ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis
Welcome to The Show! On Wednesday, Baseball America's Jim Callis will chat it up with SportsNation as the MLB season gets into full swing. Ask any question and Jim will try to answer.
Send your questions now and join Jim on Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster: Jim should be here in minutes. Send in your questions NOW!
Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. The draft phone is turned off for an hour, and I'm here to answer your questions. Pique my interest with a good draft question, and it will get answered. We'll touch on plenty of other subjects, and we'll try to get the requisite Phil Hughes question out of the way quick. And I have not watched "24" yet this week . . .
Might as well ask: How do you think Phil Hughes will do in his first start and do you think he's here to stay? Jim Callis:
I had 19 Phil Hughes questions . . . I think he's here to stay. As I've said several times, I would have had him up to stay last September, providing some bullpen help at that point. He has stuff, he has command and if he keeps his health, he'll be a star. Now a lot of rookie pitchers are inconsistent, because they try to do too much or be too perfect, and we don't know how Hughes will react. But over the long haul of the season, I could see him posting the lowest ERA in that rotation.
Do you seriously think no one will spoil 24 for you? I won't, but its bound to happen! Jim Callis:
Yes, I'm worried.
What would C. Maybin offer offensively and defensively that C. Granderson does not? Jim Callis:
A little more of everything. He's not ready for the big leagues right now, but when he is, he has more power, more speed, more defensive ability in center field. And I like Granderson. But there aren't many guys who can match Maybin's tools.
Do you think that Lars Anderson was the better choice of he and Laporta? Jim Callis:
LaPorta is having a great senior year at Florida, while Anderson is off to a fine start in low Class A. But the point is, it wasn't an either/or choice. The demands of LaPorta's agents weren't anywhere close to what the Red Sox (or anyone) would have paid, so that just wasn't going to happen. LaPorta is closer to big league ready, but Anderson may well be better in the long run. Betting on a right-right first baseman like LaPorta, that doesn't work out too often.
Jake (VA Beach):
I will NOT spoil 24 for you...this season has been disappointing so far though. Speaking of DISAPPOINTING...evidenced by his start this season and ESPECIALLY today...what's wrong with Mike Pelfrey. I thought he was a possible #1 and the Mets best pitching prospect?? Jim Callis:
Just had an IM from an irate Mets fan. The problem right now is that Pelfrey needs better secondary pitches. His curve was his third pitch in college, and his new slider doesn't seem to be making much of a difference. The Mets fan was lamenting a John Mabry homer off his change, so I guess that's not working either.
Jim, Ken Griffey Jr. hit his 564th homer last night, to move him into 10th all-time. What will everyone be saying about Griffey when he is inducted into the HOF? Jim Callis:
Best hitter of the modern era about whom there was no steroid suspicion. That will be his legacy. That, and the unfortunate injuries that kept him from setting the all-time HR record.
I was reading in an article the other day about how MLB was trying to get rid of the draft and follow option but it did not go into details. Could you? Jim Callis:
They have gotten rid of that option, starting with this draft. If you don't sign by Aug. 15, you can't be draft-and-followed.
John, Sacramento CA:
With Tim Lincecum dominating down in AAA for the Giants, how long do you think it will be before they bring him up and will it be in a possible reliever role or only as a starter? Jim Callis:
The Giants' starters are performing well, so there's no obvious opening. But why not bring him up and use him out of the bullpen until they need him to start? With Hughes up, Lincecum is the best pitching prospect in the minors.
Ace, San Francisco:
Tim Lincecum? The 2nd coming. We've been getting into the Lincecum vs. Hughes debate over at McCoveyChronicles (no bias here). Hughes is 2 years younger and more conventional, but he has a injury history - Lincecum has absolutely nothing. Thoughts? Jim Callis:
It's really just gut feel, you can make a case for either guy. Hughes never had a serious arm injury. Lincecum doesn't have an orthodox delivery and he's short, but he has been healthy throughout. You just take the guy you like best, no wrong answer. You know, it's easy to write that Lincecum is the best in the minors because Hughes is up. Given my pick . . . I'd probably take Hughes because the command is better. But Lincecum fascinates me and his stuff is more electric.
Jim, to early to call Chris Iannetta a bust? I'm surprised by his early struggles since he's displayed good plate patience in the past. Jim Callis:
Too early. A lot of rookies struggle, it's just a fact of life. Don't bury anyone because they haven't performed for three weeks. Iannetta won't be a star, but he should have a solid big league career.
Matias (Buenos Aires, Argentina) :
Jim, do you regard the Phil Hughes situation as a panic button situation for the Yankees? Jim Callis:
Not at all. He has a great arm, better than anyone they have. He's ready.
How many home runs will A-Rod end the season with? Jim Callis:
What is draft-and-followed? Jim Callis:
The process by which you draft a player one year, let him go to junior college (and follow his progress) and then sign him after his season ends and before the next draft.
Scott (San Diego, CA):
Speaking of draft and follow, how good is the kid from Broward CC that the Padres are trying to now sign for $1M+? Jim Callis:
Matt Latos is throwing very well, very high 90s. Always had a great arm, had a rep as being very flaky, and he has matured this spring.
Who are the top Canadians in the draft and where will they be picked? Jim Callis:
The Canadian national team, currently in Florida, has several arms to watch this year. It might be their deepest draft crop ever. RHP Phillipe Aumont figures to go in the first 10 or 20 picks, and RHP Kyle Lotzkar could join him in the first round.
chris (the conn):
do you know anything about the kid from fitch high school in groton, ct? i am thinking about going to watch one of his games soon Jim Callis:
Matt Harvey is one of the best high school pitchers in the nation, so check him out. He's not quite as good as Rick Porcello, who's from New Jersey. Both are Tar Heels recruits, and both are advised by Scott Boras.
How impressed have you been by Cole Hamels & Matt Cain? Who do you like better in the long term? Jim Callis:
Very impressed. Like Cain a little more but I love them both.
Does Arkansas Razorbacks have any good draft prospects? Jim Callis:
LHP Nick Schmidt should be a first-rounder. 1B Danny Hamblin and RHPs Jess Todd, Duke Welker and Shaun Siebert all could go in the first five rounds, and C Brian Walker and OF Jacob Julius may not be far behind.
Is Mike Moustakas being looked at as a 3B, Catcher, or Pitcher? It seems like he can do it all. Jim Callis:
As a masher, probably the best HS bat after Josh Vitters. He has a good arm but he's not headed to the mound. Currently a SS and playing alongside another first-rounder in 3B Matt Dominguez, Moustakas probably will begin his pro career at 3B.
Can you give us an update on Max Scherzer? Jim Callis:
He has signed with independent Fort Worth and will make his first start in a May 2 exhibition game. If he shows the health and form he had in 2006, he could be the No. 2 overall prospect in this draft.
Tony, Albuquerque, NM:
Since no one else has taken your draft question queue I'll jump in. The Royals are reported to be looking at a wide variety of choices at #2. Who should they take and what can you tell me about Rick Porcello? Jim Callis:
I wondered if the Royals might look to go for a guy who won't command more than slot money after breaking the bank for Alex Gordon and Luke Hochevar, but I'm hearing that they'll take the best guy and spend as needed. I have heard them linked to Porcello, the best HS P in this draft. Very projectable (6-5/190), already reaching the mid-90s with good life on his fastball.
In retrospect, if you were running the D-Backs who would you have picked: Upton or Gordon? Jim Callis:
Upton. Think he'll have the same kind of bat but play a tougher position than 3B.
Tom (Scranton, PA):
Please tell me you think the Bucs will avoid taking another college pitcher and grab someone like Vitters at #4 Jim Callis:
I think they'd like to do that, but I'm hearing Vitters could go No. 3 to the Cubs. Not sure there's another bat that deserves to go in the Top 4 if the Pirates aren't going to break the bank for Georgia Tech C Matt Wieters, and I can't see them doing that.
Adam, (Spokane, WA):
Jim, As I am continually disappointed w/24, I must put my focus on the Mariners' draft plans. Do you think Vitters will be there at 11, and if so, how well does he project? Jim Callis:
No way on Vitters at No. 11. I'd be shocked. Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves his bat.
Lance (Memphis, TN):
Any chance the Mets will sign Jeremy Barfield as a draft and follow. Jim Callis:
Haven't talked to them about that, but Barfield was hitting under .300 with not much power at San Jacinto last time I checked.
justin (cincinnati, ohio):
Who's the best wide receiver in this years draft? Any turth to the rumors of Ten Ginn's fastball having late life on it? Jim Callis:
I don't think we have any star football players who are going in the first round. North Carolina State RHP Andrew Brackman has NBA potential, though, and I bet Scott Boras brings up Jeff Samardzija's contract with the club that drafts Brackman.
Do scouts spend much time on whether a draft prospect may have taken performance-enhancing durgs? Jim Callis:
Sure, but it's all hearsay in almost every case. It's something they want to know but tought to find out for sure.
Ben (Balt, MD):
Please answer an Orioles question or I'll send you a 24 spoiler. Who do you see them picking with the 5th pick? Jim Callis:
Ross Detwiler, Missouri State LHP. Or Daniel Moskos, Clemson LHP. Or Madison Bumgarner, NC HS LHP. Best guess is a LHP.
Any chance that if the Yankees game tomorrow night is rained out (heavy rain is forecast), we could see Phil Hughes make his debut Friday against Matsuzaka? That matchup in that series would be incredible! Thanks. Jim Callis:
That would be an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game worth the hype.
Amy (San Diego, CA):
Please tell me the Giants will take an impact bat with their first pick this year... Jim Callis:
I think impact bat Beau Mills would fit the Giants' mold at No. 10.
Paul (San Francisco):
When will the BA mock draft come out? Jim Callis:
We'll do one in our Draft Preview issue, which goes to print in a few weeks. I did an educated-guess top 10 picks for my last column (should be online at baseballamerica.com), but my educated guesses don't seem so educated two weeks later.
Will the Cubs dissapoint this year? Jim Callis:
As a staff, Baseball America picked them to finish fifth in the NL Central. It's not a good division, so the Cubs could win, but I still see holes and problems on that club that the offseason spending spree didn't fix.
Do you expect David Price from Vanderbilt to be the #1 pick? How high has Casey Weathers raised his stock? Jim Callis:
Yes on Price. I'd be stunned otherwise, barring a late injury. Teammate Casey Weathers, the best college senior in this draft, has a great arm and can help a big league team quickly as a reliever. I think he goes somewhere between 11-25 in the draft.
What have your impressions been of Daisuke so far? I'm alittle worried about his lack of command but i think as he adapts he'll improve that and win 15-17 games, your thoughts? Jim Callis:
I don't think it's so much lack of command as much as it is that he likes to work up in the strike zone. He may need to tweak his approach, but he'll be fine. Make that better than fine. He'll be very good.
Will a northern school ever win another NCAA championship? Jim Callis:
Didn't Oregon State win last year? And they could do so again in 2007. Jim Callis:
Let's go to the lightning round . . .
Brian (Richmond, VA):
If you had to choose right now, would you take Dice-K or Phil Hughes? Jim Callis:
If we don't factor in the money at all, very slight edge to Matsuzaka. If it's bang for the buck, very obviously Hughes.
Brian (Los Angeles):
Kemp or Loney in right field? Jim Callis:
I'd play Kemp and get Loney in at first base.
Speaking of Oregon St: Red Sox 2008 opening day CF - Crisp or Ellsbury? Jim Callis:
Sal (Rutherford, NJ):
Milledge or Pie? Jim Callis:
Milledge. I still believe.
Ryan Garko or Carlos Quentin? Jim Callis:
Tony, Albuquerque, NM:
Porcello or Weiters? Jim Callis:
Taking the switch-hitting college catcher with power over the high school righthander would be safer, but I'm getting a better vibe about Porcello.
If Loney at first, Nomar? Jim Callis:
Put him at third base this year.
McGee or Neimann? Jim Callis:
McGee but I really like both.
Phil (Chicago, IL):
A-Rod or Pujols? Jim Callis:
Papelbon or Street? Jim Callis:
Brendan (Boston, MA):
Why is baseball slow to develop a hard dollar figure for each draft slot? It works for basketball. As a Red Sox fan, I know that this only helps them as they have deeper pockets, but having the lower teams shy away from drafting a kid just on signability seems flat out wrong. The commish spends so much time/effort on revenue sharing (rightly so) when this seems an easy way to increase the talent on smaller markets teams. Jim Callis:
The owners would love that. The union won't agree to it, however.
jj hardy or stephen drew Jim Callis:
Drew. Like them both though.
Porcello or vitters? Jim Callis:
Gut feel, as of right this second, is that the top three prospects in the draft are David Price, Josh Vitters and Rick Porcello, in that order.
Torii Hunter: Appropriate punishment would be __? Jim Callis:
Nothing. Come on, that rule comes from a different era when the integrity of the game was in more peril. Hunter meant no harm.
Snider or Rowell? Jim Callis:
Still sticking with Snider.
Calvin Johnson or JaMarcus Russell if you're da Raiduhs? Jim Callis:
I'd take Calvin Johnson. I know they need a QB, and JaMarcus has wonderful measurables, but that doesn't make him a lock. Calvin Johnson is a lock. The Raiders still will be bad and can take a QB early next year.
Jim, dumb question but when is the draft and where can I see the picking order? Jim Callis:
Draft is June 7-8 and maybe 9 (if TV causes a spillover). You can check out the draft order at baseballamerica.com -- head to the Draft page.
Scott (San Diego, CA):
This season - 24 or Prison Break? Jim Callis:
When you say that Griffey is "the best modern day hitter with no steriod speculation," do you consider him a better hitter than Manny, AROD and Pujols or that they all have steriod speculation? Jim Callis:
I said best of his era, didn't I? Griffey was the best player in the 1990s who wasn't linked to steroids. Since then, he hasn't been healthy.
Have you seen Drive yet? Jim Callis:
Is it any good? Tivoing it but waiting to make sure it doesn't get cancelled.
Eric (Philly, Pa:
What are your thoughts on high school players choosing professional contracts over playing college ball? Jim Callis:
I'm all for free choice. Some guys don't want to go to college or can't quality or can't afford it. To each his own. Everything being equal, I'd opt for college over pro ball out of high school unless the money was ridiculous.
Hughes or Dice-K....Inquiring minds want to know. Jim Callis:
I answered that, didn't I?
Joe (New York):
You won't take my lidge question. Do you dislike New Yorkers? Want to know whats up with Brad over there in Houston... Jim Callis:
Come on, Joe, you know I have an anti-New York bias! I think it's more mental than anything. Lidge still has stuff, but the confidence and command are lacking. Can't set the Astros trading him, because hard to get market value for his upside at this point.
Brian Cashman, NYC:
Buchholtz or Hughes long tem? Jim Callis:
Hughes. But I like Buchholz a lot, too.
Slowey or Garza this year and long-term? Jim Callis:
I'd give Garza the edge just because the stuff is so much better. But Slowey's command is tremendous.
Best all around 5-tool player in the Minors? Jim Callis:
Jon (Bay Area, California):
Have you seen UCLA shortstop Brandon Crawford play at all? Jim Callis:
No, but he's going to be a very early pick next year.
Just in case you didn't answer would you mind repeating...Hughes or Dice-ERA Jim Callis:
Sorry. Here's the question and answer:
Brian (Richmond, VA): If you had to choose right now, would you take Dice-K or Phil Hughes?
Jim Callis: If we don't factor in the money at all, very slight edge to Matsuzaka. If it's bang for the buck, very obviously Hughes.
Jake (VA Beach):
Think the new RGX spray girl rivals Alba? Jim Callis:
So immersed in the draft that I know nothing of this RGX girl. But no one rivals Alba!
Mike A. (SD, CA):
Now that Hughes is up, who's the best Yankee pitching prospect in the minors? Jim Callis:
If you don't count Joba Chamberlain (hamstring) or Dellin Betances (extended spring), who aren't actually on clubs right now, and discount all the victims of elbow injuries . . . my favorite is Kevin Whelan. Yankees would go with Ian Kennedy. I might too, if I had a report on his stuff.
Have to go to the draft phones now, see you next week.