Prospects Chat: Jim Callis





Jim Callis: I need to return a quick phone call, should start taking questions around 2:30 p.m.

Jim Callis: OK, I'm all set. Had to get in a quick call for our Midwest League Best Tools survey. Now let's get to your questions.

    JAYPERS (IL): At this point, who are the more prominent names in this year's draft who you're at least 75% certain will NOT sign?

Jim Callis: Looking at guys who ranked in the Top 50 on our predraft prospect rankings, I'll say Austin Wilson jumps out. Barret Loux and Jesse Hahn may not sign because of injury questions, and I would be surprised if the Dodgers signed both Zach Lee and Kevin Gausman. Still wonder if the Dodgers might save money by signing Lee to a below-slot deal that ties up his baseball rights but lets him play QB.

    Ben (Dallas): What are your thoughts on Olt? Cold weather guy that could be a major find or just another value pick for a cash strapped Rangers team?

Jim Callis: No, he's legit. Heard good things about him the previous two summers in the NECBL and the Cape. That was a talent pick, not a money-saver.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Better overall farm system - Braves or Royals?

Jim Callis: Royals. I haven't sat down and tried to compare all the systems to each other, but the Royals might be No. 1.

    Allan (Hartland Wi): Jim, Has Khriis Davis(Brewers) turned himself into a prospect this year with the season he is having or is he just dominating a younger league?

Jim Callis: The power is real. Now let's see him at a higher level. He's not an elite prospect, but he's legit.

    KC (PA): How do you think of A.J. Pollock, Nick Franklin, Logan Morrison, and Matthew Moore as Major Leaguers? Meaning everyday guys, utility, or for Moore, end of rotation, middle, or even bullpen?

Jim Callis: Pollock = solid regular, Franklin = potential all-star, Morrison = all-star, Moore = possible No. 2 SP or closer.

    Bill (Pittsburgh): If the Pirates sign Taillon and Allie from the draft, then somehow sign Luis Heredia, would it put them near the top of the rankings in baseball?

Jim Callis: Wouldn't say that, but it would be a major step in the right direction.

    Anthony (Boonville, IN): There has been talk about the Rays being involved in talks to send prospects as part of the Roy Oswalt trade. Which prospects would you expect to see if the trade was to come together?

Jim Callis: If I'm the Astros, I'd want Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson in there for sure. I probably couldn't get Desmond Jennings (but I'd ask), and I'd want Reid Brignac in there.

    Bret (NYC): Hey Jim! Is Charlie Furbish this year's Dan Hudson? Do you see him as a potential #4 or #5 starter? His 146/24 K/BB ratio looks pretty impressive. Thanks!

Jim Callis: He has better pure stuff than Hudson. With the year he's having, sure, he could be a No. 4. I've never been a huge fan, but it's hard not to like his year.

    David (Hopewell, NJ): With Hector Noesi pitching well again last night, is he going to move up to AAA this year? What's his ceiling? Thanks!

Jim Callis: He could move up, though they may leave him in Double-A because he started the year in high Class A. His ceiling is a No. 3 if you think the command can carry him, more realistically a No. 4 or 5.

    mike (boston): Anthony Ranaudo pretty much dominated his short time in the cape cod league. What do you see him signing for if he signs and is he back to pre injury form? If healthy do you see him as one of the biggest steals in the draft

Jim Callis: My guess is he'll sign for somewhere between top-10-pick money ($2 million or so) and what the Boras Corp. would have asked for had he had the junior season expected of him (let's say $5 million or so). If he's healthy and as good as he looked this summer, he's a huge steal.

    Leo (Camden): Jesus Montero is HOT (here he comes Hot Sheet)! Do you think he was slowed early-on by the lingering effects of his 2009 finger injury, the step up to AAA pitching, or a combo of the two? Whatever it was he seems to have figured it out now, wouldn't you agree?

Jim Callis: Not sure what the cause was and those are two possible reasons. He's still young, he's still arguably the best bat in terms of hitting for average and power in the minors, and I still hold him in high regard. Looks like his old self again.

    Matt (Minnesota): Why would the Dodgers pay Zach Lee underslot and pass on a comp. pick if he has no intention of playing baseball in the near future?

Jim Callis: Obviously wouldn't do that if they thought he had no intention. They do love what they've seen on him in the mound, and may be willing to wait for him and save money for now.

    Steve (Wilmington): Is it me or are there way, way more unsigned premium draft picks with less than 4 weeks until the deadline than in previous years? Are we really only at one appoved overslot deal (Goeddel - Mets) at this point? What gives? What a silly charade.

Jim Callis: It does seem slower than usual. I had heard Goeddel's deal was supposed to be submitted by yesterday, and it still hasn't happened. I think there are a number of players who have agreed to deals that won't be announced until closer to the deadline. We should start to see the 500k-750k deals for non first-rounders soon. I hope. Starting to get boring.

    Frank (Arizona): Will Jarrod Parker recover from his long absence from baseball? His blog has been refreshing to read, but are there any early signs he can regain form?

Jim Callis: He hasn't gotten back on the mound, but the track record of guys coming back from Tommy John surgery is encouraging.

    D.J. (Chicago): Mike trout and Brandon Belt are just tearing through their respective leagues. Do you feel their accolades up to this point are a byproduct of a shortage of scouting reports or they are just actually THAT good?

Jim Callis: Trout is that good. I think Belt is playing way over his head. Trout might be the best prospect in the entire minors. That Best Tools call I just alluded to? The manager picked Trout for best bat, best discipline, best runner, fastest runner, best outfielder and most exciting player in the MWL. And he's still just 18.

    Gerry (Toronto): There has been no news or rumours about the Jays signing Deck McGuire. Have you heard anything?

Jim Callis: No, but I expect he will sign by Aug. 16.

    Nick (NJ): Wilmer Flores is still hitting over .350 in high-A right now. Obviously hes going to regress, but, do you think he'll be the Mets #1 prospect by season's end? What would you put his ceiling at?

Jim Callis: He should be their No. 1 prospect. Has a chance to be an all-star as a corner outfielder, which is where I think he'll end up.

    AK (Bakersfield, CA): Haven't heard much on supplemental first-rounder Tyrell Jenkins. Thoughts on him signing with the Cardinals or going the college route?

Jim Callis: I think he'll sign. Could be well over slot, and because he's a Baylor QB recruit, the Cardinals can two-sport his deal and spread it out over as much as five years.

    Jim (South Bend, Indiana): Hi, Jim. Love your chats. I'm hearing so many varying reports on both Martin Perez's struggles as a young AAer and Tyler Matzek's lessening velo (although still low 90's) in Asheville. Both were very high on your list heading into the year. Are they still potential Top 10 prospects for next year and possible frontline starters in 3-4 years? Thank you!

Jim Callis: Yes and yes. Both are still very young and have as much upside as any lefty in the minors, along with Aroldis Chapman.

    Jim (South Bend, Indiana): Hi, Jim. One more. I'm enjoying watching the prospects here in South Bend. If you had to bet on either Silverhawk in Davidson or Borchering as a potential MLB All Star, which corner are you in...and why? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Borchering. I believe more in his bat.

    Mac (Ft. Lauderdale): Is Zack Cox the Cardinals answer at 3B? Will he have to prove he can hit for power before the Cardinals will put him on the fast track?

Jim Callis: I do think he will be and I don't think he'll have any problem hitting for solid power.

    tiffythetitan (Oakland, CA): I don't really see the point of Gary Brown not being signed yet by the SF Giants. And I don't care who his agent is or who else in the first round has not signed. He seemed to be picked at an appropriate spot in the draft that will net him good money. Do not really see the purprose of this wait unless he is still recovering from the finger injury. Can you explain this to me?

Jim Callis: There is no purpose to the wait. I assume he's signing for at least 10 percent over slot, though, in which case MLB would cajole the Giants to not announce the deal until closer to the deadline. It's incredibly stupid, but welcome to how MLB handles the draft.

    Jeff (Pittsburgh): Not too much going on with the 2010 draft (we're still in the dead period correct?), so how about a 2011 draft question? George Springer seems to be rising pretty fast this summer, how far behind Jackie Bradley Jr is he at this point?

Jim Callis: There's no official dead period, of course. Springer is on the rise, he's very comparable to Bradley. Cape observers liked them both a lot last summer as freshmen, too.

    Tim (Chicago): Any update if Reggie Golden is close to signing?

Jim Callis: Expect something within the next week. He'll sign for over slot, so we have to be careful it doesn't destroy MLB's delicate economy. Sigh.

    Timmy L. (San Francisco): Is the BA MiLB Player of the Year based solely on stats or does it include ceiling?

Jim Callis: It's a combination of performance and prospecty goodness.

    Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Considering the Lack of power hitting seen in the Majors this year, I am really surprised teams are not beating down the Phillies door to obtain John Mayberry. The former First Rounder and Stanford alum has always hit for decent Power stats, albeit with low batting averages. However, since he can also play First Base, do you see the Phillies trading him at the Deadline to get a 2nd Baseman or Starting pitcher?

Jim Callis: He can't hit. That's why noboby is beating down the Phillies' door. If he played every day in the majors, he'd strike out 200+ times. He's a toss-in at best in a trade.

    Mac (Ft. Lauderdale): Will Kyle Drabek continue to miss bats in the Majors? Is a #3 his reasonable ceiling or am I discounting him too much?

Jim Callis: That's reasonable. You could dream a little and hope he's a No. 2.

    Darren (Miami): Rob Rasmussen recently signed with the Marlins after a successful junior year at UCLA. Do you see him sticking as a starter going forward, or does he end up in the pen?

Jim Callis: He has more than enough stuff to remain a starter. With his curve, he could fall back on being a LHRP if it comes to that.

    Wes (Boston): Did anyone expect Bryce Brentz to strike out his much in the pros? What is wrong with him at the plate?

Jim Callis: I read a story where the Red Sox have him wearing contact lenses to improve his vision from 20-20 to 20-10/20-15. That has made the adjustment to pro ball more difficult. He will have some swing and miss in him anyway.

    Tom (San Francisco, CA): Hi, Jim. Would you agree that San Diego's system has taken a step backwards this year? Jaff Decker seems to be getting his mojo back, but my gut tells me that Donovan Tate is not going to figure it out at the plate.

Jim Callis: I would agree on all three points.

    Grant (Kansas City): With the way Wil Myers has been swinging the bat in high A ball, do you think he can sneak into the top 25 at year's end, or will his defense hinder him too much?

Jim Callis: He might, if you believe he's a catcher. The jury is still out on his defense.

    Nate (Chicago): Daniel Hudson seems to be showing improved stuff. Fastball was sitting 93-95 in his last start. Can you be looking at a #3 starter, possibly #2?

Jim Callis: No. 3 at best. I like Hudson some, but he's not going to sit at 93-95 very often.

    Mike (Minnesota): Here's a fun one for you: if you're starting a team, and could pick any prospect (w/o any MLB AB's and/or IP's) at each position, and five SP's, one closer, and a DH...what would your "dream team" look like? (including any unsigned 2010 draft picks).

Jim Callis: That is a fine question . . . for my Ask BA column. Please send it, along with your full name and hometown to askba@baseballamerica.com, and I'll tackle it on Monday. Thanks.

    Jon (Boston): Desmond Jennings' lack of power, expected or the residual effect of his early season injuries?

Jim Callis: He's not going to be a big power guy, maybe 10-15 per year.

    Mike (Tacoma, WA): What do you see as a realistic ceiling for Nick Franklin? Is he a major league starter? Or is he is a bench player? Or has his surprising '09 proven that he can be more?

Jim Callis: As mentioned earlier, he has the bat to be a potential all-star. I'm not sure he'll stick at shortstop, though.

    Will (Seatown): Hi Jim, Who makes it to the majors first - Dustin Ackley or Michael Pineda?

Jim Callis: Pineda. Pitchers make it quicker and Ackley has a lot of defensive work to do.

    Mike Minor (): When can I expect to be called up and do I project as an ace or middle of the rotation guy?

Jim Callis: Sometime next year, ceiling as a No. 2, I think he'll be more of a No. 3.

    Andrew (Tampa): Where would you rank Dee Gordon among minor league SS?

Jim Callis: He has as much upside as any of them, at least until the Orioles sign Manny Machado.

    jbrekel (new orleans): How does Chris Dwyer compare to a guy like Adrian Salcedo and which do you feel like has the higher ceiling? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Dwyer is lefthanded and has better stuff, so I'll take him.

    Will (Mactaquac): Ever since his slow start to the 2009 NCAA season, getting a read on prospect mavens' opinions of Grant Green to the point that even his blurb in the 2010 BA annual seemed guarded and cautious. Is this just inevitable when a propect's performance varies to this extent, or do we have legitimately tricky prospect to guage here?

Jim Callis: That's what happens when the performance varies that much. I think he'll hit but I don't think he'll necessarily stay at shortstop. I do like him.

    Will (Mactaquac): The 2010 annual had Romine pegged as the Yanks' long term catcher; assuming they don't just sign someone or commission the world's first diamond encrusted cyborg catcher instead, would you say that Sanchez has passed Romine this year?

Jim Callis: I wouldn't say that. Romine has proven himself at a much higher level and is a better defender. Sanchez may have a higher ceiling but he's a long ways from it, GCL dominance notwithstanding.

    Steve Alengakis (Brooklyn, NYC): I believe the Texas Rangers will regret not accepting the Yankees offer of Montero and Adams over the Rangers offer, which included Smoak. Do you, agree? also, was there a sense amongst people in the industry that the Mariners did not want to really deal with the Yankees if they could avoid it — or that they accepted less? Thank you

Jim Callis: I'd rather have Montero than Smoak but I thought the deals were comparable. The Mariners clearly preferred Smoak. I don't buy that the Mariners accepted less to spurn the Yankees—that's garbage and makes no sense. Why is it that every time the Yankees don't get someone they want in a trade, it's because the other club stuck it to them?

    JC (STL): If you are sitting in the war room for the 2011 draft and you were asked considering all things equal (money demands, signability, etc) would you take Cole or Purke? Why?

Jim Callis: Purke. He's lefthanded and I believe in him a little more. They're going to cost roughly the same anyway.

    Brandon (new york): can montero be a light verison of miguel carbrea

Jim Callis: Yes. I've made that comp in the past.

    JC (STL): What's the latest word on the Cards negotiations with Zack Cox? % chance he signs and give me a ballpark of the amount. Thanks.

Jim Callis: No recent news, but I bet he signs (90%) for 2.5M-3.0M.

    Raymond (New York): hi Jim, The BA draft preview said Braves liked 2nd rounder Andreleton Simmons' 98 mph fastball although he also played SS in JC. Why is he playing shortstop, not pitching ? Do you think he'll end up on the mound ? (his batting nos are improving with few strikeouts) thanks

Jim Callis: He was also the best defensive shortstop in the draft. I think he could go either way. A lot of times, they let the player decide to help sign him, and it's easier to move a guy from a position to pitcher than the reverse.

    Craig (Bethesda, MD): Who would rank higher were they both eligible on a list- Ackley or Carlos Santana? Who has a better career?

Jim Callis: Santana for both, because of his positional value.

    Jay R (Iowa): Did Matt Purke really sign a contract with the Rangers, but MLB didn't approve it? I can see making them wait until the deadline, but if MLB actually blocks a deal...that is ridiculous...

Jim Callis: Yes. Nolan Ryan and Purke's father agreed on a predraft deal worth $6 million. But MLB was able to step in because they had to front the Rangers payroll money, and they weren't going to allow a $6 million bonus.

    Nick (SF): Lightening Round: Harper or Rendon?

Jim Callis: Been asked this a few times, and I always say Rendon. Harper has more power, but Rendon has a better bat, better makeup, will play a more valuable position and get to the majors significantly quicker. And he'll have power, too.

    Frank (Ohio): will both Castellanos and Cowart sign?

Jim Callis: I think they will, yes.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all of the great questions, as usual. Feel free to direct long questions to Ask BA via askba@baseballamerica.com (include full name and hometown), and shorter ones to my Twitter feed @jimcallisBA. Thanks!