Draft Chat With Jim Callis
Hi, everyone. I've got a ton of questions
already piled up, so I will try to answer them quickly so we can get to
as many of them as possible. Can't stay past 2 p.m. because too many
other draft duties call. So let's get to it!
Tim (Wisconsin): Who you you guys view as the
top potential closer in the pitching ranks?? And can Matt Barnes be a 1
or 2 at the big league level, depending on who drafts him?? As always,
thanks for the great info!!
The top guy who's a reliever right now is
Louisville's Tony Zych. I think Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray can start, but
he'd be a dynamic closer. Same with Texas A&M's John Stilson. As for
Barnes, I'm hesitant to put a No. 1 tag on many guys, but he definitely
has the upside of a No. 2.
Roger (Greenville, SC): Thanks for the chat! Predict their long-term positions: Baez, Swihart, Spangenburg.
Baez: 3B. Swihart: I'll say C, but could
see a Wil Myers-type deal where his team decides to expedite the bat by
moving him. Spangenberg: OF.
Mike (Minnesota): I'm surprised there's so much
hype around Bubba Starling right now...I mean, he only had 27 AB's this
season?!?!? How can anyone gauge his overall skills on such a small
sample? Not to mention he never has played a ton of games in the past.
Just b/c a guy is built well and can hit bombs in BP and looks good in
showcases and can play QB he's the #2 ranked hitter?!?
I know most of "prospecting" is all projection, but it seems very
premature to annoint this guy a baseball stud when he hardly has any
game experience, let alone against tough competition.
What's the rationale behind such a high ranking here?
I see where you're coming from, but
scouting (especially with HS guys) is all about projection. He's a
tremendous athlete with a huge upside. That said, it would be foolish to
not recognize that he also comes with more risk than any of the elite
prospects in this draft.
Tom (St. Louis): Does Kolten Wong profile as a
leadoff hitter? If not are there any middle infielders in the top few
rounds who are better suited to lead off?
Sure. He has good hitting and on-base
skills to go with solid speed. There may be faster players, but I'll
take his on-base ability.
Nate (Washington): I'm trying to figure out how
I should even think about Rendon. Depending on how you explain his
health and performance in 2011, he could be anything from a star to a
bust. Hypothetically, suppose that Rendon's 2011 is representative of
his ability, and that injuries, for instance, are not driving his
disappointing year. If that's true, what type of hitter are we
projecting? Is that a slower Ackley, with maybe a little more power and
defense? .300/.400/.450/15HR? Just trying to see what it would mean if
assumptions of the pessimists are right. Is this a good way to be
thinking about it?
I'm not going to have the best answer to
this, because I don't see how a team could think that the shoulder
strain hasn't impacted his bat speed and swing. If he were in pro ball,
Rendon would have sat out and gotten healthy and been fine. In college,
he has gutted through it at less than his best to help his team. I'm not
a doctor, nor a scout, but I'm believing in the 100-percent healthy
Rendon we saw as a freshman and a sophomore. That guy was a stud.
Doug (Alameda): Went to see Robert Stephenson
pitch last night. Velo didn't look great but there were so many scouts
(and I heard a couple GMs) there. Is he a solid first round pick?
Also, what have you heard about local kid James Harris from Oakland?
Stephenson could fit in the bottom half of
the first round or the top of the sandwich round. He has worked at 93-95
mph for much of th espring and still has projection remaining. Teams
that covet speed could be tempted to take Harris around the fifth round.
Steve Dakota (Orlando,Fl): Are the Rays on C.J. Cron? Is he a right hand hitting version of Travis Haffner? Better?
The Rays are on everyone. Seriously, they
have so many picks that they've had scouts seen following everyone who
doesn't figure to go in the first 15 choices. Whichever team takes Cron
in the first round, and it will happen, is thinking he can become a
righthanded-hitting Hafner in his prime. Similar toolset.
Chris (Charlotte): What happened to Christian Montgomery this season? Is he injured or has he performed poorly to drop out of the rankings?
He hasn't thrown nearly as well as he did last summer and scouts don't like his work ethic.
JR (Iowa): How many of the top 200 draft prospects do you think will be in BA's top 100 next year?
I've gotten this question a lot. I think
the typical year has about 15 draftees on the Top 100. With the strength
of this draft, and what I perceive as the overall talent in the minors
being a little down, I could see 20 draftees on next year's Top 100,
Nelson (Tacoma, WA): Any chance Jackie Z goes
for a HS arm (Bundy) with the 2nd pick? Either Cole or Rendon seemed a
slam dunk for the M's...and they could use a 3B!!
The Mariners have been doing their due
diligence on Bundy, but I keep hearing they prefer a bat. I think Rendon
is their top target, and could see them taking Starling or Lindor over
Robert Goldberg (Secaucus, NJ): Jim, what's
your take on Wichita State's Chris O'Brien? He's having a great year
with the bat, and he has the bloodlines that teams seem to love (Charlie
O'Brien's kid). Does he profile as a 2nd-3rd rounder?
That's too high. He's hitting over his head, and he's not the catcher his dad was, so he's more of an eighth- to 10th-rounder.
@Jaypers413 (IL): Just how close was it between
Bundy and Cole when compiling your list? About how much time do you
think Bundy will need in the minors once he signs?
Very close. We went back and forth on that
one. You could make a case for the first six guys on our Top 200 being
the No. 1 prospect. I could see Bundy in the majors at some point in the
second half of 2013.
Luke (Detroit): Would you take the risk on
Purke if he were available in the supplemental 1st round if you weren't a
team like Tampa or Toronto with a bunch of picks early on?
It all depends on how good he looks down
the stretch, and his signability. If his stuff doesn't bounce back, or
his signability seems impossible, I wouldn't spend the pick on him. I
think he makes the most sense for the Rays and Jays because they have so
Taylor (Houston): Are we beginning to get word
or ideas on which teams are looking to go where with their first picks?
I'm interested in teh Astros with #11 - I've heard a lot of names
thrown around. What are they looking at and who would be available
Yes and no. There's plenty of gossip out
there about what could happen in the top 10, and I'll have a new mock
draft up on Friday. At the same time, the Pirates could go in three or
four different directions at No. 1, so there's no certainty. And in the
bottom half of the first round, all of us mock drafters are, at best,
making educated guesses.
Big Dave (AR): Who has the most helium going right now?
He wasn't an unknown commodity by any
means, and he was a projected first-rounder, but I'm going to say Archie
Bradley. His stuff was so good at the end of the season, and he hit 101
mph on the scoreboard radar gun during the Oklahoma 6-A state
championship game. His name is suddenly getting whispered in the top
Noah (Victoria, MN): Biggest Bust Potential in this draft? Also what happened to Jackie Bradley Jr?
In terms of expectations vs. risk, it's
probably Bubba Starling. Bradley just didn't have a good year and then
hurt his wrist. The consensus is that the new bats got too him, and he
messed himself up by trying to hit for power. I think he's a lot better
than what he showed, and he could be a nice value pick toward the bottom
of the first round.
Taylor (Houston): How do you, or scouts, see
Jungmann's stuff playing out on the MLB level? I know the guy is a
winner and has the demeanor/attitude to be a stud, but I wonder just how
good his stuff will be against MLB hitters. Thanks for the chat!
The stuff is very good. Fastball is 91-93
to 95 mph with good sink, angle and depth, his slider is solid and his
changeup has promise. He's the type of guy who can really pitch off his
fastball and get lefties and righties out with it.
Mike (San Diego): Thanks Jim. At this point what is the consensus in the BA office as to who the Pads are targeting with #10?
We hear they are heavily on Indian River
(Fla.) JC third baseman Cory Spangenberg, though that's probably more at
No. 25 than at No. 10. The best bet is one of the top college pitchers
who would still be available, which could be Jungmann, Gray, Jed Bradley
TJ (Rockland County): There have been recent
rumors about the Mets possibly drafting UNC SS Levi Michael at #13. Are
these just rumors because that would be a huge reach for a player that
may end up just a Utility guy? If they are rumors, have you heard
anything about who the Mets mat be targeting?
I do think the Mets want a bat. Michael
wouldn't be a huge reach, but he's not a lock to stay at shortstop, so
No. 13 would be a bit high for a guy who might just be a solid
all-around second baseman. I think they're more likely to go for an
athletic outfielder like Mikie Mahtook, George Springer or Brandon
Nimmo. Could also see Javier Baez there. I think they'll shoot for a
higher realistic ceiling than Michael.
Jim (Connecticut): Is Barnes a notch below the
top tier pitchers (seems to fall into the 10-20 range rather than the
1-10 range in the draft). Is it just the fact that in the Big East he
has not faced top notch competition day in and day out, or is his stuff
just not at the level of the top arms?
If we're splitting the college pitchers
into tiers, I'd put Cole, Hultzen and Bauer in one tier and Barnes right
wtih Jungmann, Gray and Bradley (and maybe Meyer if you twist my arm)
in the second tier. Don't see Barnes in the top five picks, but he could
go in the top 10.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Manny Machado, Francisco Lindor, and Addison Russell. How do you rank them? Thanks
That order works for me. Machado has the
most offensive upside, Lindor is a better bet to stay at shortstop, and
Russell is behind the other two guys.
Brad Hill (Durham NC): where will Pratt Maynard of NC State go in the Draft?
Fourth to seventh round as an
offensive-minded catcher. Catchers often go higher than expected, so if
he goes in the third to a team that loved him in the Cape Cod League, I
could see it.
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): The Top 200 list has Dante Bichette Jr listed as an OF, I thought he played 3B and will he be available for the Reds in rd 2?
We list high school guys at their
reasonable projected position, so we've got Dante Jr. on an outfield
corner. He should be around in round two, but not much longer after
fred (wi): Bat only, who are the top 3 college hitters, both power and average?
Anthony Rendon, C.J. Cron and Alex Dickerson are the three who jump immediately to mind.
Patrick (Sandpoint, Idaho): Maybe I missed it
but never even saw Ryan Carpenter of Gonzaga on the 200.....small
school?...or have the mighty fallen THAT far in one year? Projections
for draft and MLB future?
He was on earlier versions of it but
ultimately fell off. Didn't have the same stuff he showed in the Cape
Cod League last summer. But he is a college lefthander who was good on
the Cape, so he easily could go in the top 200 picks. To clarify, our
Top 200 list is based solely on talent and doesn't factor in
Bill (Pittsburgh): Is there any kind of
indication on what direction the Pirates are leaning with the first pick
in this draft? The different mock drafts seem to be all over the place
That's because the Pirates still are
deciding. It's tough when the best guys coming in (Rendon, Cole) haven't
been at their best. I still think it comes down to those two, though
Danny Hultzen is a possibility and high schoolers like Bundy and
Starling could be as well.
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): When does the next BA mock draft come out?
Friday. Late afternoon, I'm guessing, unless I get an earlier jump on phone calls than I think I will.
John (Dallas): Thanks Jim! I love this stuff.
Given the depth of pitching in the draft and their recent draft
history, I believe the Astros will take a college outfielder at 11. In
your opinion will Springer be there or will they have to reach for
Mahtook to do so? Thank you.
Good chance Springer will be there. I don't
think Mahtook would be a big reach there, and some guys like him more
than Springer. They might be best off not worrying about college and
taking a home state product in Josh Bell.
Tommy Redding (KY): I noticed in the Top 200
list that Sonny Gray is now 12th overall. Did he drop to 12th due to
questions about his ability and his size or is there simply that much
talent this year that a few guys moved past him based on their
projections? Has he fallen completely out of the top 5 now or even the
top 10 for the draft?
It's just a crazy deep year for college
pitching. I don't think he'll go in the top five, but he's in the mix in
the 6-10 range.
Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Jim thanks for the
chat as always. I am really surprised to see that George Springer has
not shot up the draft boards considering how great he has played since
the weather has warmed up. He has outstanding tools, and his level of
production has been as good as any position player in the draft so far.
What is it that scouts are worried about that is keeping him outside the
He's a tremendous athlete who has bounced
back from a slow start, and I don't see him getting past the first half
of the first round. But scouts still have some concerns about his swing,
especially on the inner half of the plate, which is why he's not
getting play in the top five picks.
Logan White (Colo): OK, Jim who do I pick at #16....??
Norris..Swihart or some other HS talent..you know I like HS talent in 1st rd.
I can't see MLB allowing the Dodgers to pay
a penny over the slot recommendations, so that may mean a college guy.
Swihart in particular won't come cheap. I could see a college lefty,
maybe Jed Bradley if he falls, maybe Tyler Anderson. If it's a total
budget pick, maybe they reach a little for Sean Gilmartin or Grayson
Andrew (Winslow, Arizona): What do you think are the chances the Dbacks reach for a player at #7 in order to get a signable player
Keep hearing that they won't do that at
all, that they will take the best guy and sign him. I think they pounce
all over Dylan Bundy if he gets to 7.
Miggy (NY): I've read some reports that love
Jed Bradley and others that are not so high on him. Where do you see his
upside as? A No. 2 type SP?
Yes, as a No. 2. He hasn't pitched as well
recently, so his stock is slipping slightly, but he's still going to be
the second college lefty drafted behind Hultzen.
Tom (Buffalo): Given Gerrit Cole's recent
struggles, how likely is it that Trevor Bauer is drafted before him? Are
there teams that like Bauer more than Cole?
Cole fits the traditional scouting
blueprint more than Bauer does, so I still think Cole goes ahead of
Bauer. But I could see Bauer going as high as No. 3 and Cole going as
low as No. 6, so it's not impossible.
Mike (NJ): Building a team long term. Who do you want as your catcher? Swihart, Susac or Hedges?
Swihart. He's not a lock to stay at
catcher, but he's athletic enough to pull it off and has the bat to be a
major contributor elsewhere if he has to move.
Brian (Nashville): Who are some prep players that could drop to the mid-rounds and still receive a 1st round bonus, a la Wil Myers or Max Stassi?
Blake Swihart. Austin Hedges. Brandon
Nimmo. Charlie Tilson. For some reason, I've heard more about asking
prices on position guys than on pitchers. Though they put out huge
numbers, I don't think Dylan Bundy ($30 million deal) or Archie Bradley
($20 million) will come close to falling out of the first.
Kyle (West Plains, MO): If you were the Royals
and no high school kids had been taken when it was your turn, who do you
take? You have Bundy, Bradley, Starling, Lindor, ect.
Bundy. If I were picking No. 2 and Rendon was off the board, I'd take Bundy.
Brian (Nashville): Do you really think
Pittsburgh would pick Hultzen at #1 over Rendon/Cole, or is this just
posturing? It seems like it would be a mistake the organization could
regret for awhile.
I think it's possible, because Rendon and
Cole haven't been at their best. Hultzen is a very good prospect, a
lefthander who looks like a No. 2 starter, but I wouldn't take him over
Ed (San Diego): If you were picking in the 8-12 range would you rather have Jungmann, Gray or Barnes?
It's a tossup, but I'd take Jungmann.
Alex Z (Toronto): Jim, Do you ever see the day where we see the ability to trade picks around?
Not sure. Draft changes get talked about
all the time, but rarely happen. If MLB succeeds in getting mandated
slotting in the draft, not sure it will push for trades. While some
thing teams would get more leverage it they could trade picks, others
think it would allow agents to dictate where the most talented players
wind up. Would be fun to watch—except from the standpoint of writing
mock drafts!--but wouldn't solve any problems.
Norman (San Jose): were there any bats you were significantly higher on than the consensus BA rankings?
I don't know if "significantly higher," but
I think I believe in Alex Dickerson more than anyone else at BA. That
may be because I've covered him in the Cape and in the Midwest—you tend
to be a little higher on guys you've delved into more than others.
Joe LeCates (Easton, MD): Jim, thanks for the
chat. Just to check up on a personal cheeseball, is there any chance
Josh Bell goes in the Top 10 or is he still a mid-1st pick?
Speaking of guys from my region . . . I'm
not hearing his name in the top 10, because there's so much college
pitching available. But man, it's hard not to fall in love with that
Jason (Walnut Creek): Do you think John Stilson's pitching performance against Texas last week will affect his draft status?
No. He wasn't his sharpest, but he showed
he was healthy after missing a start with a strained lat. He'll still go
in the first round.
Mike (Rutland, VT): Say you are Huntington (or Greg Smith) and the clock is ticking............who do you select?
Pat (California): What makes Starling different than Tate?
There were more concerns about Tate's bat
than there are with Starling's. But as mentioned earlier, there's some
risk with Starling.
Mike (Rutland, Vt): Due to the uncertainty at the top, do you see a lot of second guessing of the Pirates' selection?
Yes, because of that uncertainty and
because that's the nature of the draft. There are always a lot more
opinions than there are definite answers. Hopefully, no one will
second-guess me for leaving, but I have to get back to completing the
Texas state draft list and reports, writing lines of skinny for my Top
200 guys in the issue, banging out a column and finding some time to
make mock-draft calls. See you next week! Feel free to send questions to
for the weekly Ask BA column, or try me on
Twitter at @jimcallisBA.