Jim Callis Chat: Aug. 4





Moderator: Got a baseball question? Whether it's draft, prospects, trade analysis or anything else, Jim Callis will try to answer it beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: Doing a draft call right now, will be off shortly and getting to your questions.

    Jerry D (Hanover, PA): Hi Jim, love the chat. What is your gut feeling on Epstein being able to sign Ranaudo, Workman, Coyle and Cecchini? I don't expect Coyle, but am hopeful with the other 3. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: OK, off the phone. I think the Red Sox will get Ranaudo and Workman done, and at least one of the HS infielders. I wouldn't rule out Boston signing both Cecchini and Coyle, because the Red Sox are as aggressive as anyone with the draft, but both have seven-figure price tags.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Your response to Harper's and Machado's latest Facebook antics? Should we take them seriously?

Jim Callis: My response was it was just high school kids being silly. They're both going to sign. They'll be offered too much money to turn down.

    Ken Rule (Lakewood CA): Love your chats Jim. You're "the man". What's your take and prediction for CF Lorenzo Cain (MIL)? He's done well this year in AA/AAA. Is he the future CF for Milwaukee or is it Gomez? Thanks.

Jim Callis: I think he's a decent to solid regular in center. Gomez is a better defender, but I believe more in Cain's bat. I like Cain more for the long run.

    JAYPERS (IL): What's the status of negotiations with TB draftees Josh Sale, Drew Vettleson, Jesse Hahn, Austin Wood and Michael Lorenzen? Do you see any of them not signing?

Jim Callis: All potential over-slot deals, which is why they haven't gotten done yet. I think Sale, Vettleson and Hahn are good bets to sign. Wood might be, though he boosted his stock with a good summer in the Cape League. Lorenzen might be the toughest sign of that group.

    Ryan D (Cincinnati): Where does Devin Mesoraco fit into Player of the Year?

Jim Callis: Very nice bounceback/breakout year for Mesoraco, but I think it will be hard for anyone to wrest that award from Mike Trout.

    Blake (LA): Is Zach Lee officially out of the running to become a Dodger?

Jim Callis: Nothing is offical until Aug. 16. But I find it hard to believe the McCourts would pay what it takes to sign him away from LSU football.

    Ty (CO): Your thoughts on Matzek's apparant loss of velocity? Why did the Rox keep him out of pro ball for as long as they did?

Jim Callis: Some clubs hold back young pitchers from colder weather earlier in the season. A lot of high school pitchers lose some velo adjusting from the high school to pro schedule, so I wouldn't be too concerned yet. But if Matzek is still throwing 88-92 next year, it might be time to tone down our expectations.

    Frank (Chicago): Looking forward to Sale at the Cell. Is it for certain he'll be eventually groomed to start?

Jim Callis: That's the plan. It's not like they're going to make him an instant closer, so I don't think there's much chance he'll be so spectacular in his relief role that they'll keep him in the bullpen.

    Chris (Northern Virginia): Hello Jim. Thanks for the chat. If you had to rank players right now for next years Top 100, would these ranges fit? Eric Hosmer - Top 10? John Lamb - 15-20? Wil Myers - 20-30? Randall Delgado - 25-50? Oh, and Mike Trout - #1? Thanks, Jim.

Jim Callis: Might be slightly high on Hosmer and Lamb, and Trout might not be all the way up at No. 1, but those ranges are all fair.

    Robert J.Zelenka (Corbin,Ky): Ok,Jim..I was holding off on being impatient with the signings until August 1st..well,its August 4th..13 days and counting..and STILL nothing..After all the MLB Trade deadline stuff happening, I need this to keep my blood going!

Jim Callis: I'm with you, Robert. I feel exactly the same way.

    Ryan (Owasso): While Alex Liddi isn't tearing the cover off the ball like last year, he's still doing well in AA. Do you think he has a chance to be Seattle's opening day 3B in 2012?

Jim Callis: He has that chance. His ceiling is as a solid regular.

    John (Phily): Any concerns about Julio Teheran's slight build or is his arm action and stuff too good to ignore that fact?

Jim Callis: Hard to argue with his electric arm. He's only 19, so he still has plenty of time to fill out, too. No concerns on my part.

    Brian (LA): What do you make of Ethan Martin and Chris Withrow's 2010? Seems like they haven't made the progress Dodger fans would have liked to see.

Jim Callis: Neither has been as good statistically this year as hoped, but they still have very good arms. High school pitchers often need time to figure pitching out, and while I'm not quite as bullish on them as I was before 2010, they both still have good upside.

    Dave (Durham NC): Jim, miss you out here in Durham, question about Chad James, his numbers havent been very good, except strikeouts, how have his scouting reports been?

Jim Callis: He has battled his delivery and command at times, but his stuff has been as good as advertisted. Low-90s fastball, flashes good curveball and changeup.

    Steve (Orlando,Fl): If Matt Moore's command improves,would he be in the conversation as one of the best starting pitching prospects? Is his stuff similar to Clayton Kershaw's?

Jim Callis: Yes. There's no question on his stuff, as his fastball, curveball and changeup are all plus pitches at times, and the fastball and curve show flashes of being plus-plus pitches.

    Tony (Olathe, KS): What are you hearing about the Royals' bonus baby Cheslor Cuthbert? Is it possible for him to be a top 10 prospect in what is looking like a loaded system?

Jim Callis: He's an advanced hitter with power potential, and he has a good chance to rank No. 1 on our Arizona League Top 20 Prospects list (and prominently on our Northwest League Top 20). The Royals are loaded, but I could see Cuthbert sneaking into the end of the Top 10.

    Brian (Illinois): It seems that the Red Sox organization is the only group that thinks highly about Ryan Kalish. I feel as if he could be a 20hr and 30sb guy (whn he matures 290/380/490), yet he was promoted to the Big Club with out much hype. He is also younger then Desmond Jennings (Midseason 3# Porspect) and has put better numbers up in the Minors this year.What are your thoughts on Kalish?

Jim Callis: I like Kalish but don't see his ceiling as high as you do. Some clubs view him as a tweener, which I think is unfair in the other direction. I think he's a solid regular (vs. a guy like Jennings, who could be an all-star), but may not get that opportunity in Boston.

    Ryan D. (Fort Myers, FL): Jim, thanks for the chats. What do you think about the move to shift Hunter over to right which allows Bourjos to be in the line-up for the rest of the season? Abreu from right to left.

Jim Callis: I think that says a lot about Bourjos' defensive ability, and the Angels' and Hunter's willingness to do what's best for the team. Kudos all around.

    Neil (Buffalo): With John Lamb's outstanding performance this season, do you see him as potentially being more than a mid rotation starter? Can he a possible 1 or 2?

Jim Callis: Plus fastball, great changeup, solid curveball, lefthanded . . . yep, that's a possible frontline starter.

    Pierre (Montreal, Canada): Why did the Rays draft Tim Beckham instead of Pedro Alvarez? Wasn't Alvarez one of the most talented college hitters of the decade? I know they had Longoria at third, but Alvarez could have been a good replacement for Carlos Pena at first next year.

Jim Callis: Or Buster Posey could have shored up their catching situation for a long time. I think the Rays took Beckham because 1) they loved his athleticism and 2) he'd sign a little easier than the other top players that year.

    Diedrick (Cheverly): Is Nick Franklin's bat Legit? Even if he has to move to 3rd, it looks like he could be a star with the #'s he has put up so far. His scouting report from both the draft and top 10 say he should have very little power with wood (max out around 10hrs). Is this year more of a fluke, or is there something in his stroke that scouts did not see previously?

Jim Callis: He's showing too much power this year to call it a fluke. I think he's going to hit for more average than power, but it's fair to say his power was underestimated.

    McSmitty (New York): Aroldis Chapman has quietly put together a run of 10 straight relief outings without giving up a run, with 16Ks and only 4 walks over that span. Is this a result of getting acclimated to AAA or do you think it has to do with his conversion to reliever? Long term will he stay in the pen?

Jim Callis: It's easier for most pitchers to thrive in short relief stints compared to starts. The Reds didn't sign him for $30.25 million to make him a reliever, though he could break into the majors in that role. Have to think he could help Cincinnati, at least out of the bullpen, by September.

    Jimbo Fisher (Tallahausse, FL): Jim, what is your take on the number of first rounders still unsigned at this point in the summer?

Jim Callis: It's the same number from the same point last year (19 of 32). As a draft-watcher, what's frustrating is that there have been fewer picks signed than usual after the first round at this point. I think MLB wants teams to put up a united front as long as possible. We'll still see the usual number of over-slot signings, they'll just be closer to the deadline this year.

    MJ (Valpo): In five years, who in this group would you most like to have in your rotation as a 1-2 punch: Hellickson, Matt Moore, Bumgarner, Matzek, Hanson, Cahill, Brett Anderson, Parker, and Gibson.

Jim Callis: Assuming health for everyone, Anderson and Hanson.

    Pete (Houston): Rank these 2011 draft elligible college pitchers: Cole, Gray, Jungmann, and Purke.

Jim Callis: Purke, Cole, Jungmann, Gray.

    Bryan Harper (Las Vegas, NV): Do I sign or no? How much?

Jim Callis: Definitely sign. I say you break Mark Teixeira's record for biggest guarantee ever for a hitter ($9.5 million) but don't eclipse Stephen Strasburg's overall record ($15.1 million).

    Travis (Dayton): Is Travis Wood for real? Surely he can't be this dominant over an entire season.

Jim Callis: He can be a decent to solid mid-rotation starter, but he won't be a sub-3.00 ERA guy.

    Jeff (Houston): Jim, what is going on with Barrett Loux? How could the Diamondbacks treat this kid like this? Will he lose his college eligibility because the Dbacks flew him out, paid for his hotel, and backed out on their pre-draft deal? Thanks for taking my question.

Jim Callis: I don't understand the thought that a team is obligated to sign a player who failed a physical. Wouldn't surprise me if he signs at a reduced rate, which has happened to other first-round pitchers who have failed physicals.

    Brody Boyd (Logan, Utah): What are your thoughts on Michael Pineda? Other than his increased velocity on his FB. Where are his other pitches ranked on the 20-80 scale? Who would you compare his upside to?

Jim Callis: Solid slider and changeup to complement his plus-plus fastball. It's a very intriguing package.

    Owen (Kansas City): It looks as though Alex Gordon has found his stroke over the last couple of games. Obviously he is not the 2nd coming of George Brett as some predicted, but do you think he could be a solid regular OF? Does he ever see more time at 3B?

Jim Callis: Yes, I still think he can be a solid regular OF. If he doesn't, he'll be one of the few elite college bats not to become at least a solid regular. His time at third has probably passed with Mike Moustakas on the verge of the majors.

    Derek (Detroit): Brennan Boesch is coming crashing back to earth after an awesome start to his career. What can we expect from him over a regular season? Is he more of a platoon candidate than an everyday right fielder?

Jim Callis: I could see him as a .260, 15-20 HR guy. He's more of a platoon candidate than the potential star his intial major league numbers might have indicated.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Jim, Any idea what the Indians are going to get done with their draft choices? No one over No. 6 has been signed. Pomerantz seems like a lock to sign at the deadline (doesn't he?) but what about the rest of the hard-to-sign picks they went for? Will Cleveland use money saved from the recent salary dumps to make overslot signings like they did in 2008?

Jim Callis: I think they'll sign a lot of them close to the Aug. 16 deadline. They'll sign Pomeranz, and they'll sign several others as well. There are rumblings that Cole Cook, their fifth-rounder, is close to a deal.

    Adam (Rochester): Is it too early for a Twins fan to get excited about Oswaldo Arcia? He looks to be a real talent.

Jim Callis: Not at all. John Manuel was very bullish on Arcia in the 2010 Prospect Handbook. He's a corner outfielder with the potential to be an above-average hitter for average and power.

    Greenie (Tacoma): Will we ever see an Ackley-Franklin DP combo in Seattle, or will they both eventually change positions? Also, who has the better offensive upside, now that Franklin has proven he's legit in the tough MWL?

Jim Callis: I think Ackley winds up in the outfield and Franklin moves to second base. I still like Ackley's offensive upside more.

    Jim (Scranton, PA): Who is the best Mariner prospect (including Justin Smoak)?

Jim Callis: Dustin Ackley.

    Ryan (Milwaukee): When Covey signs, who is the best pitching prospect in the Brewers system, him or Odorizzi?

Jim Callis: Odorizzi.

    Scott (Houston, TX): What is going to happen with Barret Loux? He is still throwing in the mid-90s with no effects of this "torn labrum or elbow problem". What are the chances he signs with Arizona, returns to Texas A&M or another option that you have heard through the grapevine? If he doesn't sign, will anyone in "power" call the Diamondbacks out on not negotiating with Loux in order to get the #7 pick in next year's draft? Thanks...

Jim Callis: Who has seen Loux throwing in the mid-90s recently? If there's serious fraying in his shoulder or elbow, aren't the Diamondbacks allowed to have concerns? Punting him to get next year's No. 7 pick isn't a foolproof strategy, becuase Arizona wouldn't get further compensation if they fail to sign that choice, which means they may have to take a lesser player with less leverage.

    Mike (Boston): Jim, enjoyed your piece today. Who is a guy that is not in the conversation right now for best pitching prospect that you think could be this time next year?

Jim Callis: Jameson Taillon.

    Matt (DC): Jim, I feel like UConn OF George Springer's stock has really taken off this summer. Do you see him as a potential top 10 pick in next year's draft?

Jim Callis: Definitely. He might be the second position player drafted, after Rice 3B Anthony Rendon.

    Kelsey (Groves,TX): Can you confirm that Delino Deshields Jr has signed with the Astros? Also do you think Wates and Pluko sign?

Jim Callis: Texted with his dad last night, who expects a deal to be finalized Thursday. I think Wates will sign but Plutko probably won't. ... Have to run now, thanks for all the good questions.