Prospects Chat With Jim Callis
Jim Callis will answer your questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET.
I've got to wrap up a phone call . . . will chat but it may be another 15 minutes or so.
While the draft and the Prospect Handbook
may be my busiest times, the summer in some ways is crazier. I've got
four kids needing to go various places during the day, while I'm also
trying to track down draft signings as they happen (which is much slower
than they should). Throw in trying to finish a column this morning, and
I'm late to my own chat. I'll throw in an extra 30 minutes to make up
for it, so I'm here until 3 p.m. ET—when I have to go pick up my
Chuck (Wichita): What can you tell me about the
minor's ERA leader, Greg Billo? He has transitioned to a starter and
still not giving up any runs.
He's having a very nice year, but he's more
of a finesse/control guy than a stuff guy. Have to see how his stuff
plays against better hitters before declaring him a top prospect.
Eric (Tampa): I realize he's not on the 40-man,
but should Matt Moore dazzle in Durham, would the Rays consider giving
him a cup of coffee in September?
I just wrote a column for the magazine in
which I advocated calling him up right now. This isn't like last year
with Hellickson, because they're 5 1/2 games out in the wild-card race
rather than 3 1/2 games ahead. I'd promoted Moore and trade one of their
starters. The list of available starters is so thin that the Rays could
get a nice package for one of their current guys and just replace him
Mary (Harrisburg, PA): Harper hasn't exactly dominated here as of yet. Are you confident he'll adapt?
Harper is still well ahead of schedule as
an 18-year-old in Double-A. Shoot, he could stay there for the next two
years and still be ahead of schedule. I'm not worried. Making the jump
from low A to Double-A is difficult for anyone. He's still going to be a
superstar. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he's in Washington's lineup
in less than a year.
Tex (LA): Was Trout called up too soon?
The Angels called him up because he was
their best defensive option in center field with Bourjos hurt. He's only
19, and much older players also need time to adapt to the big leagues.
As with Harper in Double-A, Trout should be expected to struggle some in
the minors at such a young age, but it doesn't change the long-term
prognosis of superstar.
@Jaypers413 (IL): You've been Xander Bogaerts' biggest fan. What are your thoughts on his numbers at Greenville thus far?
I'll take Exceedingly Young Prospects for
$300, Alex . . . I think the .464 slugging percentage at age 18 while
jumping from the DSL to low Class A is outstanding. That jumps out at me
more than the .227 batting average.
Shane (Miami): Another week and more mashing by
Jurickson Profar. Have scouts given you any comps for this guy, or
what kind of ceiling are we looking at for him?
I haven't heard a good comp and I won't
force one. But I will say the list of five-tool shortstops in the minors
begins and ends with Manny Machado and Profar.
Joseph (Queens, NY): Jim - Wilmer Flores seems
to be a bit of an enigma. Reports of some weight loss and more agility
may allow him to stick at SS another couple years, but is it at the
expense of his bat? Are you still a believer?
I wasn't a big believer coming into the
year either. He's not going to stick at shortstop, and a lot of scouts I
talk to think third base is a stretch because he lacks athleticism.
He's a 1B/LF and I don't see the bat being good enough to carry him
there. I would definitely get him off shortstop immediately—no reason
to try to pretend he can play there.
Greg (Farmers Retreat, IN): Is James Shields enough to push Reds over the top in NL central?
I still like the Reds as much as anyone in
that division without Shields, but they're digging themselves a big
hole. Shields could be a difference-maker.
Trevor (Phoenix): Jim - Happy Chat Day! While
still not dominating, Jarrod Parker at least seems to be finding his way
post-TJ. What do you make of him this year and do you still expect
front of the rotation starter?
The velocity is back, the consistency of
the breaking ball and command are still coming back. That's typical of
guys coming back from Tommy John surgery. I still am very high on him
and see a future No. 2 starter.
Dave (Atlanta): Do you see the Braves signing Navery Moore??
I'd guess no because he went in the 14th
round and the Braves go over slot less than most teams. They've signed
every other player they drafted in the first 19 rounds.
Jason (Patterson): Do you have any thoughts on
Chance Ruffin he got promoted recently to AAA for the tigers, is he
there future closer or just a setup guy?
I think he can close. He has the fastball, slider and makeup to finish games. I like him a good deal.
Roger (Chicago, IL): Jim - Matt Szczur seems to
be handling himself just fine so far in High A. If all goes right does
he project to have a plus hit tool and hit for at least average power
with good dee? Any comp that scouts or yourself liken him to?
He has a chance to have average power, but
even if he doesn't, he should have well above-average speed with plus
defense and a plus bat. Sounds like a righthanded-hitting Jacoby
Ellsbury to me.
Ethan (Belfast): Hi Jim,
Can you please rank the following by ceilling and then by likelihood to
reach that ceilling: Carlos Martinez, Jarred Cosart, Henderson Alvarez,
Simon Castro and Drew Hutchison.
Ceiling: Martinez, Cosart, Castro,
Hutchison, Alvarez. For likelihood, I'd keep the same order but put
Castro at the end of the line based on his struggles this year.
Greg (Midwest): Miguel Sano has 18 extra base
hits in the first 28 games so far in rookie league, however he also
already has 15 errors in those 28 games. Is that what's expected of him
going forward - an all bat guy, or is there any defensive
Young guys are going to make a ton of
errors. Derek Jeter made 56 as a 19-year-old in low Class A, for
example. Sano's bat will always be first and foremost. He has a chance
to develop into a legit third baseman—he won't be a shortstop—but
could wind up in the outfield, too.
mike (new hampshire): you said gary sanchez had
the offensive talent to be another jesus montero before the season
started. obviously sanchez has woefully underperformed in that regard.
does he still the offensive ceiling of an elite hitting prospect or have
you downgraded him? thanks for the question.
Still has a huge ceiling and he's still
young, but have to ding his likelihood of reaching that ceiling given
his rough year. At the same age, Montero destroyed the SAL. There are
questions about Sanchez' defense, too. Still a very intriguing guy but I
may have jumped the gun on him.
Chet (LA): Jim, Is it time for the Rangers to
bring up Leonys Martin to take over in CF? Is he ready defensively? He's
on the 40 man roster, Borbon's is hurt, and Martin looks like the real
deal. When do you see Martin coming up, and do you think he's the
Rangers starting CF out of spring training next season? Thanks.
With the way he's played, I bet he gets
called up before September so he's eligible for the postseason. Endy
Chavez is playing very well, but I don't see that lasting. Definitely
see Martin starting for the Rangers in 2012.
Tim (kentucky): Thanx for the time Jim.
Cuthbert is really gaining alot of pub lately. And for good reason, what
do you feel is gonna be his power ceiling? Is this is a Chisenhall type
15-20 homer guy or does he have more pop to grow into to?
I'd give Cuthbert more power than Chisenhall, say 20-25 per year.
harold (new york): do you think jesus montero
is developing bad habits at the plate at this point? it seems like he's
starting to sell out for his power. he's been having a number of 0 or 1
hit performances with 2 or more strikeouts lately. i'm concered! should i
Had some scouts tell me they thought he was
bored in Triple-A. I still have full faith in his bat and still don't
think he's going to be a full-time catcher. I'd make him the DH/backup C
in New York, but I'm not Brian Cashman. At this point, seems like they
need to play Montero in the majors or trade him for something useful.
Grigsby (Fort Worth, TX): Jim - If you can can
you talk a little about Aaron Hicks. He has developed into a bit of a
controversial prospect, because every keeps saying how great his tools
are and the power will come, but he's turning 21 in High A after
repeating Low A last year and the results still aren't there. What do
you make of him?
I'm in the middle. The tools are
undeniable, but he hasn't had the performance to match. Seems like he
gets a lot more hype than Anthony Gose, whose also loaded with tools and
putting up similar numbers in Double-A. Some guys take more time to
develop, and Hicks appears to be on of them. But his package of tools
still ranks among the best in the minors.
J-Carter (Cleveland): Jim, Another bomb from
Kipnis last night, any reason why the Indians continue to leave him in
the minors when he could be helping the big club? What kind of
offensive potential, power/average/speed, does he have?
I can only guess they want him to continue
to refine his defense because he has been playing second base for less
than two years. But in that just-completed column I referenced earlier, I
led off by talking about how the Indians have to promote him. Orlando
Cabrera and Co. have been terrible, and it's not like they're Gold
Glovers. Kipnis would get the job done defensively and provide a lot
more offense. A lot more.
Marcus (Seattle, WA): Lightning round - James
Paxton sure was dominant the other night. Is he making a case for a
placement in the top 50-100 by year's end?
His stuff has bounced back nicely after
taking a downturn in indy ball last year. He has exceeded my
expectations, and he'll challenge for a spot in the Top 100.
James Brown (San Jose,CA): How does the future
look for Kyle Skipworth of the Marlins has stock fallen even more with
his bad performance at the plate again this season?
Bleak. He's in his fourth pro season and
having his worst year yet, which is saying something. I can't see him
ever hitting enough to have the career projected for him when the
Marlins took him sixth overall in 2008. He's going to have to do a lot
better even to make it to the major leagues.
John (North Carolina): Did the Astros get anything of actual value for Keppinger?
Sosa and Stoffel could fit as middle
relievers, and maybe Stoffel could become a set-up man. But Keppinger
wasn't going to be in Houston when the Astros were ready to contend
again (which would be a few years), so the deal made sense.
Toni (Philly PA): WHat kind of player do you see Pedro Alvarez becoming?
Still believe in him. The elite college
hitters almost always pan out. I've been surprised by how much he has
struck out as a pro, but I still see him becoming at least a .275/25 HR
guy, if not more. Do see him as more of a first baseman than a third
Aaron (Frankfort): Drew Pomeranz. Are you
concerned anout a third-pitch development? Fastball and knuckle-curve
are solid but is the third pitch offering gonna end forcing him to the
pen? Some starters get by fine with two plus pitches, can he do the
As a lefty who can rack up strikeouts with
his fastball and curve, the changeup isn't as important. I still see him
as a frontline starter, even if the changeup is just adequate.
Chris (Richmond): Castellanos. Are you buying or selling? he seems to have really turned a corner.
Been buying ever since I saw him at the
Under Armour Game two years ago. He has been hitting well, especially
considering his home ballpark and league. One of the best third-base
prospects in the entire minors.
Carlos (San Diego, CA): Hey Jim- Can you give a
disgruntled Padre fan some good news? Someone to look foward to seeing
or a pleasant surprise in the minors?
I do think Jedd Gyorko is for real. James
Darnell is legit, too. I like their draft, assuming they can sign all of
their top picks. How's that?
Todd (Campbell, Mizzou): (Lightning Round) Rank these likely 3B prospects, just on their bats: Arenado, Flores, Cowart, Castellanos
Not lightning round yet. I'll go
Castellanos, Arenado (could flip those two), Cowart, Flores. Wouldn't
put Flores in same group as the other three.
Nick (New Jersey): Robbie Erlin or Joe Wieland? Who would you pick and why?
Erlin. Similar stuff, give me the guy who's lefthanded and younger.
ittox (Puerto Rico): Can you make a quick Chicago Cubs top 10 prospects including the ones drafted in 2011?
That's an Ask BA question, not a chat
question. Top three prospects in order for me right now would be Brett
Jackson, Matt Szczur, Javier Baez. Could debate various combinations of
those three, too.
Jeff (San Diego): Commissioner Callis, congratulations on being appointed for the day. What is your plan to tweak the draft?
Short answer: I'd do away with the stupid
slotting process, shorten the draft to 25 rounds, institute a July 1
signing deadline and let teams do whatever they want without
interference from my office.
Ballboy (watercooler): Does Tim Beckham not have the hands/arm/footwork for SS? If not, why not move him now rather than later? Does he fit in CF?
Thanks for the insights.
Depends on who you talk to. Rays are still
holding out hope. They have Upton and Jennings for CF, and I don't think
Beckham runs well enough to play there. He's more of a 3B or RF if he
has to move.
Jim (Philly): Is Domonic Brown for Beltran just an insane rumor? How could the Phillies spend such talent on a rental?
Sounds insane to me. That would be quite
foolish of the Phillies. They look like a playoff lock and have as much
chance to win it all as anyone without doing something like that.
Mully (Belmont, CA): Does Eric Surkamp have the potential to be a 5th starter for Giants in a year or two?
Chris (Pittaburgh): Just an obligatory "Josh Bell signs with the Pirates" question. Good chance, some chance, or no chance?
My answer remains the same: Almost no chance.
Wally (DC): With Purke not playing the Cape
league, how high do you think the Nats can actually convince themselves
to go, based on previous injuries? If they can't get to $3m, there is
no realistic chance of him signing, right?
Talked about this some in Ask BA this week.
If the Nationals believe Purke is fully healthy, it still would be nice
to see him in game action. It's going to cost around $9 million to sign
their top three picks, and I can maybe see the Nationals going to $3
million for Purke. But I'm not convinced he'll sign for that. I think he
and his family would be more likely to have him return to Texas
Christian and believe he could get paid more as the No. 1 pick in the
Bevan (SLC): Jim, Yonder Alonso/Yasmani
Grandal/B prospect for James Shields. The Rays promote Moore to take
Shields spot, and get a very good (and inexpensive) 1B & C of the
future. Who says no to this deal?
That type of trade would make a lot of
sense for both clubs. Maybe with Todd Frazier as the third prospect?
Would the Reds give up Billy Hamilton? That said, premium starters are
so hard to find, that the Rays would be more likely to say no. They
might want a better prospect to headline the deal. It would be hard to
deal Shields and not get someone who'd make an immediate impact in Tampa
BL (Bozeman, MT): After nine months or so, how do you view the Greinke trade of last winter?
At the time, I thought the Royals did as
well as they could have if they felt they had to deal Greinke and wanted
up-the-middle help. Seven months later, I think both sides are pretty
happy with how it worked out. Odorizzi might be the best guy Kansas City
got in the deal, and Greinke could help pitch Milwaukee into the
brad (detroit): Would you rather have James Shields for 3 years or Justin turner for 5-6?
How is this trade proposal...Shields for Turner, Rob Brantly and Bruce Rondon.
I assume you mean Jacob Turner. If I were
the Tigers, I'd hate to give up Jacob Turner but could live with dealing
the other two guys, and Shields is so affordable for the next three
years. The decision would be made easier by the fact that there's no way
the Rays would make that deal.
Thomas (Nothern Va.): Andrew Brackman was moved
to the bullpen, and his command issues continue. Do you think (at this
point) he'll turn things around and possibly become Rivera's
replacement? Or is it time to called the 25 year old a bust? Thanks.
Wouldn't call him a total bust, but also
wouldn't project him as a closer either. Looks like a set-up man at
best, and he has to improve a lot to get to that point. His contract is
the most inexplicable in draft history.
Brian (Nashville): Do you think Dan O'Dowd is
seriously considering trading Ubaldo Jiminez, or is he just testing the
market? What would it take to acquire him?
More the later. I believe they'd trade him
if they got overwhelmed with an offer, similar to the Diamondbacks
testing the water with Justin Upton last offseason.
mhed (Valpo): I know you've been ultra-high on
Jason Heyward, stating he'll be the best OF'er in the NL East for years
to come...so is this a sophomore slump he's enduring, or something more
to "worry" about? He hasn't made any adjustments this year, and he's
comparable to grandma's best china dishes! (FRAGILE!)
What's the deal with him???
He's 21. I still love him.
Rick (NY): Thoughts on Ryan Lavarnway's future in the bigs?
Still not sure he'll be more than an
adequate defender behind the plate, and he'll have to work to stay in
tip-top shape so he can do that, but he's doing it. He's hitting so well
that at some point soon the Red Sox will have to see what he can do.
Gut feel is he's more of a backup C/1B/DH type than an everyday C.
Tim (Chicago): Should Cubs fans be excited about how well Josh Vitters has adjusted to AA?
He's still only 21, and he still almost
never takes a walk. I wouldn't get excited, but I do think he can be a
big league regular.
Matt (NJ): the best non-cosart phillies pitching prospect is?
Trok (MLB Mancave): Who are your early picks for 2012 AL/NL ROY's?
Off the top of my head, Brett Lawrie and Devin Mesoraco.
Navin (Pasadena, CA): How good a chance do the Cubs have of signing either Maples or Dunston?
I'm hearing they'll get Dunston done. Maples will be the tougher sign.
Shoshana (Boston): Any prospects for O's fans to get excited about (already in the system) besides Schoop and Machado?
If you can wait until Aug. 15, Dylan Bundy. Machado and Schoop are the clear current standouts.
Tony (Frederick, MD): Speaking of the Greinke
deal, what was your take on the Garza deal back then (and how it
compared to the Greinke deal), and what is your take on the Garza deal
now? I am a big fan of Chirinos, who, after a bad April, has really
swung a good bat, and Guyer has blossomed. Lee still garners the hype,
and Archer still seems to have the stuff to make it in the pen, at the
Thought the Cubs paid a lot, though the
players they gave up were somewhat redundant in their system, but they
had some sense of desperation in trying to make the big league club
better. Thought it made perfect sense for the Rays with Hellickson ready
to step in. The Cubs' season hasn't gone as they hoped, but I bet both
teams would make the trade again.
Sorry again for the delay, and hope I made
up for it by answering questions for 90 minutes. If I didn't get to
yours, try me on Twitter (via @jimcallisBA). If you have a longer
question, submit it to our weekly Ask BA column via
firstname.lastname@example.org (include name and hometown). Thanks!