Post-Draft Chat With Jim Callis




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Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Lots of draft excitement and draft questions, so let's get started a few minutes early . . .

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Good afternoon, Jim. Hope you finally got some sleep. I was curious about the Rays' drafting strategy, specifically when they grabbed Harris, Hager, Ames and Snell quite higher than many predicted. Was this a budgetary decision only, or are they really that bullish on them?

Jim Callis: Probably some of each. The Rays are going to be close to a draft record if they pay slot bonuses on all of their picks, so I guess they were trying to be judicious. They obviously like all of the guys they took, and being able to sign them relatively easily is a bonus.

    Nate (Washington): So, I know you had Rendon #1, but how telling is it that both SEA and PIT - let alone the three teams that follow - couldn't pull the trigger?

Jim Callis: I don't think it was that surprising. There were six players who stood in a group above everyone else in this draft: Rendon, Bundy, Bauer, Cole, Hultzen, Starling. That's the order I would have taken them in. But it's hard to take Rendon when he's not 100 percent physically and when the only medical records you get are what the player and adviser are willing to give you. I understand that. I still think Rendon will be the best player from this draft in the long run.

    Jeff (Toronto): Thoughts on Jays draft overall?

Jim Callis: I love how aggressive they are. That's what smaller-revenue teams should be doing. Going after guys like Tyler Beede and Daniel Norris, who are highly talented but difficult to sign, is a way a team like the Jays can make up ground on the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Percent chance Josh Bell becomes a Pirate?

Jim Callis: Pretty small. His mother really wants him to college and he's virtually unsignable. I love the pick, though. Bell is the best high school hitter in the draft and would have been a mid-first-rounder on talent alone. That's much better than you're usually going to get with the 61st overall pick. If you sign him, that's a coup. If you don't, you get the 62nd pick in 2012. I'd take that gamble every time.

    Grant (NYC): I was surprised to see Derek Fisher fall as far as he did. Is this an omen that he's not signing?

Jim Callis: He was asking for first-round money and was a second-round talent, so that's why he slid to sixth. The Rangers love athletes and are willing to spend, so I wouldn't give up hope.

    Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY): Jim, great job during the Draft coverage. What do you think the chances are that the Red Sox lock up there first 4 picks Barnes, Swihart, Owens, and Bradley. Of the 4, who is the most likely NOT to sign. Thanks

Jim Callis: Boston isn't afraid to spend on the draft, so I think there's a good chance they sign all four of those guys. The only one who's in doubt is Swihart, who's strongly committed to the University of Texas, but the Red Sox will take their best shot. If he doesn't sign, I don't think it will be over money.

    Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Did the Nationals just steal the draft? First they get Strasburg, then they get Harper, now Rendon who if healthy, could very well be on the same level is Harper. And the beautiful thing is that Rendon practically fell into their lap.

Jim Callis: I'm thinking along the same lines. I understand why Rendon slid to 6, as mentioned earlier, but the Nationals may have gotten the best player in the draft for the third straight year.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): What is the ceiling for Reds 1st Pick Robert Stephenson?

Jim Callis: Frontline starter. 93-95 fastball, good curveball, good command.

    Bret (Toronto): Do you think the Blue Jays get Daniel Norris signed? I know he'll be expensive, but I don't remember hearing a lot of questions about him actually signing before the draft.

Jim Callis: I've heard that the asking price is as high as $4 million, but I don't think Toronto would have taken him in the second round if it didn't think it would get him signed. Could be a similar deal to Stetson Allie last year, who had the same adviser (Hendricks Sports Management), dropped out of the first round and got paid handsomely ($2.25 million) in the second round.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Could Reds 5th rd pick Ryan Wright be a candidate to get fast tracked with Brandon Phillips contract up after the 2012 season (assuming the Reds pick up his option for 2012)?

Jim Callis: Yes. I thought that was a nice grab in the fifth round. The Reds also have some nearly-ready middle infielders in Chris Valaika and Zack Cozart, so they don't have to rush Wright.

    Sam (Texas): Rangers fans have looking to brighten up the draft results have been including Leonys Martin in the draft day haul. Where would have Martin been taken if he was included in the draft? Thanks

Jim Callis: Somewhere in the middle of the first round.

    Lane (Skokie, IL): Im a big Cubs fan and wanted to know how signable Garrett Schlecht is.

Jim Callis: I think he'll sign. I cover the Midwest states for the draft, and he has the best combination of ability and signability among Illinois prep prospects this year.

    Joe (CT): From a pure talent standpoint (signability aside) what are your thoughts on the Mets draft as a whole?

Jim Callis: I like the way the Mets came out and went after upside. They loved Brandon Nimmo and grabbed him at 13, or else someone would have taken him at the bottom of the first round. Michael Fulmer got overshadowed by Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley in Oklahoma this spring, but he has a quality arm. If they sign Phillip Evans (15th round) and Mason Robbins (20th), that would be a nice coup.

    Jake T (Montreal): What do you think of the Nats grabbing Rendon, Meyer, Goodwin and Purke? Which one is closest to the majors?

Jim Callis: Impressive haul of talent, to be sure. They got a guy I thought was the best in the draft with the No. 6 pick (Rendon), a guy at No. 23 they would have considered at No. 6 (Meyer), one of the best athletes available (Goodwin) and a guy who entered the year as the third-rated prospect in the whole draft (Purke). My gut feel is that they won't sign Purke, but they'll still have had a very good haul.

    Wes (Louisiana): How good do you think George Springer will be? Overall how would you rate the Astros draft?

Jim Callis: Springer kind of reminds me of Drew Stubbs, who came out of college as a fabulous athlete who people wondered if he'd hit enough. Stubbs has turned out just fine, and I think Springer will too. The Astros followed Springer up with a pair of raw power arms in Adrian Houser and Jack Armstrong Jr. Billy Flamion could be a great value if they can sign him in the 25th round. Interesting to see them redraft Chase Davidson in the 41st round after taking him in the third round three years ago.

    Buck (St. Louis, MO): Thoughts on the Cardinals draft? They went the safe route with Wong in the 1st but then went with 3 raw, HS athletes in the 2nd-4th rounds. Looking back through history it seems like the least successful group in the draft is raw, HS athletes.

Jim Callis: Yeah, but you can hit big with raw high school athletes, too. I wouldn't look at these guys as safe or risky. Kolten Wong went where he should have gone, an offensive second baseman who's a solid runner and defender. Charlie Tilson and C.J. McElroy are speed/leadoff/center field types. I thought getting Lance Jeffries in the 10th round was a steal.

    Mike (St. Louis, MO): Why did Josh Osich fall so far? Will he go back to OSU and try to improve his breaking ball and show he is healthy? Seems like he could go top 2 rounds if he does those two things.

Jim Callis: His velocity dropped to the mid-80s in his last two outings, making teams fear he was having further arm problems. His signability depends on how good he looks when he throws this summer.

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): As always, thanks for the chat. I was wondering what your opinon was on the Cubs' draft. There seems to be far more HS kids and kids with signabilty questions than in Tim Wilken's previous Cubs drafts.

Jim Callis: Tim isn't afraid to take on some risk to get some upside. Javier Baez had the best bat speed in the entire draft, and there were a number of clubs on him from 11-20. Dan Vogelbach doesn't have a classic build, but he has more power than almost anyone in the draft. I thought they stole Tony Zych in the fourth round. The Cubs have a deep farm system steadily producing talent, so they can afford to be patient with the high school kids.

    Jim (Iowa City): Who do you think will be the first first rounder to sign? Who do you think is the most likely first rounder not to sign, and is it more likely this year that every first rounder will sign?

Jim Callis: I bet Padres 3B Cory Spangenberg is the first first-rounder to sign, though I think his talent was the primary motivation behind San Diego taking him 10th overall. The most likely not to sign is Blake Swihart, though I think there's a good chance the Red Sox get that deal done.

    Paul (Joplin, MO): What would you cite as the top reason as to why Rendon slipped the way he did? Because he wasn't playing the field this year, did teams "forget" what a great glove he has? Or did he not display enough power with the new bats to project as a stereotypical third baseman?

Jim Callis: I just think it's hard to invest a super-high pick and somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.5 million in someone who's not completely healthy, especially when you can't have your doctors examine him to know exactly what's going on.

    Jeremiah (Minneapolis): What's the ETA for Levi Michael in Minneapolis? Can he stick at SS? The Twins certainly need the the help sooner than later.

Jim Callis: He's a couple of years away. He can stick at shortstop but isn't a lock to do so, and usually when we say that about a guy as an amateur, he winds up moving to second base.

    Lloyd (Lakewood): Hi Jim, Bigger surprise, Hultzen at 2 or Rendon at 6, or did one cause the other?

Jim Callis: Hultzen at 2. Never saw that coming, thought the Mariners would take a bat (Lindor, Starling) even if it wasn't Rendon. Wasn't surprised by Rendon. Teams 3-4-5 were locked in on pitchers and Rendon wasn't completely healthy.

    Ben (Lenexa, KS): Of all the picks in the top ten, does Bubba Starling have the greatest superstar potential?

Jim Callis: I think he has the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft, though he comes with risk too. He's a high school player who hasn't faced much competition in Kansas. He was part of that top tier of six players I mentioned toward the top of the chat, and definitely the riskiest of the bunch.

    Casey (Hawaii): Did the Twins want Levi Michaels at 30 or did every player they wanted get snatched up before hand?

Jim Callis: I know they were looking at lefthanders, but I don't think they expected Michael to get to them at 30 and were pleasantly surprised. Michael was banged up and not at his best, which helped him get there.

    Jheremy (Agawam, Mass): Gotta love the Sox draft..Barnes falling to them was a bonus and were able to nab some bigger names later on..Who do you think will be the toughest signs for them, obv. Swihart being ones of the harder ones. And how do you compare their draft in terms of quality with the rest of the teams? Thanks

Jim Callis: The Red Sox were their usual aggressive selves. I agree, they wanted a college pitcher to fall to them and got Barnes. I thought they drafted as many quality players as any club, which his nothing new. Now they have to sign a few of Swihart, Kukuk, Golson, Gossett, Spalding, Gaines—those are their toughest signs.

    Nick (Connecticut): In your opinion who will be the Yankees best player from this draft in the majors? Were you a little disappointed in their draft? Love the chats Jim, thanks a lot.

Jim Callis: I always think the Yankees could be a lot more aggressive in the draft than they choose to be. I guess I like Dante Bichette Jr. the most of their picks, but I didn't see him as a sandwich-rounder. Sam Stafford has impressive lefty stuff but doesn't really harness it, and I was surprised he went in the second round.

    Raif (TX): How much earlier do you believe John Stilson would have went if not for the late season injury? And do you think there's any chance he will come back to A&M next year to improve his draft stock or will he most likely sign w/ the Jays?

Jim Callis: Stilson would have gone somewhere in the second half of the first round if he hadn't injured his shoulder. There's word now the shoulder may not be as bad as initially feared, and if he can throw this summer, I bet he signs.

    Ricky (FL): Wait, the Pirates don't lose a pick for not signing Bell? For how long into the draft does that apply? First 3 rounds? More?

Jim Callis: If you don't sign a pick in the first two rounds, you get the choice after that pick in the next draft. If you don't sign a pick in third round, you get a choice after the third round in the next draft.

    Tman (Camden): what are your thoughts and beliefs on why Nicky delmonico and dillon maples both dropping as far as they did, especially Maples? is this strictly on signability or is there something else in play on these guys? thanks for the chat as always!!!

Jim Callis: Strictly signability on Maples, who has a prestigious academic scholarship to attend North Carolina. On Delmonico, he had back issues and didn't have a great senior year, and when he slid his signability became more in question. Think there's a better chance he signs than Maples does . . . This just in from Nathan Rode. I'm confusing Maples with another UNC recruit about the academic scholarship. But my main point remains, if he went that low, he's not very signable.

    Matt (KC): If the rule 4 draft is the biggest bargain as far as acquiring amateur talent, why are some clubs willing to spend big on international free agents like Chapman and Leonys Martin, but unwilling to splurge and spend 20 million in a single draft. Wouldn't you rather have Josh Bell for 7 million than Martin for 14?

Jim Callis: I agree with you, Matt. Not sure you're going to get Josh Bell for $7 million, but I'd rather have him at that price than Martin at $14 million. I do like Martin, though, but I'll take two Josh Bells for that price.

    Rhyan (Kansas City): Can Bubba Starling stick at center? I don't see many 6'5" 200# guys running around out there in the majors. I'm also wondering how much it will take to sign him?

Jim Callis: He can fly and will stay in center field. He will sign at about 11:55 pm ET on Aug. 15 and not a minute before.

    Brandon (San Diego): Daniel Camarena fell pretty far (3-5 round talent, drafted in the 20th). Is there an injury we don't know about? Or is his commitment to San Diego scaring teams off (similar to Kris Bryant last year)?

Jim Callis: When guys fall that far, it almost always means they'll be impossible to sign.

    Albert R. (Whitter, CA): What are your thoughts on the Angels' drafting C.J. Cron? Does he have the skill set to move to outfield given that he is blocked by Kendrys Morales at 1st and the reluctance of many teams to DH young players? What type of hitter does he project to be?

Jim Callis: Cron should hit for average with at least plus power. He's a first baseman only, don't see any chance of him playing left field.

    Casey (Oxford, MS): What are you thoughts on the chances of Senquez Golson signing with Boston or will he go to college? He has stated in interviews that he wants around $1 million and plans to enroll in summer school in a few weeks if he doesn't sign by then. As an Ole Miss fan do I have hope that he will be in school?

Jim Callis: I'd be worried about the Red Sox. They generally sign their top targets, and Golson is one of them. Ask Auburn about former football recruit Brandon Jacobs.

    Brad (MO): After Bubba which Royal draftee has the highest ceiling?

Jim Callis: Cam Gallagher, if he can stick at catcher.

    Nate (Maryland): Which braves draftee do you like the most from a pure hitting standpoint?

Jim Callis: Blinn JC catcher Nick DeSantiago, who they got in the fifth round, may be the best pure hitter in Atlanta's draft crop.

    Travis (Sherman Oaks): What would you say caused SF Giants Ricky Oropesa to fall to the 3rd round after being hyped as a possible First Rounder?

Jim Callis: I don't know who hyped him as a first-rounder. Oropesa has a lot of power, but it comes with a lot of strikeouts and he's limited to first base. We thought he was a a sandwich/second-rounder.

    Brian (Chicago, IL): Wait, I think there's some confusion. If the Pirates don't sign Bell, do they get the 2nd pick of the 2nd round or the 62nd overall pick? Those may well be different picks next year.

Jim Callis: They get the 62nd pick next year if they don't sign Bell.

    A.J. (Las Vegas): Are the Diamondbacks taking a big risk picking Bradley with their unprotected pick? Was he ranked that much higher than some of the players with less signing leverage?

Jim Callis: I don't think so, because they wouldn't have taken him there if they weren't prepared to pay him handsomely. Because he's a two-sport guy, they can spread his bonus over five years, which helps. Kudos to the Diamondbacks for taking the best talent and not going cheap.

    Trey Hickman (West Blocton, Alabama): How seriously did the Royals consider taking a college arm at No. 5 overall while they were operating under the assumption that hometown stud Bubba Starling would still be available at that spot?

Jim Callis: They wanted an advanced arm at No. 5. That was their priority. If Cole, Hultzen, Bauer or Bundy hadn't gone in the first four picks, the Royals would have chosen a pitcher.

    bobby (arizona): if you could die from talking about the draft, you'd be dead at least 3 times. right?

Jim Callis: Yes. And I've got to go do a radio show and a podcast, so I much run. If you have a question I didn't get to, you can try submitting it to askba@baseballamerica.com (include full name and hometown) for our weekly Ask BA column. You can also try to hit me up at Twitter (@jimcallisBA). Once I recover from my post-draft hangover, I should be my usual active self again on Twitter.