would have been higher as a consensus talent on boards last year.

 

 Q: 

Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Hi Jim. I'm sure draft time is hectic, so thanks for fitting us in today. How much has
Canada emerged in the draft since Larry Walker became an Expo? Morneau won MVP last year. Harden would challenge for a C.Y. Award if he could ever stay of the DL. Loewen was emerging as a top of the rotation lefty starter in Baltimore before he was sidelined. How does this fit into a team's assessment of Phillippe Aumont?


 A: 

John Manuel: Not sure how much Walker has to do with it so much as we've had more than a generation of Canadians grow up with MLB as part of the sports landscape, and the Blue Jays' success was in the early 1990s, and now those guys are getting draft-eligible. Also, give the coaches and people in charge at Baseball Canada and in BC (Surrey area) and in other baseball hotbeds in Canada credit for building a cohesive national program that has produced talent. Aumont gets all the attention but no, i don't think the success of Canadian big leaguers helps him a ton; maybe a smidge . . . Don't forget about Kyle Lotzkar, he's not far off from Aumont, though he is more raw. Might be a supplemental joker.

 

 Q: 

Ryan from Vancouver Washington asks:
Thanks for the chat: Please tell me the Pirates are considering either Wieters or Moustakas with the 4th pick. I know they are both
Boras clients, but this is a system in dire need of some impact bats and it appears Vitters will be gone. Have you heard either name associated with the Pirates or should we brace ourselves for a MoskosDetwiller 3rd starter type. Thanks,


 A: 

John Manuel: Again, the Pirates Q's ... the other twist to mention is no, the Pirates don't appear to be targeting Boras clients. I wouldn't call Moskos or Detwiler 3rd starter types though. Both are LHPs with two plus pitches, either one could be a No. 2, and both in my mind are worthy No. 4 talents. They do want a hitter, we're hearing they want a college hitter, and that pool is small, which is why if it's not Wieters, the best bet may be Beau Mills, whom we have ranked 12th on our Top 100 (sneak peek there).

 

 Q: 

Mike from Corvallis asks:
Jim, thanks for the chat. As the OSU Beavers have their backs to the wall how do players such as Canham, Barney, and Kunz look as the draft approaches. Stocks rising or falling? Also, what are the chances their big recruits (Alderson, Peavy..ect) end up on campus? Thanks Again.


 A: 

John Manuel: Great question . . . the Beavers' swoon of late isn't helping any of those guys. Barney's stock in particular is suffering, he's kind of lost his identity as a hitter is what I've heard, swinging for the fences in BP, things like that. Canham is slumping down the stretch offensively again and remains somewhat rough as a receiver, and Kunz is holding firm as a first-two-rounds pick. Alderson's probably gone, but the Beavers are in play for other recruits such as Greg Peavey, Tanner Robles and Garrett Nash, all those guys have gone back a bit in the draft this spring and are probably 50-50 on getting to school, maybe not that high, but I'd bet the Beavers get one of those three and wouldn't be totally shocked if they got all three.

John Manuel: OK, turning it back over to Jim Callis now. THanks for all the Q's.

 

 Q: 

Mark L. Peel from Arlington Heights, IL asks:
I certainly won't complain if your current draft projection is on the money: I would love to see the Cubs get Josh Vitters. But do you have any suspicion who the Cubs might take if Vitters is off the board?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Sorry I was so late (12-year-old birthday party, with restaurantparkingtraffic issues in Chicago), but I'll get to your questions. Thanks to John Manuel for pinch-hitting for a while . . . I keep hearing the Cubs on Vitters. If it's not Vitters, the Cubs had a bunch of people at one of Jarrod Parker's starts, but that might have been a coincidence of proximity to Chicago, too. I also wouldn't rule out Scott Boras clients like Matt Wieters or Andrew Brackman (if healthy).

 

 Q: 

Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Is KC considering Porcello at # 2? Did his recent perfecto improve his stock even further?


 A: 

Jim Callis: They are considering Rick Porcello at No. 2 and that's my best guess at this point. Sounds like the Royals will take the best guy on their board and pay to get a deal done. The perfecto didn't hurt, but his stock was already through the roof to begin with.

 

 Q: 

Mike from Hillsborough, NJ asks:
How far do you see Matt Harvey falling in the draft do his signability issues?


 A: 

Jim Callis: I put him at No. 24 to the Rangers in our initial mock draft, which is up on the site. But honestly, that far down in the draft at this point is educated guesswork at best. Harvey is talented, but Porcello has moved ahead of him and there are a lot of very good HS pitchers comparable to Harvey who aren't represented by Scott Boras. He could fall to the second half of the first round. But if there's a team that loves him, he could go in the top 10 picks as well.

 

 Q: 

jim from wichita, ks asks:
Hey,
Wichita State seems to be having a good season and has some decent prospects for this years draft. Any of Wichita State's guys considered top draft picks this year?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Travis Banwart, a command righthander, will probably go in the second round. Outfielder Matt Brown has a nice package of tools, but there are some questions about his bat. He could go third to fifth round. I think teams prefer Damon Sublett on the mound, but he's barely pitched this year. Still could sneak into the first five rounds as a second baseman.

 

 Q: 

James from Spanish Fork, UT asks:
Can Cory Gearrin sneak his way into the midlate comp round riding the joe smith curtails. Im hearing Cory is better, and with a better track record. Also heard he was 91-93 last weekend, so does that make the Smith comparisons legit?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Gearrin did enter his draft year more highly regarded than Smith was, though Smith was lights out for most of the spring and quickly rose up draft boards. I'm not sure Gearrin can match Smith's changeup, which is how Smith gets lefties out. I like Gearrin, he was good in the Cape Cod League, probably goes about where Smith did (third round). Sandwich round would surprise me a little. There are better relief candidates to take there.

 

 Q: 

Don from Medford, NJ asks:
Wouldnt it be a diservice to a player to go with an advisor who has multiple draft picks especially at the same position? This has always confused me with
Boras and the Hendricks Bros. How do they push the right players to the teams without a conflict of interest???


 A: 

Jim Callis: Good point, Don. You're right . . . when an advisor has several draft picks going in the same area of the draft, there can be a conflict of interest. But the teams aren't getting players pushed on them so much as determine who they want and going from there. I don't think there's any funny business going on, but certainly the opportunity could arise.

 

 Q: 

james floyd from TX asks:
Jim, can you comment on where stclair, savery and friday from rice will be drafted as well as demel, arrieta and walker from tcu?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Lefthanders Joe Savery and Cole St. Clair are huge wild cards because they're not 100 percent healthy and the track record of Rice pitching prospects staying healthy hasn't been good. Savery and St. Clair could be mid- to late first-rounders if they're 100 percent by the end of the season. No one is sure if that will happen. Shortstop Brian Friday could go in the fourth to seventh round. I like Sam Demel. He has effort to his delivery but very good stuff. I think he's a late sandwich-rounder or second-rounder. Arrieta should have been a mid-first-rounder, but he has had a terribly inconsistent year and is represented by Boras. I'll guess late sandwich or second round for him too. Catcher Andrew Walker is a sixth- to 10th-rounder.

 

 Q: 

Steve Little from Orlando,Fl asks:
Is David Price still the favorite to be the Rays #1 overall pick?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Very much so. It would be an upset right now if he doesn't go No. 1.

 

 Q: 

Greg from Higganum, CT asks:
There has been a lot of talk about the college RHP crop being thin. Who would be in your top 5 or 10 of that group?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Very thin. My top five would be (not counting indy baller Max Scherzer): Andrew Brackman (though his status is cloudy right now), Casey Weathers (though he's a RP), Chris Carpenter (though he's had two elbow surgeries), James Simmons and I guess Jake Arrieta if you think he can bounce back. If you gave me the choice of that five, or the high school top five of Rick Porcello, Jarrod Parker, Matt Harvey, Blake Beavan and Phillippe Aumont, I'm taking the high schoolers. It's not even close.

 

 Q: 

Mike from Montreal asks:
Higher upside, Beau Mills or Matt Dominguez?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Mills has more upside with the bat, but he's a DH. Dominguez is a more well-rounded player, a potential Gold Glove third baseman who's no slouch at the plate. I really like Mills' bat, so I'd give him a very slight edge.

 

 Q: 

Russ from NY asks:
Any thoughts on Pete Kozma and Matt Hoffman?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Are you from New York or Owasso, Okla., where those two guys hail from. I think Kozma is the best shortstop in the draft and I think he's going to sneak into the last 10 picks of the first round, maybe to the Blue Jays or Twins. Hoffman is a lefthanded pitcher/outfielder, one of the best HS players in the state, but I think he winds up going to college at Oklahoma.

 

 Q: 

Dan from Gaithersburg, MD asks:
Does it look like someone is going to take Mesoraco in the first round or should we see him gone during the supplemental? I know that he can play multiple positions but do ya'll see him as a catcher down the line or somewhere else?


 A: 

Jim Callis: First round and he'll be a catcher. Alan Matthews, who handles the East for our draft coverage, describes him as Jeff Mathis with more bat, which is high praise. I had the Phillies taking him at No. 19 in our mock first round, and a bunch of teams behind the Phillies would love a crack at him.

 

 Q: 

Jake from CA asks:
Do the rockies have any shot at vitters for no. 8


 A: 

Jim Callis: Nope. If the Cubs pass him at No. 3, I think the Pirates will jump on him at No. 4. Could also see Nationals (No. 6) and Brewers (No. 7) possibly taking him.

 

 Q: 

Joe from Sacramento,C.A asks:
What are you hearing about the giants with picks 10,22,29? i would think position players don't you think.


 A: 

Jim Callis: You would think, and they've been linked to Beau Mills. But I'm also hearing a lot of pitchers: North Carolina HS lefty Madison Bumgarner, Vanderbilt righty Casey Weathers, Kent State righty Chris Carpenter, San Francisco lefty Aaron Poreda, UC Riverside righty James Simmons.

 

 Q: 

James from Springfield asks:
Where do you see Ross Detwiler going overall from
Missouri State?


 A: 

Jim Callis: First five picks, most likely to the Royals (No. 2) or Orioles (No. 5).

 

 Q: 

Josh Meyer from Fort Dodge, IA asks:
Are my Twins showing any interest in Kevin Ahrens the high school third baseman from
Houston?


 A: 

Jim Callis: If the Twins had their choice of high school third basemen from Texas, I think they'd pop Will Middlebrooks.

 

 Q: 

Kevin from Austin asks:
Jim- Big Longhorn fan. What are the chances that Kyle Russell and Bradley Suttle go high enough to leave? Incoming recruits Taylor Grote and Slayon Thomas? Thanks.


 A: 

Jim Callis: We're hearing that the word is both won't sign for less than seven figures. Clubs believe that's a ploy to drive down Russell to a team in the sandwich round that would meet his price, and that it will happen. Not sure Suttle would get quite that much, so it could be interesting. As you surely know, both have leverage as draft-eligible somphomores. I think the Longhorns will keep both Grote and Thomas.

 

 Q: 

Greg from Toronto asks:
How are you guys at Baseball
America able to guess so well how the 1st round plays out? Do the scouting directorsfront office just tell you who they're taking or is there much more detective work involved?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Good sources who clue us in, and they like to know what we're hearing, too. Unlike the other major sports, you can't trade draft picks in baseball, so teams don't have to worry about someone outmaneuvering them. And good hard work . . . I probably spent 40+ hours on the phone the last three days before the draft.

 

 Q: 

Brent from Bowling Green U asks:
Who do you beleive will be able to advance more quickly through the minors, Phillippe Aumont or Jarrod Parker?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Parker. He's been more consistent this spring.

 

 Q: 

Christine from Clinton, TN asks:
Jim, I was wondering if you might tell me who you think will be the better fantasy prospect - Vitters, Wieters, Price, or Laporta? Thanks a ton!!!


 A: 

Jim Callis: Wieters, because of the position scarcity at catcher.

 

 Q: 

john h from princeton, ont asks:
How good a prospect do you see Micahel Burgress being in the future?


 A: 

Jim Callis: He swings and misses too much for my taste. Huge ceiling, but I'm not sure he gets there.

 

 Q: 

Peter from NYC asks:
Do you think Baumgarner will be better than Detwiler andor Moskos long term? Would you take the safe college pick or the projectable HS lefty in Baumgarner?


 A: 

Jim Callis: Ross Detwiler still has some projection left too. I'd take him, he's the best of the trio.

 

 Q: 

Jayson from Ft Worth, TX asks:
You have the Rangers taking Borbon at 17. Please tell me about Borbon. Thanks!


 A: 

Jim Callis: Speedy center fielder from Tennessee, compared often to Johnny Damon or Jacoby Ellsbury. He'd really fill a need for Texas.

Jim Callis: Those are all the questions I can take today, need to run off and coach some sixth-grade baseball. Hectic week with the Draft Preview, so there will be no Ask BA, but we'll be back next week with a ton more draft coverage, a new Ask BA and another Friday chat. And I can take more of your draft questions Wednesday in the ESPN.com chat. See you there.