Jim Callis Chat: Aug. 25





Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. We already have 115 questions lined up, so let's get to it.

    JAYPERS (IL): When rosters expand next week, do you see Jake McGee being one of those getting the call, or is he likely to be left in Durham? How about Jennings?

Jim Callis: They both should be called up. John Manuel was Tweeting last night about how good McGee looked, and he'd be a huge asset out of the bullpen. Jennings would be playing regularly for a lot of clubs and at worst can contribute some speed and defense off the bench. I wouldn't rule out one or both of them working their way onto the postseason roster, either.

    Ben (Leland Grove): What is Will Smith's projected future spot in the rotation, and how long do you think it will take him to reach KC if he puts together more outings like last night's?

Jim Callis: He's a No. 4 or 5 starter. With the arms in the Royals system, it's hard to project Smith being more than a middle reliever for Kansas City.

    Tony (Boston, MA): I've been reading about Ryan Westmoreland and the steps he's been taking to get back into the game, and I can honestly say I'm rooting for the kid all the way. But as far as your job goes, how do you decide where to rank him on your list when the time comes, this November?

Jim Callis: That's a tough one. If Westmoreland can regain a normal life after his brain surgery, that's tremendous. Baseball is a bonus. The Red Sox haven't commented about the progress he has made baseball-wise, and he won't have played in a game this year when we put the 2011 Prospect Handbook together. I'll put him on the list, but where he truly fits will be mostly guesswork.

    Jake (DC): On a scale from 1 to 10, how worried are you about Strasburg? Is his delivery something to be genuinely concerned about?

Jim Callis: Maybe a 3. It's too early to panic, and if the worst-case scenario (Tommy John surgery?), plenty of guys have come back from TJ surgery. I talked to several scouts about Strasburg as part of our draft coverage in 2009, and none had concerns about his mechanics. I'd be more worried about the fact that a young human arm may not be built to throw as hard as Strasburg does.

    Paul (Baltimore, MD): Do you think Strasburg is being "babied"? Rob Dibble recently crucified him for basically being a wimp. Agree with this?

Jim Callis: Rob Dibble isn't exactly a voice of reason. Strasburg isn't asking out of games. The Nationals are just handling their prized investment with extreme caution, like any other team would.

    Will (Mactaquac): Two of the SS prospects I own in a keeper league are extremely hard to put a value on for me, even an avid reader of BA. I can't tell if Grant Green's defense is good or bad. I can't tell if Tim Beckham is a lot less athletic than advertised at the point of his being #1 overall. Why are these guys so hard to pin down?

Jim Callis: Probably because there's a difference of opinion. I've heard people on both sides of the Green argument, some who think he can be a solid shortstop and some who think he'll have to move. Beckham is at least a little less athletic than advertised and he has not hit anywhere close to what the Rays projected.

    Pierre (Ottawa, Canada): Assuming the Pirates finish last, will they draft Anthony Rendon and eventually move Pedro Alvarez to 1st base?

Jim Callis: That would make the most sense right now, but there are a number of pitching options (Matt Purke, Gerrit Cole, Taylor Jungmann) that could tempt Pittsburgh as well.

    Nick (Boston): Jim, what do you expect from Colorado's Chad Bettis? I know he was drafted as a solid closer prospect, but now hes starting and doing quite well. Does he wind up as a starter or a closer, and what is his potential in both spots? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I bet he winds up in the bullpen, but he does have the requisite three pitches to start and several scouts I talked to this spring thought he could cut it in the rotation. It makes sense to give him that opportunity.

    Ken Rule (Lakewood CA): Thanks for the chat Jim. How does C-Devin Mesoraco fit into the catching plans for the Reds? Is he actually the catcher of the future for them? Or is it somebody else?

Jim Callis: Well, they just gave first-round pick Yasmani Grandal a big league contract worth $3.2 million. The Reds will see how this plays out and I don't think they're real concerned yet with whether Mesoraco or Grandal comes out on top. If both are big league regulars, they'll have some valuable trade bait.

    John (Oklahoma): Is Jake Odorizzi close to making the top 100? had a pretty good outing last night and has been good all season.

Jim Callis: He has a good shot to get on there. He's the top pitching prospect in the Brewers system and has had a very nice year as a 20-year-old in low Class A. AT his best, he'll pitch at 92-95 mph with his fastball and show a plus curve.

    John Anderson (Fridley, MN): the Braves sandwich pick, Matt Lipka has started his professional career on a tear hitting .293 with 19 SB. What kind of power could he develop and will he stay at SS?

Jim Callis: I don't think he'll ever have more than gap power, but I really like Lipka. When I was doing our Texas draft coverage, there were questions as to whether he had the hands and actions for shortstop. At worst, he's a center fielder.

    Michael (Kalamazoo, MI): Is Manny Machado the best SS prospect in the minors?

Jim Callis: Yes. Five-tool shortstops are rare, and he is one.

    Joey (Sacramento CA): Who will have the better career Matt Wieters or Buster Posey?

Jim Callis: I still believe in Wieters, but based on the evidence at hands, I have to say Posey, don't I?

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): Ben Wells got 3rd round money from the Cubs. Your scouting report made him sound like a late bloomer but is he worth the over slot?

Jim Callis: Remember that the slots are bogus to begin with. In the next day or two, I'll do a Draft Blog post that shows how out of touch the slots are with reality. The short version: the top 50 bonuses are 37 percent higher than the top 50 slots . . . Back to Wells: He was a late bloomer, and one scout told me he easily could have been a third-round pick if he had been scouted heavily enough. So I like that investment a lot.

    Adam (Kansas): When does Mike Moustakas become an everyday major leaguer

Jim Callis: Late May 2011. Have to delay that arbitration and free-agent eligibility!

    Justin (Pittsburgh): Jeff Locke's AA are very impressive, what type of upside does he have?

Jim Callis: Solid but not spectactular four-pitch mix. Ceiling of a No. 3 starter, probably fits better as a No. 4. I like him.

    Mike R. (New York): The general consensus until this year was that Manny Banuelos has a relatively low ceiling. With reports that he has been sitting between 92-94 MPH and even touching 97 MPH on occasion, combined with the fact that he is a lefty with a great delivery, is it time for scouts to change their opinion on Banuelos?

Jim Callis: If he maintains that stuff, then obviously opinions will change.

    Adam (Kansas): John Lamb has bad numbers at AA, but I saw his last start in person and he has a great mound presence and very good stuff. If not for a 3 run homerun that barely glanced the foul pole on the foul side, he could have had a very encouraging start. Do you see him fallling very far in the prospect rankings as a result of his latest stats?

Jim Callis: When we rank players, statistics are only one piece of the puzzle. Lamb has had a very good season overall, and he has quality stuff. His Double-A numbers aren't going to ding him much.

    Mike (NJ): Matt Moore has been lights out now for roughly his last 10 starts or so, though he has still had the occassional control hiccup. In your opinion, will he be a future #1, or will control issues limit his MLB success?

Jim Callis: At best, he's a frontline starter. At worst, he should be at least an electric reliever.

    Nick (Connecticut): Is the Yankees farm system in the top 15?

Jim Callis: Yes. It takes a lot of time to break down all the systems and rank them against each other, but I'm confident enough to say the Yankees should rank in the top 10.

    Lee (Portland, Oregon): Which Astros prospects. not named Jordan Lyles are going to break into the BA top 100 next year (or are at least going to be on the bubble)?

Jim Callis: He might be it. Off the top of my head, Jonathan Villar is their No. 2 prospect, and I don't think he's going to make the Top 100.

    Michael (Seattle): Who do you think will be a better short stop over their career... Tim Beckham or Dee Gordon

Jim Callis: Dee Gordon. I don't think Beckham stays at shortstop and I think Gordon outperforms him anyway.

    Andrew (Rhode Island): What is the ceiling of the two 09 draft collegiate arms who have risen through their prospective organizations nicely this year in Alex White & Kyle Gibson. Both have proven to have handled the Eastern League well and appear to be very polished.

Jim Callis: Both have the ability to a) pitch in big league rotations next season and b) develop into frontline starters.

    John (St. Louis): Was Cox the best college hitter in the draft? What would be a reasonable ETA for the majors?

Jim Callis: He was in my mind. Reasonable ETA would be somewhere from mid-2012 to Opening Day 2013.

    Nick (Fenway): Who do we see first...at first; Rizzo or Anderson? Are Youk and Ortiz ready to get the boot for these guys?

Jim Callis: Rizzo, but neither is ready to start for Boston on Opening Day 2011.

    Slider (Vancouver): Could you see a team like the Pirates spending 12-15 million dollars on the draft next season considering it could be their last oppurtunity to exploit the current system before hard slots come in?

Jim Callis: Yes, I could. Spending will jump up another notch or two next summer, for precisely that reason. The Pirates won't be the only candidates, either.

    Nick (Oregon): What has happened to Michael Taylor? How is a man of his size and strength only slugging .380? Im not too worried about his BA because if he could hit for some power i'm sure the BA would climb. Where has the power gone?

Jim Callis: Good question. He has looked overwhelmed for much of the year. The reports we've gotten is that he still puts on a show in batting practice, but gets tied up by fastballs and flails against breaking stuff during games.

    Pat (Boston): Whats Nick Castellanos' ceiling? Is he the best offensive prospect in this years draft after harper?

Jim Callis: If you dream on him, and I'm sure the Tigers do, you could hope he turns into Evan Longoria. He obviously has a ways to go to get to that point, but Castellanos does have a lot of upside. I like Zach Cox more than Castellanos, but Castellanos isn't far behind. If we're looking at total package among position players, I'd take Manny Machado right after Bryce Harper.

    Matt (Boston, MA): Hey Jim, Bostons' farm system hasn't had the best year, however with the existing talent and the influx from the '10 draft, could we still be looking at a top five system at years end?

Jim Callis: I think their system is better than it looks and the 2010 draft influx will help, but they won't be in the top five. I'm guessing 11-15 range.

    Matt (DC): Jim, I'm sure there's not a definite answer to this, but in the scouting world, at what age is it assumed that a pitcher probably won't continue to add velocity anymore? Oftentimes scouting reports of high school pitchers read like a guy won't add anymore velocity, but that seems odd to me when talking about 17-year old kids.

Jim Callis: It really depends on body type and how much more strength a pitcher can put on. It's also possible a pitcher will throw harder with a more efficient delivery, if he has the aptitude as well to make those adjustments. In general, I'd assume a pitcher probably won't add much velo after age 21 or 22.

    Frank (NYC): What do you think Lucas Duda's chances of hitting in the bigs are? He has absolutely crushed AAA this year. I know he's not a glove guy like Nieuwenhuis is, but reports say he isn't a train wreck in LF. Isn't it worth seeing if he can be an upgrade over Franceour in the order while playing LF for the rest of the season with Pagan in RF.

Jim Callis: I'm not sure he's going to be a regular on a good club, but I concur that the Mets should give him an audition and find out.

    Huston (Logan): What type of offense could Matt Dominguez provide in his prime? He's obviously a stellar defensive 3B and will likely have an everyday spot in the majors because of that, but does he have the tools to hit .280 with 25+ HR power and provide the offensive production teams are looking for from a 3B?

Jim Callis: I don't think he'll have that kind of power. I think he's more of a Gold Glove third baseman who hits .265 with 15-18 homers.

    Robert (GA): How come Freddie Freeman is so underrated? Jesus Montero is called a possible future superstar in the mold of Miguel Cabrera, yet Freeman is only a few months older, in the same league, putting up better numbers. What gives?

Jim Callis: I don't think Freeman is underrated. But comparing him to Montero . . . he doesn't have Montero's power. I think Montero is a better pure hitter as well.

    KG (Dothan, AL): What do you think of Tyler Ray from Troy University? He started out hot in the Cape this summer and even got a win in the All Star game, but faded at the end of the season. Any thoughts about the draft for him next year?

Jim Callis: Third to fifth round if he pitches like he did early on the Cape. He has an 88-92 mph fastball and throws three pitches for strikes. Incidentally, I'm working on our Cape Cod Top 30 right now.

    Alex (New Jersey): Jason Kipnis seems to be enjoying a breakout season this year. His stat line looks a lot like another former ASU 2B, Dustin Pedroia's. Can you tell me how Kipnis compares to the former MVP?

Jim Callis: It's not fair to compare anyone to Pedroia, the patron saint of little guys who can rake. That said, Kipnis looks like he'll make a good offensive second baseman. Kipnis doesn't quite have Pedroia's bat, pop or defense, but he runs better.

    Dillon (Los Angeles, CA): Not saying I wouldn't have picked Harper 1st, but would you almost rather have Taillon and Allie at $8.5 million over Harper at $9.9?

Jim Callis: Yes. Also could see taking Vitek/Brentz/Ranaudo/Workman/Coyle/Cecchini for $8.3 million.

    Dan (Tulsa): How many of the Cards' signed draft picks would rank immediately behind shelby miller on their prospect rankings?

Jim Callis: Zach Cox and Tyrell Jenkins. Maybe Seth Blair and Jordan Swagerty.

    Michael (Kalamazoo, MI): Is there any concern the Barrett Loux thing sets a horrible precedent? What will stop agents from claiming their clients are hurt and expecting MLB to grant them free agency?

Jim Callis: If I'm interpreting the release right, the Diamondbacks signed off on Loux' free agency. MLB will review these types of situations on a case by case basis, and there may be more talks between MLB and the MLBPA about setting up a predraft medical combine or putting in a rule to deal with these cases. I don't think there's any question MLB did what was fair for Loux. Then again, Scott Bittle went through exactly the same thing as a Yankees second-rounder in 2008, and no one made him a free agent.

    Mike (Queens): Hey Jim would you rather a system with depth but lack of star potential or less depth but more top line guys?

Jim Callis: Less depth and more top-line guys. You win with stars.

    o (ct): Let's get this straight, you are saying the Yanks system is in better shape than the sox?

Jim Callis: I did say that, yes.

Jim Callis: I need to grab some lunch and get back on the Cape Cod League Top 30. Thanks for the questions. Remember you can always send questions that need long responses to askba@baseballamerica.com (please include name and hometown, and realize that we can't answer all of them in the Ask BA column) and questions that require shorter answers to me via Twitter at @jimcallisBA. See you next week.