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Draft Chat: Jim Callis
June 4, 2002

Moderator: We had to suspend the chat because high traffic on the site wouldn't allow the chat server to run correctly. Jim came back later Tuesday evening to answer many of your questions.

 Q:  Simon D from Richland, WA asks:
How Would you rate Oaklands Use of their extra picks? did they make good use of them or did they blow it? Was hard To Tell do to the Week Draft?
 A: 

Jim: Hi, everyone. I've got the first two rounds ahead of me and I'll try to listen to picks as we chat. Oakland did about what was expected: Took legitimate guys in the first round, and then had to take cheaper players starting in the sandwich rounds. They really wanted Russ Adams, but got crossed up when Colorado took Jeff Francis, which put Toronto on Adams. They loved Khalil Greene, and John McCurdy is kind of a poor man's Greene. They got four legitimate first-rounders, so that's a good draft.

 Q:  Steve Phillips from Flushing, New York asks:
Needless to say I am ecstatic to see Scott Kazmir fall to #15. Does this rank as the biggest suprise to you in round 1? Also what do you think I should select in round 4?
 A: 

Jim: Yes and no. The Reds apparently used Kazmir to leverage Chris Gruler into signing for $2.5 million. With the Reds out of the picture, the logical teams to give him more than slot money were Texas at 10 and then the Mets at 15. The Rangers apparently won't go out beyond slot money, bypassing Kazmir, Jeremy Guthrie and Bobby Brownlie for Drew Meyer, so at that point the Mets made a lot of sense. Steve, you're on your own for Round 4.

 Q:  Mike Geier from Montreal, Quebec asks:
How big of a reach is the drafting of Clint Everts by the Expos? I've read that he has excellent projectability. How would you grade this pick? Did they do well?
 A: 

Jim: Not a reach at all. Excellent athlete, some teams thought he might be a first-rounder as a SS, probably has the best breaking ball in the HS crop, also a plus fastball. The Expos legitimately liked him, and some clubs thought he was one of the top 3-4 pitchers in the draft. There's word that a predraft deal may be in place, which Everts' representative denies.

 Q:  Brandon from Philly asks:
So far no Jeff Baker? I know he's with Boras, but come on?
 A: 

Jim: Baker didn't have a good year in scouts' eyes, has some holes in his swing, never has hit with wood and wants a lot of money. That's not a surprise. He just went to the Rockies in the fourth. He's a good player, but he didn't help himself at all this year.

 Q:  Austin from Boulder asks:
Brief explanation on Neighborall and McCormick please...
 A: 

Jim: Scott Boras clients who didn't show command this year. Neighborgall didn't pitch last year with back problems, and a lot of teams dislike McCormick's makeup. But I thought the Red Sox would have taken Neighborgall in the second round. Our server is very slow, so bear with us. We're just getting bombarded by hits.

 Q:  Justin Montmiy from Aurora asks:
The cubs grabbed Brownlie with their first pick. How do you rate the use of their extra first picks so far?
 A: 

Jim: Brownlie, if healthy, is a great pick at No. 21. Ball State LHP Luke Hagerty could have gone as a mid-first-rounder and as high as No. 11, so he's a good value at No. 32. Purdue RHP Chadd Blasko has a live arm at No. 36, and Orange Coast CC RHP Matt Clanton does as well at No. 38. The pitching-rich Cubs just got richer.

 Q:  Rino from Montreal asks:
The Expos just took Rasner in the secound round. I haven't heard anything about him. Your thoughts if it was a good pick?
 A: 

Jim: Rasner has four potential average or better pitchers, and a lot of clubs were on him in the 21-30 range. I thought the A's might pop him. Good value for Montreal in the second round.

 Q:  Troy from New Philadelphia, Ohio asks:
It looks like some guys are dropping to the Indians at some spots where nobody thought they'd be available. Whats your analysis of their draft so far?
 A: 

Jim: This is a knee-jerk reaction, but I don't know if any club got better players with its first two picks than the Indians with Jeremy Guthrie and Matt Whitney, and the Cubs with Brownlie and Hagerty.

 Q:  Russell from Chesapeake, Va. asks:
I had the luxury to see Upton play this past spring and I think he is going to be a good one. I was hoping he would fall to the O's, but how do you think the O's are doing so far? Will Loewen move fast and do you think he was agood pick at #4? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim: I believe the Orioles would have been very interested at Upton at No. 4, but Loewen is no booby prize. Some teams think he's the best prospect in the draft. High school pitchers are risky, but he's a risk worth taking. Just be patient: high school arms rarely shoot through the minors.

 Q:  Lance McAlister from Cincinnati asks:
Jim: With the money saved by not signing Jeremy Sowers last year, how could the Reds then low ball the guy they wanted at #3 in Kazmir?
 A: 

Jim: The Reds were fairly evenly split on Scott Kazmir and Chris Gruler, who's a worthy No. 3 pick. I don't know if they so much lowballed Kazmir as they figured Gruler would be cheaper to sign.

 Q:  Gregg from Madison, WI asks:
How are the Brewers doing so far? Do you think Prince Fielder was a bad pick at #7 for them? I know that 80 out of 80 power is rare, but did they just pick a really good DH?
 A: 

Jim: Fielder was an intriguing pick. He has great power from the left side and a solid approach. His offensive ceiling might be as high as anyone's in this draft. His body scares a lot of scouts to death, however. The last player I can remember with that combination, and I'm not saying Fielder will be this good, is Frank Thomas. The White Sox took him seventh in 1989 and were widely thought to have made a bad pick. I think Fielder will make the Brewers look very good or very bad within two years.

 Q:  Kevin from Fairfax, VA asks:
Me again. I know this seems premature, but it seems like my Phillies are having a fantastic draft. Blalock in five? Bourgeois in three? If Hamels is healthy, might this be one of the top drafts of the year?
 A: 

Jim: That's a very fair assessment. If Hamels stays healthy, he's a steal at No. 17, and I like their later picks as well.

 Q:  Brewer fan in SoCal from Fullerton, CA asks:
Prince Fielder? Josh Murray? Eric Thomas? The brewerfan.com natives are very restless...should we be?
 A: 

Jim: I've addressed Fielder. Murray was on our Florida prospect list, not as a second-rounder, but had an impressive workout for the Brewers. If Thomas hadn't had shoulder problems, he would have been a first-round pick. He's a 6-foot-8 guy who throws as hard as 96 mph.

 Q:  Scott from Los Angeles asks:
I see Sergio Santos was snatched late first round by the Diamondbacks. Was this a good match, or was it a surprise? What kind of depth do the Diamondbacks have at 3rd Base, since that is where he's projecting, and what kind of timeframe can we expect for Sergio? Will he be on the fast track given his physical maturity?
 A: 

Jim: We heard late last night that Santos had an impressive workout for the Diamondbacks and could go at No. 27. On high school kids, talk of timeframes are just guesswork. But he's a talented player who could move quicker than most high schoolers. He was identified as a blue-chip prospect early on, which can work against a guy because they get put under the microscope for a longer period of time. As for the system, don't forget red-hot Chad Tracy.

 Q:  Tim Worrall from Chicago asks:
Given how poorly the Cubs' position players are doing across the minors this year, is it a big surprise that the team would draft six pitchers with their first seven picks?
 A: 

Jim: Nope. Teams generally take the top guys on their draft boards, and the depth this year was in pitching. Brian Dopirak, their first second-round pick, had the best raw power in the draft, so he was a nice addition.

 Q:  Austin from Boulder asks:
What's your thoughts on Loney to Dodgers at 19 as a 1B?? With an arm like that could he move to a corner outfield spot and put it to use?
 A: 

Jim: I thought he might go later in the first round, more as a pitcher. Yes, with that arm he could go to the outfield. He's a legit two-way guy, and this isn't as much of a surprise as John VanBenschoten moving full-time to the mound.

 Q:  Tim from Lakeland, Fl asks:
What do you think about the Braves first pick OF Jeff Francouer?
 A: 

Jim: The Braves love homestate players, so it wasn't a surprise from that standpoint. But the high school all-America football player and Clemson football recruit had put out a $4 million price tag, so we thought the Braves might have passed. My guess is he might get more than slot money, but Atlanta won't go that high for him.

 Q:  Big KG from Big Chicago asks:
With Kazmir dropping all the way to the Mets, does that say that other teams could not strike a pre-draft deal, and the Mets might be in a position to do so quickly?
 A: 

Jim: I think it says that teams believe that Kazmir will require more than slot money, and that's why they passed. I don't think the Mets necessarily will sign him quickly.

 Q:  Peter from San Diego asks:
Not that I trust ESPN over you guys, but they had K. Greene going in the mid-20's. Did ESPN over-look him? Kevin Towers all but admitted that he wanted Greene on a sports-radio show last night. How do you rate that selection at that spot?
 A: 

Jim: Peter, our mock draft released last night had Greene going to the Padres. The Padres like college players and they got the guy having the best season this year. He'll probably come at a little bit of a discount. It's not a bad pick at all.

 Q:  JOHN ENGEN from SEATTLE asks:
Why did Mayberry last until Seattle picked at 28.
 A: 

Jim: Two reasons. While almost everyone loved his athleticism, some teams question his bat a little. And his commitment to Stanford made him a perceived tough sign.

 Q:  Red from HB, CA asks:
Is there a reason the Halos selected a college pitcher like Saunders instead of HS guys like Kazmir or Hamels? I was excpecting the Halos to go with a position prospect, was Saunders really the best player available at that spot?
 A: 

Jim: I think the Angels took Saunders over Kazmir because his bonus would be an easier fit into the No. 12 slot, and over Hamels because he was less risky from a medical standpoint. In terms of ceiling, Kazmir and Hamels are superior to Saunders.

 Q:  Andrew Friedman from New York asks:
Big Stros fan: Everything I've read about Derick Grigsby had him going at best as a sandwich pick. Do you think the Stros took him with the 29th pick because of signability rather than talent? Thanks.
 A: 

Jim: Some of both. They've had success with that type of pitcher and they don't go crazy with draft bonuses.

Moderator: We apologize for the problems we had with the chat. Our server got bombarded by all of the interest in the draft, and our chat software couldn't handle it. Stay tuned, because we'll have another, more interactive draft chat later in the week.

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