Jim Callis Chat: March 23
Jacob (Tacoma, WA): With residual effects
stemming from the 2008 Alvarez contract situation, what are the chances
that those evils are still swarming within the Pirates front-office and
the chances Pirates opt for a non-Boras client such as Lindor instead of
Rendon or Cole? Thanks Jim! Love the chats.
None at all. I wouldn't say that the
Pirates love the Boras Corp., but they aren't go to shy away from the
two best players in the draft because or their advisor.
Nick (Connecticut): Dellin Betances was up in
the zone for the most part this spring. If a team with a top line
pitcher asked for him or Banuelos in a trade which of the two would you
I'd want to hold onto Banuelos. He's
lefthanded, he's more polished and I'm still not sold that Betances
won't be a reliever in the long run.
Mike (Naples, Florida): Rizzo, Sands, Cox
In what order would you rank them and why?
Cox, Rizzo, Sands. I think Cox is the best
all-around hitter and he plays the best defensive position. I'll take
Rizzo over Sands because he's two years younger and I like his offensive
Greg (Pittsburgh): Can Billy Hamilton be trusted to emerge as an elite prospect and how does he compare to Dee Gordon?
Not sure how to measure degrees of trust,
but Hamilton has the tools to become an elite prospect. There are some
similarities to Gordon. Both can fly and both need to get physically
stronger. Hamilton is maybe a half-step quicker, and Gordon has a better
chance to stick at shortstop.
Joel (KCK): Thanks for the chats Jim!!! Please,
please, please lay something to rest for me. Is it true that Yu
Darvish plans on being posted and playing in the MLB after the 2011
season? Or like usual, is this just speculation from Yankee hopefuls
and bloggers? I've heard he could be as far as three to four years away
from coming to America. Thanks again!
Can't lay it to rest. I don't think anyone really knows when Darvish is going to get posted, hence all the speculation.
Ryan (here): What's your assessment on Danny
Hultzen? I hear that Arizona is all over him. However, is he really that
good? To me he sounds like a number three, and I never believed that a
number three should be picked in the top ten, especially when there
would be higher upside arms (such as Bradley and Barnes) still on the
board. What do you think?
It's a great year for pitching, with maybe
15-20 arms who normally would factor into the upper half of the first
round. Hultzen doesn't light up a radar gun like most of those other
guys do, but I wouldn't sell him short. With his ability to pitch and
the quality of his secondary pitches—not to mention he's lefthanded—he
could be a No. 2 starter. Even before he began his dominant junior
season, there were teams who thought he was a top-five talent. It's
going to be hard to separate all of the pitchers after Cole.
SMK (Boston): Rubby de la Rosa has been
impressive throughout the spring. What are your personal thoughts on him
and what is his ultimate upside?
He's one of the few pitchers around who can
hit triple digits. His upside is as a No. 2 starter, but I think it's
more likely he becomes a closer. He needs to be more consistent with his
secondary pitches and command—like a lot of young pitchers.
Herbert (Omaha): Will Arizona pick Bubba
Starling? He seems to be the highest upside bat in the draft. Also, they
could spread his bonus out over five years instead of all up front. Is a
taller version of Justin Upton a good comparison for him? Thanks!
Too early to know who goes where. After
Donavan Tate got $6.25 million and Zach Lee got $5.25 million, Starling
figures to get something in the same range, so that price tag could
cause him to slide who knows where. There are some similarities to
Upton—Starling stands out a little more for his athleticism, while
Upton had a little more dynamic bat.
Max (Austin, TX): Yesterday in the college chat
there was a 20-80 scale analysis of Jungman. Can you do the same for
Sonny Gray? Is he in the mix for #3 behind Rendon and Cole?
Projected 70 fastball, 70 curveball, 50 changeup, 55 command, 55 delivery. Yes, he could go as high as No. 3.
Rachel (Toronto): How concerned are you with
Purke? He's has a low arm slot, not taking advantage of his height. His
velocity has also been down a little. His slider has been plus, but how
has his change up looked?
The arm slot is nothing new, and he hasn't
been 100 percent this season. Still plenty of time to recover before the
draft. I think teams are reserving judgment and will see how he looks
in May. He's still going to go high in the draft, but the big three
coming into the year (Rendon, Cole, Purke) is now a big two (Rendon,
Dan (Chicago): Better career ? T. Becham,D. Tate, A.Hicks
Aaron Hicks. The other two guys might go down as two of the most expensive busts in draft history.
Marc (Vancouver): Who do you like more, Freddie
Freeman or Logan Morrison? And is it fair to compare either/both to
Conor Jackson before he got sick?
Logan Morrison, but it's close. That Jackson comparison is fair—I thought he was going to be better than he turned out.
Adam (Arizona): When can we expect your first mock draft version?
Mid-May. That will be the first of four mock drafts before the real thing happens.
Mateo (again) (Boston (again)): If Starlin
Castro were eligible (lest we forget he is only 20), would he be the top
SS prospect ahead of Manny Machado? Where would Castro rank overall?
Given the scarcity of stud shortstops,
Castro would have to rank in the top five overall prospects. Assuming he
hadn't hit .300 as a rookie last year and tore up Triple-A instead, I
think he'd have to rank as the game's best shortstop prospect too.
Mike (Virginia): With Rendon still unable to
play 3rd base it looks like Cole is becoming a stronger candidate to go
1-1 to the Pirates. How does Cole's stuff compare to Taillon?
It's not like Rendon won't be able to play
third base—a very good third base—in the future, so that's not really a
factor. Cole has enhanced his chances of going 1-1 by showing great
stuff every time out this spring. He and Taillon have comparable
fastballs and breaking balls, but Cole's changeup is significantly
Chris (S.I.N.Y): Who makes the biggest impact in the big leagues this season. Gibson, Drabek, Pineda, Britton, McGee or Banuales?
I think Gibson. Britton may be the best
prepared to succeed right now, but he's on a bad team. Banuelos is
intriguing, but the Yankees are going to limit him to 140 or so innings,
so he may not get a ton of big league starts.
Robert (NYC): Is there a possibility Matt Purke falls to the Mets at 13 in the draft?
That would surprise me, but it's no
impossible considering how many quality pitchers are available, his slow
start and the fact that the Rangers were willing to pay him $6 million
out of high school may cloud his signability.
CB (SLC, UT): Thanks for the chat Jim. Who are
some sleepers in the Giants organization that we should keep our eyes
on this year? What do you think of Chuckie Jones?
Chuckie Jones is a good sleeper. Also keep an eye on Mike Kickham, Heath Hembree and Jake Dunning.
Michael Stern (Rochester NY): With the Mets total lack of any decent second
baseman at the major league level, how far away
do you see Reese Havens, and how healthy is he?
The guy can really hit, and if he is at all in any shape to
play what is there to stop him from a quick rise to
He just needs to stay healthy. I've liked
Havens since he played well in the Cape Cod League, and he has 26 HR and
80 BB in 152 pro games. He's the future at second base for the Mets,
and when he's ready (soon if he stays healthy), Brad Emaus and Co. won't
stand in his way.
Elaine (Antigo, WI): Whose tools do you like
better, Starling or Springer? Which one do you like better? What grades
would you give each tool for each player? Thanks!
Starling, better chance to hit. That said,
Springer's tools are so impressive that I still think he goes in the
first 10 picks despite his tepid spring so far.
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Dave Sappelt is hitting
.545 this spring after hitting over .360 as a 23 year old in AA and .314
in over 100 AAA at bats. What does his hit tool grade out as, can his
10-15 HR power in the minors translate to the bigs, and why on earth are
the Red starting defensively challenged Johnny Gomes in left field
I can't speak as to what the Reds see in
Gomes, but Sappelt looks more like a fourth outfielder than a regular to
me. He has fringy power and profiles as a regular only if he can stick
in center rather than on a corner. He's a solid hitter, but I wouldn't
read too much into that .361 average in Double-A.
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Zack Cozart has had a
solid spring for the Reds and his bat has steadily improved since being
drafted. If he can continue the 15-20 HR power he showed last year what
kind of big leaguer can he be?
Gets the job done at shortstop and has more
power than most at the position. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he
emerges over Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria as the Reds' starter at
short before the end of the season.
Ben (Leland Grove): Would you consider Trevor Bauer worthy of being picked in the top 10?
Some years, perhaps. This year, more 11-25. There just are so many quality pitchers out there.
Bart (Boston): The Red Sox seem to think that
Felix Dubront will be a solid major league starting pitcher. However, I
have never seen him in any top 100 prospect lists. What abilities does
he lack that prevents him from being a top prospect?
He has solid-average rather than plus
stuff, which is why he hasn't gotten a lot of hype. But his curveball
made a lot of strides last year, and he's a lefty with four effective
pitches, so he potentially could become a No. 3 starter.
JAYPERS (IL): Jim, I've read recently that Mike
Foltynewicz has been working out with Lancaster's roster. Are the
Astros seriously considering jumping him straight from Rookie Ball to
the hitter friendly CAL? Didn't they learn their lesson already with
Ross Seaton? And would you concur with this move if it turns out to be
Lancaster is such a terrible pitcher's park
that I'd rather do what the Astros did when they fast-tracked Jordan
Lyles: let him spend his first full year in low Class A, then jump him
to Double-A. Lancaster might be the least desirable affiliate out there
because of the way the park plays.
Kirk (Orange County): I know spring training
stats don't mean much, but Peter Bourjos has been outstanding; showing a
better batting eye (7BB), expected speed (4SB), and even some nice pop.
Do you see him holding off Trout all year and becoming the CF of the
future for the Angels, moving Trout to a corner?
He's so good defensively that he just has
to hold his own with the bat to be a regular. If he can do that, he will
push Trout to a corner.
Ron (Toronto): Hi Jim,
Does Sheppers have the skillset to close in Texas if Feliz is made a starter?
Yes. Maybe not on Opening Day, though. Has
the stuff, needs better command to be a big league closer. Long-term
health remains the biggest question.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Who is the second best pitcher in the draft?
Great question. Best pure pitcher, I'd say
Danny Hultzen. Best pitching prospect, I'm torn between Hultzen and Gray
and I'm probably not giving enough credit to the high school crop.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Best 1-2 draft punch. Strasburg and Ackely, Harper and Taillon, or Rendon and Cole?
Cole and Rendon.
Andy (Cleveland, OH): Loved watching the Chiz-kid this spring. When can we reasonably expect to see him play for the Tribe fulltime?
By midseason. No reason to start his
arbitration clock ticking before then, though Chisenhall already is
Cleveland's best option at third base.
Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): How much has Taylor Guerrieri raised his draft stock? Is top 10 a stretch?
He has raised it a ton. Top 10 is not a
total stretch, though will be hard to pull off with all of the pitching
in this draft. I know I keep saying that.
Speedy Gonzalez (Mexico): Who wins in a foot race - Jennings, Trout or Hamilton?
That would be a fine race. I think the order would be Hamilton, Trout, Jennings.
Kenny (Seattle, WA): Does Nick Franklin remain in the infield for the next few years, or do you see him eventually moving to an OF spot?
He'll be an infielder. He may have to move
off shortstop, but there's no reason he can't be good at second base. I
think he winds up at second base and Ackley winds up in the outfield or
at first base.
Brent (Appleton): Billy Butler, James Loney,
Gaby Sanchez, Daric Barton, Derrek Lee, and Ike Davis all hit under 20
HR in 500+ AB last year. Which (if any) of these 1st basemen do you
think will clear 25 homers this season?
Frankie (Naperville, IL): Your quote: "No owner
is stingier when it comes to draft spending than Jerry Reinsdorf, and
no GM is as willing to trade prospects for veterans as Kenny Williams." -
Why do you suppose this is?
With Williams, I think it's just that he
burns to win today and he's willing to trade a piece of tomorrow to do
it. With Reinsdorf, he's a staunch advocate of the slotting system and
makes his club adhere to it.
William (Scarborough (ON)): Would you agree that the Jays farm system is the most improved from this year to the last?
Brandon (Modesto): Who has the highest ceiling
between: Brandon Belt, Devin Mesoraco, George Springer and Bubba
Starling? Who is the most likely to reach it.
Starling has the highest ceiling. Belt is the most likely to reach his.
Walt (Newport Beach): Jim - thanks for the
I suggested this idea to a friend over drinks last night, and it still
seems feasible this morning, even if too aggressive for 99% of GMs. I
was wondering if you thought it had any merit.
Why take the risk of trying to develop frontline pitchers without
injury? Why not allocate all draft, international and minor league
resources to position players while building your pitching staff with
free agents and trades for established big leaguers with a clean medical
Because it would be too expensive if you
had to buy all your pitching. Even if you had the Yankees' budget, it
would be impossible because most teams don't let good pitchers even get
to free agency. You also would need a bunch of pitchers to fill out your
minor league affiliates, too.
Ryan D. (Moorpark, CA): The Twins are ranked
12. They have solid pitchers in Gibson, Wimmers, Hendricks, but no one
who is going to blow you away on the mound with ace stuff. Hicks has
spent two consecutive years in Beloit. Who do you think is a sleeper in
this organization? Even though he won minor league player of the year
for the Twins (therefore, may not be a sleeper), I feel Joe Benson has
the best ability to get to the bigs and impress.
Benson does have impressive tools, and even
made our Top 100 Prospects list. The Twins have several sleepers. OF
Eddie Rosario, SS Niko Goodrum, RHP Carlos Guttierez, RHP Dakota Watts,
Zeke (Denver, CO): The rumors that the Yankees
will have Austin Romine in the majors instead of Jesus Montero are at
least a little crazy, right? Would it really be so hard to find enough
at bats for Montero between Catcher, First Base, and Designated Hitter
to keep his bat developing? And on the other hand, is there really any
reason to believe that Romine can hit major league pitchers right now?
Romine is better than Montero defensively,
but I agree. I don't think Romine is ready to hit in the majors, and
Montero's bat is too valuable to waste in Triple-A.
Jim (Granger, IN): Hi, Jim. How would you rank
Jacob Turner, Shelby Miller, Jake Odorizzi and Matt Harvey in terms of
A) Ceiling and B) Likelihood to reach that ceiling?
Ceiling: Miller, Turner, Harvey, Odorizzi. Likelihood: Miller, Turner, Odorizzi, Harvey.
Tony (Chicago): I read an article on espn that said rendon could fall to the cubs at 9. Any chance that happens
Zero, barring a career-altering injury. A college position player with Rendon's tools and skills won't get close to No. 9.
Mr. Must See TV (Winning): Duda, F-Mart or Puello - Which Mets OF will have a brighter MLB career? And why?
Puello. He has the best overall tools and
most upside of the bunch. Much better chance to be a big league regular
than Duda (all-bat guy without a ton of power) or Martinez (looks like
more of a fourth outfielder these days).
Bret (Jed Bradley): Jed Bradley seems to be
shooting up the draft ranks since the start of the college season. The
read I'm getting is that not only does he have top-of-the-rotation
upside, but that he'd rise fast through a farm system to. Is that a fair
read? How high do you think he could go at the moment.
He's another one of the many quality
pitchers available. Not sure he's really shooting up the ranks—one team
told me before the season it would take him over any pitcher at that
point, including Cole.
Will (Boston): Jim, who do you see possessing
the most offensive potential out of the recent highly regarded high
school aged kids such as Nick Castellanos, Christian Yelich, Oswaldo
Arcia, Jurickson Profar, and Garin Cecchini? Who has the highest floor?
Finally, who stands the best shot to reach that upside?
Ceiling: Castellanos. Floor: Cecchini. Most
likely to reach upside: Castellanos (you really could pick any of them
for this one).
Jon (Madison): Previous reports had South
Carolina's Jackie Bradley Jr.'s defense in center field among the best
at the position in the last few years. Now, this week, I read at another
prominent site that the writer was "hearing doubts" about Bradley's
ability to stay in center. What are your thoughts?
I haven't heard any scouts really question
this. His speed grades as average, but he plays above his speed because
his instincts are exceptional. Will he be a Gold Glover? I wouldn't go
that far. But he should be able to play center field.
James (Lynnwood, WA): Is Gerrit Cole the new #1
favorite to be picked 1st overall or is it still a close race between
Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole??
Still a close race, and I'd call them co-favorites. If the draft we held today, I'd bet on Cole going No. 1.
Josh (Cal): Do you think that Darwin Barney can
hit enough this season to be the starting second baseman for the Cubs?
His glove is really opening some eyes in Arizona so far.
He won't put up big numbers, but I could
see him hitting along the lines of .275/.320/.370. Not great, but
coupled with his defense, that might make him the best option for the
Tony (Albuquerque): How high does Bryce Harper make it this year?
I think he'll split the minor league season
between low A and high A. Because he's already on the 40-man roster,
the Nationals almost assuredly will call him up in September.
Jeff (texas): what prospect in the astros system not named lyles most intrigues you?
DeShields and Villar. Both need a lot of polish, but it's hard not to love their up-the-middle tools.
mike (orlando): why are you so high on Szczur when others (specifically, Law & Goldstein) are not?
Not sure what they don't like—you'd have
to ask them. From my perspective, while he hasn't played much yet, he's a
potential 6-7 bat, 4-5 power, 8 speed, 6-7 defender with tremendous
makeup. Sign me up for more of those.
Bart (Boston): If Ranaudo returned to school and pitched like he did in the Cape League, about where would he go in this year's draft?
Somewhere in the top 10. But as I've said, there's a lot of quality pitching available.
Dan (Work): Why are so many people talking like
Purke is having a bad spring? 0.47 ERA, .171 BAA, nearly 5:1 K to BB
ratio, 0 HRs allowed, what am I missing?
Stuff hasn't been as good as it was last
year, and he hasn't pitched deep into games because of blister issues.
That said, I agree, I wouldn't call his performance "bad."
Grant (Wpg): Who's the second best position prospect in the draft? Still Springer?
Might be Andrew Susac or Francisco Lindor.
Jason (KC): Hey Jim,
I was wondering if you could shine some light on the issue of slot bonus
as it pertains to the next CBA. I keep hearing that a hard slot system
will go in to combat the rising costs of draft bonuses. However, I can't
imagine the Player's Union being okay with this and small market teams
have made use of this system to get talent that has dropped due to bonus
demands. So who is advocating for this idea?
MLB and the owners want this. Union
leadership isn't excited about the idea of hard slotting, but the
thinking is that the owners will make it worth the players' while (via
higher minimum salaries, reduced/eliminated free-agent compensation,
increased arbitration eligibility, better benefits or something else
along these lines) to make it happen. I think MLB is unprepared for the
unintended consequences, mainly that it will make it impossible for
small-revenue teams to compete and it will also lead to a talent drain,
especially in the short term, for baseball. It won't save that much
money anyway, and MLB teams will just expend the savings somewhere else.
Ron (San Francisco): Starling is not the second best positional prospect?
Good catch. I read that question as "after
Rendon and Starling" for some reason. Rendon and Starling are the top
two position prospects.
I have to run now. Thanks for all the good questions!