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Draft Chat With Jim Callis
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Moderator: Draft guru Jim Callis will begin taking your questions at 1 p.m.

 Q:  Jason from Bronx, NY asks:
You guys have the Yankees taking rhp Phil Hughes with the 23rd pick. Any idea who they might be targeting with their 3 other early picks? Is there any chance that David Purcey could fall to them at 23?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Purcey, an Oklahoma LHP, could fall that far but probably won't quite make it back to the Yankees after they failed to sign him as a 17th-round pick last year. Other names that might go to the Yankees with their picks at 37, 41 and 42 include Alabama LHP Taylor Tankersley, Arizona State 1B Jeff Larish and Washington prep OF Matt Tuiasosopo.

 Q:  Jeff E from Virginia asks:
Are you aware of any pitchers, college or high school, who have been downgraded by scouts because of possible overuse? I've read several game stories this spring where I wondered about the long term health of some pitchers based on the number of pitches thrown andor the frequency of their appearances. Thanks.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Scouts cringe at some of the pitch counts, but there's no pitcher out there that scouts have been scared off of. I'm not blanket excusing the use of every college pitcher, but also keep in mind that most of them pitch every seven days instead of every five.

 Q:  Mike from Lexington, KY asks:
Jim, thanks for doing these chats. Quick question on UK draft chances. If any, who's name will be called - Caleb Stewart, Mike Breyman, James Rodriguex, Spencer Graeter? Thanks!
 A: 

Jim Callis: If starting QB Shane Boyd was signable, he'd probably be the first draft pick out of the University of Kentucky. As it stands, Kaleb Stewart's power should earn him that distinction.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
what players could be around for the orioles at #8?
 A: 

Jim Callis: We're hearing a position player for the Orioles. They're the highest-picking team in hard on Princeton OF B.J. Szymanski, and Florida State SS Stephen Drew could be theirs if he slides because of questions about his desire andor signability. They've also shown a lot of interest in Pennsylvania HS C Neil Walker.

 Q:  Joe from NYC asks:
At what point in the draft do you think NJ RHP Carlton Smith with go?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Smith, the younger brother of former Indians first-rounder Corey Smith, is a raw, athletic high school pitcher with a low-90s fastball. He'll probably go between the sixth and 10th rounds.

 Q:  Zack from Abilene Tx asks:
I am a huge Rangers fan. If all three Rice pitchers are gone, Sowers is gone, and Homer Bailey is gone, who would will the Rangers select with the 10th pick?
 A: 

Jim Callis: We initially projected Bailey getting to Texas at No. 10, but now we're hearing that several teams ahead of the Rangers are giving him strong consideration. Under this scenario, I wonder if the Rangers might take Missouri HS LHP Scott Elbert, the John Danks of the 2004 draft.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
does jermey sowers projected as a no.1 stater?
 A: 

Jim Callis: That, of course, depends on your definition, and I'm usually pretty strict on this. I see him more as a No. 2 or No. 3 because his pure stuff is solid average, but I do love his pitchability and think he'll make it to the majors very quickly.

 Q:  ELTiger from Lansing, MI asks:
Where does Kenn Kasparek project to go in the draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Kasparek, a 6-foot-8 Texas HS RHP, had a lackluster spring after projecting as an early pick. I don't see him going in the first five rounds and he could fall a lot further because at that point he may not be signable away from the University of Texas.

 Q:  John from Burlington, Ky asks:
What are the chances of the Reds drafting Matt Bush with the 7th pick in the draft? This is Larkin's last year, and SS could be the weakest position in the Reds farm system. Thanks!
 A: 

Jim Callis: Very good. I think he'll be there for the Reds, they like him and they could use him.

 Q:  Don from Detroit asks:
Any new news on the Tigers potential pick? Who are the top 3 candidates by Detroit?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'm not sure who their top three candidates are. But Long Beach State RHP Jered Weaver isn't nearly the lock to go No. 1 that he seemed to be 6-8 weeks ago, so the Tigers have a better chance to get him at No. 2 than once thought. We also hear they're very high on Homer Bailey.

 Q:  Bill from Abilene TX asks:
Do you see JP Howell being available when the Rangers select in the secon round?
 A: 

Jim Callis: This isn't my J.P. Howell stalker, is it? Anyway . . . I really do like the way the Texas LHP competes and spins a curveball. I don't think he's going to last until 51, so if the Rangers want him they'll have to take him with their second first-rounder (No. 30).

 Q:  Ron from Cincinnati asks:
Thanks Jim for doing these chats. Where do you see Verlander falling to? It seems he could go 1st or 10th. Do the Reds have a shot at him? What about Homer Bailey?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Verlander is a tough call. He has the most electric stuff among college pitchers, but he also has been maddeningly inconsistent. He won't go No. 1, and he could fall into the middle of the first round. Bailey could go as high as No. 2 to the Tigers and as low as No. 10 to the Rangers.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
If philip humber falls to the brewers at #5 should they draft him?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'm taking a lot of Texas-related questions, so I promise I'll start expanding my geographic horizons in a second . . . I think I would take Humber at No. 5, assuming Jered Weaver and Humber's Rice teammate Jeff Niemann are gone. If you factor in Weaver's reported desire for Mark Prior money, Humber might just be the safest pick in the draft.

 Q:  John from Long Island asks:
Who are the best high school pitching prospects from New York for the upcoming draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: George Washington HS (Bronx) RHP Rafael Gonzalez is the best. He signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000 with the Yankees last year, but the deal was voided once it was discovered he was an American citizen and draft eligible. Ineligible for high school ball this spring, he has thrown 93-95 mph pitching for a scout team. The best HS LHP in the state is Westhill's (Syracuse) Pat McAnaney.

 Q:  ELTiger from Lansing, MI asks:
How signable is Mark Trumbo, who is committed to Southern Cal?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's a first-round talent, and first-round money might be enough to sign him. Anything less would be pushing it. He has a pro body (6-foot-5, 220 pounds) and a nice three-pitch arsenal highlighted by a low-90s fastball.

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
What do you project for the Royals with their 3 first round picks. Will they really go for best available talent or will there be signability picks. Will they focus more on College or on Tools. - how about Neil Walker, Huston Street and Jeff Larish for the first round?
 A: 

Jim Callis: They're expected to do what they did last year, which is to slightly overdraft players in the first round so they can save a little money. Not that Chris Lubanski and Mitch Maier aren't good prospects, but the fact they signed for roughly $500,000 below slot between them played a part in their selection. I can't see any way the Royals touch Arizona State 1B Larish, who has had a bad year and is represented by Scott Boras, who's not exactly Mr. Give Me Slot Money. I think the Pirates will take Walker at No. 11 before the Royals pick at No. 14. Given Kansas City's bullpen woes, I could see them taking Texas RHP Street, but more at No. 29. With their top pick, we keep hearing that Miami (Ohio) 1B Mike Ferris is a likely possibility. He'd save them a little money, too.

 Q:  Jeff from Cleveland asks:
Hey Jim, John Mirabelli said this week the Indians are 99% likely to take a pitcher with the 6th pick, he went onto say the only thing he didnt know was whether it'd be a HS pitcher or college pitcher, they have 6 to 8 guys on their list - Apart from Sowers who we've heard about who are the other likely names that you've heard the Indians have as options ? Thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: If they're looking at 6-8 guys, I'll guess that they figure Weaver definitely will be gone. The other guys are probably the Rice trio (Niemann, Humber, Wade Townsend), Bailey, Verlander and New Orleans RHP Thomas Diamond.

 Q:  dave from maryland asks:
what are the possibilites for Montreal at 13?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Probably something similar to last year, where they look for someone who can help them quick andor save them some money. A college reliever is a distinct possibility, either someone currently in that role like Street or Liberty LHP Bill Bray, or a starter who projects as a reliever like Townsend or Diamond. Street or Bray would come at a discount at No. 13.

 Q:  Anthony Peruchietti from Dearborn Heights, MI asks:
What is the latest status from the Players Association regardning the possibility of trading draft picks in the future?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The committee that was supposed to meet to hash out major changes to the draft hasn't done much of anything. So trading draft picks remains a concept that has both its supporters and detractors but isn't getting officially discussed. The owners and players simply don't care that much about the draft.

 Q:  Neal from Joliet asks:
Hi. Do you feel that there is validity to the Tigers passing on Weaver? It doesn't seem all that logical to pass on him because his brother didn't work out there. If they do, will the Mets pony up that kind of money? thanks
 A: 

Jim Callis: I don't think they'd pass on Jered because of Jeff, who actually pitched pretty well for Detroit and went in the tank after he got traded. But there are teams out there who prefer other pitchers' stuff to Weaver's pitchability, and Weaver's price tag could make some teams look in another direction. I'd say I'd be surprised if he went past the Mets, but then the draft is always surprising.

 Q:  Yoda from Secret Location asks:
Quick will I be...Speilberg much anger over leaving set. Insight on Garry Bakker, hmmm...Limited upside do I see, right was OB-1? Major Leaguer to compare him to - Brian Boehringer? Round selection do you predict, Callis, Jim?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Trying to decipher this makes my tired head hurt. Bakker lacks a true out pitch but knows what he's doing on the mound and has had success in the Cape Cod League. I'll say fifth to seventh round.

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Please Draft Homer Bailey Tampa, FL asks:
If the Rays come to their senses and decide to draft a pitcher, do you think they'll go after Verlander or Bailey? Instead, if they really want Chris Nelson, but Stephen Drew happens to slide to no. 4, do you think they'll snag Drew with the 4th pick or chose Nelson ahead of him?
 A: 

Jim Callis: If they take a pitcher, I think they'd take Bailey. I don't think Verlander is going that high any longer. I believe they'd stick with Georgia HS SS Nelson, who has a better chance to stay at that position than Drew, rather than haggle with Scott Boras over Drew.

 Q:  Sean from Cape Coral, FL asks:
Jim, Aside from Luis Cota, who are the top draft and follows out there from last year's draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Scouts say there aren't a lot of prime DFEs this year, but the best remaining is Sacramento CC RHP Ryan Mattheus, a 19th-round pick of the Rockies last year. He has a 92-95 mph fastball and a hard slider. It's pronounced like Matthews, by the way.

 Q:  Ken from Bristol, CT asks:
Everyone talks about Rice's big 3. What about junior righty Josh Baker? Where do you see him going in this draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He gets lost in the shuffle, but Baker is a 6-foot-5, 210-pounder with an 88-92 mph fastball, hard slider and good splitter. He'll go from the third to fifth round.

 Q:  Josh from Michigan asks:
Let's just cut right to it - Who will be the first 5 players drafted in '04?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I'll start by saying the first round is more fluid than usual at this point. That said, let's shake up what we had in the Draft Preview issue. I'll go with Niemann to the Padres, Weaver to the Tigers, Humber to the Mets, Nelson to the Devil Rays and Bailey to the Brewers. We'll start working the first round very hard again next week, so stay tuned to the Draft Tracker.

 Q:  Carin from Buffalo asks:
Who's the biggest sleeper in your estimate in the early rounds of the draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's a known commodity, but given the dearth of position player talent, I don't understand why Louisiana State RHP Jon Zeringue isn't getting first-round consideration over many of the hitters we're hearing. He hits for average, he hits for power and he's a good right fielder who has performed well in the nation's best conference. I'd take him in the late first round.

 Q:  Jeff from Ft. Meade, Florida asks:
I know it's early to think about Draft 2005 but is local kid Andrew McCutchen considered a top OF prospect for next JUne?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Yes, he's one of the top outfield prospects in the nation and projects as a first-rounder.

 Q:  Sean from Cape Coral, FL asks:
What have you been hearing about Seth Smith? Could he be a potential steal in the early 2nd round? What kind of ceiling does he have?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Eli Manning's backup QB at Ole Miss, Smith started slowly this year and probably knocked himself down from the first round to the second. He could be a steal there, because he has picked up his performance and is a prototype right fielder.

Jim Callis: I have Ask BA and other draft-related duties calling, so let's go to the lightning round and take a few more questions.

 Q:  Amory Blaine from Princeton, NJ asks:
Who is likely to pop high school OF Greg Golson? Is he a Carl Crawford type with a stronger arm or does his approach indicate a more powerful bat?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The Yankees, Marlins or Rangers at the end of the first round. Better arm, more power, still some questions on Golson's bat though.

 Q:  Kevin Rhodes from Uniontown, Pa. asks:
As for the Pirates, I have been hearing Diamond, Walker, Szymanski, and Fields. Any ideas? Also, any chance they could get Larish on the second round? Tks
 A: 

Jim Callis: They're in strong on Walker. I don't think they'd try to get involved with the money it would cost to sign Larish.

 Q:  Dave from Fresno asks:
At what point does a team like the Devil Rays have to take into consideration orgainzational needs in drafting. The Devil Rays have almost no hope of developing any type of contending team with the pitching in their system now, and have no money to buy free agent pitchers. Despite this, they appear ready to draft a high school shortstop with their #4 pick. Obviously, B.J. Upton worked out for them, and Delmon Young may someday turn into Albert Belle. If I were the Devil Rays G.M. I would have to seriously consider taking a lot of college pitchers mixed in with high school pitchers like Homer Bailey in this draft. Are the Devil Rays making a mistake taking Chris Nelson given theri needs?
 A: 

Jim Callis: I agree with you, Dave. Lightning-round protocol precludes a longer response, but see the May edition of Ask BA for more on this subject.

 Q:  Ben from Falmouth MA asks:
Are teams hesitant to draft power arms like Colt Griffin who don't have enough experience and get large signing bonuses only to struggle in the minors? AKA Colin Mahoney?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Some teams are, but there will always be takers. As for Clemson RHP Collin Mahoney, a converted catcher, his lack of command and experience would scare me away from wanting to draft his high-90s fastball in the early rounds. But someone will bite.

 Q:  Danny from Miami asks:
Which player in this year's draft is most likely to pull a Ryan Wagner or Chad Cordero, in other words, contribute in 2004?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Huston Street, because I don't think Jered Weaver will sign quick enough to be a factor.

 Q:  joe from Tallahassee asks:
I'm curious, why Stephen Drew is at the top of your "pure hitters" category and Martinez-Esteve is not on that list? Martinez-Esteve leads the ACC in six offensive categories: batting average, HRS, RBI, Singles, Doubles and Slugging percentage. He has a lot less strikeouts per at bat than Drew. Last year as a Freshman he out hit Drew eventhough he played injured the entire season. Please explain what is a pure hitter.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Short answer: Drew has a quicker bat and will have to make fewer adjustments when they switch to wood.

 Q:  Joe from NY asks:
The Mets have drafted high schoolers with first round picks the last two years. Does the fact that Rick Peterson is their new pitching coach change this approach?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Nope. I doubt he had much input in Oakland's drafts either.

 Q:  thomas from charlottesville asks:
any truth to the rumor that justin verlander throws "too hard?" I heard a few scouts discussing this a few days ago at a virginia area high school game. any comment?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Verlander doesn't have too much effort in his swing, but if he dialed down his fastball a notch it could work wonders for his command, which is his shortcoming.

 Q:  Perri from Key Biscayne asks:
Did Weaver's performance at Miami drop him in the eyes of the Pads?
 A: 

Jim Callis: No. He has been too good all year for that outing to ruin it all for him, and Miami is a tough place to pitch.

 Q:  Brandon from Rohnert Park, CA asks:
Hi Jim, Have any Division II prospects gotten your attention this year?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Tampa RHP Eric Beattie, who dominated in the Cape Cod League last summer, has followed up with a strong encore and could go in the late first round.

 Q:  Matt from WI asks:
Between Chris Nelson and Matt Bush, who do you see as having the bigger upside? And who do you see reaching the Marjors the quickest?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Nelson on both counts because he's a safer bet to hit.

 Q:  larry from California asks:
I am a big fan of Trevor Plouffe. Where do you see him in the draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: The California prepster is one of the best shortstops in the draft and could go from the late first round to the early second.

 Q:  Henry from Lansing asks:
What's up with Billy Killian? Baseball America is high on him but other publications don't have him on the radar screen. What type of player are we looking at?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's an offensive-minded Michigan HS C and the son of Padres area scout Ed Killian.

 Q:  bill from chicago asks:
thanks for taking questions! just wondering who are draft prospects from the big ten? how high can perkins and lewis go? thanks again.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Minnesota LHP Glen Perkins is the best and should go in the same area as Plouffe, late first round to early second. Ohio State RHP Scott Lewis could have gone as high if he hadn't had Tommy John surgery last year, but still could go in the third round now.

 Q:  Joshua R from Berkeley, CA asks:
I was hoping you could give me your opinion on where some of the Stanford hitters could go? Putnam seems to have the tools at the plate, but might be undersized and slow. Lucy has a great arm and speed for a catcher, but hasn't put up quite the offense stats. Any guess where they go?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Putnam in the late first round, Lucy in the fourth or fifth.

 Q:  Doug from NJ asks:
Where do you see left-handed pitcher Jeff Gogal from Montclair State going in this draft?
 A: 

Jim Callis: He's interesting, a finesse/pitchability guy who was great in the Cape Cod League last summer. He could go in the eighth to 10th round.

 Q:  Scott from San Fernando, Ca asks:
How high does Richie Robnett from Fresno St. go? Any others from Fresno St. get picked in top 10 rounds?
 A: 

Jim Callis: Robnett could go as high as the second round. He might be the only Bulldog taken in the first 10 rounds.

 Q:  Jimal from Baltimore, Md asks:
out of these 5 pitchers who are going to go early in the 1st round who do you think is going to be the quickest to the show, and who do you think has the highest ceiling. Niemann, Humber, Bailey, Townsend and Weaver.
 A: 

Jim Callis: Weaver will get there the quickest, Niemann has the highest ceiling and Humber might be a little better on both counts than the general public gives him credit for.

Jim Callis: I have to run now. Thanks for all the great questions. It was simply impossible to get to all of them. If we didn't answer yours, don't give up hope. John Manuel is itching to do a draft chat, and that could happen early next week after he assists ESPN with their college baseball coverage. And you can always send questions to Ask BA at askba@baseballamerica.com. Just remember to include your full name and hometown. Have a good weekend!

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