Draft Chat: May 14

Jim Callis answered lots of draft questions




    Rich (Yonkers, NY): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat. What's going on with Grant Green? As dominating as he was on the cape last summer, this spring he has been not that impressive. I realize he's still hitting around .370, and the past 2 years he's been a slow starter. Are teams just pitching around him and he's pressing under the huge expectations? There are people who say he'll fall in the draft and I think that's a big mistake based on his previous track record.

Jim Callis: Green just hasn't lived up to the huge expectations he created with his performance on the Cape, where scouts compared him to Evan Longoria and Troy Tulowitzki. I think he's pressing and that made things worse, but it hasn't been a horrible year, just not a great one. It's hard to say where he'll go in the draft. The Padres at No. 3 are the one early team I hear that's on him, but he also has Scott Boras as his agent. Signability plus a so-so season could cause him to drop.

    Jeff Ellis (Winston-Salem NC): Who will the O's take at number 5? Any chance Ackley from NC is still available?

Jim Callis: We just finished a mock first round to include in our Draft Preview, which is going out the door to the printer as we speak. That should be up on our website today or tomorrow. I had Dustin Ackley going No. 2 to Seattle, more of an educated guess than any true inside scoop. I'd take him No. 2 if I were running the draft, too. If the Mariners go in a different direction, I think either the Padres or Pirates would snatch him up before the Orioles could. I projected North Carolina RHP Alex White for Baltimore at No. 5, with Georgia high school RHP Zack Wheeler and California prep LHP Tyler Matzek as two other possibilities.

    Fred (Ohio): Hi- Thoughts on Marc Krauss?

Jim Callis: Ohio outfielder who has had a great spring on the heels of a great performance in the Cape Cod League. There aren't many good college bats in this draft, and he's one of the best. I see him as a second-rounder but it wouldn't shock me if he went in the last first. College bats are that scarce this year.

    Fred (Ohio): If Josh Phegley cannot stay behind the plate, will his bat play at another position?

Jim Callis: Phegley is the offensive-minded catcher at Indiana. His other position options are 1B and DH, and I don't think he profiles as a starter at those spots. So he needs to work on his receiving and release.

    Mike (Miami): Kyle Bellamy has been arguably the best closer in the NCAA this year. As a junior, where do you think he will be drafted, and what will it take to keep him from returning to Miami for his senior season?

Jim Callis: Fourth or fifth round, not sure what his signability is. He's a sidearming sinker-slider guy, could become a setup guy in the majors if it all works out for him.

    Tony (Clearwater): Hey Jim, thanks for taking my question. With so many picks in the early part of the draft, who are some players the Brewers will be looking at?

Jim Callis: Pitching, pitching and more pitching is my guess. Some names they could pursue: Kennesaw State RHP Kyle Heckathorn, South Carolina RHP Sam Dyson, Kansas HS RHP Garrett Gould.

    Fred (Ohio): What are the deficiencies in Blake Dean's game that are preventing him from being a 2-3 round player? It seems like he has some great numbers for his career.

Jim Callis: He got off to a slow start this year, and he's an all-bat guy. His other tools are marginal and he has spent a lot of time at DH this spring. To go that high, he'd have to produce more than he has as a junior.

    Matt (Austin): Have the Cubs been linked to anyone in particular? Any chance they take a prep shortstop like Jiovanni Mier, Daniel Fields or David Renfroe?

Jim Callis: Too early to hear much about teams at the bottom of the first round. They do like their Notre Damers, so maybe they'll go after outfielder A.J. Pollock. Mier could be a fit for them at No. 31, but the other guys are later picks.

    Henry (Oakland): Any sense on how high Rex Brothers might go and which teams might have an interest in taking him?

Jim Callis: I think he goes somewhere in the 11-20 range. I projected that the Cardinals would take him at No. 19 in that mock draft I mentioned.

    Matthew (Fresno, Ca.): Give me a name that could sneek up in the top 20? (Ala Jason Castro and Jemile Weeks last year)

Jim Callis: Castro went 10th and Weeks went 12th, so let's raise the bar to there. I think Sacramento State outfielder Tim Wheeler could jump up there. He's the second-best college position player for some teams, and he's an athlete who's having a great year.

    J.P. (Springfield, IL): Hi Jim, thanks for answering my Strasburg question in the latest edition of Ask BA. Following up on it a bit, it's obvious that he has a lot of dubious history to overcome as relates to previous pitchers being taken #1 overall. What separates him from his less-successful predecessors, and how confident are you that he is the exception to that particular rule?

Jim Callis: I think you have to consider each guy on his own merits. For instance, Brien Taylor got hurt in an off-the-field fight, and the Rangers handled David Clyde terribly, so I wouldn't consider them relevant to Strasburg. I do think Strasburg is the best prospect of the draft era. I don't think there's been a guy who has thrown this hard with this kind of breaking ball and command this consistently. So I think it's reasonable to expect that he'll outperform all of the previous No. 1 overall guys.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Current probability Tate will sign if picked in the Top 5? Top 10? Below?

Jim Callis: I don't think where he gets picked matters. It's what he gets offered, and we're hearing rumors that he wants $6 million. My gut feeling is he signs, but he has made noise about wanting to attend UNC. Who knows how sincere that is?

    Harry (RI): Could I get your input on San Margarita HS outfielder Trayce Thompson? He's getting some praise in early scouting reports, with the words "Maybin/Winfield", "5-tool" among them.

Jim Callis: Well, I think Winfield would be the extreme upside. We rate Thompson as a third-rounder, loaded with tools but still figuring out how to hit.

    Mike (miami): Ryan Jackson has been very disappointing this season after being named a pre-season All American. He is only a junior, but rumors down here have him leaning towards not coming back to school. Where do you think he is drafted and what will it take for him to leave early?

Jim Callis: His bat is a major question mark, but he is the best defensive shortstop in the college crop. I still think he goes in the top 2-3 rounds and signs for slot. If he wants more than slot, he's going to plummet.

    Ross (CA): Hey Jim, who do you think is the overall #2 talent in this years draft behind Strasburg? By means of comparison, where do you think the #2 talent in this draft would have ranked in last years draft.

Jim Callis: Dustin Ackley. Special, special hitter and I don't think he'll have trouble moving to center field. He would have fit in very nicely in last year's draft with all those gifted college hitters. We rated Brian Matusz as the No. 2 talent before last year's draft, and I'd take Ackley over him.

    jack (atlanta, GA): Where do you see Heckathorn and Jenkins going in the draft? Is there a possibility that these two could go in the top 20?

Jim Callis: Possible, maybe a little bit rich there. We're hearing that Washington may try to cut a deal with their unprotected pick at No. 10, and Jenkins is in that mix. I think 20 is about as high as either would go otherwise.

    Justin (Tucson, AZ): Is there any chance that the Nat's don't take Strausberg at No. 1? We know how much it will cost but will his talent transfer to the majors? I've heard comparisons to A.J. Burnett, which is great but not exactly a true dominant ace that Strausberg is made out to be. What are the odds of Dustin Ackley going No. 1 and drafting the best available pitcher at No. 10?

Jim Callis: No chance. I think those Burnett comps were a scout saying he'd take Strasburg over Burnett right now. The only way Strasburg doesn't go No. 1 is if he gets hurt.

    Brett (The ILL): Where's Randal Grichuk projected to go at this point? I haven't been able to find much, then the swine flu shut down.

Jim Callis: Grichuk, a Texas outfielder, is one of the best high school hitters in the draft. His game is mostly about the bat. He's probably a second-rounder. Plays hard.

    JAYPERS (IL): Which HSer has been rising the fastest up the draft boards in the past week?

Jim Callis: Garrett Gould, RHP from Maize HS in Kansas.

    Mike (Miami): If you are the Redsox, what are you looking to get out of this draft? Do you just take the best player available, or go for specific needs? The Redsox have a hole at catcher and SS in the majors but I can't imagine drafting near the end of the 1st round will provide the talent to fill those holes within the next 2 seasons.

Jim Callis: I hope some signability guy drops to me and take advantage of it. Otherwise, I could see them going wtih a catcher like California high schooler Max Stassi or Boston College's Tony Sanchez at No. 28.

    Ulysses (Ft. Lauderdale, FL): When does your Draft Top 200 list come out? thanks

Jim Callis: We're doing things a little differently this year. We're starting off by ranking players and breaking them down by rounds at each position, and that will go up on the site in the next couple of days, Tuesday at the latest. The Top 200 will come out closer to the draft, and should go up on the site in a couple of weeks.

    Mookie (Springfield, MO): I've seen a few draft projections with the Cardinals taking hometown hurler Jake Turner and a few with Andy Oliver... with the Cardinals long history of drafting college pitchers, do you think Oliver is the more likely selection? Which do you see as a better long term pick?

Jim Callis: I don't think Turner makes it to them at No. 19, though we're hearing he wants a Porcello deal ($7 million). A lefty would make sense. Rex Brothers of Lipscomb is another southpaw option.

    Paulie (Portland): How does Chad James stack up to fellow Oklahoma HS lefty Brett Anderson when Anderson was a kid with command, decent but not great velocity, and promising secondary stuff?

Jim Callis: Different types of guys. Anderson had more polish, less velocity and athleticism. As prospects, they're comparable, but they get it done in different ways.

    Blake (Jacksonville State): What round do you think Ben Tootle will go in the draft?

Jim Callis: Would have said first round last summer based on his Cape Cod performance, but now he's more of a sandwich- to third-rounder. He's had a so-so spring and missed some time with a virus.

    Jimmy (Hayward): Although the Giants farm system is pitching heavy and light on impact bats, would it be wise for them to pass on Scheppers and/or Crow if they are there at 6. Which one fits better with the organization?

Jim Callis: I wonder if they might be the team that goes and gets Donavan Tate. If not, those two pitchers would be in the mix. If you believe Scheppers shoulder won't cause him any problems, you'd probably take him over Crow.

    Jim (Baltimore): What can you tell us about Robbie Erlin, the LHP from Scotts Valley HS, CA? 1st rounder or no?

Jim Callis: More of a third- to fifth-rounder. Not big, average fastball, very nice curveball.

    Cal (DC): Which round do you see Patrick Schuster falling? From many accounts, he isn't as good as his numbers. If he falls beyond, say, the 4th round, will he sign?

Jim Callis: Sounds like he's a fourth- to sixth-rounder if signable. Good chance he winds up with the Gators next year.

    greg (pitt): just read the pirates like ackley, shelby miller, jacob turner and aaron crow. who's there at 4 and who do you like the pirates to take?

Jim Callis: I think Ackley is gone and the others are available. I had them taking Kyle Gibson in that soon-to-be-posted mock first round.

    william (san francisco, ca): Is going to be the most unpredictable draft on record?

Jim Callis: I think they all feel unpredictable. This one might be a little more than most but I don't think it's outlandishly so.

    JAYPERS (IL): When can we expect to see the first installment of BA's 1st round Mock Draft?

Jim Callis: I'm told later this afternoon. My fingers just got typing it about an hour ago.

    Ryan (Abingdon, MD): I find Donovan Tate very intriguing. His talent can place him in the top 5, but I've read inconsistent things regarding his dedication to baseball - some stating that baseball is his main love, and others that he still likes football too much, making his intent to play two sports at UNC all the more likely to happen. Talking to people in the industry, what impression do you get regarding Donovan Tate's signability? Thanks!

Jim Callis: No one seems to know if his love of football is sincere or it's just a ploy to drive up his bonus.

    Brett (The ILL): Any indications on what the Nats will do with the #10 pick? Will they go "cheap", or will they take advantage of the situation and pop another potential stud? Who would be your guesses for that pick?

Jim Callis: We're hearing they will go cheap and cut a deal there. Hearing names like Kennesaw State RHP Chad Jenkins, North Carolina HS C Wil Myers and New Jersey HS OF Mike Trout.

    John (Boston, MA): Do you see Wil Myers being around for the red sox at 28? Do you think they would take him?

Jim Callis: Think he will be there, but I think they prefer Max Stassi and maybe Tony Sanchez.

    Sammy P. (Carol Stream, IL.): Who is the best Illinois high school prospect in the draft?

Jim Callis: Tanner Bushue, live-armed RHP from South Central HS in Farina.

    Blackie (Cincinnati): Hi Jim. There was a question on a prospect forum this week that seems like a good one to pose to an expert. Of the four top college lefties, Paxton, Brothers, Oliver and Minor, how do you think they rank and, what's their likely draft order/round taken? How do Matzek, Purke and Skaggs compare and where would they slot among the college arms?

Jim Callis: All those guys have a chance to go in the first round. I would line them up like this: Matzek, Purke, Brothers, Oliver, Skaggs, don't forget Chad James who would fit here, Paxton, Minor.

    Brian (University of Georgia): Happy Thursday, Jim!! I've heard a lot of recent scuttlebut regarding the Tigers' pursuit of C/3B Wil Myers and OF Mike Trout. Is this true from your perspective? At this juncture what would you say are the chances that Detroit will draft either hitter? Is there a pitcher (or pitchers) out there, who, if he's available would force SD David Chadd to abandon this strategy and not pop Myers/Trout at #9? Thank you for taking my question.

Jim Callis: I've heard Trout a little there but not Myers. But I think Detroit can get better value than those guys. I'm hearing a lot that they'll be the club to pop Jacob Turner.

    John (Pensacola, FL): Besides Zach Wheeler, who do you think the Braves are considering with their first pick?

Jim Callis: Alex White. Tyler Matzek.

    Jason (Louisiana): Is Jared Mitchell considered a 5-tool prospect and is he a 1st rounder? Thanks, Jason

Jim Callis: Yes and yes, but he'll need time to refine his game. He's raw. High risk, high reward.

    Nick (Philadelphia): Any idea on what the Indians are thinking? Any chance they draft a college reliever, or someone who can come in and help the team in a hurry?

Jim Callis: They may be looking at college bats after the first tier of pitchers empties out. Sacramento State OF Tim Wheeler could be a nice pick there.

    Mike (Chicago): Are the White Sox possibly looking to draft Rex Brothers from Lipscomb with the 23rd pick?

Jim Callis: He'd be their type of guy but I don't think he gets to them.

    Jon (Austin, Tx): Is there any chance that one of the top five high school pitchers falls to the Rangers at 14? BA is saying Turner has a lot of helium, but I've also heard his agent might cause him to slide.

Jim Callis: Turner could slide because of signability. There are a lot of college pitchers in this draft, so I think there's a chance that the top two Texas HS arms, Shelby Miller and Matt Purke, could be available for the Rangers.

    Adam W. (NYC): What is going on with Austin Maddox this season? His power potential seems to be huge, but it seems like he hasn't been noted at any position as a high draftee. Has his stock fallen, and if so, how much?

Jim Callis: He has big power and arm strength, and otherwise a lot of question marks. There are a ton of good high school catchers this year, and Maddox may not go in the top two rounds.

    Agent Renee Walker (Washington, DC now, NYC next year): Multiple part question, and don't make me go Unexplained Bad Tony on you: 1. Are the Padres stuck in a spot where they may have to pay slot to a player whose stock has tumbled (Green) or get over their long-standing aversion to high school arms? Which would be more painful to the college-oriented Fuson and Gayton? 2. Some of the reports on Tate's bat sound a little questionable. If he needs more than slot, is he a good choice at #3? 3. So multiple biological weapons attacks are worth stopping, but one attack of this non-contagious bioweapon would be the straw that breaks the government's back? Gee, one of those sounds a lot more damaging to the nation's confidence than the other.

Jim Callis: I've been working so hard on the Draft Preview that I'm two episodes behind on "24" . . . Quick answers: 1) Don't think they'll go cheap but not buying rumors they'll pay big for Tate. 2) Agree on the reports on Tate's bat—it's not polished and a little worrisome. Great talent but I wouldn't take him at No. 3. 3) Can't respond!

    owais (toronto): hi Jim, thanks for taking my question. When will the regional draft scouting reports be up on the website?

Jim Callis: They'll start going up with the Top 200, in about two weeks.

    Joe (Fullerton,Cali.): Who do you think the Angels will be targeting with the 24th and 25th pick in the first round

Jim Callis: Athletes and projectable arms. Two guesses: New Jersey HS OF Mike Trout, California HS LHP Tyler Skaggs.

    Dane (Lafayette, LA): There are a couple of H.S. pitchers down here making some noise...Brody Colvin and Zach VOn Rosenburg. Where do you see them going in the draft?

Jim Callis: I like both of those guys. Late first to second round for both, Colvin probably goes first.

    John (New Jersey): What are your thoughts on Matthew Purke, and where do you think he will go in the upcoming Draft? Thanks for the question.

Jim Callis: He's the clear No. 2 LHP in the draft after Tyler Matzek. Still trying to figure out who's better in Texas between him and Shelby Miller. Purke should go in the upper half of the first round, but I'm hearing rumblings that the signability may be tough.

    Josh (Providence): Matt Davidson vs. Bobby Borchering: who is picked first and why? And can either stay at 3B?

Jim Callis: Borchering goes first, more consistent bat. They both will get a shot at the hot corner but probably wind up at first base.

Jim Callis: I've got to run now . . . We'll have plenty more draft chats in the weeks to come. And look for that mock first round in a couple of hours.