Signing Deadline Chat

Jim Callis answered draft questions on Aug. 18




Moderator: Jim Callis will answer questions about the draft's winners and losers plus any other signing deadline questions beginning at 12 p.m. ET.

    dave (houston): Was there anything that surprised you? Someone not signing/ someone who did who you thought wouldn't, amount of money someone got etc...

Jim Callis: Sorry I'm a couple of minutes late, was just totaling up the Nationals' bonuses and realized they had set a new draft record (http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/?p=1760). Anyway, not a ton of surprises, probably because of all the hours we spent on the phone in the days before the deadline. The biggest surprise in the draft for me was Cameron Coffey getting $990,000 from the Orioles in the 22nd round while coming off draft surgery. Yesterday's biggest surprise was that the Rockies signed Tyler Matzek for $3.9 million. My gut feeling was that he was happy to go to Oregon if it worked out that way, and I thought if he signed he would have had a deal closer to Jacob Turner's.

    Dan (Bristol, UK): What are your final thoughts on the A's draft now the dust has settled? Green, Stassi, Krol and Leyland seems to be a good haul considering they had no 2nd rounder.

Jim Callis: I concur. Green and Stassi, especially, were tremendous value picks (talent wise) for where the A's got them. Krol and Leyland, too, and Mike Spina (11th) is one of my favorite sleepers in this draft.

    JP (MO): Any clue what LeVon Washington will do now? Juco right sounds most likely?

Jim Callis: Attending a junior college is the most likely choice. A lot of the reaction I've heard from fans is that Washington was a big loser yesterday, not signing with the Rays and not being able to get into Florida. I don't know about that. If his shoulder is fully healthy and he plays to his capabilities, he could be one of the first JC/college position players taken next year and get more money than he would have this year.

    Chuck (Wichita): What have you heard about Aaron Crow? Will he sign before the season is over?

Jim Callis: I believe Crow will sign in time to get his feet wet in the Arizona Fall League this offseason. And he'll be a nice pickup for the Royals.

    JP Riccardi & The Rest of Jays Management (Toronto): We brilliantly saved the club millions by letting Rios walk and even more brilliantly, we didn't bother signing 3 of our top 4 draft picks (they take too long to arrive anyways, whereas we can have money now in our pockets). Please, tell us how amazing our signing decisions were this year - feel free to compliment us on letting Paxton, Eliopoulos and Barrett walk.

Jim Callis: Hmmmm, sarcasm. I haven't talked to the Jays or seen a post-mortem yet, but their draft strategy seemed odd, to say the least. They'll recoup compensation picks for their unsigned sandwich-, second- and third-rounders, but why take that many over-slot guys at the top of the draft if you can't or won't sign them? They did land Jacob Marisnick for $1 million and got a couple of other guys done late, but they let a lot of talent walk away.

    alexei (St Jay, VT): Tyler Matzek signed at a "reasonable" number. So, were there other reasons that teams passed on him besides signability? And, first take - who do you think had the best draft (besides Washington getting Strasburg)?

Jim Callis: No, it was pretty much pure signability. There may have been a couple of clubs that didn't want to take a high school pitcher that high, but others thought Matzek was the second- or third-best player in the draft.

    Ryan (RI): Did the Red Sox sign Brendon Kline or is he going to Virginia?

Jim Callis: The Red Sox didn't sign Kline. He didn't pitch anywhere this summer, they couldn't evaluate him, that deal never was going to happen.

Jim Callis: I've got a quick phone call, will be back in a minute. Sorry about the delay.

    Joe (DE): Keeping in mind the lack of a first round pick, overall what grade do you think the Phillies get on this draft? I think actually signing Colvin was a major coup and they are already getting decent returns from a few of their picks(Singleton, Way, Buschini).

Jim Callis: Sorry about that delay . . . We rated Colvin as a sandwich-round talent, so signing him makes up a lot for not having a first-round pick. Kyrell Hudson is a tremendous athlete and Jonathan Singleton was a steal in the eighth round. Solid draft.

    Chris (Mashpee): Although the nationals signed strasburg which was huge, what do you think about them signing nate karns

Jim Callis: Karns has a first-round quality arm. He just needs to figure out how to use it. His raw talent is worth the $225,000 gamble.

    Eric (Michigan): How does the tigers overall draft rank? How will this impact there top 10 prospects?

Jim Callis: The Tigers shelled out a lot of money to beef up their farm system last night, an approach that has worked very well for them in the past. Jacob Turner, Andrew Oliver and Daniel Fields cost roughly $8 million between them and you can bet all three will be on our Tigers Top 10 list, with Turner most definitely No. 1.

    andy (brooklyn park, mn): so with the twins signing of kyle gibson and the prefomance of their draft picks so far how would rate the twins draft?

Jim Callis: As most of you know, I'm a huge Kyle Gibson fan. A healthy Gibson is a steal at No. 22, and the Twins signed him for $1.85 million. Their next picks are a solid bunch too: Bashore, Bullock, Tootle, McCallum—I like all of them. Maybe Brad Stillings bounces back and proves to be a steal in the seventh round. Good draft.

    Kevin (San Diego): This draft appears to be top heavy in pitching. What are the top threee bats do you see sticking in the Bigs? I can't see much to rival the 2008 draft....pretty depressing for MLB..........

Jim Callis: That's an accurate comparison of 2008 vs. 2009 with the bats. My top three position players are Ackley in a class by himself, then Green, then . . . give me Borchering.

    Andrew (York, PA): What are your thoughts about Bobby Heck's second draft with Houston?

Jim Callis: The Astros weren't in the news yesterday because they got their guys signed earlier. Jiovanni Mier at No. 21, he might wind up as the best player who stays at shortstop in this draft. Kind of like Jason Castro last year, went a little higher than some clubs might have popped him, but moved up because of positional value. He jumps out for me the most. A lot of guys the Astros took, they took a round or two ahead of where we rated them. They did the same thing last year, and the early returns on 2008 are good so far, so no reason for Bobby Heck to listen to us!

    Carlos (San Diego, CA): Please tell me the Padres hit a homerun by signing Tate, Williams and Sampson. They've been more fun to watch over the last month and I'm hoping the infusion of toolsy, athletic outfielders (Tate, Williams) is another step in that direction.

Jim Callis: Instead of taking a lot of lower-ceiling and/or one-dimensional college players, the Padres swung for their fences. There's some question on Tate's bat, but no question that he was the best athlete in the draft. I thought Williams had the best bat among the top athletic outfielders in this draft. Sampson has frontline starter stuff. Getting Jorge Reyes for $200,000 in the 17th round after he tore up the Cape Cod League was another nice move.

    Nathan (Milwaukee): How did the Brewers do in this year's draft?

Jim Callis: I liked their draft a lot. Their top three picks—Arnett, Davis and Heckathorn—were good talent values for where they went. Max Walla can really hit, they spent to add Brooks Hall's upside in the fourth round and Del Howell was a steal in the 15th round. Ditto for Scooter Gennett in the 16th.

    Jim (WV): Where would you rank the Oriole's draft class? Who in the draft do you see making it into the top 10 prospect list?

Jim Callis: The Orioles were very aggressive, and I have counted, but they may have had more total over-slot signings than any club. Hobgood and Givens could make the Top 10, and Berry and Coffey will push for the Top 10 in the future once they're fully healthy. They obviously are very high on Ohlman as well, and last year's Top 10 has graduated several players to the majors.

    Nick (Philadelphia): How good was the Indians' draft? They signed White, and signed their top 20 picks. It sounds pretty good, but yet they're not listed as a winner?

Jim Callis: John Manuel's winners/losers story focused on the major stories from the deadline, good and bad. The Indians had a decent draft but it doesn't jump out to me as one of the very best. They got a very nice pick in Alex White at No. 15, and most of their other guys went about where they should have in the draft. Decent picks, but not many steals or big talents who dropped because of signability.

    Dennis (Denver): How surprised are you that Matzek signed? Should he have gotten more given what Turner signed for?

Jim Callis: Kind of surprised. I thought he was the first-rounder most likely not to sign, at least until the Rays issued their press release on LeVon Washington. Matzek and Turner were comparable talents, and I thought Matzek was fine either way with signing or going to Oregon. So the $3.9 million bonus surprised me a little too.

    Sam (Missouri): Is Shelby Miller now the top prospect in the Cardinals Organization?

Jim Callis: Yes.

    Joseph (Fort Worth, TX): How far apart were the Rangers from signing Jabari Blash?

Jim Callis: Don't think that was ever really close to happening, even though the sides were only a couple hundred thousand apart.

    Nick (NJ): so im guessing the mets did not sign magnifico?

Jim Callis: They did not. Our draft database is completely updated through the first 10 rounds. We're probably missing a few random signees after that but are working to get complete signing data for all 50 rounds.

    JUST (TEXAS): Will Strasburg Play in the majors this year?

Jim Callis: Haven't heard. I'm not sure what kind of pitching shape he's in, but I could see the Nationals trotting out their newest prize for at least a cameo in September.

    Ian (Pittsburgh): Why doesn't the MLBPA just go crazy about all of the stuff that Bud Selig does regarding the draft, like making teams wait to announce signings and bullying teams on bonuses? Are they waiting to address it during the next CBA?

Jim Callis: They aren't happy about it because the agents aren't happy about it, but there's not much they can do about it. Their constituents (which don't include the current crop of draftees unless they sign big league deals) aren't real upset about it. It's possible new reporting procedures could be part of discussions for the next CBA, where the draft will be a major focus.

    Teddy (Stockbridge, GA): Strasburg or Harper?

Jim Callis: Strasburg. Sorry I'm not my usual prolific self answering questions today, but my phone keeps ringing and I have to go. Maybe we'll shoot for another draft chat later in the week. You always can submit questions to Ask BA at askba@baseballamerica.com (please include your full name and hometown). Thanks.