ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis
Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Baseball America's Jim Callis will chat it up with SportsNation to talk about the 2006 MLB season.
Send your questions now and join John on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Jim Callis: Sorry I'm a couple of minutes late . . . My draft-addled brain and I are ready for your questions now. Let's get to it.
Scott (Boston): Jeff Natale legit prospect or over his head?
Jim Callis: He can hit, but he's not a top prospect yet. He's quite old for his league and is shaky defensively. But he's gone from second-day draft afterthought to a guy with a chance in a year, so that's progress.
Alex, La Grange, Tx.: Where do you see the Reds going with their first pick (no.8)? Would the new ownership posssibly take a look at hocevar or drabek or do you see them going for a position player?
Jim Callis: A college pitcher would make the most sense, based both on their needs and the strength of the draft. But I don't see the Reds jumping way over slot money to get Luke Hochevar. The Reds are the earliest pick I've heard associated with the supremely talented Kyle Drabek.
Mike, Richmond: The papers (and ESPN) have been critical of Joe Torre for using Rivera for 3 last night- but he only threw 25 or so pitches. Is it a big deal? Don't a lot of relievers throw that many in one inning?
Jim Callis: I one isolated game a big deal? No. And Rivera is inhuman anyway. But I think the criticism comes from Torre's tendency to ride his best setup men into the ground, which hurt them terribly in the 2004 posteseason. And Scott Proctor already is succumbing to overwork this year.
Ken (Cambridge, MA): Hey Jim, The sox plan on starting Pauley. Is he a legit prospect of the future or are the sox trying to throw a curve ball and pitch a guy that probably doesnt have a very extensive scouting report?
Jim Callis: He's a prospect but not a top guy who'll wind up carving out a spot in the Boston rotation. Decent stuff, part of the Dave Roberts deal with the Padres. I'm pretty sure his callup coincided with his rotation spot (in the minors) falling on the same day Boston needed a starter.
Matty Free (NYC): As a Mets fan, I don't know what to be more consumed with. Dissappointment over the inability to sign Beato or excitement over Milledge. I am an optimist, so I will focus on Milledge. He looks like Jeff Francour with better speed, slightly better bat speed, and far better plate disciplane, but with a little less arm. Do you think that's a fair comparison and what do you think we can expect from Milledge? Man, he looks like a stud player!
Jim Callis: A lot of clubs were surprised the Mets didn't sign Pedro Beato, a hard-throwing RHP who was a draft and follow. The price tag on him I heard was $1.2 million, and the Mets have the cash--as well as no first-rounder this year. The Milledge stuff seems accurate to me--he should be very, very good. I wish we could get accurate measures of bat speed, because I bet Milledge's would be up there near the top.
Chris in Canada: Hey Jim, with the makeup question with Kiker and drabek is there a chance Drabek could drop past all the others to 26 and if he did would Logan White consider him even with said questions?
Jim Callis: I don't think Drabek will get to 26. I think he'll go in the 11-20 range, to a club that isn't scared by the makeup and sees him as much better than everyone else left on the board when they pick. Not sure if the Dodgers would pull the trigger on him.
Rich (Bangor, ME): Danny Almonte - over/under Round 8?
Jim Callis: He'll go later than that.
Jason (trumbull): Thanks for doing this!! I was wondering is there any chance the mets could get dontrelle willis for carlos gomez, alay soler, xavier nady and mike carp.
Jim Callis: I wouldn't make that trade if I were the Marlins. They can do better than that.
Greg (LA): My last Hocheaver question - assuming he gets picked in the first round, waits until July or Aug to sign a $4M contract - was it worth it? Is it really worth sitting out an entire year for $1M?
mike (stockholm): i noticed milledge was hitting for more extra base-hits after coming out of his mini-slump in Triple-AAA. He hit the ball pretty hard last night. Is he hitting it any harder now than in Spring Training?
Jim Callis: I don't think so, especially if it delays his eventual free agency by a year. And though he's pitching well right now, the track record of college pitchers with long holdouts hasn't been good recently. I'm sure his handlers will say this was about principle and not money, though.
Jeff (Kansas City, MO): What's your take on the hiring of Dayton Moore as the Royals new GM? Can he turn around the disaster this franchise has become?
Jim Callis: That's a great hire--he was regarded as one of the best (and perhaps the best) GM candidates out there. But the Royals are so hopeless and hapless that I don't think they have any shot of being respectable inside of five years. I believe Moore has Midwest roots, but I'm surprised he didn't wait for a better job with a better owner and a better chance to win.
Joel (Washington, DC): Jim, is Drew Stubbs' bat really so questionable that it's worth passing up a guy who excels in every other area, especially in a weak draft?
Jim Callis: Stubbs will still go pretty good, probably in the first 10 picks, because there just aren't enough quality position players out there. But as good as Stubbs' other tools are, you have to hit to play in the majors and you have to hit a lot to be a star. I have yet to talk to a scouting director with complete faith in his bat. So it's a dicey prosposition taking him if you don't believe he'll hit.
Ziggy (Canaan, CT): How long can Justin Verlander keep up this pace? He is on pace of a career high in innings pitched, is he going to wear down in the 2nd half of the season?
Jim Callis: He probably will wear down in the second half . . . it's inevitable. But he should be a star in the long run. And I'll admit, because he couldn't dominate mid-level college competition, I thought the Tigers overdrafted him at No. 2 in 2004. Nice pick by Greg Smith.
Steve (Burien, WA): Where do you see Kyler Burke going in the draft?
Jim Callis: Late first or sandwich round, no later than the second round. He's in the second tier of high school position players, and you'll see a run on them in the second half of the first round.
Chris in Canada: how does the addition of Hochevar, Morris and Beato affect the first round? Are all 3 first rounders in this draft and where would they fall? Lastly with Hochevar/Boras demanding so much money why would teams give into him when there seems to be so little leverage on his part, would he sit out another year?
Geoff West Chester, PA: What are Drabek's character issues?
Jim Callis: Not something I'm going to get into here, but we should have a story up at baseballamerica.com in the next couple of days that will shed light on this.
Travis (wilkes-barre): are the pistons done down 3-1
Jim Callis: Yes. They may win Game Five, but they're done after that.
Jason, New York: will the firing of Baird change the Royal's plans for the number one pick?
Jim Callis: I don't think so, and it looks like Dayton Moore won't take over until after the draft. The names I hear the most there are North Carolina LHP Andrew Miller and Houston RHP Brad Lincoln. They seem to be off Washington RHP Tim Lincecum but may consider California RHP Brandon Morrow. The Royals sent a huge delegation to see Hochevar pitch last night. If it were up to me, I'd take Brad Lincoln.
Andy (Austin): Is there any movement on televising the first round of the June Draft?
Jim Callis: Not that I've heard. But with ESPN's resources, it would be easy enough to blow out the first round on a show baseball fans would enjoy. I'd be happy to contribute . . . let's make this happen!
sean (seattle): I keep hearing that this draft is very weak compared to previous years, and that pitching is its strong suit. Should I take this to mean that the pitchers in this draft are good prospects, compared to their hitting brethren, or are they just the cream of a very thin crop? In other words, how does this year's group of top pitchers compare with top pitchers from the 04' and 05' draft? Would Hansen or Pelfrey go 1/1 if they were available this year?
Jim Callis: Some of both. There are some good pitching prospects, and they really stand out compared to the hitting crop. I just wrote a column today where I did a fantasy first round if the talent from the 2000-06 drafts was all available at once. I don't think Hansen or Pelfrey would go 1/1 this yea ahead of Miller. But Long Beach State infielder Evan Longoria, the top position player this year, proably would have gone in the mid first-round in 2005.
Alex (Logan, Ohio): Jim. I have seen both Miller and Lincoln pitch, I honestly like Miller better. What would make you take Lincoln over Miller?
Jim Callis: No need to justify your opinion, Alex. A lot of scouts would agree with you. I just think Lincoln's stuff is in the same class and he uses it better and competes a little harder.
larry (ky): who goes higher from UK ryan streiby or john shelby from?
Jim Callis: Probably Shelby, in the fourth or fifth round.
dan (ny): where is that column??? I wanna read it
Jim Callis: Just got sent to the printer today, so you'll get it in the mail next week. It could wind up on our website before then. I didn't have room for all 30 picks, so I'll unveil picks 16-30 in Ask BA tomorrow at baseballamerica.com.
Steve (Dallas): Lightning round coming later?
Jim Callis: Yep . . . just around the corner.
Josh (Toronto): JP Ricciardi keeps drafting low ceiling college players and it has hurt the team with regards to top prospects. Do you see them taking a high schooler any time soon?
Jim Callis: There's two schools of though on what the Jays will do with pick No. 14 right now. One is that they take Wake Forest 3B Matt Antonelli, who fits that profile you mentioned. The other is that they take a high school bat like Washington's Travis Snider.
Justin (Seattle): I really think you may be overlooking Tim Lincecum as a premier pick this year. He may be small (6'0, 175) but he is durable and a strong kid. Injury is not a problem and you can't argue with upper 90's heat and an amazing curve. I say top 5 pick, easy.
Jim Callis: We ranked him No. 2 on our overall Top 200 list a couple of weeks ago, so not sure how we're overlooking him. There still are some concerns about his size and his delivery, and even moreso about his heavy workload this spring. He's a top-five talent this year, but not a lock for the top five picks and won't go No. 1.
Mike (NJ): You never answered the Milledge power question from earlier. So does it seem like the power is starting to come around for him?
Jim Callis: With that bat speed, he'll have plenty of power.
Jason (Charlotte): Why would Moore leave for the Royals but wouldn't take the Red Sox job??? I am a Braves fan and sure don't understand this one !!!!
Jim Callis: My take is that people in baseball knew that Theo Epstein was still in the shadows and figured it was a waste of time. Because even if you didn't want to work for Larry Lucchino, wouldn't that be preferable to working for David Glass?
Todd (Boston): Do your draft picks take into account how some players have developed, or is it based on how they looked pre-draft?
Jim Callis: Based on the buzz at the time. So Mark Prior would have been the No. 1 pick, which he wouldn't be if it were based on what we learned after the fact.
Greg (Spring, Tex): What the hell does "competes a little harder" mean exactly? Does he stomp around like Carlos Zambrano on the mound or something.
Jim Callis: No, Lincoln isn't animated like that. I just think he has a better chance to get the most out of his considerable ability, and if I had to win a single game, I'd feel a little better with Lincoln on the mound than Miller.
Mike (Dallas, TX): Who are the Rangers targeting in this draft? Please tell pitching.
Jim Callis: They'll probably wind up with a pitcher, and it most likely will be someone who fell for reasons other than talent. I could see them wtih Luke Hochevar, Missouri RHP Max Scherzer or Kyle Drabek, among others.
Bo (Honlulu, HI): How good is Steven Wright? 11-2, 3.20 ERA, 123 K's in 109 2/3 innings and only 19 walks. Where does he go in this year's draft?
Jim Callis: He's good--a possible supplemental first-rounder.
Kevin (DC): what are the chances that someone drafted next week ends up contributing in september a la Zimmerman, Hansen, etc?
Jim Callis: I don't think we'll see a guy like that this year. Maybe someone makes a cameo, but no one with a significant contribution. The best candidate was Lincecum, but he's pretty worn out and may get the summer off even if he signs quickly.
Bill (Chicago): Are the Cubs going to fall for an overpriced and overhyped Boras client who only falls to them because of signability? Seems like they do that every year.
Jim Callis: Brace yourself . . . someone today told me he thinks the Cubs could wind up with Hochevar. I could see them spending well over slot on the No. 13 pick because they have cash and don't pick again until the fifth round.
DJ Syracuse: Who wins this years College World Series-does FSU have a chance to break thru finally?
Jim Callis: My pick is Nebraska over Cal State Fullerton in the finals. The rest of my CWS field: Clemson, Notre Dame, Alabama, Houston, Georgia and Texas. Let's go to the lightning round!
Willie (Chicago, IL): Ryan Harvey or Brian Dopirak?
Jim Callis: Dopirak.
Jarrett (Beacon Falls, CT): Lightning: Fernando Martinez or Cameron Maybin?
Jim Callis: Maybin, though Martinez has closed the gap considerably.
Max (New York): Mets: Trade for Zito/Willis or keep Milledge?
Jim Callis: Keep Milledge and set their sights on a lower-cost starter.
Kurt (Chicago, IL): Ron Santo - Hall of Fame?
Jim Callis: Yes.
Hank (Wichita, KS): True or False: Alex Gordon will be in the majors sometime this year?
Jim Callis: True.
Darius (Minneapolis): Twins- Slowey or Garza?
Jim Callis: Garza.
Dougie Fresh (DC): Mattingly's kid goes above or below the 10th round?
Jim Callis: Preston Mattingly goes above . . . hasn't been scouted by everyone, but some teams really like him.
julio (schoolyard (down by)): Red Sox "08 CF: Coco, Ellsbury, or Murphy?
Jim Callis: Ellsbury.
Joe (OKC): Francisco Pena - over/under $1mil?
Jim Callis: Over.
Nick (Cleveland): True or False Jeremey Guthrie has been one of the worst draft picks in recent years in terms of price and results.
Jim Callis: Easily true. But I keep reading Scott Boras quotes where he says all of his elite players have worked out. Amazing.
Shaun (Madison WI): Wilbon or Kornheiser?
Jim Callis: Kornheiser. Wish he still had the radio show -- I loved the radio show -- but will enjoy him on Monday Night Football.
Roger (Dallas): Melky or Cano?
Jim Callis: Cano.
Mike A. (San Diego): Tabata or Ruben Rivera based on raw ability and not outcome?
Jim Callis: Rivera.
Jay (Boston): First to reach 500th HR: A-Rod, Manny, Sheff, F Thomas, Thome?? Currently: Thomas (458) Sheff (453)Thome (450) Manny (447) or A-rod (442)???
Jim Callis: A-Rod.
Jessica Alba (Long Beach, CA): True or False: I got jiffed for Maxim's hottest chick of all.
Jim Callis: If she didn't win, it's a travesty. Who won?
Jeff (Tenafly, NJ): Duncan or Henson?
Jim Callis: Eric Duncan. He doesn't have to do much to surpass Henson, does he? I do give Henson for not giving up on baseball until he was obviously cooked, unlike a lot of the two-sport guys.
Jessica Alba (Long Beach, CA): That San Antonio Spur Housewife!
Jim Callis: Overrated.
Andy (Austin): Brian Roberts or Chase Utley?
Jim Callis: Utley.
ashlen (omaha, ne): smardjia- baseball or football?
Jim Callis: I think he'll wind up in the NFL in the long run.
Mark (DC): Pujols in his prime or Big Hurt in his prime?
Jim Callis: Pujols.
Jeff (Chicago): Stone and Chip or Bob and Len?
Jim Callis: Stone and Chip, because Stone is as good an analyst as there is on TV.
Mark (Boston): Adenhart or Lofgren?
Jim Callis: Nick Adenhart.
Mark (Boston): Andrew Miller or Mike Pelfrey?
Jim Callis: Andrew Miller, because he has a better breaking ball.
Ryan (Fargo): Mauer or Prior?
Jim Callis: Then, Prior. Now, Mauer.
Dave (Tallahassee, FL): Wade or Lebron?
Jim Callis: Wade.
Jason (Ventura): Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier?
Jim Callis: Kemp, but Ethier is better than I thought.
Ryan (worcester, ma): Lowrie or Pedroia? (you never answer this one)
Jim Callis: I'd take Pedroia because he's done it at higher levels at this point. They're close, not sure either is really a shortstop.
Bo (Honlulu, HI): Wade? Did you not watch Lebron almost single handedly take down the Pistons?
Jim Callis: If I wanted to win right now, I'll take the guy shooting 70 percent against the Pistons in the semifinals.
Andy (Austin): Garrett Olson or Radhames Liz?
Jim Callis: Radhames Liz. I need to go get some late lunch before returning to the draft calls and writetups. See you next week--at which point we can break down what happened in the draft.
Dave (Tallahassee, FL): Hey Bo, did you see Lebron virtually disappear in game 7 as well? Wade is the better pressure player, period.
Jim Callis: And he doesn't chew on his fingernails. OK, when I'm taking NBA questions, it's really time for me to leave. See you next week.