ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:57 PM ET ) Hi, everyone. Work on our Draft Preview continues, and I'm now three weeks behind on both "24" and "The Sopranos." So let's focus on your baseball questions before I return to the draft phones.

corey, nc: colby rasmus has shaken off his cold start and is now hitting. Any chance he or maybe Jaime Garcia see the bigs this and join an injury laden squad?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (1:58 PM ET ) I like both Rasmus and Garcia and think they don't get all the hype they deserve. But I'd be surprised if they surfaced in St. Louis this year. Don't think they'd be difference-makers yet and that would be rushing things.

Eric (Greencastle, Ind): If the Cubs take Vitters at No. 3 and keep him at third, what becomes of A-Ram?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:00 PM ET ) They'll worry about that problem when Josh Vitters is big league ready. In the first round, especially at the top of the draft, you have to take the best player available and sort out where everyone plays down the road. Vitters would be ready by late 2009 at the earliest, at which point Ramirez will be 31 and likely a below-average defender.

Chris, Staten Island, NY: Do any of the Yankees Double A starters at Trenton have significant upside? They're all putting up some impressive numbers all across the board similar to what Clippard and Hughes did last year.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:02 PM ET ) Significant upside? Not really, not anyone close to Hughes. But there are some solid prospects in that rotation, starting with Alan Horne and Jeff Marquez. Guys who could contribute in the majors but won't be near the front of New York's rotation.

Chaz (WV): Jim, love your work and what you do with BA. A couple of years ago I asked about what you thought about Matt DeSalvo. You responded by saying he was a "cup of coffee guy", and that he would only see Middle Relief as a major you still feel that way after the way he looked in his debut? I still think he can be a #3 or #4 starter in the majors...thanks for your thoughts

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) I do see him as more of a middle reliever in the long term, his debut not withstanding. Dallas Braden won his big league debut for the A's a couple of weeks ago and then got lit up in his next start. The ceiling on DeSalvo is as a No. 4 starter, and the more likely bet is middle reliever. But some of those guys do become No. 4 starters. And to clarify, I have respect for big league middle relievers. Just calling them as I see them.

Bill (Biloxi, Miss): Lincecum really lost some velocity as the game progressed Sunday. Does that make him a better long-term reliever or should we not read too much into one start?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET ) Don't read too much into one start. I love Lincecum's future, but (2006 notwithstanding) even the best pitching prospects often struggle when they first reach the majors. He may have been overthrowing from the excitement and got gassed earlier than usual.

Bill (Chicago): Have you changed your opinion of Ryan Theriot? I thought you pegged him as a utility player...he seems like a pretty good starter at 2b.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) Theriot may be better than I thought. When I said that, I wasn't sold on his bat, but he has continued to hit so far this year.

Ryan, PA: Do you think Gordon was rushed? If so do you think this will affect him down the road? It seems like he is more then struggling right now.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) I don't . . . He tore up Double-A and got better over the course of 2006. I don't think it will affect him long term, but it does seem like Gordon is pressing. He's still going to be a star, though.

mike (sacramento, ca): How does Russell Martin compare with Mauer and McCann? As a Dodger fan I suppose my view of Martin is significantly slanted. Give me some perspective, please?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Pretty favorable . . . you're not being a homer for the Dodgers. I think Mauer is a cut above, but Martin is very comparable to McCann.

Rich (Portland, Or): Jim, What does it mean to a scout when he reads a player's physical chart and discovers that he's had Tommy John surgery. Are pitchers ever as effective as they were prior to the surgery?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) The rehab involved in coming back from Tommy John often makes pitchers stronger than ever, and they often pick up velocity. Happens all the time. TJ surgery isn't a red flag, as pitchers tend to bounce back from elbow injuries. Shoulder problems are a different story, however.

Chad (Danville, IL): I'm starting to hear that my good buddy SS Danny Worth, Pepperdine, who played summer ball here in Danville in 2005 is a potential early round pick. How high can he go?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) Sandwich or second round. He's one of the better middle infielders in a draft light on middle infielders. Hadn't realized Worth had played in the CICL.

Mr. Must See TV (NYC): Jim, love these talks buddy. The Mets need a catcher in 2008, the Braves need a new cneterfielder - wouldn't a Lastings Milledge for Jerrod Saltalamacchia trade make sense for both teams?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) Are you tapping into my computer, Mr. Must See TV? In our last issue, we had a feature on blocked prospects, and I wrote a column suggesting trades to liberate some of them. And the first deal I suggested was Saltalamacchia for Milledge. It makes sense for both sides.

Robert (Monrovia, Ca): How good is Ryan Tucker? Will be a starter or the Marlins closer for the future?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) Tucker has arguably the best pure arm in the Marlins system. They have a lot of pitching prospects, so it will be easier to put him in the bullpen. A lot of people project him as their closer of the future.

Eno (Jersey City): Sonnanstein (sp?) in TB, AAA, doesn't excite many, but his K/BB ratio is awesome. What am I missing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) He doesn't really have an out pitch, though he throws strikes and locates his pitches very well. He's a slightly lesser version of Kevin Slowey.

Jamal (MA): Over at, there has been a debate over the better duo of starting pitching prospects: Lester/Papelbon or Buccholz/Bowden. Assuming that Papelbon stayed in the rotation, which pair would you rather have at the same stages of their careers.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) Very interesting question. At the same stages of their careers, I think you'd have to give the edge to Buchholz and Bowden because they've performed better to that point. On one side, Lester is the lone lefty, but on the other, Buchholz has the deepest arsenal of good stuff.

christian (kc): I see where keith law has Wieters as the top prospect (over Price). As a Royals fan who do you see us taking at number 2? Does Sherzer (I'm also a MU fan) have what it takes to make him the second pick, kinda like Houchaver from last year.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) I'd have to disagree with Keith on that one. I'd put Matt Wieters at No. 4 behind David Price, Josh Vitters and Rick Porcello. Max Scherzer very well could go No. 2 if he pitches well in indy ball, and he touched 98 in his first exhibition outing. My best guess right now is that the Royals would take Porcello.

Steve (SF): The Brewers play 9 consecutive games in AL parks next month. Should they call up Braun during this time to take a look and if he does well keep him to stay.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) I would. They did something similar with Prince Fielder a couple of years ago.

Mike: (Cleveland, Ohio): Hi Jim, big fan of your work. I'm currently a college freshman wrapping up my first year of business studies in hopes of one day working in Major League Baseball. Besides Moneyball, any good book recommendations?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) Lords of the Realm by John Helyar and Dollar Sign on the Muscle by Kevin Kerrane immediately jump to mind. And you can never have too many Prospect Handbooks.

dar michigan: Who should the Brewers take in the 1st Round? IMO, if J.P. Arencibia is still hasn't be picked, the crew should take him. But who do you think the brewers should take? Keeping in mind that the top 3, 4,5 or so will already be picked(so Price, Wieters, etc are not options).

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) Arencibia at No. 7? Way too high. I think they take a high school pitcher like Jarrod Parker, Phillippe Aumont, Madison Bumgarner or Blake Beavan.

Tim, Detroit: Please tell me ESPN will have you BA folks handle the upcoming draft coverage.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) Getting a lot of these questions and comments, and thanks for those. ESPN hasn't worked out all the details, but we'd love to be a part of that coverage.

Karl, NY: Will Dettweiler fall to the Orioles in the 5th slot? And if he does, isn't he the obvious choice for a team that needs a more polished pitcher than Erbe or Beato?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) I don't have a good read on what the Pirates will do at No. 4, and thye may not want to take another college pitcher. I think there's a good chance Detwiler will be there for the Orioles and he'd be a good choice.

Fred (Long Island): Would you say that this year's draft is deep when compared to previous years? Will there be high impact players in the late first round?, Sandwich round?, second round?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) Deeper in high school talent, less deep in college talent, probably about average overall. It's hard to project talent years down the road, so impact players are always available throughout the early rounds--we just don't know for sure which ones theyll be. With a lot of teams preferring college players, I think there will be some nice value picks for teams that aren't afraid of high schoolers in the sandwich and second rounds.

Frank (Portland, ME): Jim, I heard somewhere recently that the Draft is being televised this year for the first time -- Is this true? And, if so, on what network and when? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) On ESPN2, June 7, the first and sandwich rounds. Not a whole lot of specifics known beyond that.

Tony, Albuquerque, NM: Speaking of draft depth how big of an effect does the PR'ing that GM's do leading up to the draft by refering to the draft and thin or weak have on contracts?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) Not a whole lot, honestly. With the unofficial slotting well established at this point, teams, agents and players know the relative value of each pick. They don't tinker with the slots too much from year to year.

Ty (WI): Hey Jim, are there any good college prospects from Wisconsin that are likely to get drafted?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:32 PM ET ) One: Wisconsin-Stevens Point righthander Jordan Zimmerman. He'll go somewhere from the third to fifth round.

Alex (St. Louis): Jim, why does it seem that many two-sport football/baseball stars in college who ultimately choose baseball end up failing, while those who end up choosing football seem to succeed more often?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) Baseball requires a lot more development. Two-sport stars in college are probably playing baseball just during the spring and skipping summer ball. In high school, they weren't honing their baseball skills year round. The missed reps catch up to them. I still think Drew Henson would have been a star had he focused on either baseball or football out of high school, but instead he was a bust in both.

Mark (Boston): Do you follow Cape Cod baseball at all? If so what can we look forward to this summer?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Sure, I love the Cape Cod League. Every year I do a Top 30 Cape Cod prospects list. I'll be honest, though, I haven't glanced at the rosters too much because I've been focused on the draft. Interested to see how Missouri freshman Kyle Gibson pitches for Falmouth--really like him.

Ben (SF): In football, it takes a good 3 years until you know if teams had a good draft. In basketball, you can tell pretty early. How quickly can you accurately grade a draft in baseball?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:35 PM ET ) Five years, to be fair. Doesn't stop us from slapping grades on drafts a year after the fact in the Prospect Handbook, though.

Jared (Cleveland): Why does Adam Miller fly under the radar when talking about upcoming pitchers? 4 and 0 with a sub 1 ERA and hes been like this for some time

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) He shouldn't, but he does. Miller was hurt in 2005, and I think he disappeared off the radar compared to the best pitching prospects as a result. But he belongs in the discussion.

Chris: NJ: If you had a kid in HS projected to go in the first 10 rounds, would you encourage him to take the $$ or would you go for the college scholarship?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) We get this question a lot, sometimes from parents of prospects. If a kid is academically inclined and college is an affordable option, I would say go to college unless you're getting big money (say $500,000 or up, obviously varies from family to family). Talent is talent, and in almost every case, if a player is meant to be a big leaguer, he's going to get there regardless of whether he signs out of high school versus college. I think you're much better off going to college, growing up as a person and working toward a degree, than growing up riding a bus in the lower minors.

Mark (Boston): Why don't professional players use aluminum bats like little league and college? Wouldn't they be able to hit the ball farther?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Well, yes, but it would change the game as you know it. Run scoring would be way up and pitchers would be in danger.

jon (new york): jim, what are we to make of john maine's start to the season? is this just a good stretch or is he better than we realized?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:42 PM ET ) When he was coming up with the Orioles, I thought he had a chance to be a No. 3 starter. He has shown talent in the past. He isn't this good, but he's not just a fluke pitching way over his head either.

David (Toronto): Jim, I loved the piece BA did about the success of organizations in signing amateurs since 1995. I was really surprised to see the Twins have been pretty bad over that stretch. What team was the biggest surprise to you?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Matt Eddy did a good job with that. It's at The biggest surprise to me was that the Diamondbacks ranked eighth despite getting a late start as an expansion club.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Wow, I forgot the lightning round! Let's go to the lightning round.

Norman (NY): The better career power numbers, Ryan Braun or David Wright?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Wright.

Fred (Tampa): Better stats at year end--Hughes or Clemens?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Clemens.

Jeff (New Haven): wait, you put a link that you have to be a member to see? weak!!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Whoops! Didn't realize that. Sorry! But buy a subscription.

Kevin (Chicago, IL): Felix Pie: superstar, star, solid everyday player or Reggie Sanders-type (good to have, but not necessary)?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) Solid everyday player.

Kevin (Hermosa Beach, CA): Andy LaRoche or Adam LaRoche?

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

Wilson (Washington DC): Rank these NL CFs, short term and long term: Felix Pie, Hunter Pence, Chris Young

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Young, Pence, Pie.

Brent(Lawrence, KS): Billy Butler, OF'er the rest of the year or back to AAA by the end of June?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Up to stay.

Andy (Niagra Falls): Is Josh Vitters a better hitter than Billy Rowell was last year? And do you think Vitters will stay at 3B long term?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Yes, but not as much power. Vitters should stay at 3B, while Rowell winds up at 1B.

Mike (San Francisco, CA): What has happened to Matt Bush who was taken 1st by the Padres a few years ago?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Hasn't hit at all, look for him to move to the mound soon.

Matt(Cortland, NY): Desalvo or your arch Nemesis Clippard?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Clippard.

Jesse (PA): Daric Barton - Superstar or average everyday player?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Average.

tman (nyc): justin germano , good major league sp or good triple a sp

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Triple-A.


SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) Delmon Young.

Ryan (Boulder, CO): Tim Alderson or Blake Beavan?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Beavan.

Mike (Tempe): Do you have an early return on Brett Anderson? Are his great early numbers at South Bend sustainable as he advances? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Yes, he's legit. Very polished, commands solid stuff very well.

Chris (Hoboken, NJ): How about an "I told you so" to the Yankee fans who blamed your bias for not praising the .220 hitting Melky Cabrrea??

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) I'll let you handle that for me.

Brian (Milwaukee): Gallardo or Chamberlain?

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

eno (jersey city): Anthony LeRew or Matt Harrison?

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

Sean (philly): Billy Butler, Stud or Solid?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:55 PM ET ) Stud bat.

Chad Chatsworth CA: WHat do u think of mike moustakas and where do you see him going in the draft?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Might be the best combination of hitting ability and power in the entire draft. On talent, he's a Top 10-type pick. But he's also advised by Scott Boras, so he could slide due to signability.

Lee (NYC): Clippard, Sanchez, or Ohlendorf?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Clippard.

Tom (New Lenox, IL): Pie or Colvin long term in CF?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Pie in CF, Colvin in RF for the Cubs.

Pat (Fort Morgan, CO): Trade rumor. Who wins? Noah Lowry for Melky Cabrera.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Yankees. I think it's harder to find a Lowry than it is to find a Cabrera.

Kevin (Manassas): Rank these three....Veal, Gallagher, and Samardzjia.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Veal, Samardzija, Gallagher.

Jeff (Tarzana, CA): Mattingly's kid or Clemens' son?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Mattingly's kid.

Mark (Boston): Boras - The Devil or just a symptom of the system?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Can I take "very good at doing his job"? People forget that he's trying to do the best for his clients. His rhetoric and his holier-than-thou attitude can get to be too much, but he is very good at doing his job.

Alex Rodriguez (NY): Will I break Barry Bonds's eventual home run record?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Yes.

Jake (VA Beach): Did you ever see the RGX girl...she does come close to rivaling Alba!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) I did, still take Alba in a walk.

Tony (NYC): Would you like to see barry break hanks record, be honest.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Honestly, very apathetic. Don't hate Barry but don't root for him either. The way I'm looking at it is it's inevitable, and I hope to be watching when he breaks it.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Back to the draft phones, see you next week.