ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:01 PM ET ) Hi, everyone. Is Opening Day really three weeks away? Hard to believe.

Mike NY: Why are people overrating to Philip Hughes performance in Spring Training? He didn't pitch well but come on he still has one of the best pure stuff baseball and he's still developing.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:02 PM ET ) I agree. I don't get worked up over spring training stats at all. Small sample size against iffy competition. Hughes is still a stud and he'd be in the rotation for me if I were running the Yankees.

Bob (St. Paul, MN): Jim, looking back on previous drafts. Where do you think Prior would be if the Twins had drafted him instead of Mauer. My thoughts are he would still be a very effective pitcher.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) I don't agree, Bob. When Prior was drafted, he had picture-perfect mechanics and was supposed to be injury proof. So much for that. But I'm not so sure he wouldn't have had injury problems anywhere he went -- it's just the nature of pitching.

Nic k Cinnaminson, New Jersey: How do you think the Phillies will do this year? Are they one of your sleeper picks?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET ) I wouldn't call them a sleeper. But in our Major League Preview, which went to press last week, we have the Phillies advancing to the World Series.

Jim Chicago: Felix Pie has looked awesome this Spring. Outfield assists, SBs, and hitting for a great average. It seems a lot of scouts are down on him, because of a poor first half at AAA last year. His 2nd half #'s were great though, and he just turned 22. Why have a lot of people cooled on him?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) I don't know if a lot of people have really cooled on him. Pie did respond well to adversity last year, and winning has followed him through the Cubs system. The biggest knock on him, however, is that he hasn't developed his tools into skills. He's still raw in terms of power, basestealing and defense. But as you mentioned, he's still very young, too.

Jon NY: Hey Jim, Why would the Mets just dump Soler instead of just sending him to the minors to work his problems out? He's the mets 10th best prospect and to give him up for nothing seems strange to me. thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) Seemed strange to me, too. Sounds like there's more to this story.

Rick (Tempe, AZ): favorite time of the week. On last week's chat Callaspo was mentioned as a super-utility/limited ceiling guy, but he has been tearing it up thus far - hitting .500 in 24 at bats, scoring runs and showing decent power (2hr). Do you think a re-evaluation of his MLB impact/Top 100 ratings might be justified? When do you foresee him starting at 2B for the D-Backs?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) Nope . . . those are just spring training stats. After those 24 spring AB, I still see him as a decent to solid big league regular. He could be the starter next year for Arizona.

Michele (Caracas, Venezuela): What's the real ceilling of Longoria? I have read that he is pretty much what he is now and its something like 25-30 HR's and 100 RBI middle of the lineup guy. And who's better now and for the future, him or braun? Thank You very much!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) That is Longoria's ceiling, but I don't think he's ready to do that in the majors, quite yet. I like him a little more than Ryan Braun, but there's not a huge difference.

Bill (Pittsburgh, PA): How do you think the Pirates are going to do this season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Last place in the NL Central.

Nick (Milwaukee): Hey Jim, has B.A. ever considered doing a rankings-type analysis (along the lines of the Top 100) for guys who have a few years of MLB service under their belt? Kind of like a "who are they/where are they?" look at who the top young guys in the majors are, and where they once ranked as prospects. Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) We do that now and again, ranking the best under-25 players, or whatever. I have received a lot of clamoring this offseason for us to do a ranking of guys who no longer qualify as prospects but don't have a ton of big league experience under their belt. That might be something we do next offseason to complement all our prospect rankings.

Kelso (Irvine, CA): Come on Jim, if Phillip Hughes was on the Royals or Pirates, would we even be talking about him as the next Clemens? The hype on this kid is ridiculous.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:09 PM ET ) Yeah, I think we would, actually. Homer Bailey is getting similar hype, and he's a Red. Alex Gordon is a Royal, and he's getting hyped as the best thing Kansas City has seen since George Brett. How many chats in a row have I taken a Philip Hughes question now?

Brian(NJ): With the Tools that Carlos Gomez has why is he only rated the 60th best prospect?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:09 PM ET ) Lack of performance.

Ryan, PA.: What are your thoughts on Billingsley going to the pen? I was really hoping he would land the 5th spot in the rotation. He had an excellent 2nd half last season.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:10 PM ET ) He had a nice ERA but wasn't very dominant. I wouldn't worry about this. Lots of spring-training decisions wind up changing as the season plays out.

Jordan(CT): Hey Jim, GO CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY BLUE DEVILS!!!!!!!!! My question is what are the chances of Henry Owens becoming the Marlins closer this season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) He's in the mix. There's no clear cut option, so your guess is as good as mine. Taylor Tankersley, Matt Lindstrom and several other guys are also candidates.

Jake, Sacramento, CA: Jim, good to see you on here. It seems that ARod is calling out Yankees fans and possibly indirectly blaming them for his "down" year last year (if you want to call it that). I am a big fan of ARod's and agree that the fans should back off, but this was not the way to encourage that. The question on everyone's mind is: Will Arod opt out of his contract at the end of the season? He wants to finish his career in NY, so why doesn't he simply say "NO, I will not opt out of my contract" as opposed to putting it in the hands of the fans.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET ) A-Rod is just insufferable, isn't he? Not a good move on his part. My guess is he opts out of the contract at the end of the year. While he should stop his whining, why should he give up the option?

Greg (LA): Does it make sense to move Nomar to 3rd to open up 1st for Loney?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) More sense than blocking Loney. But now Andy LaRoche is blocked.

Steve (Houston,TX): Hey Jim, lets assume Clemens retires or goes to New York. Do you see the Astros contending for a World Series this year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) They could still win the weak NL Central. But I think they'd have a hard time doing so without Clemens, as their rotation lacks depth and there are still holes in the lineup.

brandon (auburn, al): what can you tell me about milton loo - ss, reds? will he grow out of ss? thanks for taking the time to answer my question. love the chats.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Tremendous athlete, legit five-tool guy, but probably not a shortstop. Probably has the highest ceiling in the Reds system after Homer Bailey and Jay Bruce.

Wes (IN): Jim, thoughts on Theriot starting @ 2nd base this year, likely, possible, only if DeRosa needs a rest?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) I just don't see Theriot doing much in the majors. I know he hit 328/412/522 in 130 or so big league at-bats last year, but that's way over his head. He's a defensive-minded guy and I can't see him as a big league regular.

dan (vermont): do you see arod as a short stop if not with yanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) I don't. I think it would be tough to move back at this point.

Matt (Providence, RI): Jim - people seem to be a little higher on Volstad than his numbers suggest. What do you think?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) That's a fair comment. I'd like to see him be more dominant in the minors, because he hasn't missed a lot of bats. The potential is there, though.

Tom (NE): Jim - Does McCann A) COntinue to hit like that and B) Stay at catcher?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) Yes and yes. Well, maybe he won't put up a 960 OPS every year, but he should remain one of the top-hitting catchers in the game on an annual basis.

Aaron Pierce (Martha Logan's bungalo): Jim, please tell me Hughes just has some butterflies this spring, and there's no underlying problem. It's tough to see him struggle, especially when lesser pitchers like Clippard and Karstens are performing well around him.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) Aaron, it was good to see you back on 24, though you should have been more alert! No underlying problem, don't get worked up about the spring stats.

Gerry- On a crusie somewhere off Mexico: Would you rather be a GM or have one night with Jessica Alba? Assuming your wife gave you full permission.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) Well, if I were a GM, I'd never see my family, so I'll take the night with Jessica. Though I don't think my wife would grant me full permission. I wonder which option she would pick . . .

Mike, DC: Hi Jim, why was Bryce Cox left off the Top 100 prospects list? Was he close?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) Lot of upside, and I love the guy. I've mentioned several times that I've never seen a slider that good in person. But it came down to that Cox has been dominant only since finding a new arm slot in April, following a year in which he couldn't find the plate. Until we see a longer track record of success, we're being cautious. That said, if you told me he'd wind up as Boston's closer this year, I really wouldn't be surprised.

Chris (Edwardsville, IL): I'm a little tired of hearing people say the "weak" NL Central when the NL Central is the only division to have someone in the WS the last 3 years strait and have vastly improve as a whole this year. Your thoughts?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) I don't see how it's vastly improved at all this year. The Cubs spent a ton of money, and they still might not be a .500 team. I mean, Jason Marquis is your No. 3 starter? I must have missed the part about how the rest of the NL Central teams got a lot better.

Ethan (New York): Last year on the Baseball America website you and your colleagues held a draft as if you were starting an organization from scratch any thought to doing that again this year?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) Didn't do it this year but may again in the future.

Shoney --Portland, Maine: Was Ryan Flaherty from Vanderbilt included on your top 100 prospects list?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) He just misses being draft-eligible as a sophomore this year, so no. But he did make our Cape Cod League Top 30 Prospects list last summer and will be on the Top 100 for 2008.

Roy (New York): After watching Philip Hughes a couple times, he reminds me of 6"5 220lbs Oswalt. After reading the scouting reports on BA about Oswalt as a prospect, it is similar to Philip Hughes. Both pitchers didn't allow alot of walks or Homeruns and their fastball velocity and command are the same. Both throw 70-75 MPH curveballs. What are your thoughts on my comparison of Hughes.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:24 PM ET ) Interesting.

Tom (CA): Hey Jim, I know it is only spring training, but Brandon Wood is not striking out very much. Good sign or don't read into it too much?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) Good sign, but don't read into it too much.

basiltherat (st. petersburg, fl): For the short- and long-term, who's the Angels' better option at first base, Kotchman or Morales?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) Kotchman.

greg, st louis: one year from now where will eric patterson be?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) Getting ready to take the Cubs' second-base job.

matt tx: Hey Jim, Hunter Pence is putting up CRAZY numbers in Spring Training, while Chris Burke is hitting .086. Any chance Pence takes over starting job in CF this season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) Yes. He's the best hitting option the Astros have in center, and perhaps their best defensive option as well. Craig Biggio will play to get his 3000 hits, but they need to find room for Pence.

Drew (Portsmouth): Hi Jim, Who makes it to the big leagues first: Justin Upton or Camron Maybin? And out of the two of them, who has a better career in regards to fantasy baseball?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) I'll say Maybin gets there first, because it will be easier to crack Detroit's outfield compared to Arizona's. It's a tossup for career, I'd give Maybin the very slightest of edges if you made me pick one guy. And I guess you did.

steve (pittsburgh): Jim: Will/should baseball initiate a draft for international players?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:28 PM ET ) I think there are too many logistics to work out and too many other concerns, so I don't see it happening. I don't think MLB should, either. It would just create more problems and I don't think it would save much money. The current system is better than a draft system for lower-revenue clubs to find talent in Latin America.

Josh (Dayton): Do you know anything about Craig Stammen in the Nats' organization? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) That sound you hear is me chuckling here in suburban Chicago, because just yesterday John Manuel and I were talking about none other than Craig Stammen. (Don't ask me why.) He's No. 21 on our Nationals list in the prospect handbook. All-time strikeout leader at University of Dayton, best pitch is a curveball. Also throws a fringe-average fastball.

Calixte Brooklyn, NY: Jim - You seem to be a fair guy. Are you being fair to A-rod. The fellow who asked the question was simply quoting the summary of his WFAN interview. I failed to see how he was being insufferable rather than answering the same question in a different way. All I got from his statement is that his stay in New York will ultimately be determined by whether Yankee fans welcome him into the special "cool guy" club. His statements yesterday seem to be a fair assessment of his current status and not insufferable at all. Care to clarify?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) I'm being fair to A-Rod. To imply that it's up to the fans to accept him to keep him in New York is just silly. He's a great player and he takes too much abuse. But he brings a lot of it on himself.

Jon (New York): Who would you rather have five years from now: Pedro Alvarez or David Price?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) Is this really Buster Olney? I'd rather have Alvarez. With two prospects of equal stature, it's a better bet to take the hitter.

Stephen (Texas): Jim, as you know Craig Biggio is going for his 3000th hit this year. Hes a first ballot Hall of Famer right???

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:32 PM ET ) I would think so, especially when you consider how much the Astrodome hurt his numbers. Biggio is on the short list of the best leadoff hitters ever.

Brian(NJ): Difference between Colby Rasmus and Jacoby Ellsbury?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET ) Rasmus has more power, Ellsbury is a better center fielder.

Will W. (Chicago): There is increasing criticism by members of both the media and military about the number and real-life effects of the torture scenes in "24." Comment?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET ) It's TV, people, not reality.

Bill (NYC): Jim - People should keep in mind that Arod's interview and snippets with media spin are different things. If people listened it the interview (like I did), ARod di not come off like he was blaming the fans for anything or that he was leaving. He was open and honest and actually made many excellent points, including commenting that it is great to ride the wave of fan support but that it is difficult to fight against fan back lash.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) That could be very true. But if I were A-Rod, I still wouldn't leave myself open this way. I'd just keep my mouth shut and put up big numbers again. And maybe perform in the playoffs.

Ryan (NS): Jim, do scouting directors for different clubs do different things? Looking at the background for a few guys, they seem to vary dramatically.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) In terms of job description, it's pretty much the same job. Oversee the draft, see all the top prospects yourself. Different scouting directors have different levels of involvement in the global market and in pro scouting.

Jamaal (Mount Laurel, NJ): Hey Jim, what kind of player do you expect Howie Kendrick to be?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Future batting champion.

steve (pittsburgh): Who is the best "prospect" you have ever seen coming out of high school?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) I don't see many of these guys in high school. A-Rod and Justin Upton probably had the most expectations when they came out of high school since I've been at BA.

steve (pittsburgh): Jim: Who will have the better career, JD or Stephen Drew (throw in Tim if you like)? Thanks

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) It won't be Tim. I'll take Stephen because of positional value.

Nick New Orleans: where does jon lester project in the red sox rotation down the line? I know you were pretty high at him when he was at AA, has this misfortune made you have less faith in him?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:38 PM ET ) Still high on him, and it sounds like he's coming back just fine. Should be as good as new in 2008 and going forward. I think he may need most of 2007 to regain strength, etc. He still can be a frontline starter.

JimBeau (left coast): Difference between Trevor Crowe and Jacob Ellsbury?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:40 PM ET ) Ellsbury is a better center fielder and I think he'll have a little more power.

John (Portland, ME): If Jon Lester was technically still a rookie where would he rank on the Sox top 10 list?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Expecting a full return to health, No. 2 between Matsuzaka and Ellsbury.

steve (pittsburgh): Jim: Curious how the chat works, do questions appear on your screen or do you pick the ones you want to answer? IF so, why won't you answer mine?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) I get to see 10 at a time, and I can flip around (right now I have more than 700 to choose from) or search for key phrases.

John (Dallas): What's your Final Four?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) Ohio State beating Florida, with Georgetown and UCLA also in the Final Four.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Let's go to the lightning round!

Jessica Alba, New Haven : Rather have on an island with you: Jack Bauer, or me?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Great philosophical question. If I wanted to get back to civilization, then obviously Jack is the way to go. But there are far worse fates than to be stranded on an island with Jessica. I'll have to think about this one.

ben (boston): Cal fullerton or Rice? I might be leaning towards florida.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Biased by attending the tournament at Minute Maid, I'll take Vanderbilt right now.

Josh LA: Luke Scott or Jason Lane for RF starting Position?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Have to go with Scott right now based on what he did last year.

Adam(DC): Eric Campbell or Josh Fields?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Fields.

Chad (SD): Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Felix.

John (Dallas): Will/Can James Looney hit for power?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Yes on both counts. I'm thinking Mark Grace with 20-25 HR power once he gets going.

Dan (Louisville): Who would you rather have in 2008: Kosuke Fukudome or Hideki Matsui?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Fukudome.

Ike (MA): Zimmerman or Atkins?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Zimmerman, easily.

Joe, RI: Did you actually see Jon Lester pitch last year? He got knocked around! I feel bad he got cancer, but he didn't do anything that was that impressive for the Red Sox last year. 90Mph fastball and flat slider, a top of the rotation starter do not make!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Yeah, and he's the first rookie pitcher not to dominate from the get go, too.

Mike(Dallas): Diamond or Volquez?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Not a huge fan of either, I guess I'd take Diamond.

Kevin (Manassas): Who will have a better career....Donald Veal or Jeff Samardzija?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Veal is the safer bet. It's still very hard to know exactly how good Samardzija will be.

Dude: Chris Farley or Chris Rock

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Rock.

greg (st louis): cain or peavy (long term)

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Cain.

Doug (chesapeake): Clippard & Ducan or Joba & Tabata?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Joba and Tabata, not close.

Trevor (bing., NY): Gammons seems high on Bronson Sardinha, are you?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) No. Just a journeyman former first-rounder who's hot in spring training.

Matt,MPLS : Compare Span to Torri for me please!! Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) I'm not a Span fan at all. He has nowhere near Hunter's power and I don't think he'd do anything offensively in the majors.

Dan, NJ: Who or what is a Fukudome?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Five-tool Japanese CF, I believe he'll be a free agent after this season.

Kevin (ATL): Best ball park meal?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Hmmm . . . I always enjoy eating bratwursts at the College World Series in Omaha every year. The best quality meal I've ever had would be when the Red Sox provided steak and shrimp for the writers at the 2004 World Series.

Bronson Sardinha (Tampa, FL): Journeyman former first-rounder? I'm 20 freaking years old! You're a journeyman former first-rounder.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) If you're 20, I'm 35. And I'm 39. Sardinha will turn 24 on April 6.

Adam(DC): inman or humber?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Humber.

Sean (Seattle): Total number of All-Star games for Jose Lopez...

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Two.

Matt(Albany, NY): the sad part is Sardinha was draft like 4 picks before David Wright

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) I don't think Mets fans are too sad about that.

Mike, LA: E. Santana or Ja. Weaver?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Weaver.

Kevin (Iowa): Have you heard anything from Mesa regarding Matt Harrington's performance for the Cubs? And do you see him getting back to becoming even a shawdow of his former self?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) I have not. But I don't think he'll ever get back to where he was in 2000, when he was the best prospect in the draft. He'll be a cautionary tale for quite a while.

Charles (Tampa, FL): Hello, thanks for the chat. Both have question marks, so who do like more for this year, Gary Sheffield or Delmon Young?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Delmon Young. Better bet to stay healthy.

Jim Chicago: Jim, thin mints or Carmel delights?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Caramel delights. Every year, we buy a ton of girl scout cookies (I think 13 boxes this year), and every year I wish I had bought more caramel delights.

Doug (NY): Over/Under 10 starts for Pavano this season

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Under.

Tom (West Bloomfield, MI): Jay Bruce & Homer Bailey or Cameron Maybin & Andrew Miller?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Bruce and Bailey.

T.C. (Philly): Caramel Delight? Is that the same thing as a Samoa?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET ) Yes, political correctness must have led to a renaming.

Kyle (KC): Bruce and Bailey or Gordon and Hochevar?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET ) Bruce and Bailey.

Justin Ny: What do you in your free time? Do you play warcraft or any games at all?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:02 PM ET ) Free time? Ha! With four kids and my job at BA, there's little free time. I played Madden online on the PS2, that's about it.

Dan (Louisville): Thanks for answering two Fukudome questions. Let's try for a third. Who'd you rather have for 2008: Iwamura or Fukudome.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:02 PM ET ) A new Fukudome record. Take that, Neyer! I would prefer Fukudome.

Dan (Louisville): Who is more likely to disappoint - Ricky Shroder on 24 or Kosuke Fukudome if he comes to the major leagues?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:03 PM ET ) Ricky Schroeder on "24." I still miss Curtis. Does anyone else think Curtis kind of looked like David Ortiz?

greg (st louis): is ted williams the best hitter ever?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:04 PM ET ) I'd still have to go with Babe Ruth.

tony (BX): best CF ever?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:06 PM ET ) Willie Mays

Matt (Knoxville, TN): while we're at it, best p ever?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:08 PM ET ) Considering how much tougher it is to pitch today, I'll take Roger Clemens over Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove. And I have to leave you to get back to editing the Super Register. See you next week.

Chris (MD): Better Chris - Parmalee or Marrero?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:08 PM ET ) Parmelee . . . couldn't resist one more!