Early Draft Preview Chat

John Manuel and Jim Callis handled your draft questions




Moderator: John and Jim will answer your draft questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Dan Schmidt from Lincoln, NE asks:
Who is the most projectible HS pitcher with the most upside?
 A: 

Jim Callis: In terms of sheer projectability, it's probably 6-foot-5, 175-pound LHP Tyler Skaggs from Santa Monica (Calif.) HS. RHP Zach Wheeler (East Paulding HS, Dallas, Ga.) also has a long way to develop at 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds. Of course, the two best high school arms still have a good amount of projection remaining. That's lefties Tyler Matzek (Capistrano Valley HS, Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Matt Purke (Klein, Texas, HS).

 Q:  Dan from Tampe, az asks:
Mike Leake or Jeff Inman?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Inman has better pure stuff but hasn't been nearly as consistent as Leake, who has won 24 games while also playing six positions in the field over his first two seasons. You can dream more on Inman, but we have Leake rated higher. His savvy and competitiveness are off the charts.

 Q:  Kevin from Boston, MA asks:
I see a BC kid on the list in C Tony Sanchez. What can you tell me about him?
 A: 

John Manuel: Welcome in everybody. Draft season, college season, World Baseball Classic coming up, BA's top 100 coming in 2 weeks. What a time of year.

John Manuel: Sanchez is an above-average defender, both his receiving and throwing are plus, and his bat's developing, as he went from one homer as a freshman to nine last year. He's no slam-dunk big leaguer but he's got a good chance to go in the first three or four rounds this year if he continues his offensive development. It's not a great year in New England this year — no Matt Harveys up there, or Anthony Hewitts that we know of right now, but the 2010s look a little better off the top of my head with UConn's sophomore class, led by SS Michael Olt.

 Q:  Alec from Tempe, AZ asks:
I havent heard much on Aaron Senne. Is he a top 2 round guy?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Athletic outfielder at Missouri, could go anywhere from the second to fourth round right now, and he's helped by the fact that it's a down year for college position players. He's only the third-best prospect on the Tigers, behind righthander Kyle Gibson and catcher Trevor Coleman.

 Q:  Steve from San Diego, Ca asks:
Will Green be at #3 for the Padres. If not who will they take at #3
 A: 

John Manuel: Hard to know where teams are going to fall and what they'll be willing to spend. Suffice it to say (a) Green's a Boras Corp. client, (b) he's the consensus best position player in this draft, and was a big-time talent out of high school who has answered the biggest questions about him with his performance last summer in the Cape, and (c) he more thank likely will not surpass Strasburg as the No. 1 talent. He's got a chance to be the No. 2 talent, and in fact I'd say he's the favorite for the No. 2 spot, just on talent, which is where we have him now. I'm a big Alex White fan and also think very highly of Dustin Ackley, but Green's ahead of those guys as a shortstop with offensive upside. So I guess my answer is that on talent, no, he shouldn't last to 3 for San Diego. White or Ackley seems more likely there, and if Ackley can play CF, then I'd say Ackley, because of his speed and hitting ability.

 Q:  Joseph from Fort Worth, TX asks:
Thanks for the chat guys. I'm really excited to see Strasburg pitch against pro competition? How do you think he compares to Mark Prior coming out of college?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think the tendency usually is to pump up the current guy vs. the one from the past. That said, I have been asking that question and the consensus is that they're very similar—the two best college RHPs this decade—but Strasburg has slightly better stuff. He throws a little harder and has a little more power to his curve than Prior did.

 Q:  Joseph from Fort Worth, TX asks:
Thanks for the chat guys. How do you think Grant Green compares to Tim Beckham, and who do you think is the better prospect?
 A: 

Jim Callis: It depends on what you want. I think Green has more power and upside with the bat, while Beckham is more athletic and more of a pure shortstop. When guys are close, I tend to go with the one who has proven himself vs. tougher competition, so I'll take Green by just a hair.

 Q:  Jean-Paul from Springfield asks:
Boras seems to have a legitimate stranglehold within this year's crop. Are there any of his more notable clients that you think have more than a 50/50 shot of NOT signing?
 A: 

Jim Callis: It's way too early to know, honestly. He does have seven guys in our top 15 prospects: Strasburg, Green, Ackley, Tate, Oliver, Davis and Turner. The college guys almost certainly will sign, so that leaves Tate and Turner. If they get drafted in the first round, I'd be very surprised if they didn't sign, though we saw what happened with Gerrit Cole last year.

 Q:  Daniel from San Diego asks:
I dont know much about the UCSB starting staff. Where do their starters project in the draft?
 A: 

John Manuel: The Gauchos might actually get talked about on Jim Rome's show this year. RHPs Mike Ford should be a nice sign, he has a three-pitch mix, competes and at times has a splitter that gives him a plus offering. He's up to 93 mph. Joe Gardner's a sinker-slider guy with command and life to his two-seamer, 89-91 and you'll see better at times. LHP Mario Hollands doesn't quite have the stuff those two do, but he's firm enough for an LHP, he's got some funk & deception in the delivery, and he's a fairly athletic LHP. All three should go in the first five rounds if they have good springs, and if they have good springs, the Gauchos will be a major factor in the Big West.

 Q:  Mark from Los Angeles asks:
How did you guys leave UCLA's Cohen and Haerther off your College top 100? You have mentioned both having more early round potential than many of the kids you listed.
 A: 

John Manuel: Cohen hit about .200 with a ton of strikeouts last year; that was an easy call. He has potential but his swing gets very long and his confidence was shot last year when he got out of the gates slowly. Haerther is the better college player and can really hit, let's see how he handles third base. He was closer to the top 100 than Cohen. Bat's his best tool, might be his only tool.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Will Strasburg ask for AND receive eight figures from Bowden?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Again, it's too early to know about asking prices yet. But if Strasburg performs as expected, I'd bet the he and Boras will look to top the record $10.5 million contract the Cubs gave Prior in 2001. And with Boras still feeling like Pedro Alvarez got taken advantage of last year, I don't think he's looking to give any ground. Will the Nationals pay something like that, when they also have to sign the No. 10 overall pick? As costly as it would be, I don't think they can afford to turn their back on Strasburg. At the same time, they didn't close the deal with Aaron Crow last year either.

 Q:  Hank from Napa, Ca asks:
How high can Tommy Mendonca from Fresno St go? Is there a chance he sneaks into the latter half of the 1st round due to lack of quality position guys? He looked like a stud in the CWS last yr
 A: 

Jim Callis: Could he sneak into the end of the first round? Sure, if he has a very good spring, because clubs are always looking for college bats. He has a lot of power and shined with the glove at the CWS. But he also struck out an NCAA-record 99 times last year, and that's a lot of swinging and missing. That concerns scouts. I think he's more of a third-rounder.

 Q:  Bob from Jacksonville asks:
I see that OF matt den dekker is a high draft prospect.. Do the gators have any other potential draft picks?
 A: 

John Manuel: Den Dekker's the best, and then Florida has some nice senior signs, like OF Avery Barnes, RHP Pat Keating (their Friday guy) and maybe 1B Brandon McArthur, who is a sixth-year guy who was a fifth-round pick out of high school. RHP Billy Bullock is the only other junior on the team who figures to go in the first 10 rounds or so, unless OF Jonathan Pigott really picks it up. He was highly regarded out of high school but hasn't hit better than .260 yet in college.

 Q:  Brett from The ILL asks:
Has Kentrail Davis shown improvement on defense? If he doesn't end up playing LF in the pros, would he be more likely to head to CF because of his speed and arm strength, or RF because it's less demanding than CF?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Not in scouts' minds, though they haven't seen much of him since last summer. LF is the least challenging position, so he's not moving to CF or RF in pro ball if he can't handle LF. He's a CF at Tennessee, but for all his athleticism, his instincts and arm are well below average. He does have enough bat to play regularly in LF, though.

 Q:  Trace from Portland asks:
I remember reading about Brian Pearl from U of Washington a while back - no top 100 love for him now?
 A: 

John Manuel: Pearl's an excellent sleeper. He just missed the top 100 and could definitely move up. He showed 92-94 mph velo this past summer in the Northwoods league with a plus slider, and he's athletic. My caveats on him are (1) he's never been a full-time pitcher, having played 3B (and played it well) his first two years in college, and (2) he's a closer, and it's going to be hard to scout him, hard to crosscheck him, especially if Washington is just OK. If he moves into the rotation like Nick Hagadone did for two starts late in '07, and performs well like Hagadone did, he could rocket up some draft boards late. Right now he's thrown 11 career innings in Division I, so forgive us for being a bit conservative with him.

 Q:  Katie from St. Cloud, MN asks:
Could you rank the draft crops as a whole over the last five years, including this one? (2005-2009). Thanks!
 A: 

Jim Callis: 2005 and 2008 stand out the most because of the depth of position players. I'd go 2007 next because of David Price, Matt Wieters and some interesting HS bats. 2006 got knocked at the time, but there was a lot of good pitching there (Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw) and also Evan Longoria. 2009 might fit fourth, because I think the top four players are pretty outstanding in Strasburg, Green, White and Ackley.

 Q:  Todd M. from Glendale, AZ asks:
Brad Boxberger - starter or closer? 1st rounder?
 A: 

John Manuel: Boxberger is to be determined, because he was quite good as a starter as a freshman. I still think starter, for the right team that has seen him for a while. Not sure on first-rounder. He's going to be one to watch, with Tom House as his pitching coach, some organizations still are not fans of House's methods, I wonder how much that will come into play.

 Q:  Brian from Tucson, AZ asks:
who are some of the top college catchers this year? How do the local boys Carlos Ramirez and Dwight Childs from ASU and U of A rate? Thanks for the chat!
 A: 

John Manuel: Those are two of them in a class more notable for a lot of 3rd-to-7th round types of talents, rather than any potential first-rounders. No Wieters or Posey this year. Josh Phegley hit .438 last year, 2nd in the country, but his defense was pretty spotty last year, and he's the top C. Two guys to watch in Texas include Preston Clark, who was eligible and drafted in '07 as a sophomore, then wasn't picked at all last year. He's older, he's had knee issues, but if he's healthy he's going to hit and defend, and he's a reason I'm bullish on Texas this year. Another is Diego Seastrunk, moving from 3B to C at Rice. He's no Posey but he can hit and he will be an interesting conversion guy. I love Ramirez but he's unorthodox, there will have to be a match there. Childs is more catch and throw, best in the Pac-10 but a guy with a .216 batting average in 2 college seasons.

John Manuel: Conspicuous by his absence there is Robert Stock, who just was awful this fall, following up a poor Cape Cod League summer. He's 19 and draft-eligible as a junior this year and just not a very good hitter right now. Scouts are pretty down on him.

 Q:  Brett from The ILL asks:
As of right now, do you think the M's sign Fields? If they don't, what do you think they do with all of those early picks? I think with the ownership's willingness to spend money, along with the disappointment of last year and the new regime headed by a lauded talent evaluator, they should break the draft spending record if need by. Your opinion?
 A: 

Jim Callis: It's totally up in the air because both sides feel they can do just as well if they head back into the 2009 draft. Boras believes the Mariners should pay Fields $2 million, because the old regime knew that's what Fields wanted, while the club figures he went where he should have in the draft and values him more in line with the MLB slot recommendation at No. 20 ($1.5 million). If he re-enters the draft, Boras will showcase him in indy ball and thinks he'll find a team willing to pay $2 million for a nearly big league-ready reliever. And the Mariners think they'll get a comparable talent with the No. 21 pick as compensation. If they do sign him, Seattle would like to get it done before spring training. But I suspect Manny Ramirez is a higher priority for Boras right now than Fields.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Purke or Matzek? I saw them pitch at the AFLAC game and they both look equally impressive.
 A: 

Jim Callis: They're very close. I've asked that question a lot in the last couple of weeks, and the consensus is that Matzek is a little more physical and generates his impressive stuff a little more easily than Purke does.

 Q:  Brian from Oceanside, Ca asks:
I don't understand how USD continues to recruit some of the best players in the country with their facilities and cost of school. 4 players in top 100, thats pretty amazing. You expect that from the North Carolinas, Texas', and Miami's of the world but not San Diego. How is it happening?
 A: 

John Manuel: Let's give Rich Hill and his coaching staff most of the credit. They have a beautiful campus, they have a competitive conference and non-league schedule, they have good academics and they are developing some talent too. It's an impressive mix. I think it also has to be pointed out that Southern California has stumbled as a program this decade, one regional in the last six years. Loyola Marymount is down; I guess it's chicken-and-egg here, but I think USD is getting a lot of kids who otherwise might have gone to schools such as USC in the past. Just give Rich Hill & Co. a lot of credit. He's a good salesman.

 Q:  Ryan from Tulsa asks:
Given the uncertain outcome of Andy Oliver's current NCAA litigation, could his draft status be seriously affected should he not get to pitch much this year? Or his stuff good enough to guarentee him a spot in the 1st round irregardless?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I thought we'd hear something by now, but we're still waiting for a ruling from the judge. If he doesn't get to pitch, I don't think it will hurt him too much. He could go to indy ball and make a few starts, and clubs have gotten a lot of good looks at him over the last two years at Oklahoma State, in the Cape Cod League and with Team USA. He's not guaranteed a spot in the first round, but teams know what he can do and he'll get a chance to pitch somewhere.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
At this point, is there any cause to think that Tate WON'T sign with the team that drafts him? I've read several articles stating that it's his intention to play football in college.
 A: 

John Manuel: One scout I've talked to about Tate went to see him play football this fall and wasn't impressed. He was going to quit the sport prior to the fall. I am speculating here but I think him signing a football deal is more for leverage and less for love of football. He's a baseball player who is good enough to play football, but he's a baseball player.

 Q:  Kyle from Owensboro, KY asks:
Barring he continues cutting down of strikeouts, and judging by his tools and future projection, how far do you see Lousiville's Chris Dominguez's stock rising this year? And what do you see his projected numbers in the majors? Thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's a tough one to figure. He set the NCAA strikeout record before Mendonca did, and while he made some strides last year, he still struck out a lot. He has a huge arm but may not be a long-term third baseman because of a lack of range. A lot of clubs seem wary of him and actually would like to see him do some more pitching. Dominguez could bash his way into the first round, but I think second to fourth round is more likely.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Who does Tyler Matzek remind you of, if you had to compare him?
 A: 

John Manuel: I've only seen him pitch once and couldn't do a comp on my own, but the scouts I've talked to about him is Brian Matusz, due to his polished secondary stuff.

 Q:  Craig from Hickory, IN asks:
Josh Phegley put up very impressive numbers last year and ranked 33rd overall for college prospects. Is the catcher position weak this year and what does Phegley need to improve upon ?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The college catching group can't compare to last year's, which featured Buster Posey and Jason Castro in the first 10 picks. There are a number of interesting candidates, and they'll sort themselves out this spring. Though Phegley finished second to Posey in the D-I batting race last year, scouts still want to see a lot more out of him. They wonder about his bat speed a little bit and don't like how his defense has regressed as he has bulked up.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Is Stephen Strasburg more of a lock to go number one then David Price was coming into the season?
 A: 

Jim Callis: On pure talent, it would be Strasburg, because Price had to contend with Matt Wieters. Take the whole picture into account—Price didn't have Boras, Strasburg does in a dicey economy and the team picking first also has to sign the No. 10 pick—and it might be Price.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
I see you have Givens listed at SS on your list, yet you predicted that he'd likely be on the mound in your Top 33 yesterday. What future position is most likely for him?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's both an SS and RHP, and he has the best pure arm strength of any pitcher in the '09 draft class. However, he doesn't have a lot of experience pitching�last year was the first time he was a pitcher for his high school team, at least as a starter�so let's see how he performs in front of a phalanx of scouts. Some clubs like him better as a hitter, but the tide seems to have turned a bit more toward pitching last summer, when he was hitting some 96s. We'll have a full feature on Givens next week that will shed a little more light on that.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Is Ackley going to stick at 1B, or is he suited to play an OF position as well, considering that he doesn't have the typical first baseman's frame?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Ackley has plus speed and some scouts have clocked him as a plus-plus runner. Once his arm bounces back from Tommy John surgery, scouts are dying to see him in center field. He's already the best pure hitter in the draft, and moving from 1B to CF would make him that much more attractive. I don't think there's any question that he can definitely play LF, and scouts believe he'll handle CF just fine.

 Q:  Brett from The ILL asks:
Probably not an Aumont or Lawrie in this class, but who are the top foreign born players available for the draft as of now and tell us something about them.
 A: 

John Manuel: There's a familiar name in Puerto Rico this year�Ruben Sierra Jr. He's an outfielder and pitcher, he could play his way into the top 100 after the early-season showcase in P.R. that's coming up. Canada has some pitching, led by LHP Jake Eliopoulos, who threw well in Wrigley Field at the Under Armour/Baseball Factory event, striking out Donavan Tate. Those are the top guys outside the U.S.

 Q:  Craig from Hickory, IN asks:
Jim, I saw Jason Kipnis a few times last year and was very impressed. Can you see him as a first rounder or more of a supplemental pick ?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Opinions are all over the map on Kipnis. Those who like him see him as one of the better college athletes in the draft and could pop him late in the first round or as a sandwich pick. Those who don't see him as more of a tweener, a guy who doesn't have quite enough bat or the arm to be a regular outfielder and lacks the actions to play second base.

 Q:  Doug from Phx asks:
Any JUCO, DII, or DIII guys that would be in the top 100 or does the list take into account those players?
 A: 

John Manuel: Robbie Shields of Division II Florida Southern is No. 24 on our college list. Among JC players, Northwest Fla. State JC righthander Daniel Webb, who was a 12th-round pick last year of the Diamondbacks, came close. He was top 100 last year but his star faded down the stretch, he wound up turning down $250k from Arizona and is now at JC. Division III doesn't have a first-5 rounds kind of guy at this point.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
What affect do you think Mike Arbuckle will have on the draft for the Royals this year? It seems that Arbuckle is big on high-ceiling athletes as opposed to more polished college prospects.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't think he'll have a huge affect on their philosophy. Arbuckle cut his teeth with the Braves, as did many members of the Royals front office, and they're all willing to gamble on younger, high-ceiling talent. Look at Kansas City's last two drafts (Moustakas, Hosmer, Duffy, Montgomery, Melville)—they've taken a lot of those guys before Arbuckle got there. That said, Arbuckle is a great hire for K.C.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
How high do you ultimately see James Jones going in the draft? Would hoping he falls to the Reds in the supplemental first round be wishful thinking?
 A: 

John Manuel: Lots of Kyle questions, here's one we decided to take. We have a Jones feature coming next week when we roll out our college preview stuff. He's an athletic power arm, which means he could go very high. He's lefthanded, he's a long-toss monster (everyone in the office is saying tee-hee right now), but he's got refinements to make. He probably needs to dominate his low-D-I competition to move up higher than 35, where we have him, so no, that's not wishful thinking at all.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Does Jiovanni Mier replace Grant Green at shortstop next year for the trojans?
 A: 

John Manuel: I doubt it; he's the top prep middle infielder, atop a group of three with Stephen Perez and Deven Marrero and Nick Franklin. I think he played his way out of USC last summer and last fall when he led ABD Bulldogs to the World Wood Bat title in Jupiter.

 Q:  Joe from Chesapeake Beach, Maryland asks:
With the 5th slot in the upcoming draft who do you think the Orioles should target another pitcher or Dustin Ackley? I feel that you can never have enough pitching but the Orioles need to add another bat to the line and Ackley may be ready to go in 2010 when the team will be positioned to start it's run.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I say this all the time—as do the clubs, I'm no genius—but when you're picking at the top of the draft, you have to take the best player available. Assuming Strasburg and White are gone before No. 5, I'd jump on Ackley over any remaining pitcher. He's a special talent. If Strasburg, Green, White and Ackley are all gone, then it comes down to whether they like Tate more than Aaron Crow or a HS pitcher (Matzek, Purke) or college arm (Kyle Gibson, Kendall Volz). It becomes a lot more murky.

 Q:  Kyle from Middletown asks:
What is the scouting report on Trevor Coleman? Defense or offense first catcher? Do you think that position scarcity will get him drafted in the second round?
 A: 

John Manuel: Coleman has the ability to play his way into the first three rounds if he makes offensive strides. He backed up a bit last year hitting, just four homers after hitting nine as a freshman; more was expected of him. He hasn't hit .300 yet in college, though he does have a good feel for the strike zone. Defensively he's as good as anyone in the draft class, he's not necessarily the best guy but he's at least an average catch-and-throw guy who has shown he can handle velocity at Missouri with the likes of Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson. That's an advantage for him, he's handled pro-caliber stuff. He's just got to hit a little more to go as high as the second round.

 Q:  Joel from Washington, DC asks:
I didn't actually count, but I found it remarkable that something like half of the college top 100, starting at the top with Stephen Strasburg, was never drafted. What does that say about the overall accuracy of scouting high school talent for the draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Don't read too much into that. If guys aren't willing to sign for slot money, they either slide way down in the draft or don't get picked at all. All 30 teams knew, for instance, who Strasburg was. But he didn't have nearly the same stuff and was considered soft both physically and mentally, and no one was going to meet his financial expectations at that point. Where guys get drafted, or if they get drafted, is not always indicative of their talent.

 Q:  Shane from Miami asks:
Does Green have 20hr/.300 avg. potential? Also, whoever made the Longoria/Tulo comparison, was that comp. on the glove being Longoria and the bat Tulo or vice versa?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Both guys as a whole really, the chance to be somewhere in between them offensively and defensively. I like his bat more than Tulowitzki's, and he can stay at shortstop, which Longoria didn't do. Can he hit as good as Longoria? I think that's a bit much to ask, but people raved about him last summer and again when we were working on the Early Draft Preview.

 Q:  Brian from Alexandria, VA asks:
With two picks in the top 10, how likely is it the Nationals end up with two college arms (given Baseball America's current rankings)?
 A: 

Jim Callis: If they take the best player available, very good. Because Strasburg should go No. 1 on talent, and at No. 10 most of the best options will be college arms.

 Q:  John from Alexandria, VA asks:
What's the latest on Tanner Scheppers? Is he a top 15 pick at this point?
 A: 

Jim Callis: We have to see him on the mound before we know anything definitive. Right now, without that info, top 15 would be too high. But a fully healthy Scheppers would be a top 10 pick.

 Q:  Tanner from Las Vegas asks:
Does our hometown boy, Bryce Harper (2011), project as a better hitter than anyone in this year's crop (college/hs included)? What are your thoughts?
 A: 

John Manuel: Well, just for hitting for average, that's Ackley. I think that guy will hit line drives for a long, long time. Harper has tools that match up with anyone else though on any other tool. He's got premium power, hitting ability, a ridiculous cannon for an arm . . . I've actually gotten a Josh Hamilton on him. That's the level people have to go to to describe Harper. He's a rare talent, no doubt. If he were in this draft, he'd challenge Strasburg at 1-1, he's that good.

 Q:  Dave from Arlington, VA asks:
How would you rank the strength of #1 overall draft picks from 2000-2009 (as a #1 overall pick, not what they became)? Adrian Gonzalez, Joe Mauer, Bryan Bullington, Delmon Young, Matt Bush, Justin Upton, Luke Hochevar, David Price, Tim Beckham, and assume Strasburg.
 A: 

Jim Callis: That's too deep a question to get into here, but I promise if you submit it to Ask BA at askba@baseballamerica.com (include your full name and hometown!), I'll tackle it on Monday. And if John and I don't get to your question today, Ask BA is a fine option!

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
What are the chances that D.J. LeMahieu can stay at shortstop in the Majors?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Coming out of high school, based on the reports I had, I thought the chances were slim. Now the more people I talk to, the more I hear that it's realistic to expect him to stay there and provide a lot of offense. I think he's a mid-first-rounder, and I'd take him over Miami's Ryan Jackson, who's a slick fielder with a questionable bat.

 Q:  mymrbig from New Orleans asks:
Yesterday I was mulling how talented the 2005 class of HS OF was (J. Upton, Maybin, McCutchen, Bruce, Rasmus, Schafer), then mulling how talented the 2008 class of college hitters was (notably not many college OF though) (Alvarez, Posey, Alonso, G. Beckham, Smoak, Wallace, Cooper, Davis) ... then I realized that they were almost all in the same 2005 HS class. How impressive was that group of offensive high schoolers? Was something in the water that year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Wow, I hadn't connected the dots like that. Great point. That makes that 2005 high school class (easily the best this decade) look even stronger. Wow.

 Q:  Paul from Milwaukee asks:
Can you explain how Crow moves up from last year in arguably a deep pitcher's draft? Think he might fall to the Reds, they seemed interested last year?
 A: 

John Manuel: Last year's draft was loaded with hitters, and this year's is not. Last year's high school class had Tim Beckham, and Kyle Skipworth, and Aaron Hicks,and Gerrit Cole throwing 100 mph . . . it was a better draft class in all those other ways. It just didn't have great college starting pitching. This draft looks like '06, when there was good college pitching and mostly slimmer pickin's otherwise.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
Does Matt Harvey go higher in the 2010 draft than Alex White goes in 2009?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll say yes, because there's less competition. Harvey is the current favorite to go No. 1 overall, while White could drop to No. 4 on merit.

 Q:  Kyle M from Philadelphia, PA asks:
Jim, you don't think Davis has a high chance of holding out as a Boras draft eligible sophmore? Thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think he'll go in the top half of the first round and sign. He'll go high enough that it won't be a factor.

 Q:  Ian from Pittsburgh asks:
After caving into Scott Boras' demands and renegotiating Pedro Alvarez's contract, do you think the Pirates are now disadvantaged in the future should they have to negotiate with Boras again on a high draft choice?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No. But I'll bet the Pirates make sure to finalize the deal before midnight this time.

 Q:  Burke from Columbus, OH asks:
If there is a late riser like Brett Lawrie or Anthony Hewitt in this HS class, who is it that we should keep an eye on?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The HS guy who intrigues me the most who didn't make our projected first round, though he is highly regarded, is OF Jacob Marisnick (Riverside, Calif., Poly HS). He's a 6-foot-4, 200-pound athlete who performed well on the showcase circuit.

 Q:  mymrbig from New Orleans asks:
Could you tell me a bit about Ryan Berry. Judging by his ranking, he seems to be quite a ways below past Rice aces like Savery, Niemann, Humber, Townsend, Baugh, and Skaggs. Why?
 A: 

John Manuel: He just doesn't have the power stuff those guys showed in college, even Baugh and Skaggs. He's got poise and pitchability and a nice curveball, but he's never been the power arm of those guys. Also, he just hasn't been as good as those guys. He was fairly pedestrian last year in terms of his performance. He's just not the same kind of guy, but he's solid, dependable, durable.

 Q:  Jim from Chapel Hill asks:
Could Alex White go 1 overall specially with Boras representing a few guys considered there? I feel Boras will scare off some teams to move White up.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Well, if the Nationals were to swear off all Boras clients, that would move White to the top of the list. I still think Washington has to take the best guy (Strasburg), money be damned. White is very, very good. But if the choice is Strasburg for $10 million or White for $5 million, give me Strasburg.

 Q:  Joel from Washington, DC asks:
A draft chat seems as good a place as any to mark the DFA-ing of Matt Bush. Hard to believe that any team could blow the #1 overall pick that badly.
 A: 

John Manuel: Joel, I agree. It's amazing how that one got so screwed up. Suffice it to say the Padres front office & scouting dept. got the rug pulled out from under them late in the process, when ownership decided not to spend what they thought it would take to sign Stephen Drew or Jeff Niemann or Jered Weaver, and then the Padres scouting department didn't handle that situation as well as it needed to. The biggest problem is the Padres didn't have a backup plan, a Plan D, I suppose, if Drew, Niemann and Weaver were plans A-C. When Bush was Plan D, they apparently had not done their homework on his makeup which turned out to be a huge mistake. He was No. 8 on our pre-draft Top 200, so he was a top 10 talent, but not close to being No. 1.

 Q:  Sean from Brea, CA asks:
Josh Fellhauer at Cal State Fullerton had one of the best offensive summers for Team USA, but only ranks #60 among college players. What are some of the pro concerns on Fellhauer?
 A: 

John Manuel: In a nutshell, he's a really good player without a standout tool. Hard to see him going really high as a guy who profiles as a fourth outfielder.

 Q:  Jackie from San Francisco, CA asks:
If you had to choose, what 4 players in your first round get to the MLB first?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The first four guys on our list—Strasburg, Green, White, Ackley—and I'll also mention Arizona RHP Jason Stoffel. I've got to run now. Thanks for all the good questions, and John will answer a few more.

 Q:  Rick from Tampa Fl asks:
Deven Marrero glove is great but will his bat be good enough to be a good prospect?
 A: 

John Manuel: Let's see how he looks this spring. If teams were drafting now, the answer would be "maybe." We'll have more info come June. There were enough questions that he got passed by two guys who showed more with the bat last summer and fall in Mier & S. Perez.

 Q:  Jeff Sullivan from Belchertown MA asks:
Is there any chance that Jake Locker makes it into pro ball, or his is NFL career going to block that? Thanks
 A: 

John Manuel: That will be interesting to see. He has played no college baseball and apparently has no intention of playing for U-Dub this spring. He played two weeks of summer college baseball. He got injured severely playing football in the fall, so you might think he'd want to keep his options open and give baseball a shot. I just don't see him making it as a baseball player unless he plays some college baseball, more than two weeks of it anyway. He's just been away from the game too long, and this guy isn't Josh Hamilton. He was more pitcher than hitter in high school anyway; as a hitter, I got a Gabe Kapler comp last summer. That's not Josh Hamilton.

 Q:  Josh from NYC asks:
Blake Smith pitcher or OF? What type of outfielder is he?
 A: 

John Manuel: He's got a power bat to go with the power arm, and I like the power bat personally. He's quite physical, and I see him as a guy with prototype RF tools. I was going to say it's smarter to start him as a hitter and if he fails then put him on the mound, but maybe Rick Ankiel and Brian Bogusevic are starting to change my mind on that.

Moderator: I've got time for a couple more . . .

 Q:  Kyle M from Philadelphia asks:
How would you rank this year's high school catcher class historically? It seems as if this class has several elite catchers as well as great depth. Thanks!
 A: 

Moderator: In my BA tenure, 2001 sticks out for having produced Joe Mauer and Jeff Mathis; looking back at that draft, six prep catchers were taken in the first three rounds, which is a lot. There were nine such players taken in 1999, but that's counting Justin Morneau as a C, and he moved to 1B pretty early in his career; next best after him is Ryan Doumit. A quick check on the last 20 years shows this class as deep as any since 2001, at least at the outset, and yet Bryce Harper is better than any of these jokers. I personally an a Max Stassi fan, he's not a profile guy but he hits and he can catch and throw, and he's got big league bloodlines.

 Q:  Josh from Seattle asks:
Can you tell me a little about Bobby Borchering? Where do you see him falling in the draft?
 A: 

John Manuel: If he shows he can play 3B, at least for a short time as a pro, he'll be drafted pretty high. It's a thin draft for hitters, and he can hit and hit for power. He's not fast and not really quick, either, so there are some doubts as to whether or not he can play 3B. It sounds like the longer you watch him, the more you think he can do it. Early to know where he'll fall, but that will be determined as much by his glove as by his bat, because the consensus seems to be that he's one of the best power hitters in this class.

 Q:  Crash from Indianapolis asks:
Where would Alex White rank in the top 100 prospects? Ballpark.
 A: 

John Manuel: I'm a White fan and like him quite a bit. We haven't done our Top 100 yet — that meeting is next week and that issue comes out two weeks from yesterday. In my personal top 50, I'd rank him in the 30s, after players such as Rick Porcello and Eric Hosmer but ahead of Dominic Brown and Jordan Zimmerman, thanks to his upside and athleticism. He could be a devastating closer but that would be a waste of a very good starter. It would be interesting to see how close he'd be to Strasburg in scouts' eyes if he'd played in the Cape, but he hasn't yet thanks to North Carolina's deep runs to the College World Series. He made very impressive strides last spring, and if he keeps improving like that, he's got a chance to be a monster.

John Manuel: Thanks for coming, everyone, and have a great weekend. College stuff should dominate the website for the next two weeks, until our Top 100 comes out, so enjoy the college cornucopia.