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?
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?
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?
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
Lake (STL, MO): Percent chance Wilson signs
with the Cardinals? Did they pick him in case they can't sign Cox?
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.
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?
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.
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,
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
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?
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?
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.
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?
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
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?
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,
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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
Chris (atlanta): The braves selected a ton of
3rd base prospects, who stands the best chance in replacing Chipper in a
Matt (Kansas): Could you compare Grant Green
from last years draft and Christian Colon from this years. Thanks.
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!
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?
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
Chuck (Wichita): Do you like Brett Eibner
better as a pitcher or outfielder?
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
Bill (Billings MT): Other than Z. Lee, who is
the first rounder who is most likely not to sign?
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?
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
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?
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?
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?
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
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?
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
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.
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
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?
.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
type of drafts?
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
Boomer (Chicago): So, Hayden Simpson, he was
Tim Wilken's "Best Player Available" and was just afraid he'd be gone by
As long as the Cubs drafted "BPA" I'm going to give Wilken the benefit
of the doubt.
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?
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
(included your name and hometown), and I'll answer some in the next Ask