Jim Callis Chat: June 27
Mike (New York): In the past, Baseball America
writers have consistently stated that Wheeler "pie in the sky" ceiling
is that of a number 2 starter. With a fastball that now sits at 95-97,
better off speed stuff, and improved command, does he now have a ceiling
of a number 1?
Personally, I think people are splitting
hairs between No. 1 and No. 2 starters, and there aren't many true No.
1s to begin with. I use "frontline" or "front-of-the-rotation" starters.
Whatever you want to call him, Wheeler is an outstanding pitching
Bob (San Diego): How would you rate the Padres
draft and what players stand out to you from their draft? Also, do you
hear any rumblings of who they might sign on July 2nd? Thanks!
I expect the Padres will sign the rest of
their guys in the first 10 rounds (Travis Jankowski, Walker Weickel,
Walter Lockett) soon. Their draft looks good, helped by the fact they
had four picks before the second round. Max Fried at No. 7 might be the
best pitcher in the entire draft. They got a lot more good arms with
guys like Zach Eflin, Weickel and Lockett, and I like what Jankowski
brings to the mix with his speed and defense. There are a lot of strong
arms and speedsters in this crop. Ben Badler is our international
expert, so I'll let you email him at email@example.com on
the second question. He knows a trillion times more than I do on that
Rory (Mexico): Hello Jim,
Do you see Oscar Taveras and Nick Castellanos as future all-star type
talent? Do you see Taveras 60/high rating change to maybe a 65/medium
after such a great year?
I do see both those guys as future
all-stars. Haven't thought about the BA Grades recently, but will have
to because the start of our Handbook work is only 2-3 months away. I'd
say more 65/High or 60/Medium rather than bump him up in both regards.
Itto (Aguadilla PR): Hi Jim, do you see Cubs 3B Jaimer Candelario as a Cubs top 10 and BA top 100 by the end of the year?
Cubs Top 10 if he keeps this up. Not too
many short-season guys make the Top 100 Prospects list, so he's probably
at least a year away from that.
JT (Rockville, MD): Brett Jackson has solid
across-the-board tools. He has a decent approach, decent eye. Bat
speed doesn't seem to be an issue. He has shown enough power that if he
has to move to a corner role, he should have enough power for it. So
... what is his problem? He's had two awful stretches this year where
the K's were close to 50%. Swing mechanics? It's been noted there's a
hole in his swing, but it didn't sound that major. Breaking balls? But
... it's not like he can't recognize spin, so what is it about breaking
It just seems like an odd ... package, a guy with a decent eye,
reportedly not a hacker (in terms of wildly swinging at things), yet
striking out at such a high rate.
His swing isn't as long as it was in
college but it gets too mechanical at times and he always has had some
swing-and-miss issues—though not to the extent he has shown in 2012. I
think you sum it up well by calling it an odd package. He's going to
draw some walks but he's always going to strike out and probably won't
hit for a high average. I like him as a prospect, but he's always been
more of a solid player than a superstar, and the excessive strikeouts
this year have knocked down my opinion of him some.
Joe (Milwaukee): Did you notice a particular
tipping point in which the majority of major league teams started
"punting" their draft picks by taking guys based on cheaper price tags?
If so, is this an indication that the slots at/beyond these picks are
set too high and should be lowered in future years (i.e. the best
available talent was not worth the slot price tag so savings became
preferable)? Flip side: does the desire of teams to save in later rounds
in order to overpay Rounds 1+ indicate those slots are set too low and
should be raised? Counter to the flip: clearly the Astros deemed no
player worthy of a $7.2 million bonus. How differently would the new
system play out in a draft loaded with star talent?
Well, it started at the top of the draft.
The pick values negotiated between MLB and the MLBPA were set high at
the top to give the worst teams more room to sign players. Look at what
the Astros have done, taking Carlos Correa No. 1 overall and saving
enough to spend big on Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz. Those pick
values won't be lowered because the draft is working the way MLB wanted.
(In the grand scheme of things, I don't think the MLBPA really cares
much how the draft works as long as the draftees aren't getting horribly
taken advantage of.)
Ben (Miamisburg, OH): In what order would you
rank the top arms in the Reds system after taking pitchers the last two
years in rd 1 of the draft (Corcino, Stepenson, Travieso, Cingrani,
Tough call, because those guys are mostly close. I'd say Stephenson, Cingrani, Corcino, Travieso, Sulbaran, Romano.
Dwayne (Greensburg, PA): Jim, thanks for the
chat. Assuming that the Pirates sign Appel. Do any other organizations
have as much upside pitching in their system? Who comes the closest?
To me, a Cole/Taillon/Appel trio would be
the best threesome of pitching prospects in the game. Right behind them
would be Walker/Hultzen/Paxton with the Mariners. Bauer/Skaggs/Bradley
would be right there, too, but Bauer is in the majors.
Roger (Greenville, SC): When will we see Bubba Starling play? I'm surprised he's not already on a rookie or short season team.
Any day now. He was always destined for Rookie ball this summer, and hamstring issues have delayed his debut.
Marco (PA): Should Rays fans have intrigue in Archer's first performance as a sign that he has started to fix some of his control woes?
He definitely has an intriguing arm. I
wouldn't say he's fixing his control woes based on his first two big
league starts, because before that he was averaging 5.3 BB/9 in
Triple-A. If he can improve his control and command, he's a late-inning
reliever in the long run. And might be anyway on Tampa Bay's deep staff.
Jim (Boston): Who has higher upside Tyler Austin or Alen Hanson?
I'd say Hanson because he's a middle
infielder, though I do like Austin's bat more. Those are two of the best
breakout prospects this year, undoubtedly.
Greg Hines (arizona): when is the mid season top 50 out? Do you see Austin Hedges as top 50 prospect or near?
It will be in the issue we're currently
working on, which goes to print toward the end of next week (the list
should be online around the same time). I don't see Hedges quite in the
Top 50, but he's in the discussion.
John (La Habre, CA): What is the deal with the
Giants being so slow to sign their top ten round guys? At this point
shouldn't Agosta and Williamson be signed? Also do you think they will
sign for slot?
With only five guys signed in the top 10
rounds, the Giants are tied with the Orioles for the lowest number in
baseball. I've been surprised by that, too, as I don't see the Giants'
picks as tough signs or guys who were drafted out of whack with how good
they are. I still think they'll sign all those guys for close to pick
Josh (west babylon): Where does Kyle Zimmer rank in the Royals farm system? and what do his pitchers grade out as?
Both his fastball and curveball are
plus-plus pitches at their best, his changeup could be a plus pitch down
the road and his slider projects as average. I'd take him over any
pitcher in the Royals system and would rate him as Kansas City's
third-best prospect, behind Wil Myers and Bubba Starling.
Bill L (Bozeman, MT): When folks ask me about TDA I tell them inside the park is great, outside it will never be the same. Your thoughts?
I feel the exact same way. It's a beautiful
park, much easier to get in and out of than Rosenblatt, but I miss the
Rosenblatt atmosphere. And as John Manuel points out, with the new bats
and new park, it's just about impossible to hit a home run at TD
Ameritrade unless you pull the ball down the line. It's like watching
deadball era baseball at times.
Mets Fan (Queens): Lets hear a little bit about Wheeler for all the non-insiders
Great fastball, improved slider and
changeup, also has a curveball. Really maturing into one of baseball's
best pitching prospects.
Fred (New York): He's not Adam Dunn, but George
Springer is striking out a ton. He rising or dropping in your personal
top 100 list given the monster secondary skills on the one hand but on
the other wondering if he'll hit enough to use them?
That's who George Springer was supposed to
be. Tremendous package of tools mitigate by swing-and-miss issues. My
opinion of him really hasn't changed from what it was going into or
coming out of the 2011 draft.
Luke (Oakland): What is the latest on Michael Ynoa? Is he going to pitch this season?
I'm at the point where I'm not sure Ynoa really exists.
Ted (St. Louis, MO): Is there a rule requiring a
team to offer a certain percent of slot in order to be eligible to
receive another pick next year for not signing a player?
No. A team doesn't have to make an offer to
player in order to receive a compensation pick for not signing him.
Compensation only applies to players drafted in the first three rounds.
Fred (New York): Gerrit Cole's been awfully
consistent and effective, maybe more so than expected. Where does that
put his expected arrival time, assuming he continues apace and the liner
off the neck (yikes!) is just a small bump in the road.
I think he'll be in Pittsburgh early next
year, after his free agency (and perhaps his arbitration) are delayed
for an extra season.
@Jaypers413 (IL): I see Anthony Alford has returned home to play football. When can we expect him back on the diamond?
Next June. He'll be tied up with school until then.
Gary (NJ): Are collge seniors in a worse
position with negotiating then before. Is there added pressure on
college juniors to sign or get the "senior" treatment?
I don't think so. Garden-variety college
seniors didn't get paid much in the past either. Now they're just
getting drafted earlier so clubs can save money in their bonus pools. As
for juniors, for the most part they usually want to sign so I don't
believe that has changed much either.
@Jaypers413 (IL): How certain are you that all first rounders will get signed at this point, from 1 to 10?
I'll say an 8. I don't think the Nationals
would have taken Lucas Giolito if they didn't think they'd sign him, and
in the end, I think Mark Appel will accept $4 million or so from the
Pirates rather than re-enter the 2013 draft. If any of the other eight
currently unsigned first-rounders don't turn pro, I would be surprised.
Ted (St. Louis, MO): You mentioned that Ramsey
received the 5th highest bonus for a college senior. Do you see him as
being on par with those other players, talent-wise?
The Cardinals better hope he's better than
that, because Matt LaPorta, Kenny Baugh, Casey Weathers and Josh Fields
haven't turned out too well. All those guys ranked higher on our
predraft rankings than Ramsey (No. 51 on the BA 500), but I do like
Ramsey's bat and love his makeup. If he can play second base, all the
Tom (San Francisco, CA): Jim, do you envision the Jays getting Stroman, DeJong & Kellogg into the fold? Thanks.
Stroman and DeJong, yes. Not sure there will be enough money left to sign Kellogg, though I don't know his asking price.
Ted (St. Louis, MO): How surprised were you to see that Ramsey had signed so close to slot?
As a senior, I thought he'd come in closer
to $1.25 million than the $1.775 million pick value (he got $1.6
million). But it sounds like there were teams close behind the Cardinals
willing to pay him if he got to them, so that helped.
Ted (St. Louis, MO): With Taveras playing so
well in Springfield, as well as Miller struggling in Memphis, how close
would you say he is to taking the spot as the #1 prospect in the Cards'
Very close. I think you can make an argument for either guy. I'm leaning toward Taveras.
Jack (Toronto): Jim, if buying out a college
football commitment in the future wouldn't count against any draft
budget, do you see teams exploiting this by signing players for under
slot with wink, wink deals of giving them the rest of whatever they want
in a year? I know teams typically like to control their players
exclusively and injury is always a concern, but this almost sounds like a
good approach for some teams to encourage a player or two to go this
route and allocate some of that players slot amount to other picks in
the current draft.
It will be interesting to see how this
plays out. I assume you're asking in regard to Anthony Alford, and
there's plenty of precedent of teams ripping up a football player's
original draft contract and giving him more money to focus solely on
baseball. If there's any prearranged deal, that would be against MLB
rules. But if it happens naturally, it seems fair to me. There are so
few legitimate baseball prospects playing college football, though, so I
don't see it becoming a huge issue.
Mitch (NJ): More I read about Albert Almora,
more I wonder if he was slightly over-hyped. Nice, all around talent
with good tools ... but doesn't seem to have elite tools. Why were
folks so high on him, or was it a byproduct of this draft?
I wouldn't say he has elite tools, but he
has good tools that play up because of great instincts. His ceiling may
not be quite as high as some of the guys at the top of this draft, but
his floor isn't as low as theirs either.
Aaron (Metroplex): Does Profar change positions, or how do you project him in Texas or do you see him being trade bait?
Depends on whether he sticks with the
Rangers. If he does, I believe Andrus stays at shortstop and Profar may
go to second base and push Kinsler to the outfield. If he gets traded,
no reason Profar can't stay at shortstop.
I'm off to chase some more draft signings
and peruse our in-progress Midseason Top 50 Prospects list. Ask BA
returns on Monday, and I'll be back to answer more questions next
Wednesday. See you then!