Prospects Chat With Jim Callis
Hi, everyone. My balky DSL connection,
which worked fine yesterday, stinks again today, so I've driven to my
wife's office so I can answer your questions without interruption. Let's
get to it.
Bret (Toronto): What do you make of JP
Arencibia's destruction of the PCL the last few months? He's hit like
.320 on the year now with 22 HR and an OPS above 1.0, though it is Las
Vegas, so the numbers always concern you. Does he look like a legit
prospect now, and what kind of upside could he have?
Nice year for Arencibia. He's repeating
Triple-A, of course, and Las Vegas is a good place to hit. Still don't
see him as a star. I think he'll hit for power but not a lot of average,
and be a decent catcher but nothing special defensively.
@notrizzo (Washington, DC): How far is Chris
Marrero from being MLB ready? He's coming up on a full year worth of AA
experience and hitting well, but is far from dominant and far from the
power you'd expect from a top 1B prospect.
He's a year away, at least. I think he
doesn't quite get his due as a hitter, but I'd like him a lot more if he
wasn't chained to first base. What happened to the multitool guy we
heard about in high school?
Adam B. (Cincy, OH): With Devin Mesoraco's
turnaround this year, would he rank among the top 100 prospects in
baseball at this point?
Maybe. This is always a tough question,
because at midseason I don't keep a running tally of who would be on or
off an updated Top 100. Wouldn't put him in my Top 50, but he has made a
lot of positive strides this year.
Timmy L. (San Francisco): Madison Bumgarner has
been very special so far. He tore right through the Brewers last
night. Despite low K%, do you see him as a #2 or #3?
Yes. He's lefthanded and I think he'll miss
JAYPERS (IL): Quite a few reports have Ramos
and Hicks to Seattle for Lee. Your thoughts?
I like both those guys as prospects, but
they're both redundant in Minnesota. I bet Seattle would want another
young player, but a) that's a good starting point and b) would be hard
Timmy L. (San Francisco): Do you ever get sick
of the rumor infested internet these days where 99% of it has no
Yes, yes I do. Seems like people are more
interested with being the first to report something than worrying about
James (Milwaukee): Which Brewer pitching
prospect do you rank higher Dylan Covey or Jake Odorizzi?
BL (Bozeman, MT): Any word on Michael
Montgomery's health status?
Just that he started back on a throwing
program a week ago.
BL (Bozeman, MT): Wil Myers - pass him up the
ladder as far as possible as a catcher, or switch him to outfield now?
Try to make him a catcher as long as it
seems feasible. The bat can play elsewhere if needed.
Eric (PA): Do you think Freddie Freeman will be
able to handle a major league job at the start of next year?
I think he could at least hold his own, but
I don't think he'd put up the numbers (as a rookie) that a contender
would want from a first baseman. I like Freeman, but see him more as a
solid regular than a star down the road.
Casey (Hawaii): Sano has been killing the ball
for the Twins. I know he is only 17, but he cracked a lot of peoples top
100 lists last year. Does he make your list and if so where/why?
He would make my Top 100. Again, I haven't
plotted them out, but we kept hearing last summer that he had a
potentially special bat. He has done nothing to detract from that
Dale (San Francisco): If you compared all
levels of minor leagues how would they rate in difficulty with majors
being a 10. For example, low A 2, high A 4, AA 6, AAA 7, Majors 10.
I might make Triple-A an 8, but your
example seems fair. Or maybe Low A 1, High A 3, AA 6, AAA 8, Majors 10.
Chris (Northern Virginia): Hello Jim, thanks
for the chat. What is it about Mike Trout that has so many evaluators
drooling? Is success at 18 in the Midwest League that rare? Is it the
level of success? The scouting reports? Or all of the above? Thanks,
All of the above. He has tremendous tools
and has done nothing but dominate since signing last summer.
Mike (DC): What is Garin Cecchini's upside if
he signs? He seems like he could be a five tool player, but I'm worried
about the injuries.
I wouldn't worry about his knee, as speed
isn't a big part of Cecchini's game. He's not a pure five-tool guy, but
what he is is one of the best hitters in the draft with a chance to be a
solid or better defender at third base. His makeup draws rave reviews,
too. If the Red Sox sign him, he's a steal for a fourth-rounder.
Tim (Houston, TX): Who on earth is Thomas
Shirley? Is he a Helium candidate this summer?
He's a ninth-round pick out of Xavier who
boosted his stock as the draft approached. He's off to a great start in
the NYP (14 IP, 0 ER, 24 K). He's a lefty with a plus fastball and
otherwise some rough edges to smooth out. Nice grab by the Astros.
Steven Alengakis (Brooklyn): Hi Jim, How do
scouts and the Yankees organizationview Brandon Laird at this point,
after a pretty incredible first half? With 1B and 3B closed off for
the foreseeable future with the Yankees, are they thinking of moving him
to another position, or is he simply trade bait Thank you
He's a prospect but probably won't ever be a
regular for the Yankees. He's trade bait, with a ceiling as a solid
Steve (Wilmington): When do the floodgates open
with the Commissioner's office approving above slot signings (i.e.
above the 150K deals they don't hassle you about)? Less than 6 weeks
from the deadline right now I think.
Late this month. It has been interesting. I
had heard from teams that slots were up this year, somewhere between
2008 and 2009, but almost everyone who has signed in the first five
rounds has not exceeded the 2009 slots. No official deals over 150K
after the fifth round, though UCLA coaches confirmed to Aaron Fitt that
24th-rounder Erik Goeddel has agreed to terms with the Mets.
MLBTradeRumors.com reported the deal as being worth third-round money.
MLB hasn't officially approved the transaction yet, though.
JAYPERS (IL): Who would be your Blue Jays top
overall prospect at present - Drabek, Wallace or Arencibia?
Adam (Boston): How much do you think Ranaudo
will demand for a signing bonus after his recent success in the Cape?
He's advised by the Boras Corp., so I'd
guess he's looking for at least top-10-pick money ($2 million) and
Steve (ATL): Jim, is Dice-K and Lars Anderson
enough for a Cliff Lee rental? Thanks
No. Mariners wouldn't want Dice-K at all.
Ben (Leland Grove): Is a move back to SS in
order for Casey Kelly?
Surely you jest.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): Zach Britton or Jeremy
Hellickson, but I like Britton a lot as
Ryan (California): Are you going to be coming
out with a Midseason Top 50 Prospects again this year?
Yes. John Manuel is overseeing the list
which will go in our next issue, which goes off to the printer tomorrow.
The first 25 will be ranked in order, and the next 25 listed
alphabetically. The list has been gutted by all the promotions this
year, and we don't included the 2010 draft picks yet.
Ryan (Abingdon, MD): Jiovanni Mier or Hak-Ju
Joe (San Francisco): Is it too early to get
excited about Brandon Belt? Because I am starting to think the Giants
might have their 1st baseman of the future.
Whom after a monsterous 1st half in the california league, is off to
great start in the Double A Eastern league.
I think what we saw was more a product of
the Cal League than the true Brandon Belt. I don't think he's the impact
hitter his stats may lead some people to believe.
Matt (KC): If a team trades a minor leaguer
that they drafted as a two sport athlete, thus allowing them to spread
the bonus out over multiple years, does the acquiring team continue to
pay the bonus as the original team would have?
I believe the original team is still on the
hook for the signing bonus.
Ryan (Vancouver Washington): Thanks for the
chat Jim, they have been missed.
Where would Taillon and Allie fit in what is sure to be a completely
overhauled Pirates top 10?
Taillon would be their No. 1 prospect.
Allie would be in the top five for sure, and you could argue him as No. 2
Mike (Orange County): So far their hasn't been
much movement in college coaching positions. Do you think that any
notable jobs will be coming open this summer or do you feel that things
will remain pretty calm? The only team in the PAC 10 that might make a
change it seems like would be USC do you think that is a possibility?
Any jobs that would have come open would
have done so by now. Looks like the Trojans are sticking with Chad
Kreuter. Amazing how far that program has fallen.
Sam (Baltimore): Who is a good comp for Anthony
Rendon that is currently playing the bigs? Can Orioles fans hope to
have the next Evan Longoria?
If the Orioles do get Rendon, they very
well might get another Longoria.
Doug (NYC): Is Matt Wieters the next Alex
No, I think Wieters still will be a star.
(Admittedly, I thought Gordon would be a star too.) People just need to
be more patient. Making the jump to the majors is difficult, and he had
only one minor league season under his belt.
Eric (PA): What do you think of Mike Minor? He
is striking out a ton, while walking a bit more. Is this a worthwhile
trade off? Does he have a higher ceiling than he did a year ago?
I like Mike Minor and he's having a
terrific year. Still wouldn't have taken him seventh overall in the 2009
draft, however. He does have swing and miss stuff, though he'll have to
cut the walks a bit.
Crash (Indianapolis): Is there any reason for
concern with the year Martin Perez is having? Is he still considered one
of the top pitching prospects?
Not for me. He has been inconsistent, but
he's a 19-year-old lefthander with a strikeout per inning in Double-A.
James (St. Louis): Can you give us any more
insight on Zach Cox's defense? Will/should he be tried at second base?
If his range is an issue at third base, I
don't see how anyone could think he could play third base. I think he'll
eventually be a decent to solid third baseman with more than enough bat
for the position.
Gilbert Placeres (Dominican Republic): Is it
just me, or with all the graduations we've seen this year are the minors
overall much weaker?
It's not just you.
Travis (Denver): Where does Wilin Rosario rank
among catching prospects offensively/defensively?
He's one of the very best in the entire
Ben (Colorado): How do you like Daniel Hudson's
chances of adequately filling in for Peavy. I heard they have a
similar repertoire and pitching style. 3/4 arm slot, moving fastball,
and filthy slider. Please tell this Sox fan he can hold the fort.
Hudson can hold the fort, but he won't
dominate hitters like Peavy can.
Marcus (Silver Spring): If A.J. Cole signs
where will he rank among Nats Prospects next year?
He could be No. 3 behind Bryce Harper and
ZekethePepper (NY): Better prospect, Hosmer or
Greg (LA): Cliff Lee back to Cleveland for the
rights to LeBron?
Seattle would need a basketball team!
Jordan (Memphis): Any update if Pomeranz is
close to signing with the Indians?
I suspect he'll sign an over-slot deal,
which means you'll have to wait until Aug. 16.
Eric (Atlanta): With Teheran, Vizcaino,
Delgado, Minor and Hoover, does any minor league system have more high
ceiling starting pitching prospects like the Braves do?
Nope. The Braves' top-tier pitching is the
envy of other systems.
Lenny (Sacramento): How do you feel about
giving teams the freedom to trade draft picks?
I'm for it, just because I think it would
make the draft more interesting (if not more difficult to cover and
project). But I don't think it would really solve any problems. You'd
see some of the elite players in the draft insist they only want to play
for a handful of (well-paying) teams, and try to force trades there.
The teams picking at the top of the draft are better off paying for the
best players in the draft, rather than trying to save money by dealing
Marie (San Francisco): Is there a possibility
that when both Gary Brown and Jarrett Parker both sign that one of them
will have to change positions? Either Gary Brown to second base or
Jarrett Parker to a corner outfield spot. Or will the Giants play both
of them at center until they are playing on the same team?
They'll play them both at center as long as
possible, because that's where they'd have maximum value.
Matt (KC): Frontrunner for BA minor league POY?
Brown, Moustakas, or Trout?
It's probably Brown, because he's starring
at upper levels. But I'm not so sure I wouldn't cast my vote for Trout.
Danny (Milwaukee): Do you see Brett Lawrie
reaching the majors as a 2B and eventually moving? What's his ceiling
I think he has an all-star bat but see him
as a right fielder in the long run.
ron (dallas texas): what are your thoghts on
Yankee trio of pitchers Adam Warren, Scaeffer Hall and David Phelps.
See this week's Ask BA column at
tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): What's the hold up
with the Giants signing Gary Brown? Anything in particlular or just a
matter of time?
Boras Corp. guys don't usually sign for
slot in the first round, so it's going to take some time.
Jason (Seattle): Who is our top prospect,
Ackley or Pineda? Is Pineda a top 25 prospect right now?
I'd still take Ackley, but Pineda will join
him in our Midseason Top 25.
Joe G. (NY): If you were the Yankees, who would
you rather have: Montero or Romine?
If I were any club, I'd rather have
Montero. He has a special bat, even if he doesn't wind up at catcher.
Romine is a good prospect, but I don't think any of his tools wow people
like Montero's bat and power.
Doug (Arizona): What do you think of Visalia's
Goldschmidt (22 HRs) and Krauss (.333, 14 HRs)...Cali league enhanced,
or legit bats...??
Everyone in the Cal League is Cal
League-enhanced, but I like both of those guys. Krauss is one of the
better hitters in the minors who gets almost no hype. Goldschmidt is
better than most eighth-round picks.
Scott (Texas): Looking at the top five picks
Who will not be taken in the top five and why?
Cole-UCLA, Jungmann-Texas, Purke-TCU, Rendon-Rice, Stilson-Texas A&M
Stilson is the least likely top-five pick
because he's a reliever. I'd take top high school prospect Daniel Norris
over him for the long term, though Stilson will get to the majors more
Brandon (San Diego): If healthy, who would you
prefer, Brett Anderson or Trevor Cahill?
Anderson. He's lefthanded and has better
Justin (Nashville): Five years from now, Tyler
Colvin is A.) All-Star, B.) Decent but unspectacular starting player, or
C.) Back playing in the PCL?
Can I choose D.) Solid regular?
Tony (Albuquerque): Everyone knows all the
motions to go through when dealing with a Boras guy, why don't they just
cut to the chase two months earlier and get the guy in thier system
earlier instead of haggling over a few $100,000 they know they are going
to eventually end up paying anyways?
Because MLB won't approve those deals
before the deadline. It couldn't be more stupid.
Jon (Peoria): How seriously should Jerry Sands
be considered as a prospect with what the season he's had so far?
He's a legit prospect, but he's in that
Brandon Belt category of not being as good as his statistics might
suggest. Hey, we had him in the 2010 Prospect Handbook!
Donald (Tempe): Does the firing of Dbacks GM
Josh Byrnes affect the signing of draft picks or international free
agents? How much does draft strategy, budget, or ideals, change when a
GM is removed?
No, it should not. The Diamondbacks on
draft day had a pretty good idea of which picks they would and wouldn't
sign, and their international plans also were established before Byrnes
Dom Brown (Lehigh Valley, PA): Am I likely to
be going to any other team before the 31st?
I'd be surprised if the Phillies traded
Brown after holding on to him thus far.
David (Hartford): Why don't owners tighten
Bud's choke collar a bit more and point out to him that his absurd
unwillingness to sign off on above-slot contracts hurts teams abilities
to develop their players in a timely manner? Seriously, wouldn't the
Padres be better served getting Miguel Pena signed and in their
organization (insert any obvious player/team of your preference here)
than watching him on the Cape for the next six weeks?
Yes, yes they or any other team would. But
the owners aren't dying to spend on the draft either. Owners should look
at the draft as an investment rather than spending money on players who
won't help for a few years. But many don't.
Alan (St. Petersburg): Popular debate among
Rays fans is what to do about Davis and Hellickson. I still have hope
Davis will become a solid mid-rotation starter, but it sure doesn't seem
as if Hellickson has anything left to prove in the minors. What's your
Break Hellickson in as a middle reliever
until a need in the rotation develops.
Thanks for all the good questions. We
should be on a fairly regular 2 p.m. ET Wednesday chat schedule for a
while. Also remember that you can send me questions at Ask BA via
firstname.lastname@example.org (please include your full name and address) or
Twitter via @jimcallisBA. Long questions work best in Ask BA, though I
can't answer them all, and shorter questions work best in Twitter. See
you next Wednesday, when I'll be back from the Futures Game.