2011 Draft Report Card Chat With Jim Callis and John Manuel






Moderator: Jim Callis and John Manuel will answer your draft questions as well as other baseball questions beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. I wrote the NL Draft Report Cards (minus Houston) and also did Boston in the AL. You'll get me for 45 minutes, then John Manuel, who wrote the rest of the DRCs, will come in to take some more questions. We're both well-versed enough in the draft to discuss any of the 30 teams. Fire away.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Do you anticipate Josh Bell playing in full season ball come April, or will the Pirates take the slower road with him and play him in SS ball, as they did with Taillon and Allie?

Jim Callis: It's different for hitters vs. pitchers, because you don't have to worry about hitters injuring their arms in the colder early-season weather. Bell is very polished, too, so I'd expect to see him in low Class A come April.

    Grant (NYC): Of all the "Ones Who Got Away" this year, which player(s) do you predict will become 1st rounders once they're eligible again?

Jim Callis: Righthander Tyler Beede, who turned down the Blue Jays for Vanderbilt, immediately comes to mind. Among the position players, outfielder Senquez Golson (Red Sox) has the most upside but I wonder how unpolished he'll still be three years from now after juggling football and baseball at Mississippi.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Does Austin Hedges' name belong in the same conversation as d'Arnaud, Mesoraco and Rosario, both offensively and defensively?

Jim Callis: Hedges projects as a better defender than any of them—he's that special as a receiver. There are a lot more questions on his bat, especially comparing him to a Mesoraco or d'Arnaud, but the Padres believe he'll hit and were shocked by the power display he put on during batting practice at Petco Park after he signed.

    Harry (South Bend, IN): Chances of seeing Archie Bradley pitch here next year?

Jim Callis: I'll be very surprised if you don't get Bradley in South Bend next year. There's no reason he can't handle the assignment, though the Diamondbacks may keep him out of the April chill in the Midwest League.

    Lonnie (NYC): Who wins in a foot race - Quinn or Hamilton?

Jim Callis: I'll say Hamilton, but it would be close. I've had too many scouts tell me Hamilton is the fastest player they've ever seen.

    Kelly (St. Cloud, MN): Who gets your nod for best offensive player in the Astros' system between Springer and Singleton?

Jim Callis: Singleton. Springer is a better athlete and has better all-around tools, but Singleton is a much better bet to hit.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Now that we've seen the pro debuts and who's lost prospect eligibity, let's revisit an old question. How many draftees make the top 100 this winter?

Jim Callis: I'd set the over/under around 20, which is higher than usual. This draft was that deep and the crop of other minor leaguers seems a little thin.

    Anthony Rendon (Washington, DC): All the pitchers taken before me were either HS or college pitchers that were helped by the new bat restrictions. Will I end up making those teams pay?

Jim Callis: As I've said many times, if I had the No. 1 overall pick, I would have taken Rendon. I understand why he lasted until No. 6—it's hard to take a guy high in a tremendously deep draft when he wasn't healthy all spring—but I would have taken him No. 1.

    JT (Charlotte, NC): As a Braves fan I was really disappointed with their draft this year. The Braves system desperately needed an infusion of position players. Miraculously Mikie Mahtook fell to them at the bottom of the 1st round yet they failed to take him - instead opting for yet another starting pitcher, the very last thing they needed. Any insight on this exasperating decision.

Jim Callis: The Braves were extremely conservative in the draft, taking relatively easy signs who stood out more for their floors than their ceilings. That's not how Atlanta built its string of winners, and it's not a strategy conducive to long-term success.

    Luke (Colorado): Safe to say the Rockies had one of the worst drafts?

Jim Callis: I would not say that. We don't grade all the drafts, or rank them from 1-30, but I can't see how a team that came away with a potential five-tool shortstop in Trevor Story had one of the worst drafts. Top pick Tyler Anderson is a nice polished college lefthander with solid stuff. The depth of the Rockies' draft may not stack up to some others, but I like what they did with picks 20 and 45. It's too bad they couldn't sign three of our top five college Ones Who Got Away in Peter O'Brien (third round), Ross Stripling (ninth) and Preston Tucker (16th).

    Dan (Lansing): What kind of grade would you give the Cubs draft?

Jim Callis: I'd give it a B. It didn't make our top five drafts, but the Cubs would have been in the next tier. They spent a club-record $12 million on the draft and reeled in a lot of talent, including Javier Baez, Dan Vogelbach, Zeke DeVoss and Tony Zych at the top of the draft and Dillon Maples in the 14th round. For what it's worth, the Cubs were higher on players like Vogelbach, Trevor Gretzky and Shawon Dunston Jr. than we were, and some scouts don't love Maples' delivery.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): Does Bauer have a shot of making the Diamondbacks rotation out of spring?

Jim Callis: I wouldn't rule anything out, because Bauer is so advanced and so competitive, but June 1 is probably a more realistic timetable.

    Jake (San Clemente): What do you think of Cody Hebner? Does he have a real shot at being a 3/4 starter?

Jim Callis: He's athletic and has a strong arm, though he'll need to add a lot of polish to remain a starter. There's no reason to think he can't, and he was a solid fourth-round pick.

    Brian (San Diego): Do the Padres get a pick next year for missing out on compensation pick Brett Austin?

Jim Callis: Yes. The Blue Jays get pick 22 for not signing Beede; the Padres get pick 55 for Austin; the Yankees get pick 89 for Sam Stafford; and the Mariners, Marlins and Rockies will get supplemental third-rounders for Kevin Cron, Connor Barron and O'Brien.

    Nick (Long Island): Bradley Marquez sounds like the 2nd coming of Jose Reyes. Provided he sticks with baseball, will he hit enough to play everyday and what position do you see him playing?

Jim Callis: Marquez does draw those Reyes comparisons, though he ultimately may be more of a center fielder than a shortstop. He has the tools to hit, but he's going to lose some at-bats while playing football at Texas Tech.

    Roger (Washington, DC): What's Kyle Crick's upside, and where is he in his development at this point?

Jim Callis: Frontline starter potential with a big-time arm, but he's still pretty raw because he has focused on pitching for little more than a year. He's in the right organization (Giants) to develop as a pitcher, though.

    Eric (Staten Island NY): What do you think of the Mets draft and how their farm system is progressing?

Jim Callis: I liked how the Mets finally got aggressive and spent some money to bolster a farm system that had been in a rut. Brandon Nimmo and Marquez are exciting athletes, Michael Fulmer has a quality arm and they landed several other interesting guys.

    Allan (Milwaukee): Jim, John, In your opinions who has better career Jungmann, Bradley , maybe Jorge Lopez?

Jim Callis: If I had to pick one, I'd say Jungmann because I really like the way he pitches off his fastball. At the same time, Bradley and Lopez might have higher ceilings. The Brewers definitely upgraded their pitching prospects with this draft.

    Joe (St. Louis): Is Kolten Wong opening day 2B for the Springfield Cardinals?

Jim Callis: With the way he played in low Class A immediately after signing, Wong could handle the jump to Double-A.

    Brian (San Diego): Will Spangenberg stay at 2B and is he a top 100 prospect?

Jim Callis: The jury is still out on second base. He might become an average defender there, but I wonder if the Padres will just expedite his bat by letting him use his speed in the outfield.

Jim Callis: I'm passing the baton to John Manuel now. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @jimcallisBA.

John Manuel: OK, it's my turn. Thanks for coming, I'll try to live up to the Callis standard.

    Laura (Philly): I've read a few scouting reports that predict Sonny Gray will eventually become a reliever. Do you concur with this or no?

John Manuel: No. His changeup isn't there yet, but it has improved, and I actually think fastball command will be the biggest obstacle for Sonny. The A's certainly see him as a starter, and while there was a strong contingent of scouts who liked Gray better as a reliever as an amateur, I would say the consensus liked him as a starter.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Any recent word on whether or not Rendon will get to see any action in the AFL?

John Manuel: Sounds like the Nationals expect to assign Rendon to the AFL sooner rather than later but wanted to make sure he was 100 percent.

    Chuck (Wichita): How does Bubba Starling compare to Mike Trout in terms of tools and ceiling?

John Manuel: They're not physically comparable; one's a fast-moving tank (Trout) and the other's 6-foot-4 or 6-5 and lithe (Starling). Also, Trout's hit tool is more advanced than that of Starling. Starling has more arm strength than Trout, but I'd say Trout has him matched or surpassed in every other tool. It's a forced comparison, not one that I would try to make. Starling compares more to Jeff Francouer — a CF version of Frenchy, and maybe not quite as thick as him, but physically and in terms of tools, he's more Frenchy than Trout. Obviously the Royals hope that his hit tool plays better than Frenchy's has over the course of his career.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Why have the Braves become so conservative in the draft?

John Manuel: Well, I don't think last year's draft was conservative; in 2010 they took a prep middle-of-the-diamond guy with their top pick in Lipka, and drafted several JC guys high. Atlanta has had tons of JC success lately — Kimbrel, Venters, Hanson, Medlen ... why would you NOT hit the JCs hard when you found that kind of talent there? The motivating factor for their move to JC was the rising cost of high school talent. I suspect that's a major reason for their college-heavy draft in 2011. It's startling to see them sign just two high school players (hope my math is right there), but I suspect this is just the way their board fell. I know they were in on several of the HS pitchers who went just ahead of them and just got their pocket picked. So I don't think it's a vast departure of philosophy necessarily, it just looks like this is how their board fell.

    Matt (KC): It sounds like BA is really high on Royals' 16th rounder, Jack Lopez. How does he compare to a guy like Michael Antonio as far as big league upside?

John Manuel: I'll put it this way; the Royals are very high on Jack Lopez. Our reports on him coming into the draft were mostly of the same vein — good player, not terribly physical, Miami recruit, probably better suited to going to school. The Royals liked the bat and the bloodlines and bought him out of that commitment. I think they see him as more of a polished player than Antonio, but he's less physical.

    tommy (San Diego): Is Kevin Quackenbush a guy that could take Mike Adams old spot next year? His K to HIT ratio was around 2.50. That's unheard of.

John Manuel: I wouldn't go crazy there but yeah, Quackenbush had a tremendous debut. He always had arm strength and some makeup issues (he had an Oct. 2010 arrest for a hit-and-run incident involving a police car), but he had a huge spring and got a lot better with Chuck Hernandez taking over as South Florida's pitching coach. He's consistently 90-95 mph with some angle, so that's a great start. He doesn't have Adams' cutter but he's certainly a candidate to move very quickly.

    Greg T (London): Surprised the Jays werent listed as having one of the Top 5 drafts. All I have read is positive things about their draft with their aggressive drafting of high ceiling players - eventhough they failed to sign their 1st round pick, Tyler Beede. Thanks!

John Manuel: The Jays' class has the three HS pitchers with real upside in Musgrove, Comer and Norris; we had Norris rated the highest of the trio coming into the draft. There's some real power potential from Anderson and Dean, and some nice college arms in Stilson and DeSclafani. To play devil's advocate, they had eight members of our Top 200, but only Norris was in the top 20; Stilson was in doubt because of his injury late in the college season; and generally we go for star power over depth. Hence a top 3 of Washington, Arizona and Pittsburgh. If you want depth, the Rays took 10 members of our top 200, with star power in Guerrieri and Mahtook. Boston got the edge with more top 100 draftees, including two in the top 20 in Barnes and Swihart. It was close between Boston & Toronto, we'll see who winds up having the best draft 4-6 years from now.

    Jake (San Clemente): With the glowing reviews about his bat/defense from instructs will Austin Hedges start 2012 in full-season ball? How about Joe Ross?

John Manuel: Sounds like both have a chance, though the weather in Fort Wayne might prompt the Padres to delay Ross until it starts warming up in May. I've heard good initial reports on both players, with Ross showing impressive velocity in instructional league. I know Jim addressed Hedges' eye-opening offensive skills and I've heard the same buzz.

    Nick (Connecticut): I was wondering how close Jordan Cote came to any of the rankings in the report card? Love the chats thanks.

John Manuel: Most of these categories deal with "now" tools. Cote is a projection guy. The way the Yankees put it to me, they thought that after he went to school for three years in the South (I believe he was committed to Coastal Carolina), he could be a first-rounder, so why wait? They trust their ability to get him moving a little quicker and like his athleticism, body control and projectable frame.

    Brett (Seattle, WA): Who would you say has more upside between Danny Hultzen and Taijuan Walker?

John Manuel: I like the reports we have on Walker but would still say Hultzen. That said, I have my reservations on him just because of the Virginia delivery. Much respect to the Cavaliers, but I haven't talked to one scout who can tell me why their pitchers bend their knees (like Hultzen) before they deliver, and two just dismissed it as "an unathletic position," and he throws across his body quite a bit. So there's a change or two that's probably going to happen sooner than later with Hultzen. I think he could move real quick, but it also wouldn't shock me if it took him a little longer than we thought, because I think he's going to have to make some delivery adjustments.

    Drew (Chicago): Can Jace Peterson be an average starting short stop? I'd love the Padres with 3 basestealers in Peterson, Spanenburg, and Maybin.

John Manuel: I'm a fan and really like the profile as a speedy LH-hitting middle infielder. I think he can be an average defender at short, because the scouts I have talked to believe so. But most MLB teams want better than average defense at short, so that will be his challenge. He's athletic enough to do it but it will take reps, aptitude on his part and good coaching.

    David (Kansas): How close was the Royals draft to being in the top 5?

John Manuel: Not terribly far off but ranked behind Toronto among the 6-10 teams, I'd also slot it behind the Cubs & Padres.

    JB (Dallas): With Bauer and Gray likely both starting next season at Double-A (or higher), do you see any other 2011 guys starting at that level? Cole? Rendon? Jungmann?

John Manuel: Rendon is about the only one I could see moving that quickly, doubt it on Cole because of the Pirates' pitching approach, and doubt it on Jungmann as well. Rendon probably will debut at a lower level, he's the most likely of that trio, for me, to reach Double-A in his first full pro season.

    Jon (DC): Yu Darvish rumors are heating up already. Do you have a take on him? Internet "scouts" always say he has four above average pitches and will sit at 95 mph. The youtube shows that he sits at 90 though. Any take on him?

John Manuel: Our scouting report on Darvish from the 2009 WBC is here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/majors/international-affairs/world-baseball-classic/2009/267914.html

    Andrew (Baltimore, MD): I'm looking forward to seeing if this Bundy kid is legit. Which team should I buy tickets from to see him pitch in April?

John Manuel: Hard to say just because the front office in Baltimore is changing. If a guy like Chuck LaMar who likes to push prospects were to be in charge there (not saying he's a candidate), he's polished enough to push to high Class A Frederick. More likely he starts in low A Delmarva. If someone came in to the O's and said, "We're going to copy the way the Rays develop pitching," then you'd see Bundy in extended spring and make his way to Aberdeen when the New York-Penn league starts. I think he's more advanced than that, but the Rays take virtually all their pitchers slow, start all of them off in extended and then go to short-season ball in their first pro seasons. So I guess you need to wait before you buy tickets.

    Jake (San Clemente): Are there any prospects who have preformed well enough in regular season ball or instructs who you may have underestimated?

John Manuel: I would say that in general the players who seem better after signing are guys who had limited looks in the spring, guys who weren't showcase jokers from the previous summer, and Northern kids. Take Hedges; in California, HS kids aren't allowed to take BP pre-game, so you couldn't see him take BP, and then because he was his team's best hitter, you didn't always get to see him swing the bat in games because he was often pitched around. So it was harder to evaluate his bat. Same lack of information (relatively speaking) accounts for Northern players being drafted higher than where we might have ranked a player such as Jordan Cote or say Chris Bostick, the A's sleeper out of New York. He sounds pretty interesting, and the best thing about that was that we had Bostick ranked high (No. 2) in our summer college league list for the New York Collegiate League. Those lists come in handy.

    Steve (Huntington beach): What's your take on Mikie Mahtook? The Rays are loaded with talent in the outfield throughout their system, does he stand out in your opinion over Guyer, Vettelsen, Sale etc? Possible eta?

John Manuel: Sale had a pretty modest debut, and some people think Guyer is a 4th OF. If you believe in Mahtook as a CF (and scouts are pretty mixed there), then he's the best prospect of that group. I like Mahtook's energy, strength and improvement over the course of his career, and I think he can play CF. That said, the Rays have Upton and also Jennings; he may not ever play CF in Tampa.

    J (Detroit): How did the Tigers do? They went cheap...anyone with star potential? Or are we hoping for another Andy Dirks?

John Manuel: Hoping for Dirks ... sounds like a good name for a blog. Really more like Hoping for Matt Joyce, right? Aim higher! Joyce was a nice find in the 12th round. McCann (now with Team USA in Mexico), Tyler Collins, Brandon Loy, Aaron Westlake ... some decent college guys there. I think Loy will be a big leaguer with his glove, and Collins is a nice dark-horse considering how torrid he was all year offensively. Another summer college guy by the way, No. 1 in the TCL.

    Mick (Chicago): Is Joe Panik the next great hope for the Giants at the shortstop position?

John Manuel: So far, sure. But I would exhaust the Brandon Crawford option. I've never believed in Crawford's bat but he can defend at short. Panik is a grinder who can hit and should be one of those average defenders at short, when teams are usually looking for above-average.

    JT (Charlotte): What are your thoughts on Tommy La Stella? He seems to be a nice sleeper draft pick for the Braves.

John Manuel: Great debut and he has a nice lefthanded bat. I have had him compared to Kevin Melillo several times so I wouldn't get terribly excited, and I don't think he's as athletic as Melillo. I also doubt he has similar mustache-growing skills. Great debut but more than likely a LF defensively than a 2b, and then we're really making demands on the bat. More likely a good organizational player.

John Manuel: Thanks for all the questions, but it's time for a late lunch and more Handbook calls and editing. Coming tomorrow´┐ŻAaron Fitt's ridiculous Recruiting Rankings. Nobody does it better people ... more than 10,000 words of recruiting goodness coming on BaseballAmerica.com tomorrow.