Jim Callis Chat: June 7




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Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. With the draft behind us, I actually got a full night of sleep and feel vaguely human again. Hit me with your draft questions!

    Andrew Brotherton (Atlanta, GA): What did you think of the Yankees draft? Who should we be really excited about?

Jim Callis: I was surprised Ty Hensley got to pick No. 30 and really like him there. Austin Aune is a very good athlete, and when he went in the second round, I assumed he'd be signable away from his TCU football scholarship. Their next two picks were promising bats in Peter O'Brien and Nathan Mikolas. All in all, it looks like a solid draft.

    Jason (Oklahoma): Do you think the Astros had the best draft?

Jim Callis: They certainly might have. Carlos Correa could be Troy Tulowitzki, and they got one of the best arms at the draft at No. 40 in Lance McCullers Jr. It they can sign their toughest signs (Rio Ruiz, Brett Phillips, Hunter Virant) in the later rounds—and it looks like they'll have the money to do so—this could be the best 2012 draft crop.

    Tom (Menomonee Falls, WI): Jim, thanks for the chat. Pretty excited about Brewers picking Clint Coulter. If he doesn't stick at catcher like many are suggesting, what position do you think he ends up at?

Jim Callis: First base. Don't think there are a lot of other options, but it's also not like he has no chance to catch. I think he can stick there, just needs time to polish his defense.

    Jim (Munster, IN): Who was the steal of the draft between rounds 1a-2?

Jim Callis: Lance McCullers Jr. (Astros at 41) in the sandwich round, Tanner Rahier (Reds at 78) in the second round.

    Gary (Baxter, MN): Would you rank the Marlin's draft among the best?

Jim Callis: No. I liked the guys they drafted at the top, starting with the polish of first-round LHP Andrew Heaney and the bat of third-round 3B Avery Romero. But they didn't have a second-rounder and I didn't think they got a disproportionate share of guys on the BA 500.

    Jay (California): Is Correa already the Astros top prospect? Is it even close?

Jim Callis: Well, they have to sign him first. But I'd take him over Jonathan Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Co.

    Mike (Chelmsford): What are the chances that Rhett Wiseman is able to get a deal done with the Cubs?

Jim Callis: Unlikely. He fell to the 25th round because of signability. That said, the Cubs can probably take some deep discounts in rounds 4-10, so it's possible they could throw all of that money at Wiseman.

    Tony (NYC): Hi Jim, thanks for hosting this! I wanted to know what you thought of the Mets draft overall and if there is a player in the later rounds, if signed, would be a sleeper to keep an eye on? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I like a lot of the players, starting with Gavin Cecchini and Kevin Plawecki at the top, but it doesn't stand out as one of the best drafts. Most of the guys went ahead where we had them on the BA 500. My round 4-10 sleeper is catcher Tomas Nido, who has big-time raw power. In the double-digit rounds, it's sweet-swinging Mikey White, but he may not be signable.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Odds of the Astros signing Virant, Hinojosa and Traver?

Jim Callis: I think they'll get at most one of those three, probably Virant. Don't think Hinojosa is signable and Traver probably isn't either.

    Juwan (DC): First off, I want to say that I absolutely love your work Mr. Callis. *tips cap*. How does a healthy Giolito compare to Archie Bradley in his draft year? Do you think the Nats get him signed?

Jim Callis: Thank you, Juwan. That's an interesting question. Similar stuff, and aside from Giolito getting hurt, I think the biggest difference is Giolito showed that stuff more consistently. I do think the Nationals will get him signed, but I won't claim to have a guess on what I believe the dollar amount will be.

    Sean (Battle Creek): Im confused over the Jameis WInston situation. Obviously he is going to go and play football for FSU in the fall but the Rangers are hoping he will play pro ball in offseason. How does that work? Do the rangers still need to go way over the 100k slot for him to play part time? Would he be Rangers property if that did happened or would he reenter draft later for baseball? Unfamiliar with the situation. Thanks Jim, love the chats!

Jim Callis: He can play professionally in baseball and be eligible for NCAA football. Essentially, he can get $100,000 (or whatever the bonus is—it won't be huge) for a summer job with no long-term commitment to baseball. The Rangers get to control his rights if he decides to play baseball, and can try to entice him with more money down the road.

    GREG (OH): The quest to sign which draftee(s) will create the most drama before the deadline?

Jim Callis: Mark Appel, naturally.

    Pete (NJ): I guess so much for the new CBA allowing the teams to pick the best players on the board. The Blue Jays found the loophole and exploited it. Do you believe better prospects were drafted in rounds 11-15 than rounds 6-10?

Jim Callis: In many cases, yes, the talent was better in rounds 11-15 than 6-10. I anticipated some teams would make some bargain picks in rounds 6-10, but didn't think it would happen to the extent it did. I don't think the Blue Jays were the only team to think of this ... they collected a ton of talent in part because they had five picks before the second round.

    Greg (OH): Jim when's the next draft podcast?

Jim Callis: I recorded one this morning with J.J. Cooper, Conor Glassey and Nathan Rode. Should be up today.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How optimistic are you the Pirates lock up Appel?

Jim Callis: I think there's a good chance he signs, but it's no lock. Eyeballing the Pirates' draft, I think they could get up to $4 million for him. I'd be more surprised if Pittsburgh paid him enough to lose a draft pick than I would be if he didn't sign.

    Tim (Pittsburgh, PA): What are your overall impressions of the Twins' draft? Thank you taking the time to answer questions!

Jim Callis: I thought they got the best player in the draft in Buxton at No. 2. I like a lot of their other guys (Berrios, Bard, Melotakis, etc.), though most of their top picks went higher than we had them on the BA 500. They got a lot of pitching, no shock because they need it.

    AJ (NJ): Hello. I read somewhere that there were an inordinate number of predraft deals this year. Do you think this may have contributed to Appel falling as far as he did?

Jim Callis: Yes. Teams felt the pick values were higher than the worth of the players, especially in the first round, and wanted cost certainty now that they're dealing with finite bonus pools. Teams picking 2-7 didn't have enough time once they found out Appel wasn't going No. 1 to figure out what he'd sign for and adjust the plans they already had in place.

    Dan (Chicago): Would you rank Almora ahead of Javier Baez on a list of Cubs top prospects?

Jim Callis: It's close ... would have to see how this season plays out. Baez has more offensive ceiling, Almora a good ceiling and higher floor.

Jim Callis: Got a phone call ... will get off it soon and resume chatting!

    Kyle (Dallas): Where can I expect Correa to be assigned? I really want to see him play.

Jim Callis: Back now ... I would assume Rookie-level Greeneville or the GCL. Probably signs very soon, too.

    Paul (DC): I gotta admit, the Nats sure aren't afraid to play with fire when it comes to signing players with questionable health. Do you see Giolito signing with them before 7/13, and would you let him play in Rookie Ball at all this year?

Jim Callis: I don't think you take Giolito in the first round if you aren't planning on signing him. I think they get that done, though I won't purport to know what he'll get. I don't believe any team is going to give up a draft pick to sign a guy, but maybe Washington rationalizes that No. 16 and a lower first-rounder next year are worth Giolito if he's healthy. I wouldn't have him pitch this summer. No need.

    Dan (Chicago): What do you make of Almora's comments about going to college? Should I be concerned he won't sign or are they just Boras tactics?

Jim Callis: He'll sign. I'd be stunned if he didn't.

    Mike (Orlando): Several interesting strategies this year, can you explain the Astros plan for signing Hunter Virant?

Jim Callis: Sure. I think by the time they sign Correa and McCullers, they'll have saved roughly $1 million vs. pick value. They might be able to take some discounts in rounds 2, 3 and 5, plus they can save maybe $500,000 with their senior signs in rounds 7-10. That could give them an extra $1.7 million or so to play with as they pursue Rio Ruiz and Virant.

    Tim Ednoff (Irvine): Hey Jim, With Correa going 1-1, how does he compare to another high draftee in SS Manny Machado? Seems like both have fluid infield actions, questions about how big the body will get, and the bat to profile at third if a move is necessary.

Jim Callis: Extremely similar profiles. Correa might even have a better chance to stick at shortstop. I keep getting Troy Tulowitzki comps on Correa, with some A-Rod thrown in.

    Brad (Toronto ON): Very pleased to see my team take some risks with their draft. Do you foresee them having a lot of trouble signing anyone in particular?

Jim Callis: Alford. I don't think they can buy him away from Southern Miss. But the Jays don't have to in order to have a great draft.

    Tyrone (Chicago): What do you suppose the Sox saw in Keon Barnum that led them to draft him as high as they did?

Jim Callis: Huge raw power. Signability in sandwich round probably helped, too.

    Tom (San Francisco, CA): Jim, could a Josh Bell-esque scenario potentially play out with Anthony Alford, or is it a matter of apples and oranges, given the new draft rules this year? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Apples and oranges given the new rules. With these rules, Josh Bell might not have been drafted in 2011 and certainly wouldn't have been paid $5 million.

    Paul (PA): In the sandwich round, which name sticks out to you as having the most potential?

Jim Callis: Lance McCullers Jr. and Matt Smoral have the most upside.

    Benny (Cubs Central): Looking forward to seeing Theo lock up Almora, Underwood and Johnson. Can he get all three done, in your opinion?

Jim Callis: Yes. Combined pick value for those three is $5.3 million, which should be close enough to get it done.

    Paula (MN): What led to Trey Williams falling so far? Any chance he signs?

Jim Callis: Didn't have a good spring and turned off a lot of scouts with a lack of intensity. The Cardinals have a lot of money ($9.1 million) and took some deep discounts up top in Ramsey and Wisdom (good players, too), so they may be able to get Williams done.

    Greg (Oh): Which 1st rd player will get lowest, highest bonus?

Jim Callis: Highest will be Correa or Buxton. Lowest will be Ramsey. Those are just guesses, but I believe I'll be right.

    Jake (Fairfax, VA): Huge Nats fan, tell me more about Spencer Kieboom. After looking up his stats it seems to me like he is a career below average hitter with no power. Why did we take him in the 5th?

Jim Callis: Good defensive catcher, also a cheap sign whose savings can be put towards paying Lucas Giolito.

    Brandon (Washington, DC): Since we basically saw two phases of the draft, that included a much more talented 11-15 rounds than 6-10, would the MLB just be better off by lumping the entire 40 rounds into the allotment pool? That way teams could keep picking based on talent for a longer time and not have to worry about the cheap senior signs until the end of the draft.

Jim Callis: MLB wouldn't want that because if you allocated, say, $1.5 million to each team for rounds 11-40 and added to the total, individual players could shoot for a much bigger bonus than they can now with tighter budgets. I don't think MLB cares about anything regarding the draft other than keeping costs as low as possible. Will be interesting to see how many low-revenue and high-revenue clubs clamor for change in the new CBA. I bet it will be several.

    Mitch (Alberta, Canada): Apart from Stroman, which player drafted in the 2012 draft is most likely to reach the majors first?

Jim Callis: Florida LHRP Paco Rodriguez, the Dodgers' second-round pick.

    Andrew (Brookline, PA): Walker Buehler was number 50 on the BA 500 and was taken by the Pirates in Round 14. The maximum bonus the Pirates can offer him is $100,000 unless they dip into their allotted pool for the their picks from Rounds 1-10. Are highly ranked players who fell in the draft like Buehler likely to sign?

Jim Callis: Some will. To me, Buehler is Mark Appel insurance. I see the Pirates being able to create $1 million or so in cap room, so they can offer Appel $4 million or so without losing a future first-rounder. If Appel turns it down, they can sign Buehler, a sandwich-round talent committed to Vanderbilt, for $1 million.

    Matt (Seattle): Hi Jim, Do you foresee teams holding back on releasing bonus information on the picks that sign until after the deadline? Seems to me that teams gain leverage over unsigned picks if the amount of money left in the bonus pool remains unknown. Thanks,

Jim Callis: Not to sound cocky ... They may try, but Baseball America will have the bonuses in our Draft Database. MLB has tried to shut down bonus information in past years, and that hasn't stopped us. No idea if they'll try as hard with the new rules. I don't think they necessarily will, because there are very harsh penalties in place for teams that blow past their bonus pool allocations.

    Mike (Tampa): What was the real reason for McCullers fall to the supplemental round? Signability or concerns over whether or not he can remain a starter? Do the Astros truly feel they will be able to come to terms with him?

Jim Callis: Signability. The Astros will get him done. They can sign him and Correa and be roughly $1 million below the bonus pool for those two picks.

    Jeff (New York): Thoughts on the Yankees pick of Ty Hensley?

Jim Callis: Loved it. Great value there. With Giolito hurt and McCullers pricy, I thought Hensley would be the second high school pitcher drafted and didn't think he'd get close to No. 30.

    Robert (Sterling Heights): Anything decent in the Tigers draft? Nobody in the BA top 100, but did anyone look good to you?

Jim Callis: Their top two choices, Texas high schoolers Jake Thompson and Austin Schotts, need some time but have good upside.

    Kevin (Minnesota): Huge Twins fan here. Who do you think ends up as a better Major League player, Miguel Sano or Byron Buxton?

Jim Callis: I thought Buxton was the best player in this draft, but I'm giving the nod to Sano.

    Adam B. (Cincinnati, OH): Think they modify the rules by next year's draft? Or do you believe its a bigger deal to the media than the teams themselves?

Jim Callis: I don't think we'll see major changes after just one year. I don't believe a lot of teams like this new system—the ones it benefits the most are the ones that didn't want to spend on the draft. This brings other clubs down closer to their level.

    Adam B. (Cincinnati, OH): Appel, Correa, Buxton...any of them rank in top 5 in last year's draft?

Jim Callis: Buxton or Correa might have gone ahead of Starling or a banged-up Rendon. Doubt they would have gone ahead of the pitchers taken in the top four (Cole, Hultzen, Bauer, Bundy).

    Bill (KC): Jim, I'm curious about something and I'm sure a lot of others are as well. We see a list of 500 prospects. From a talent perspective, how big are the separation gaps on the list? How much separates prospect #354 and #475? On a related note, for guys ranked in, say, the bottom 200, how many detailed reports are you getting on these guys to rank them where you are?

Jim Callis: There is not a huge difference between Nos. 354-475. When I describe prospects, I tend to think of them in groups of first round (1-30), sandwich round (31-60), second-third round (61-120), fourth-seventh round (121-240), eighth-12th round (241-390), with players in each group roughly comparable. Hope that made sense. I know for all the Midwest guys I write up for the 500, plus the extra guys on state lists, plus several others ... I have a ton of information on them.

Jim Callis: I have to run. I'll be doing draft-related Ask BA columns on Friday and again on Monday, so I'll catch more of your questions there. And maybe I'll do a draft chat on Twitter tomorrow at @jimcallisBA. Thanks!