Draft Chat With Jim Callis





    JAYPERS (IL): Your thoughts on Folty going as high as he did? Who would you give the nod to in terms of a higher ceiling - him or Lyles?

Jim Callis: I thought Mike Foltynewicz would be a second-rounder. Love the arm, doesn't have a consistently good breaking ball yet, which was why I didn't think he'd go quite that high. He has a higher ceiling than Jordan Lyles.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Would it be a safe assumption that Theo had the best draft?

Jim Callis: I think it's a safe assumption to say that the Red Sox have drafted the most highly regarded talent. To have the best draft, they'll have to sign a lot of those guys. No reason they won't, though, that's their approach.

    JAYPERS (IL): There's already been speculation that the Dodgers intentionally tanked their first round pick, knowing Lee's asking price and the crop next year, which will be light-years ahead of this year's. Your thoughts?

Jim Callis: I'm doing my column on the three most shocking first-round picks, Simpson, Lee and Culver. The Dodgers insist they took him to try to sign him, and they've taken fliers on tough signs (Gausman and Co.) in later rounds to compensate if they can't get Lee done.

    Lake (STL, MO): Percent chance Wilson signs with the Cardinals? Did they pick him in case they can't sign Cox?

Jim Callis: Maybe 5 percent. Austin Wilson is about as unsignable as anyone in this draft. I think he would cost significantly more than the Cardinals plan on spending on Zack Cox, who was a steal at No. 25. Biggest steal in the first round.

    Ty (Chicago): Hayden who? Please, please explain this to me, and to all Cubs fans. Thanks.

Jim Callis: The Cubs saw Hayden Simpson throw 92-97 twice in four days at the D-II World Series, and they think he'll have four average or better pitches, love the makeup, believe he could move quickly. I don't think that was the consensus on him, but the Cubs saw him very well and were afraid another team with multiple picks might draft him before they could pick again. Stunned me, though.

    Lola (Tampa): Any chance we'll get to see Harper play this year?

Jim Callis: Maybe. But I don't see him signing until Aug. 16, and the Nationals may try to shield him from a media crush by just sending him to instructional league.

    James (Kenosha,WI): Who besides Dylan Covey stands out in the Brewers draft.

Jim Callis: That draft looks pretty ordinary to me. I like Jimmy Nelson (2nd), Tyler Thornburg (3rd) and Hunter Morris (4th) to some extent, but they don't blow me away compared to a lot of the other picks in those rounds.

    Drew (Spring, TX): Nick Castellanos was drafted day 1 in the first supplemental round. Does he project to be a pretty good pro player? Thanks, Andrew

Jim Callis: Yes, potential all-star third baseman. Don't think he'll be the easiest guy to sign, though.

    hoosiers (Hangout North): Great draft coverage. A lot has been made of Harper's age, but Machado is young for a HS senior and is not much older than Harper. Per BA, Machado appears capable of playing a premium position in the majors. Does Machado get enough credit regarding his upside relative to Harper given that both are only 17? Will Machado at SS provide more value than Harper in RF in the majors?

Jim Callis: Valid point on Machado. I think the general perception of the difference in value between Harper and Machado is far greater than the reality.

    bob (Texas): Will Bryce Harper's debut be as anticipated as Strasburgs?

Jim Callis: Yes, but you're going to have to wait at least a year or two longer for it than you did for Strasburg.

    Dave (Chicago): How bad was the Cubs draft? Any reason to be excited about Reggie Golden?

Jim Callis: Golden was one of the better athletes in the draft. I didn't mind Micah Gibbs in the third round, VG receiver and leader, should hit decently. They got a fine pair of in-state sleepers in Eric Jokisch (11th) and Ryan Hartman (16th). Matt Stites (33rd) is one of my favorite third-day picks so far.

    JD (Everson PA): How do you like the Pirates draft? It seems like they went very heavy with the RHP's.

Jim Callis: They got the two pitchers with the best stuff in the draft in Taillon and Allie. Those are the types of pitchers their system lacks, potential ace/closer guys. I'm not the biggest Mel Rojas Jr. fan, but I like a lot of their later arms, too.

    Dave (Charlotte): Jim, Is Patrick Leyland a legit prospect? The Tigers regularly draft kids with ties to current players or execs but not usually this high (except Alex Avila). Another one drafted yesterday is Drew Gagnier...similar stuff to his brother?

Jim Callis: He's legit, but most of the scouts we talked to before the draft said his offense and defense were works in progress and he could really use three years of college at Maryland. Drew has better stuff than L.J. but is still inconsistent with it.

    Dave (San Diego): Now we know whare the recruits landed in the draft for the University of San Diego. Who do you think out of Covey, Littlewood, Sweeney, Wolters and Griffith has a good chance of ending up on campus? Also, why did Bryant drop so far down the draft was it signability. He will pretty much be on campus it looks like.

Jim Callis: Covey (1st), Griffin Murphy (2nd) Littlewood (2nd), Sweeney (2nd), Wolters (3rd) all went high enough that I don't think any of them will make it to USD. There are mixed reports on how usable Bryant's raw power will be, and his asking price doesn't match what teams think of him, apparently.

    Joe (Grandville, Michigan): Jim, what role would you see Tiger's draftee Drew Smyly in his pro career? As a 3rd or 4th starter or a middle reliever?

Jim Callis: Has a chance to be a No. 3 starter. I thought he was one of the best LHSP in the draft.

    Shawn Abner (Draft History): What can you tell me about Padres' third round pick Zack Cates? The Padres seem excited about him but I haven't found a lot of information on what he throws, etc.

Jim Callis: No. 79 on our overall Top 200. Have to read your reports at baseballamerica.com so you can get info like this:

Undrafted out of an Arkansas high school in 2008 and bypassed again at Northeast Texas CC last year, Cates won't be overlooked a third time. He spent most of his freshman season as a catcher, standing out for his strong arm and working just seven innings on the mound. A strong fall as a pitcher landed him on follow lists, and he has steadily risen up draft boards this spring. His fastball ranges from 90-93 mph to 95-97, and there should be more consistent velocity in his 6-foot-3, 195-pound frame. For an inexperienced pitcher, he has a relatively advanced changeup, which grades out as a better pitch than his curveball. His curve does have its moments, and he could have an easy plus fastball with two solid secondary pitches once he develops. His command and control still need work, but neither is a red flag. He's a tough competitor. Cates hasn't committed to a four-year school for 2010 and should be signable.

    Declan (Akron): How much can Anthony Ranuado (and Scott Boras) be demanding giving his recent track record and injuries? Do you think the Red Sox get him signed and will it be one of the higher bonuses in the draft?

Jim Callis: That all depends on how he looks this summer. I don't think he'll get the $5 million-plus big league deal he certainly would have angled for had he lived up to expectations.

    Sholom (Smithtown , NewYork): Do the Mets or their ownership understand what the draft is all about or do they simply do not want to spend any real money? A new ballpark and network should allow them to invest in their farm system. Drafting 28 college players out of 30 picks speaks volumes.

Jim Callis: They definitely should be much more aggressive than they are. Every scouting department will spend as much money as it can, so blame ownership. I was surprised they took a potential over-slot guy in Matt Harvey in the first round, but after that it was business as usual.

Jim Callis: Alex Speier, our fine Red Sox correspondent, just texted to point out that Ranaudo plans to pitch in the Cape Cod League so the club can evaluate him.

    Grant (Arlington): No way the Rangers sign Ragira away from Stanford, right? The college route would probably be the better route for him anyway.

Jim Callis: I'd be very surprised. He'll make more money if he develops as hoped in three years, plus he gets to go to Stanford, so college would be tough to pass up.

    Michael (Austin): Plenty of draft directors say something like, "Our draft board looks a lot different than Baseball America's?" And when they do so, they seem to be imply that their draft board is much superior to your rankings. Care to defend the quality of your pre-draft rankings?

Jim Callis: Everyone has their own preferences. We don't claim to be scouts, but I think our board reflects a consensus of what teams think. I think after the first 20-30 names, the teams' draft boards all differ wildly from each other too.

    Trevor (Dallas): The A's have said they will give Michael Choice an opportunity to play in center. Do you think he can stay there, and what do you think is his ETA to the majors?

Jim Callis: I'd give him the chance, because it could work, but I bet he's a RF in the long run. He's at least two years away.

    Nate (Maryland): Which University of Maryland recruits do you see signing versus staying? Cito Culver went in the first to the Yankees, Vail in the 5th to the A's, Leyland in the 8th to the Tigers, JaDamion Williams in the 10th to the Twins, and Kiene in the 30th to the Nationals.

Jim Callis: Hard-throwing Chuck Ghysels also got popped today. Maryland had a strong recruiting class, but they might lose all those guys except for Kiene and Ghysels. Most guys in the first 10 rounds will sign.

    Noah (Cordova, TN): The Pirates without a doubt had an amazing draft. With Taillon and Allie in rounds 1 and 2, will they sign both? It looks like about 9-9.5M to sign them both, but that's just way too much talent to just pass on. Just don't tell me this will be a Scheppers fiasco 2.0?

Jim Callis: Scheppers wasn't a fiasco. He wasn't 100 percent at the signing deadline in 2008, and didn't merit meeting his demands of what he would have commanded if fully healthy. They'll sign Taillon, I'm sure. Not sure about Allie's price tag, but well worth the gamble.

    Chris (atlanta): The braves selected a ton of 3rd base prospects, who stands the best chance in replacing Chipper in a few years?

Jim Callis: Joe Leonard.

    Matt (Kansas): Could you compare Grant Green from last years draft and Christian Colon from this years. Thanks.

Jim Callis: Green has more power. Colon is a better pure hitter and has a better chance to stick at shortstop, though both guys may have to move to different positions.

    Logan (Houston): What are the Astro's doing??? Why are they so cheap? Is Bobby Heck limited by their cheap ways? I'm worried that if we have a chance at Rendon next year, we'll be too cheap to take it! Please help us confused Astro's fans! Thanks!

Jim Callis: I don't think the Astros are trying to be cheap. I just think the Astros like who they like, differ from the consensus and don't care. They take the guys they want. Heck's first two drafts have pumped some life into a system that was on life support.

    BL (Bozeman, MT): Hi Jim, thanks so much for the chat! A lot of people are banging on the Royals for picking a "need" in drafting Christian Colon at #4, but people aren't talking about the possibility that with so little perceived value separating #s 4-20 or so that picking a need enhances a player's value. Do you see it that way?

Jim Callis: I think that's unfair. This draft had a clear top three (Harper, Taillon, Machado) and then a muddle. The Royals had interest in Sale and Grandal but didn't like the price tags. Colon is a very good player. At worst, he's a decent regular shortstop, and that's at worst. Very good pure hitter who wills himself to win. I love that guy.

    Chuck (Wichita): Do you like Brett Eibner better as a pitcher or outfielder?

Jim Callis: I think it's pretty close. He wants to hit, and I'd send him out as a hitter because I think it's easier to make him a pitcher later rather than try to make him a hitter after he tries pitching first. He added a good deal of polish both ways this year, nice progress.

    Bill (Billings MT): Other than Z. Lee, who is the first rounder who is most likely not to sign?

Jim Callis: Interesting question, hadn't thought of it. Lee jumps out, and then after him I'd say Kaleb Cowart, No. 18 to Angels, though I think he'll sign.

    Greg28 (Washington): Non-Stras question for Nats fans. The Nats announced Harper as an Outfielder. I guess the plan is to develop him there, but what are your thoughts about having him split time at 3B and OF in the minors? It would seem that Zimmerman could then be either trade bait, or they could be set at the position if they don't intend to re-sign him beyond his Arb. eligible years?

Jim Callis: He played some third base at CSN this year and it didn't look pretty. I did think he'd wind up in the outfield eventually because the Nationals wouldn't want to wait on his bat, but I would have played him at catcher to start 2011.

    Johnny (New York City): What's Ryan LaMarre's ceiling? People were thinking he might go late first round. With the Reds getting Grandal at 12 (after his being rumored at 4) and LaMarre in the 2nd round, that's gotta be considered a win for them in a weak draft, right?

Jim Callis: Yes. I love LaMarre. Chance to be a five-tool center fielder, great makeup, great pick. I would have popped him late in the first round.

    Dave Gershman (White Plains, NY): Who will make it to the Majors Faster, Christian Colon or Gary Brown?

Jim Callis: Colon, easily.

    Josh (Raleigh, NC): Were you shocked that Drew Pomeranz didn't go to the Royals and do the concerns about velocity dips and pectoral problems concern you at all about his ability to debut this year as one of the top college lefties available?

Jim Callis: I was not shocked. While working on my 8000 versions of a mock first round, it became apparent to me they preferred Chris Sale and were moving off Pomeranz. I'm not worried about the pectoral issue. He just needs some time off to get back to 100 percent. Not sure he'll pitch this year because he may not sign until Aug. 16.

    Matt (Hamilton, Ontario): Did James Paxton fall because of concerns about his ability, because he no longer has any negotiating leverage or concerns about signability?

Jim Callis: He just wasn't as good this year as in 2009. And in 2009, despite showing plus stuff, he got hammered at Kentucky. Lack of leverage is a plus in teams' minds, so that wasn't it. Can't see him not signing and repeating indy ball as a 22.5-year-old next spring.

    jeff (detroit): if you dont sign a sandwich round pick (for example detroit at 44) do you get an extra pick next year or only 1st round picks?

Jim Callis: Yes. If you don't sign a pick in the first two rounds, you get the pick after the corresponding choice in the next year's draft. If you don't sign a third-rounder, you get a supplemental third-rounder.

    Jason (New York): Great draft and great coverage. Did I detect a little professional competition between you and Jonathan Mayo over on MLB? What can you tell us about the Mets draft? I didn't realize it was possible for one team to take this many right handed college starters.

Jim Callis: Jonathan and I are friendly rivals, emphasis on "friendly." We have great respect for each other and often joke about how we have a lot of the same sources. The Mets draft doesn't blow me away at all. They surprised me a little by taking an over-slot guy in Matt Harvey at No. 7, then went right back to their conservative ways.

    Mike (St. Louis): Two parter: 1) What kind of numbers will Zack Cox put up in the majors? 2) Shouldn't the Cardinals think about Cox as a second baseman since David Freese looks to be a very good player for the next 5-6 years at 3rd for St. Louis?

Jim Callis: .300 hitter with at least 15 HR a year, and I think that's conservative. I love Cox as much as anyone, but I don't think 2B is a realistic option.

    matt (chicago): is it me or did boston just have one of those "so-good-we-probably-ought-to-reconsider-how-the-compensation-system-works" type of drafts?

Jim Callis: I've written several times that comp picks should be awarded on net free agents lost (i.e., losses minus FA signed) rather than just on sheer losses. The Red Sox played the system very well.

    Boomer (Chicago): So, Hayden Simpson, he was Tim Wilken's "Best Player Available" and was just afraid he'd be gone by round 2....right? As long as the Cubs drafted "BPA" I'm going to give Wilken the benefit of the doubt.

Jim Callis: That is the case yet. Wilken said he had lost a couple of guys in the last couple of drafts and didn't want to take the chance this year. This was not a signability pick.

    Grant (Winnipeg): A few notables slipped to the 6th round - Gausman, Cisco, Eldemire and Hahn. Gausman sounds to have been a signability issue, but what happened with the other three? Weren't they supposed to go much higher?

Jim Callis: I'll bet Cisco was signability, too. Eldemire's tools are far greater than his skills. Hahn had physical issues that worried teams, especially when he left his final start with a forearm strain.

Jim Callis: I have to go do a radio show, so that's it for today. We'll have another draft chat soon, in addition to our regular chats. Thanks for all the interest and interesting questions. You also can shoot some draft questions to askba@baseballamerica.com (included your name and hometown), and I'll answer some in the next Ask BA column.