Draft And Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Let’s jump right in and I’ll hope my phones don’t ring in the next hour and my texts are at a minimum.

j.renz (revere,ma): who do you think the Yankees will take with the 26th,32nd and the 33rd picks

Jim Callis: That’s deep enough in the draft that it’s hard to know who will get there, but two names I keep hearing with them are Notre Dame third baseman Eric Jagielo and New Jersey HS lefty Rob Kaminsky.

Mike (Virginia): Is breaking pitch recognition Clint Frazier's achilles heel or can he develop this skill adequately at the next level?

Jim Callis: He might need to tone down his approach a little bit at the next level, but he’s young and no reason he can’t. At his level, not like he’s going to see a lot of quality breaking balls to hone his recognition skills or ability to deal with them. Put it this way: I’m not terribly worried. He’s the most talented HS player in this draft.

Ben (Pennsylvania): Do you see Yordano Ventura having the durability to evolve into a legitimate starting pitcher, or is it more likely he will be groomed as a closer?

Jim Callis: I’d continue to develop him as a starter and he may be able to pull it off. But as a smaller guy who’s more of a two-pitch guy with intermittent command, he’s probably a reliever in the long run.

Mike (Virginia): Which college player gets taken first: Shipley or Moran?

Jim Callis: Moran. Right now, I think he goes No. 5 to the Indians. The Astros and Cubs are looking at him but I don’t see him as a top-two pick. Shipley likely will be the third college arm taken, could see him at No. 6 to the Marlins.

Mike (Virginia): How does Trey Ball compare to Henry Owens coming out of HS?

Jim Callis: Both are long, lean athletic guys, but Ball had more power to his stuff and accordingly will get drafted higher. Likely top 10 pick.

mike (kc): What are the chances that clint frazier falls to the royals? If so do you think they would take him?

Jim Callis: The Astros are kicking the tires a little on Frazier at No. 1, but I don’t think he’ll go in the first five picks. The Marlins or Red Sox could take him, with Boston being more likely. Good chance he’s there for the Royals but I think they’d go for a pitcher.

Darryl (Toronto): I know this question doesn't relate to the draft or a prospect, but what should we think about Brett Lawrie? I know it's early in his career, but shouldn't we start to see him making adjustments and showing some results? Similarly for Eric Hosmer.

Jim Callis: Agreed. Both of those guys looked like can’t-miss players and I still have faith in both of them, but I expected more from them at this point. It is worrisome.

Michael (Sleepy Hollow, NY): Jim, in my opinion Hunter Renfroe is one of the most intriguing players in the class. If you're the Mets, for instance, sitting at #11 and you can choose between Meadows and Renfroe, who do you take? Are they close enough tools-wise to justify taking Renfroe based on his elite production in the SEC? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Are you sure this isn’t John from Cary, NC? As for your question, I would take Meadows for his all-around tools. At the same time, Renfroe isn’t lacking for tools, has more power and had a better spring (against much tougher competition). You could argue for Renfroe.

Bill (Maryland): Hey Jim, thanks for the chat. Really enjoyed yesterday's podcast, particularly hearing about Tim Anderson's path. You guys touched upon it in the podcast, but I'm still shocked he hasn't been drafted before. How did he go undrafted/unsigned out of East Central/Jayhawk League last year, and what has he done this season that has made him not just a draft pick but a first rounder that he didn't do last season? Basically, how did he go from not getting drafted to first rounder in one year?

Jim Callis: Conor Glassey did a nice job with that interview. I haven’t had anyone explain to me yet how Anderson got unnoticed (or at least undrafted and unsigned) when he played in junior college and starred in the Jayhawk League. It doesn’t make sense. He was raw but he was an up-the-middle player who showed tools across the board.

Patrick (Lake Forest, CA): Where do you think Andrew Thurman and Michael Lorenzen will go in the draft? Any other prospects from the Big West that could get drafted decently early?

Jim Callis: I’m guessing second round on both, with a chance to sneak into the first for Thurman. Cal Poly’s Reid Reilly and Chase Johnson are the next-best prospects in the Big West and fit around the fifth round.

Roger (Bakersfield): Rank for best ML career...Gonzales, Clarkin, Krook, Ball?

Jim Callis: Ball, Clarkin, Krook, Gonzales based on upside and likelihood that they reach their potential. Gonzales does have the highest floor, though.

Jason (Philly): If you were drafting for the Pirates, which strategy would you take with the two first round picks? Draft best two available with less freedom in lower rounds or take 1 signability pick to allow for over slot signings?

Jim Callis: Best available. $5.6 million is more than enough to sign those two picks. They won’t have to move money around to do so. Based on how I think the draft will play out, I’d take Austin Meadows at 9 … sorry, got a phone call … at 14, crystal ball is murkier, I might be tempted by Phillip Ervin.

Ike (New York): With the Super 2 deadline looming, which top prospect do you believe will be the next to get the call?

Jim Callis: Wil Myers.

Josh Meyer (Fort Dodge, IA): Is Frazier or Meadows more likely to end up with the Twins at #4?

Jim Callis: Sorry, another phone call, but I’m back … Really don’t think either is in the mix for the Twins. If Minnesota takes a HS bat, it will be Reese McGuire.

@Jaypers413 (IL): As we await your second Mock, have there been any players who have suddenly jumped up into first round consideration?

Jim Callis: That will be out tomorrow. The guy who seems to be making the biggest push is Oral Roberts RHP Alex Gonzalez, who suddenly could go in the teens. He’s the fourth-bets college P for some clubs, behind Gray, Appel, Shipley.

frank (brooklyn): rendon played 2B the other night. Nats not getting much there at MLB level. when do you expect him up? can he play an average defense at 2B? is the bat ready?

Jim Callis: The more the Nats struggle around .500, the more likely they are to shake things up. Rendon can hit and he has destroyed Double-A since returning there. He’s a plus defender at 3B, could be average at 2B but hasn’t played there much. Won’t be as good a defender as Espinosa but a lot better bat. The bat is ready.

@InfraRen (Mars): Twins have to go BPA at #4 (I don't see the Reese McGuire as smart, or likely) if that's true, is Kohl Stewart likely to sign if taken that high? Recent tweets from him suggest he's excited for Texas A &M, but is that just agent-inspired? Also, is his stuff that much better than Trey Ball, or Braden Shipley as the "best pitcher available" or should the Twins grab Clint Frazier?

Jim Callis: Agree on best player available. Stewart will sign, the football talk is leverage, he’s not going to turn down millions to go to Texas A&M to sit behind Johnny Manziel. Once scouting director told me Stewart’s stuff is as good as Gray and Appel’s, and he’s more athletic. Clear No. 3 pitcher in draft for me, and more upside than any of them.

EverySawxFan (Around the world): Do you think there is really a chance the Red Sox go "safe" with the 7th pick? I would be bummed if that happened.

Jim Callis: Very little chance. The Red Sox have picked this high once since 1967 and they will take advantage of the rare opporunity to take a high-ceiling guy. I bet it comes down to Stewart, Frazier and Ball. Moran would make them think about him, but he won’t get to No. 8.

DJ (TO): Hey Jim, is Oscar Mercado going to be a 1st round pick? What does your gut feeling tell you?

Jim Callis: More second round because of worries about his bat.

Bob Miller (Canton, Michigan): Are there any middle infielders, other than JP Crawford, who could slip into the first round?

Jim Callis: I think Tim Anderson from East Central (Miss.) JC will. And that’s it. Not a good year for middle infielders, especially on the college side.

Joel (KCK): If Austin Meadows makes it to the Royals at #8, do you see them taking him or do Bubba Starling's troubles scare them from taking the prep bat enough to make them take someone like D.J. Peterson instead?

Jim Callis: Don’t think Starling scares them off Meadows, but they really want a pitcher. I think they take whoever’s there among Shipley, Stewart and Ball.

John (San marcos texas): did not see Kyle Finnegan on your top 250 list. where do you see him going off the board. saw him vs rice two week was up to 97

Jim Callis: He narrowly missed our 250. Finnegan has a lot of arm strength, but he lacks command and pitched his way out of the Texas State rotation. I’ll bet he goes higher than we have him listed, because it only takes one team and it’s big-time arm strength.

Keith Collins (Waltham, MA): How high do you see HS 1B-OF Dominic Smith going in the draft. Is it true he has the most advanced HS bat?

Jim Callis: That is true. I think he should go in the teens but haven’t heard his name a lot there, not sure why.

ultrahip (Boston, MA): Of the hitters that have been considered to be the top in this year's draft, in which order would you select Bryant, Moran, Frazier and Meadows?

Jim Callis: Bryant, Frazier, Meadows, Moran. Could see Moran third, go back and forth, comes down to floor vs. ceiling.

Lauren (St. Paul): If both Appel and Gray were available, who would Chicago take at 3?

Jim Callis: Good question. I have had people tell me each name with some certainty. Cubs pick at 2 actually. My gut feel tells me that they’ll get Appel–because Gray will go No. 1.

Nate (Coon Rapids, MN): Keith Law has Logan Shore ranked a lot higher than you do. Is your ranking based on talent, or sign-ability?

Jim Callis: Our rankings are based 100 percent on talent, 0 percent on signability or where we think a guy will go in the draft. I haven’t talked to Keith about Shore. The Twitter scouting report from my sources: 6-3/205, RR, some say 3rd rd (to 93, solid brk ball, strikes), others say maxed out/to 91/bel-avg brk ball & wrist action not conducive to spin, can show nice CH.

Dan (Work): How would you set the odds on who goes #1 overall between Appel, Bryant, Grey, the rest of the field?

Jim Callis: Gray 37%, Appel 35%, Bryant 28%, the field 0%.

Andy (Red Wing): How far do you think Ryan Boldt will slide with his knee injury?

Jim Callis: I think his signability (which I don’t know yet) will matter more than the meniscus surgery, which isn’t a long-term concern.

Keith Collins (Waltham, MA): How good do you see Cavan Biggio becoming? Does he have a chance to be as good as his father, or has his draft prospects increased merely because of his last name?

Jim Callis: He can hit but he’s less athletic than his father. May be tough to sign right now, could spend three years at Notre Dame. Second-round pick for some clubs if he’d sign there.

Matt (MN): wht are the chances Minnesota LHP Tom Windle lasts into the 2nd round? Can you compare Windle and Vandy LHP Kevin Ziomek?

Jim Callis: I think Windle will go in the second, don’t see him in the first round right now. He’s got more power, Ziomek has more polish, both second-rounders, split camps on both as to starter vs. reliever in the big leagues.

JT (MD): I can't help but think that Matt Szczur actually looks sort of like a decent 2nd division starter in CF. Am I crazy?

Jim Callis: That’s a very fair assessment.

John (CA): Do you think Byron Buxton could be the # 1 prospect in baseball by the end of the year ?

Jim Callis: Yes … I appear to have shifted into lightning-round mode. Still have 125+ unread questions in the queue, will try to plow through some more.

Landon (British columbia): Any chance Clint Frazier gets to the blue jays at 10?

Jim Callis: If he doesn’t go to the Red Sox at 7, I think good chance he gets to 10.

Kevin (San Diego): Hey Jim, have you heard any names associated with the Padres at 13?

Jim Callis: Frazier or Meadows if they fall, McGuire, J.P. Crawford, all the top HS bats, though I don’t think they’re locked on that demographic.

Michael (MD): The MLB draft can never really hold the fan intrigue of other sports, simply because casual fans won't follow high school players. But ... if they allowed for early round picks to be traded, that could certainly help get fans to follow. You could cap it at say, only the first 5 rounds can be dealt. A team like the Astros could try to bundle their top pick for increased quantity in a year like this. Do you think pick trading will ever occur?

Jim Callis: Yes, in a limited fashion, maybe only first-round or top-two-round choices. Allowing the trading of the comp-balance picks is a test of sorts.

Zack (Miami Beach): Where do you see Alex Gonzalez being drafted? What are the chances that he ends up going to the Marlins with their competitive balance pick? I know people are looking at him as a starter, but I also know the Marlins desperately need bullpen help.

Jim Callis: There’s an increased chance that Gonzalez doesn’t make it out of the teens. Don’t see him getting to Miami at 35.

Billy Jene (NJ): Do you think the Mets would select Ryne Stanek considering they like Arkansas players/commits (Nimmo/Fulmer/Reynolds)?

Jim Callis: The Arkansas connection doesn’t matter–they also considered Zack Cox over Matt Harvey–but they wouldn’t mind a shot at one of the top college arms. Stanek definitely could go 11.

David (San Francisco): If the A's were shopping for prep LHPs with their two picks in the sixties, who might be available there that would be a steal?

Jim Callis: Wouldn’t say “steal,” but Blake Taylor from California and Garrett Williams from Louisiana could be appealing there.

Stros Fan (Houston): If you are the Astros, and you had the option to sign Gray at the 2nd pick slot money or Bryant at the 3rd pick slot money, who would you go with and why?

Jim Callis: I’d take Gray because frontline pitching is so hard to find.

Bill (Bozeman): Who do you hope Georgia hires?

Jim Callis: I may be biased because I deal with both guys on a regular basis for Midwest draft stuff, but Kent State’s Scott Stricklin and Illinois State’s Mark Kingston are two of my favorites.

Bret (Toronto): Kiley McDaniel tweets that there is real momentum to Colin Moran going #1 to Houston. How would this affect the picks following it?

Jim Callis: I can’t really see Moran going 1-1. But if he did, it might mean that one of Gray or Appel would get to the Twins at 4, Stewart would get to the Red Sox at 7 and both Frazier and Meadows could fall out of the top 10.

rick (atlanta): First SEC and ACC players drafted?

Jim Callis: SEC: Stanek over Renfroe. ACC: Moran.

Ian (Pa): Those odds for Bryant at 1 seem much higher than they were a few weeks ago. Are teams more sold that he can stay at 3rd, more confident in the hit tool, or is the power just that good? What are the odds the other way, that he falls out of the top 3?

Jim Callis: Mostly that the power is just that good. I would be shocked if he didn’t go in the top three, would say maybe 5% chance and that feels high.

Aaron (Long Beach): Any chance the Dodgers go with hometown kid JP Crawford at 19?

Jim Callis: They might like to, but I think he comes off the board from 12-16.

Jim Callis: That’s all I have in me for today. Thanks for bearing with me during a couple of phone calls, and now I’ll return to more draft work! I look forward to chatting again next Wednesday.