Draft Chat With Jim Callis




 Q:  Joe from Easton, MD asks:
Jim, thank you for the chat first of all. Alvarez was extraordinarily impressive this past week in his return, and I see that his stock is kept intact, but I was also wondering if you can ever recall a hitter bouncing back from a hamate injury so quickly with that type of power? Was the injury not as severe or is this just another testament to how special Alvarez is?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. We already have 106 questions piled up in the chat queue, so that means 1) I'll try to get to as many as I can and 2) I'll almost assuredly ignore any non-draft questions. As for Alvarez, hamate injuries are supposed to sap a player's power for well after he returns to a lineup. I was surprised by his quick resurgence and will be interested to see if he maintains it. I wouldn't read too much into it yet, but it doesn't hurt his cause. And as I've written before, I don't think the injury was going to affect his draft status in any case.

 Q:  Greg from San Francisco asks:
With the first pick in the 2009 MLB Draft, the San Francisco Giants select...?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The best guess at this early juncture is Missouri RHP Kyle Gibson or San Diego State RHP Steven Strasburg.

 Q:  John from Pensacola asks:
Where do you see Andrew Cashner going in the draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Right now, the second or third round. Now at Texas Christian, Cashner continues to show the power arm he showed at Angelina (Texas) JC (which is Clay Buchholz' alma mater). If he improves his command, I could see him sneaking into the sandwich round.

 Q:  Zack from Ft Worth, Tx asks:
With the Rangers system pretty stocked with pitching do you think the Rangers will go after a hitter with the 11 pick in the draft or is the best value at 11 taking a pitcher? Who do you think the Rangers will take?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think they'll take whoever they deem the best player. They have a lot of depth in their system, but you can never have enough pitching. The guys who are 11-12-13 on our midseason draft board are all hitters, though: California HS catcher Kyle Skipworth, Georgia SS Gordon Beckham and Miami 1B Yonder Alonso.

 Q:  Joe from Easton, MD asks:
What is the latest you have heard on what teams are thinking in regards to Ethan Martin - pitcher or third base? Isn't that possibly 80 raw power that they would give up on?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Pitcher. He's been one of the most impressive high school arms in the country. He does have impressive raw power, though I don't know if anyone is slapping an 80 on it.

 Q:  Georgina Delome from Georgia asks:
I see that Harold Martinez has fallen out of the top 50, other than him who are other players that the stock is falling and who are on the rise?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Check out our latest addition to the draft blog at http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=266.

 Q:  Henry T from Tiburon CA asks:
Do you see the Giants going after the big college bat we desperatley need? (Smoak, Alvarez, Alonso) or....do you see them going the high school position player route? (Hoesmer,Hicks Beckham is he's around)
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Giants have the misfortune of picking fifth in a draft in which there's a clear top four: Vanderbilt 3B Pedro Alvarez, San Diego LHP Brian Matusz, Missouri RHP Aaron Crow and Georgia HS SS Tim Beckham. If any of them fall—and Alvarez might because of signability—they'd be the clear favorite for San Francisco (at least based on talent). I don't see them taking a first baseman with Angel Villalona on hand and so many other needs. If the top four go in the top four picks, my best guess right now is a catcher (California prepster Kyle Skipworth or Florida State's Buster Posey) or a pitcher (Tulane's Shooter Hunt, Fresno State's Tanner Scheppers or Missouri high schooler Tim Melville, all righties).

 Q:  John from Pensacola asks:
Has any team ever drafted and not signed two players who would go on to become first rounders in the very next draft? Two of the Braves' '07 picks, Fields and Shreve, look like first round picks this year..
 A: 

Jim Callis: In 2000, the Orioles took Kyle Sleeth (18th round) and Tim Stauffer (36th round), and they became the Nos. 3 and 4 overall picks three years later. But that's not what your asking. I'll say I'd doubt it, because you're essentially dealing with junior college players or college seniors. I'm not sure Shreve will be a first-rounder, though, as he started hot last year and fade late. He is the top juco prospect at this moment.

 Q:  Doug from Phoenix asks:
Is there any way that Ike Davis will be given a chance to be a two way player in the pros? Given his ability to be a power pitcher from the left side and for as much as you love Brett Wallace as a prospect Davis has out performed him stat wise as a freshmen and so far this year from the plate it would be ashamed to give up on either one of those tools.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably not, because teams believe it would detract from both aspects of his game if you let a guy go two ways. I think Davis will be drafted as a hitter and begin his pro career in the outfield.

 Q:  Paul from Tempe asks:
It seems like TB,KC,SF,Flor,ChicWS,Wash and Houst need catching. Do you think ASU recruit Skipworth gets past #10. He's been catching for just 1 year so he has huge upside. I don't see him going to ASU.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't either. I think Skipworth definitely goes in the top 15 picks right now, with a very good chance he goes in the top 10. I don't think the Rays will take him at No. 1, but he's in the mix of players they're evaluating.

 Q:  Ryan from santa ana, ca asks:
Can Zach Collier really be a 1st rounder?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Collier, a late-blooming OF from Chino Hills (Calif.) HS, could play his way into the first round. It's not a good year for outfielders at all, and he made a name for himself by going 4-for-4 with a double and homer off likely first-rounder Aaron Hicks. I think he's more of a sandwich- or second-rounder at this point.

 Q:  Henry T from Tiburon CA asks:
Hello thanks for the chat I was possibly wondering if you, or scouts believed that Pedro Alvarez had the potential to move to one of the outfield corners? Because, I realize that my team the Giants have Angel Villinona and Angel most likely couldn't but would Alvarez be able to make a Laporta like move to the outfield?
 A: 

Jim Callis: This question confuses me a little bit, but to answer the main point: If LaPorta can play the outfield, Alvarez could give it a shot. The main issue will be that he'll have to work hard on keeping his big lower half from getting too thick and slowing him down. That's also the main issue on whether he can stay at third base, where he'll get every chance to play once he enters pro ball.

 Q:  Eric from California asks:
Hi Jim, I know that Gordon is the lessor Beckham but what do you think he has to offer a major league club. Is he a solid regular, all-star, bench utility? I really haven't heard anyone say what they expect from him, only that he isn't as good as Tim. Would love to hear your thoughts.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Somewhere between a solid regular and an all-star, closer to a solid regular for me.

 Q:  Ian from NH asks:
It seems like the Red Sox have a fascination with Reese Havens. Will they snatch him up if he is there at pick 30?
 A: 

Jim Callis: They do love him — would have made him a first-round pick in 2005 if he would have signed for slot money. There's a very good chance the Red Sox would take him at No. 30 if he gets there, though he's having such a good season that he may not make it. He probably won't stay at shortstop, and whoever drafts him could wind up trying to make a catcher out of him.

 Q:  Henry T from Tiburon CA asks:
The Royals will go the starting pitching route.........(true or false) and will draft Brian Matsusz.......(true/false)?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think it all depends on how the two picks ahead of them go. With Alex Gordon and Billy Butler (not to mention Mike Moustakas, whose best position is probably 3B), I can't see the Royals taking Pedro Alvarez. But if Matusz and Crow go 1-2 ahead of them, they probably would take Tim Melville at No. 3.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
Hi Jim, What do you think of the Royals taking Tim Beckham at #3 and then taking a college pitcher at #36? Who do you think would be a good value at #36?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Ace is thinking what I'm thinking. At No. 36, the Royals could get a college pitcher like Arizona RHP Ryan Perry, Virginia RHP Jacob Thompson or Mississippi RHP Cody Satterwhite.

 Q:  Trey from Jackson,MS asks:
thanks for the chat. I am a die hard Ole miss fan with a couple of questions. why is Lynn ranked ahead of satterwhite on the top 50? I went to oxford this weekend and lynn was 88-91 and satterwhite 92-95. Do you think both will still go in the 1st round as projected before the season? Also can you tell me if cody overbeck and scott bittle are prospects. Bittle has video game numbers.
 A: 

Jim Callis: On Lynn vs. Satterwhite, Lynn is simply a more effective pitcher despite having less velocity. Satterwhite is too hittable for a guy who throws as hard as he does, and I don't think he's a first-rounder right now. Overbeck is a fourth- to seventh-rounder, and Bittle fits in the same mix.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
I see Lil Weeks leads the Canes in HRs. Does he have real power or aluminum power?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That's somewhat shocking, because teammates Yonder Alonso and Dennis Raben also have bats that could make them first-rounders. Weeks doesn't really have that kind of pop, though, he's more of a line-drive guy. I don't think there are many teams that would grade him as having average home run power in the majors.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
Since Gose is far less polished as an OFer than Hicks, and the fact he throws 97 from the leftside, do you see him having a better shot at being drafted as a pitcher?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Teams are split on what to do with both of those guys. But I agree with what you're hinting at: raw OF + 97-mph southpaw = pro pitcher.

 Q:  chris from college station asks:
Do you expect to see 1st basemen like smoak, wallace, dykstra, cooper, hosmer slip as we get closer to the draft? Seems to me that to take them high, you must be sure that they can hit 30+ HR in the big leagues. Doesnt seem like any of those guys could play a different position.
 A: 

Jim Callis: You can throw Yonder Alonso into that mix, too. And yes, many of them could slip because of the first-base glut. You're right in that because you can't move them to a more challenging position, you really have to believe in the bat.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
As TB doesn't appear to need another 3B, what's the latest projection as to Alvarez's likely destination?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I still think he makes a ton of sense for the Pirates at No. 2, though they'll have to be willing to meet Scott Boras' price tag.

 Q:  Doug from Phoenix asks:
The top high school prospect to attend college next year will be...
 A: 

Jim Callis: Either Lutheran HS (Orange, Calif.) RHP Gerrit Cole or Lexington (Ky.) Catholic LHP Nick Maronde. Cole is committed to UCLA, Maronde to Florida.

 Q:  Tim from Houston asks:
I know the high school pitching from texas isn't as dominant as it has been in the past, but do you see anyone going early in the draft this year
 A: 

Jim Callis: It's a down year in Texas, which may not produce a single first-round pick. The three best high school pitchers are San Augustine RHP Trey Haley, Klein Colling (Spring) RHP Austin Dicharry and Georgetown RHP Taylor Jungmann. They're more second- to fourth-rounders at this point.

 Q:  Warren from Texas asks:
Just kinda wondering who you personally thought was the most over-rated and under-rated on the list? Thanks for the chat!
 A: 

Jim Callis: Well, I put the top 50 together, so I believe in most of the guys. In terms of overrated, I like him, but I think there's a little more love for South Carolina 1B Justin Smoak than is justified because he had a down summer with Team USA and has been good but not great this spring. I also like Eastern Kentucky LHP Christian Friedrich, but I wonder how his stuff will play in the big leagues. He has solid velocity but doesn't command his fastball really well, and his curve overmatches college hitters but is more of a slow curve than a power breaker. And just to show I'm not picking on the Gamecocks, I think SS Reese Havens and 3B James Darnell are underrated.

 Q:  bob from lexington, ky asks:
Was robbie ross given any consideration for the top 50? I have seen him pitch in the past and seems very impressive
 A: 

Jim Callis: He definitely was and would have made a Top 60 had we gone that deep. He has a very good arm and as a bonus, he's a lefty.

 Q:  dave from greenville, sc asks:
I see where you state in your recent rankings that Justin Smoak is having an unexceptional junior year...while others on his team may have a couple more homeruns, his numbers to this point keep him on pace to have a better year than either of his previous years at SC (except for maybe rbi's), so how has his season not been considered to be very good since his first two years were considered to be awe-inspiring?
 A: 

Jim Callis: For a guy who has been a potential No. 1 overall pick and a consensus top-five talent, I expected to see more than a .349 average and seven homers in 30 games.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
Better Dykstra all around - Lenny or Alan?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Do you mean Cutter, Lenny's son? Cutter has a much more well-rounded game, but Allan's bat and power make him the better prospect.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Kieschnick has been dazzling this year, yet is near the bottom of your list. Is he simply not as good as his numbers, or is there another reason?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Texas Tech OF Roger Kieschnick has hit for power but not for average. His pop is far and away his best tool, and his bat will have to carry him, as he's not anything special as a runner/defender/athlete.

 Q:  Ray LeMond from NY asks:
With Captain DJ showing his age (pulling a quad), what 2B/SS prospect do you think would catch the Yankees' eyes? Do you see Brandon Crawford a reach for the Yanks at the end of the first round? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: There's no obvious answer here. The Yankees pick at No. 28, by which point both Beckhams will be long gone. There's not another shortstop who fits at No. 28, and many of the top shortstops in this draft either can't hit or project to move to another position. Crawford has not hit for average or shown much pop or discipline this spring, and his bat is a huge question mark for several clubs I've spoken with.

 Q:  Richard Smiley from Chicago, IL asks:
Any chance that the White Sox take Gordon Beckham with the 8th pick?
 A: 

Jim Callis: There's a chance. That's a little rich for me, but not entirely out of whack. The White Sox are probably going to lean toward college players because their system is thin, and they haven't gone after a prominent Boras advisee in years, so those factors will push Beckham up their draft board.

 Q:  Tyler from Baltimore asks:
Jim, Thanks for the chat. You are on the clock on draft day. Assuming Pedro goes number one, and you are in the market for a pitcher (price not being your concern) with Melville, Crow and Matusz on the board, who do you take, ceiling with Melville or solid #2 type in Crow or Matusz?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Good question. Aaron Fitt and I were just debating the pitchers an hour ago. The consensus in the industry right now is Matusz, but I'm leaning just a little bit toward Crow.

 Q:  Keith from St. Louis, MO asks:
Tim Melville get a lot mof the attention here in the St. Louis area, and with his track record rightfully so. But from everything I have heard the sleeper of the first round might be a kid across the river in Illinois named Jake Odorizzi. What can you tell us about Melville's stock and what you are hearing about Odorizzi?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Melville wasn't great his first couple of times out, but he was better in his third outing and he's still the top HS pitcher in the draft. Ordorizzi is the best HS prospect in Illinois, but he's a second- to fourth-rounder right now. He's showing a plus fastball and promising command.

 Q:  John from Minnesota asks:
The other week Aaron Fitt mentioned that Minnesota OF Matt Nohelty could be a possible Top 5 round pick come June. I was wondering where do you see his teammate, Nate Hanson, going in the draft. I understand that Hanson had a very impressive summer in the Northwoods League and he seem to be doing fairly well right now.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hanson is a comparable prospect, could go in the fourth-10th round. Gap-hitting third baseman.

 Q:  jon from davidson, oh asks:
Jim, thanks for the chat. You stated that the top four players have clearly seperated themselves, please explain how so?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Most of the clubs I've spoken to consider Alvarez, Matusz, Crow and Tim Beckham the top four players in the draft and a cut above the rest of the prospects.

Moderator: Thanks for all the questions. Jim is heading back to the draft phones, and we'll have some more draft-related chats in the coming weeks.