Los Angeles Angels: Top 10 Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Los Angeles Angels: Chat




Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the major league rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible. Ages are as of April 1, 2008.

Moderator: Jim Callis will chat about the Angels farm system at 1 p.m. ET.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
When is the earliest Adenhart could see the Angels' rotation? Possible Sept. callup?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Jim Callis here, pinch-hitting for Alan Matthews, who went to work for the Rockies as an area scout after writing up our Angels prospect coverage . . . You never know with injuries opening opportunities, but I don't think Nick Adenhart is going to get a chance to crack the Angels' rotation before 2009. With Lackey, Garland, Weaver, Escobar, Saunders and Santana, at best Adenhart is seventh in line right now.

 Q:  Steve from MO asks:
When I read the report on Wood, I couldn't help but think about some similarities with Jed Lowrie, especially defensively. How do they compare offensively and defensively? Do you think Wood can develop into a SS?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think Wood is better offensively and defensively than Lowrie. They're both offensive-minded shortstops, but Wood has significantly more power and is a better defender. Wood would have a better chance at staying at shortstop, though the Angels have other shortstop options and may just move Wood to third base. That's more on need, not his lack of ability.

 Q:  Stephen C. Smith from FutureAngels.com asks:
When I recently interviewed Angels farm director Abe Flores, he said 2007 #1 pick Jon Bachanov is still working his way back into pitching condition. I got the impression Bachanov won't be ready to go for spring training. What does BA know about Bachanov's situation? Was it known before the draft that Bachanov had elbow issues?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Hi, Stephen. Sometime between the end of Bachanov's high school season and when he joined the Angels, his elbow began bothering him. We didn't have word he was hurting at the time of the draft, and it doesn't sound like the Angels did either. They'd probably be happy if he could take the mound with one of their short-season or Rookie clubs this summer.

 Q:  AUTOGRAFFIX.com from Stoughton, WI asks:
What happened to Young-Il Jung? Was he injured in 2007? Will he pitch in 2008? Was he overhyped?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He worked just three games last summer because of what was alternately described as "elbow soreness" and "forearm problems" — two catchphrases that often result in Tommy John surgery. He hasn't had surgery yet and the Angels will try to get him on the mound again this year.

 Q:  Stephen C. Smith from FutureAngels.com asks:
The 2007 Pioneer League championship game featured two top pitching prospects going toe-to-toe — Jordan Walden and Aaron Poreda. Let's go five years in the future, the Angels are playing the White Sox in the ALCS. Walden vs. Poreda. Who will triumph?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Jordan Walden.

 Q:  Ron from Riverside asks:
How close was Matt Sweeney to cracking the top 10? Does he have any chance at all of sticking at 3B? If not, will he hit enough to be a big-league 1B?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Sweeney fell in the 11-20 range on our Top 30 list in the Prospect Handbook. Scouts don't give him much of a prayer of sticking at third base, which affects his overall value. He does have the power to produce at first base, though.

 Q:  luke from texas asks:
everyone knows the angels would love walden to be a workhorse starter, but without a good 3 pitch mix he could take a long time to develope. Would it be smart for them to work him as a closer of the furure and use his fastball/slider mix to its fullest?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No. Unless someone is a lights-out closer, you'd rather have a starter and you need to give him the innings to develop that way. Walden didn't need a changeup in high school and not that much in junior college, so it's too early to say he can't turn it into a decent third pitch. With the potential of his fastball and slider, a decent changeup would be enough to make him a good starter.

 Q:  Stephen C. Smith from FutureAngels.com asks:
Any feel for Hank Conger's defensive ceiling? Some have criticized him because he threw out only 21% of runners stealing on him at Cedar Rapids last year, but all Kernels catchers had low success rates, which suggests to me that it might be more an issue of the pitching staff not holding on runners well. Conger had only five passed balls which suggests he's doing a good job blocking pitches.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I did our Midwest League list last year, so I talked to a lot of people about Conger. There's more than just the pitching staff going on there. Conger has arm strength but he doesn't move real well behind the plate, which slows down his release. His receiving also needs to get better, and he has to prove he can stay healthy. I think the realistic best-case scenario is he's an adequate to average catcher with a potent bat for his position.

 Q:  AUTOGRAFFIX.com from Stoughton, WI asks:
What are the Angels saying about Hainley Statia? Is he a Future Starter, Reserve or Trade Bait?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Angels are high on Statia. His biggest problem is that the system has too many options at shortstop. My guess is he winds up as trade bait.

 Q:  Bill from Tempe, AZ asks:
Jim, thanks for the chat. The Angels had some impressive pitchers in rookie ball last year, most notably Mason Tobin, Michael Anton and Trevor Reckling. How do they all factor into the rankings? Were any of them close to the top ten?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Reckling fell in the 11-20 range, Tobin in the 21-30 range and Anton just missed. They weren't close to the Top 10, but all are off to good starts and are legit prospects.

 Q:  Daniel from Dallas asks:
The write-up mentions that Walden has a future as a #2 or #3 workhorse. I understand that this is high praise for a rookie ball pitcher, but I am curious if there is a specific factor that may limit his ceiling from being a MLB ace. Is it that he lacks a dominant secondary pitch? Or is it more a lack of minor league experience? I would think that Walden has the frame and velocity to pitch at the top of a major league rotation if his secondary stuff develops...
 A: 

Jim Callis: Sure, his upside is as a frontline guy. He still needs to make improvements to his command and secondary pitches, though, so there's a way to go. The scouting report reflects both of those statements. His ceiling is as a No. 1 starter, but it's more realistic to expect a No. 2 or 3 starter.

 Q:  Chuck - Angelswin.com from North Bend, WA asks:
The catcher with defensive skills in Anel de los Santos at #10 over Terry Evans, Chris Petitt and Matt Sweeney eh? Was it a tough decision for that #10 spot or? Who just missed the Top 10 list at #11 for the handbook coming out? - Thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll admit, Alan caught me by surprise with that one. But Alan knows what he's doing and I thought he presented the case well. I'm not going to give away a ton of rankings in this chat—buy the Handbook!!!--but I will say that Statia was No. 11, Jose Arrendondo was No. 12 and Jung was No. 13.

 Q:  Ryan from Tulsa asks:
I've heard comparisons of Reggie Willits to Chris Pettit. Are those fair comparisons & what is Pettit's likely future value to the Angels?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, that's fair. Both those guys stand out more as good fourth outfielders and I think they'd be exposed somewhat as regulars. Pettit has more pop than Willits does, though, and I think he'll be better in the long run.

 Q:  Seth from SLO asks:
Does Bourjos have the power potential to be a legit MLB CF?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes. He still needs to improve offensively, but a .426 slugging percentage in the Midwest League at age 20 (and less than full health) is good. He fits the center-field profile, and big-time power isn't a prerequisite.

 Q:  Chuck - Angelswin.com from North Bend, WA asks:
Was your addition of Stephen Marek to the Top 10 list because of his nice run at the end of the season or his overall repertoire?
 A: 

Jim Callis: More the latter—he has a plus fastball and curveball—but we do look at both tools and performance.

 Q:  Paul Bunyan from San Jose, CA asks:
Jim, thanks for talking time out to talk to us. Is it fair to compare Brandon Wood's ceiling to Troy Glaus (moving from SS to 3B, K rate and power)?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That's fair, though as I mentioned earlier, Wood has a legitimate chance to play shortstop while Glaus did not. Wood could offer similar production while playing a more valuable position.

 Q:  Michael Stern from Rochester NY asks:
Where did Clay Fuller land - in the top 20? Do you see him as a potential starter in the bigs down the road? What is his true ceiling? He seems to have a great package of tools - a lot of speed, some decent power, and is sound defensively. What's his ETA?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Fuller made our Top 30—I will say nothing more! He has a lot of tools, not much power, is learning to switch-hit. Yes, he can become a regular, but he's going to need 3-4 years to develop.

 Q:  Jon from Peoria asks:
Who has the higher ceiling: Clement or Conger?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Their ceilings are very similar, actually. Offensive catchers who could get the job done behind the plate. I'd give Clement a slight edge and he's done it at higher levels, so I like him better as a prospect.

 Q:  Don from Rosemont, IL asks:
Do you think we'll see the raw tools that PJ Phillips has translate on the field?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Alan was always a big P.J. Phillips fan, because of his considerable package of tools. He's a great athlete, but that 154-15 K-BB ratio last year in the minors scares me. He's young and he has time to develop, but I wonder how many guys with that kind of ratio ever have developed into solid big league hitters. I'm skeptical that he can do it.

 Q:  ScottAZ from Phx, AZ asks:
Is Jeremy Haynes not on the list because of injury, or has he dropped in scouts eyes? Seems like his stuff is better than O'Sullivan and Green's. What the outlook on him?
 A: 

Jim Callis: With his hard sinker and curveball, Haynes does have better pure stuff. He's not nearly as polished, though, which is why he ranked behind O'Sullivan and Green, neither of whom is light in terms of stuff. Haynes missed some time with a torn fingernail and with shoulder tendinitis last year, costing him some valuable innings. The Cal League will be a good test for him in 2008.

 Q:  Matt from Windsor, Canada asks:
I know power is the holy grail for infielders (especially if he stays SS), but are you confident Wood will ever hit for enough power to justify a sub .250 batting average?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No doubt. Even if he hits .240-.260, he'll provide 30-plus homers and that will be more than enough offense.

 Q:  Stephen C. Smith from FutureAngels.com asks:
A general question ... When you folks analyze a player's statistical performance, how much context do you take into account? For example, Double-A Arkansas' new park is very pitcher-friendly; 13 of Sean Rodriguez's 17 HR were on the road, suggesting he might have had higher numbers in a more neutral park. Triple-A Salt Lake plays in a hitter-friendly park, and several other parks in their division (Las Vegas, Tucson, Albuquerque, Colorado Springs) also are hitter-friendly.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Of course we do.

 Q:  Charles B from Seattle asks:
RHP Richard Thompson. Great numbers last season in AA and AAA earned him a cup of coffey with the big club last year. Did he finally put it all together last season. What can we expect from him this season?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I think he's a middle reliever, maybe a setup guy or a No. 5 starter if he maxes out. He has solid stuff and threw more strikes last year.

 Q:  Matt from IL asks:
Should I be concerned with Nick Adenhart's decreasing K rate and increasing walk, homerun and hit rates? Please tell me something about his year last year that will make me feel a little better about him.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Don't panic. He didn't turn 21 until late in the season and held his own in Double-A. His stuff is still plenty good, and he's just catching his breath after advancing rapidly.

 Q:  Brian Daniels from Kennesaw Georgia asks:
Jim, Thanks for your chats.. they are always great.. My question is on Mark Trumbo? How badly has he dropped off the prospect chart? also, do you see P.J. Phillips making an impact (had to ask for a friend of mine!) Thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: Just dealt with Phillips. Trumbo is similar in that he has a big ceiling (thanks to his huge raw power) but he's far from reaching it. He's raw as a hitter and not much of an athlete, and he had to repeat low Class A. He made the Top 30, but color me skeptical about Trumbo as well.

 Q:  Paul Bunyan from San Jose, CA asks:
How high is the ceiling for the Rally Monkey? I personally rate his leaping ability as a 70 on the 20-80 scale.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yeah, but bad makeup kills the Rally Monkey. I can't stand him.

 Q:  Greg from LA asks:
Why do you think the Angels were conservative with the draft? Considering that they have about 32 major league players, they would seem to be a perfect candidate for going for the home run on draft day.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't know. That's against scouting director Eddie Bane's nature, and owner Arte Moreno hasn't been afraid to spend on the draft. They did take a flier on Matt Harvey in the third round, but never really got close to signing him. Though in their defense, I don't think Harvey's asking price was that close to his perceived market value.

 Q:  Ken Rule from Lakewood CA asks:
Hi Jim. I really enjoy your work. Thanks. Pleasant surprise having you pinch hit. The Angels had Dallas McPherson projected as their long term 3B when they let Glaus go to free agency. After multiple injuries and surgery, they didn't re-sign McPherson. Do you see him signing with another team and becoming a major league 3B?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Thanks, Ken. I'm not sure McPherson's back will ever be healthy enough to allow him to become the player he looked like he might when he was hitting bombs all over the minors. He'll get chances with other clubs, no doubt.

 Q:  Rod from Seattle asks:
So, is Jeff Mathis considered a bust at catcher? You didn't have much nice to say about Conger defensively but still had him as the catcher in 2011.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I wouldn't call him a bust. I think he's a better hitter than he has shown—he has to be doesn't he—though he has to hit a lot more to be a regular. In terms of defense and leadership, the Angels are happy with him. Maybe he winds up being a good backup.

 Q:  John from Los Angeles asks:
EXplain to me how a RHP with more hits allowed than IP, a .273 BAA, with only 116 K in 158 IP, and a less than 2-1 K/BB ratio be a potential front-of-the-rotation stud, as you deem Adenhart to be?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Repeat after me, John: It's not all about stats. How about his number: Adenhart was 20 for almost the entire season, making him one of the youngest regular starters in Double-A. If he was in low Class A like most guys his age, his numbers would have been a lot prettier. Plus fastball, plus slider, solid changeup—that gives him the potential to pitch in the front of a rotation.

 Q:  Stephen C. Smith from FutureAngels.com asks:
Tom Kotchman called Andrew Romine the best defensive shortstop he's ever coached, which says a lot since Kotch has managed in the minors for almost 30 years. Do you have a feel for whether Romine will hit enough to reach the majors? My initial comparison is to Gary DiSarcina, which suggests that in an era of offense-minded shortstops he'll wind up a utility player.
 A: 

Jim Callis: That comment jumped out at me as well. The bat is the big question. Romine didn't hit with much authority at Arizona State and probably won't ever hit high in the order. But if his glove is that good, he'd be valuable enough to be a starter. That said, there aren't a lot of guys starting in the big leagues who derive the majority of their value from their glove.

 Q:  Scott from Houston asks:
Any chance that Jose Arredondo learns to pitch? He has an impressive arsenal, but doesn't seem to get the most out of it.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Good question. He's a former infielder who has been pitching for four years, and he doesn't seem to have much feel for the mound. Hard not to like his mid-90s fastball, his slider and his splitter, though.

 Q:  Lenny from Columbus, Oh asks:
I know you say Wood still has a chance at SS in the bigs, but who do you take over the next 5 year span? Longoria or Wood?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Longoria.

 Q:  Mr. Mount from LA asks:
How is Ryan Mount progressing along? He's a gutsy, gritty player, who works his tail off...and has a solid, if unspectacular set of tools, no? What do the Angels think of him? I thought he did very well in the tough MWL as a 20-year old...will he move to high-A in '08? Thanks~
 A: 

Jim Callis: He has better tools than that, starting with good pop for a middle infielder. The Angels have moved him along slowly, but they like him. He'll move up to the Cal League this year.

 Q:  Chuck from from Angelswin.com asks:
If you had to start a club with a 1B, would it be Casey Kotchman or Kendry Morales?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Kotchman.

 Q:  Johnny Frankenstein from Deep Lake, Michigan asks:
Is Sean Rodriguez going to profile as a part time player or a full time starter? He's made it through AA so far with high Ks but if he cuts them down the average should come up and he has decent power to go with some speed. So, do you see him as a guy playing everyday or a fill in player? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: I see him as more of a quality utility player, who gets a lot of AB while shuffling between several positions. I like him.

 Q:  Dave from AZ asks:
In addition to Matt from Windsors question: Do you think Wood has the ability to improve his batting average or is .240-.260 what to expect?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'm more optimistic. I think he'll hit .260-.280.

 Q:  weston from long beach asks:
Give me your break out minor leaguer for the angels in '08.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Mason Tobin.

 Q:  Mike C. from Lynchburg, VA asks:
Thanks Howie Kendrick defensively? Can he ever be better than average? What do you see his offensive line being next year (if he can stay healthy) . . .
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's average at best defensively, but he'll win an American League batting title one of these days.

 Q:  Nathan from Boston, mass asks:
Long term, Wood or Ian Stewart?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Brandon Wood.

Moderator: That's all for today . . . We'll be back with another prospect chat on Wednesday, as Chris Kline discusses the revamped Athletics system.