Jim Callis Chat: April 20




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    Devon (Baltimore): 2 questions if i could Jim. Who's first to the show- Hosmer or Moustakas- and which one makes the greatest impact short and long term? Which minor league pitcher has the best chance of making a midseason (or earlier) arrival and have early success in the bigs? Love your work.

Jim Callis: The Royals question is basically a coin flip. Hosmer might be a little more pure a hitter than Moustakas, who might have a little more raw power. Moustakas offers more positional value but isn't a lock to stay at third base for the long term. Hosmer is off to a much better start, but he doesn't have to be protected on the 40-man roster this offseason and Moose does. So I think we'll see Moose first. Hosmer might have a slightly easier transition to the majors. As for the pitchers, I could see Julio Teheran accelerating his timetable and really helping the Braves. They don't have any rotation holes, so you might have to wait until the second half for him.

    Dan (RI): Paul Goldschmidt is having a monster start. Where does he rank now among 1st base prospects?

Jim Callis: He's in the discussion, probably in the Top 10, but he's not an elite guy, like a Hosmer. Goldschmidt's cause would be helped if he batted lefthanded, but he does have good power.

    Josh (Boston): I've heard conflicting reports on Nick Delmonico's ability to stick behind the plate? In your opinion, can he do it? And if he can't, what kind of player is he going forward?

Jim Callis: Those conflicting reports come because he hasn't done it a lot and is still a work in progress. Put it this way: He has a chance, which would make him extremely valuable, and if he can't, he still offers enough offense and athleticism to become a productive major leaguer.

    Eric (Polson, MT): Thanks for chatting Jim! Whats your take on Mariners pitching prospect Erasmo Ramirez and potential timetable for MLB?

Jim Callis: He has good command of average stuff. I see his ceiling as a No. 4 starter, but he could move quickly because he throws strikes so easily.

    Frank (Dallas, TX): Assuming Dr. Andrews doesn't find anything seriously wrong with Purke, what happens to his stock?

Jim Callis: It's still up in the air. Some scouts already didn't love his delivery or his freshman-year workload, and even if it's just, say, tendinitis, that won't ease those concerns. Where he goes in the draft depends on how well he bounces back between now and the end of the season, and what his price tag is.

    Grant (NYC): Thoughts on the early struggles of Montgomery's starting rotation?

Jim Callis: Too early to read too much into it. Matt Moore started very slowly last year before leading the minors in strikeouts for the second straight season. He and Chris Archer are on the short list of the game's best pitching prospects. Nick Barnese, Joe Cruz and Shane Dyer have good arms too and should improve. On the bright side, the staff as a whole is averaging a strikeout per innings, so the stuff is still there.

    Richard (Simpsonville, KY): How has Sonny Gray looked so far this year? If he were to stay in school until next year, would he be in the mix for 1/1?

Jim Callis: He's looked like the same ol' Sonny Gray scouts love. Devastating fastball/curveball combination, tenacious competitor, command could use a little improvement. He'd be in the mix for 1/1 next year, especially with that combination of stuff and zero leverage as a college senior, but I wouldn't count on him returning to Vanderbilt.

    Ed (San Diego): How good of a choice would Bauer be at #10 for the Padres?

Jim Callis: Bauer would be a good choice at No. 10 for the Padres, but I don't think he's going to get there. He might go closer to No. 3 than No. 10. Some teams may worry about his unorthodox mechanics and approach, but there are plenty who love him. He has very good stuff, he commands it, he competes and he's going to get to the majors quickly.

    DrewBoke (IL): What's the scouting report on Austin Kirk? He looks like he has great stuff with poor inconsistency.

Jim Callis: I haven't talked to anyone about him this year, but in the past he's had a high-80s fastball with a promising curveball. If he can command that curve, he'll be tough in the Midwest League.

    Randy (Boston): I was wondering if I could get your thoughts on Matt Lipka and if he is likely to stick at SS. Could you compare him to other SS prospects in the minors? Thanks Jim.

Jim Callis: It's funny, I thought Lipka was underappreciated leading up to the 2010 draft and then he went in the sandwich round. He definitely has the athleticism for shortstop, and his arm is strong enough. Watching him as an amateur, scouts questioned his hands more than anything, but he has been fine so far. Based on what we've seen to this point, he has a solid chance. He always can fall back on being a center fielder.

    Dave (Pueblo): If the draft were tomorrow, KC's pick at #5 - Bundy, Starling or one of the college pitchers?

Jim Callis: I think Starling makes a ton of sense for them there. He has the most upside in this draft and would be a tremendous addition to that Moustakas/Hosmer/Myers offensive nucleus.

    Matt Clark (Philadelphia, PA): Where do you think Miguel Sano will end up (position) and when will we see him in the majors?

Jim Callis: Third base or an outfield corner, depending on how big he gets. He won't be 18 until May, so we probably won't see him in Minnesota until 2014 at the earliest.

    Joel (Joplin, MO): Jim Thanks for the chat. Every year you guys publish a list of the top 10 rounds and the agents/advisors that represent them. I haven't been able to find that from last year. Did you guys do it last year?

Jim Callis: With the NCAA on its witch hunt regarding its ridiculous no-agent rule, we declined to publish that list last year. It's bad enough that the NCAA is punishing kids like Logan Ehlers and Albert Minnis for nonsensical reasons. We're certainly not going to help the NCAA out.

    Jon (DC): I'm sure you'll get a few questions about him, but Cameron Selik? Ever see him in college or at Vermont? Any updated reports on him? Thanks.

Jim Callis: He touched the mid-90s while at Kansas but was inconsistent—which obviously hasn't been the case during his great start so far this year.

    Tom (So Cal): Tustin, CA HS senior Travis Harrison is having very strong spring on top of historically impressive showcase events. Could you comment on his current draft stock? Do you see him going in the first round? (Did not see him on the BA top 50 list) As always, thank you for the chat. Keep up the good work!

Jim Callis: He didn't make our midseason Top 50 but he was in the discussion. He has some of the best raw power in this draft, and a team that thinks he can handle third base may be tempted to take him in the second half of the first round.

    Camden (Cali): What caused B.J Upton to move from SS to CF? He obviously has the agility and speed, was it the arm? Thanks Jim.

Jim Callis: He was just too erratic. He had enough arm strength, but he wasn't consistent making throws and lacked the feel needed to play the position. The raw physical tools were definitely there.

    Tyler (New Hampshire): Offensively, what's the difference between Miguel Sano and what Angel Villalona was? The scouting reports are nearly identical in that regard. Does Sano project to be a huge strikeout guy?

Jim Callis: Sano isn't Mike Trout, but he's a significantly better athlete than Villalona was. Villalona was essentially a DH in a NL organization, while Sano has a chance to play 3B or at least the outfield. Sano did fan 60 times in 61 games last year, but he also was 17 years old.

    KS (Chicago): When Matt Sczcur signed his contract with the Cubs in January you said if he were available in this draft he would be a first round pick. Now that we have seen the amount of depth in this draft do you still hold this opinion? Thanks

Jim Callis: This draft is loaded. But my point was is Szczur played as well this spring as he did last summer in his pro debut (translate his 347/414/465 line to college and what do you get?), he would have been a first-round pick with his combination of outstanding athleticism and performance. That kind of season and those kind of tools would put him in Mikie Mahtook territory somewhere in the middle of the round.

    Greg (Boston): Hey Jim...thanks for chatting. I guess it all depends on what Dr. James "Oh No" Andrews says, but if there's no structural damage to his shoulder, does Purke become 2011's Ranaudo?

Jim Callis: He could. I could see Purke proving himself in summer ball and earning a big payday in August if he's healthy.

    Tyler (Harrodsburg, KY): Jim, thanks for the chat, as I look forward to reading this every week. As deep as the draft is this year, do you think it's possible that the top 2 picks will not be named Rendon nor Cole? I see that Springer has dropped on the latest top college prospect list, but I would have to think if a guy like him were to finish the season on a high note, Rendon and Cole could be displaced.

Jim Callis: Anything's possible with the draft, because signability can really confuse matters and there's so much talent available in 2011. That said, I still will be surprised if the top two picks aren't Rendon/Cole or Cole/Rendon.

    RJ (Ft. Lauderdale): What happens if Hak Ju Lee needs a promotion (mid to late in the year) with Tim Beckham as the SS in AA.

Jim Callis: The Rays would either promote Beckham if he merits it, or move him to another position. I can't see Beckham as a big league shortstop, so it's not like that would harm his development.

    Nick (SF): What's your feeling about how the Giants handled Belt? A bit of a yo-yo? And perhaps most importantly, what is the track record for top prospects who come up in April, don't light it up and then go back down for more seasoning?

Jim Callis: Nothing wrong with it. He knew the deal, that injuries created an opportunity and he might be headed back to Triple-A. You could look at his experience as a positive as he got acclimated somewhat to the majors without having to produce in the heat of a pennant race. Don't know what the track record would show, but I can't imagine there are any noticeable effects.

    Jason (Los Angeles): Can you rank these guys in terms of their careers as a pro? T.Jungmann, S.Gray, T.Bauer, J.Bradley

Jim Callis: I can, though my answer might change if you ask me again in five minutes. Separating the college pitchers after Cole in this draft is tough. I'll go Bradley, Bauer, Gray, Jungmann. Can't believe I just put Jungmann fourth.

    chuck (baton rouge): Any word on bryce brentz's start? Has he perhaps fixed some of his swing flaws, or just sss? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Small sample size, yes, but he improved at the end of his pro debut and continued to make positive adjustments. The most encouraging sign is that his strikeout rate is way down, though again, it's just 12 games.

    Kristian (Burlington, Canada): Any scenario where you see Jacob Turner and/or Mike Trout up in the majors this year? Both are young but seem to be too talented to keep down long. Thanks

Jim Callis: I wouldn't count on it but they're both so talented that it's possible. I'm with you—they're both so gifted that I could see them tearing up Double-A and forcing the issue.

    Johnny (Irvine, CA): Any chance that Lindor drop to #21 for Jays?

Jim Callis: No chance unless he has a crazy price tag that scares off teams. He's the only sure-thing shortstop in this draft, and I can't see him getting past the first 10 picks.

    Ryan (Owasso): Jordan Lyles struggled at AAA to end the year last year & is off to a rough start this year. Did the Astros bump him from AA a little prematurely?

Jim Callis: It looks like it. I don't think they're doing irreversible harm, but I never understood the rush. He was 19 when they promoted him to Triple-A last year, and the Astros aren't going to contend any time in the near future. Sending him to Double-A in 2010 was aggressive enough.

    Chris (KC): I've been warming up more to the possibility that the Royals might take Starling, as you discussed earlier. And he's already said that he would be thrilled if it was the hometown team. But he scares the heck out of me because he seems like a raw guy with tons of tools that aren't skills - like his best position is "athlete." Am I wrong with that assessment?

Jim Callis: That's a little harsh. By nature, most high school guys aren't finished products and haven't been tested against much quality competition. But Starling wasn't exposed on the showcase circuit like, say, an Anthony Hewitt was. Is Starling going to need some polish? Yes, but not an inordinate amount.

    Jarreus (Capehart): For your money who do you take...Mike Montgomery or Shelby Miller...How does their stuff compare? Thanks

Jim Callis: Miller. I think his pure stuff is better, though Montgomery does have the advantage of being lefthanded.

    John (California): Grant Green has come out struggling with the bat, but it seems like he has worker on the things people have pointed out from last year. With only 1 error and a much better eye, what is your take on Green? Shortstop or no? Thanks

Jim Callis: He's still an offensive-minded second baseman in my eyes. He just doesn't have the defensive tools of a big league shortstop.

Jim Callis: I'm getting back to the draft phones now, and I'll see you again next Wednesday. Until then, feel free to hit me with questions: those needing long responses at askba@baseballamerica.com and shorter ones via Twitter (@jimcallisBA).