Draft Chat: Jim Callis

Moderator: Jim Callis will take your draft questions starting at 1 p.m. ET.

 Q:  Chris Pierce from Chicago, IL asks:
Hi, Any word on what the Chicago Cubs are going to do with their 1st round pick??? Since they do not have picks in the 2nd-4th rounds, I would like them to take a chance on a potential high impact talent like Kyle Drabek…Any chance he falls that far???

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Just got off the phone with another draft-related call, but I’ll be here for the next hour. There’s still a lot of uncertainty in this draft, starting at the top with the Royals at No. 1, so all the speculation you’ll here from me in the next hour is mostly just that—speculation. I keep hearing hitters to the Cubs at No. 13, such as New Jersey HS 3B Billy Rowell or Washington HS OF Travis Snider, maybe California HS C Hank Conger. There’s a very good chance that Drabek will be there, but I haven’t heard the Cubs mentioned as a team that would take him.

 Q:  henry from phoenix asks:
What do you think the D-backs will do with the first pick? and with their other draft selections?

Jim Callis: The Diamondbacks lean heavily toward college players and I don’t expect that to change, despite them taking Justin Upton No. 1 a year ago. They’re also not afraid to take tough signs, either so a Scott Boras client could be a possibility. At No. 11, I suspect they’ll take a college pitcher, the strength of this draft. Among the candidates will be Nebraska’s Joba Chamberlain, Missouri’s Max Scherzer and the Fort Worth Cats’ Luke Hochevar. Two of those three will probably be available.

 Q:  Chris from Milwaukee, WI asks:
Do you have any insight as to who the Brewers looking at picking in the draft? College pitcher perhaps?

Jim Callis: Teams don’t usually draft for need in the first round, but a college pitcher would make a lot of sense for the Brewers and also is the strength of this draft. Milwaukee hasn’t paid more than slot money to land a tough sign, so I don’t think it would take someone who fell because of money. They could be looking at North Carolina RHP Daniel Bard, Texas RHP Kyle McCulloch or Missouri State RHP Brett Sinkbeil. It’s also a possibility that so many college pitchers will go that they will pop the best player available, which could be a high school bat.

 Q:  MacMariner from Portland, OR asks:
Is it realistic to expect that either Lincoln or Miller will fall to the M’s at no.5? Also, who gets to the Majors first: Miller, Lincecum, Linoln or Hochevar.

Jim Callis: Realistic? No. But in this draft, nothing would be totally shocking. I do think Lincecum could be there, and I continue to hear Hochevar to the Mariners more than anyone else. Of the guys you listed, Lincecum gets to the majors first.

 Q:  james from texas asks:
what round will matt laporta be drafted

Jim Callis: Very good question. Coming into the year, he looked like the top college power hitter available. But he had a minor injury and has struggled, and he’s represented by Scott Boras. Does he expect a big bonus andor a major league contract? That will have a bearing on where he goes. I don’t think he goes until the late first round at the earliest, but I suspect that Boras has a destination in mind that he’s trying to steer him to. If he went in the second round, that wouldn’t be a shock.

 Q:  KL from Westboro, MA asks:
I was surprised to see Rice’s Eddie Degerman ranked at 153 on your top 200 list since he’s been dominating this year. Is his age a strike against him, or does he just not project well?

Jim Callis: I addressed Degerman in yesterday’s Ask BA . . . He has great numbers, to put it mildly, but he’s also a fifth-year senior with a straight-over-the-top delivery that bothers scouts. He’ll go a lot higher than the 41st round, where the Red Sox took him last year, and he should perform very well in the lower minors to start his career. He’ll probably go in the fifth-10th round, and he’ll save a team money because he has little leverage.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
It appears the Tigers are high on Clayton Kershaw and Drew Stubbs, however, if Luke Hochevar is available, would he warrant consideration at #6? Is Hochevar closing the gap on Miller, Lincoln, and Lincecum?

Jim Callis: It depends on who you talk to about Hochevar. His fastball and slider have been plus pitches, while his command and ability to hold his stuff for more than a few innings have been affected by his layoff (not a long-term concern, but he’s not in peak form in those areas). One scouting director told me he looked like he did a year ago, before he faded a little toward the end of the college season. It sounds like he will get a major league contract from someone, perhaps the Mariners at No. 5. Would I take him over Miller, Lincoln or Lincecum? I would not. I keep hearing Kershaw and Stubbs to the Tigers as well and have not heard Hochevar mentioned there. You’re really talking apples and oranges (and I guess grapes there): HS pitcher, perhaps the only premium up-the-middle position player in the draft (though with questions about the bat) and an older pitchers who has engendered some concerns about his toughness with the way negotiations with the Dodgers went. You could probably put those three guys in any order, though we went Kershaw, Stubbs, Hochevar on our Top 200.

 Q:  Snapper Bean from Greater Kensington asks:
Phillies GM Pat Gillick said the other day that he believes in High RiskHigh Reward type of picks? Is that consistent with what you think the Phillies will do in the first couple of rounds? Who have you heard associated with the Phillies? Thanks.

Jim Callis: That has been Gillick’s M.O. in the past, so that’s not surprising. And it fits one of the names we’ve heard associated with the Phillies: Louisiana HS OF Jered Mitchell, a football recruit (wide receiver) by LSU. He’s a great athlete with a ton of tools and not much baseball experience, a classic high-riskhigh-reward guy.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
Are any teams considering drafting Kyle Drabek as a Shortstop since this position is a bit lean this year?

Jim Callis: Not seriously, no. Though I have had one scout tell me that he thinks you could make a case that Drabek is the best high school position player in the draft, as he’s very similar to Billy Rowell and at least has a chance to stick at shortstop. But he’s too good as a pitcher not to keep him on the mound. I also had someone tell me that when Drabek is on, his fastball-curveball combo is the best 1-2 combo in the entire draft.

 Q:  Work Sucks from Kentucky asks:
With Kentucky being knocked out of the SEC tourney, is there still a chance for them to host a regional?

Jim Callis: We’ll throw in a bonus college question. College guru Will Kimmey says yes, that winning the SEC regular-season counts for a lot and they may still host if the SEC gets four host bids.

 Q:  KL from Westboro, MA asks:
Who projects to be the better hitter (ignoring defense) – Billy Rowell or Travis Snider? How high in the draft could each of them go?

Jim Callis: Snider is a slightly better hitter. Rowell will probably go ahead of him because he can play third base, while Snider will be a left fielder or first baseman.

 Q:  Fish from Tampa, FL asks:
In your last HS Top 100, Sam Dyson was ranked #30. Now, he’s not even listed in the Top 200. Is that an oversight? How can an athletic kid who has hit 97 not be in the Top 200? I hear he is a 2-4 round pick.

Jim Callis: Alan Matthews handled Florida for us, and here’s what he had to say: He probably could have been, very easily, but just missed the cut. He has well-above-avg arm strength, with a fastball that has been up to the mid-90s, but it’s a flat pitch with little life that he doesn’t get on top of well. He very well may be drafted in the first three rounds, but because his fastball lacks life and his secondary stuff is all fringy, you’re having to project quite a bit on him, and we decided not to rank him.

 Q:  Will from Boone’s Farm asks:
Which way do you see the Twins going? Seems like this draft is all pitching and the Twins need bats in their system.

Jim Callis: That’s an accurate assessment on both counts. I think the Twins will take a position guy at No. 20. We’ve heard names like Mitchell or Tennessee HS OF Kyle Burke or South Carolina HS Jason Place. Maybe one of the bigger-name bats will fall to them, like Snider or Conger.

 Q:  Andrew from Athens, GA asks:
Where do Brooks Brown, Joey Side, and Josh Morris of UGA look to fall? I’ve seen reports of Brown as high as 16. Will any other UGA player’s get drafted?

Jim Callis: Those are the top three guys from my alma mater. Brown probably won’t get past the supplemental first round, and Morris will probably go in the third to fifth round. Side could go in the first five rounds as well, and one of the craziest rumors we’ve heard this spring had him going in the first round. That seems to be a little much.

 Q:  Eric from Dallas asks:
It seems like such a weak year for position players that they will get drafted higher than their talent should. Do you see any of these players getting into the second round, Derrick Robinson, Lars Anderson, or Jason Place? Also what round do you think Torre Langley will get drafted in? Thanks for these terrific chats!

Jim Callis: All those guys are late-first-roundsupplemental-roundsecond-round type talents, so they could fall into round two. But you’re right, a lot of position guys will get overdrafted, and someone mentioned to me yesterday that they think we’ll see a run on HS hitters in the second half of the first round. Georgia high schoolers Torre Langley is one of the best defensive catchers in the draft, but his bat is questionable. He could go in the third round if a team believes he’ll hit.

 Q:  tiffythetitan from Oakland, CA asks:
From an LA Times article today: A few years ago, Colletti’s mentor Sabean said, “Quite frankly, we’re very reluctant to overspend in the draft ‘¦ because it’s so fallible. Our focus is spending as much as we can and being as wise as we can at the major league level and using the minor leagues as a supplement and not necessarily leaning on it totally.” Ok, so does being wise at the major league level include giving up a first rounder for Michael Tucker or a second rounder for Tim Worrell? I can understand the philosophy to a certain extent only because Sabean has been successful but I just think it’s bad asset management on any level. Where’s the line between leaning on the farm system totally and not being able to count on it at all?

Jim Callis: I noticed that story, too. I think it’s very easy to look at the draft from almost any perspective and determine that any strategy will not be productive . . . because the draft is not productive. That said, I can’t just see throwing away picks. The result is you get a lackluster farm system, which is what the Giants have. Look at the Phillies and the Mariners or the Yankees, who also have sacrificed a ton of picks. Building through the draft is cheaper than signing free agents, too, but requires more patience.

 Q:  Ace from Detroit, MI asks:
Will Allard Baird and Deric Ladnier be around much longer to oversee the draft? I think Ladnier has done an admirable job selecting the likes of Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, however I don’t see Baird being around much longer. Do the Royals select Andrew Miller?

Jim Callis: It sounds like there will be a lot of turnover in Kansas City, probably shortly after this draft. Still uncertain what the Royals will do. We’ve heard everything from Miller to Brad Lincoln to cutting a deal with Tim Lincecum to even Luke Hochevar. What they need to do is to determine who they think the best player is and sign him. Anything else is intolerable for a franchise that has become a joke. They have the money to sign whichever guy they prefer.

 Q:  Ray from Portland Or asks:
Who do you think the Padres are looking at # 17. The Padres just sign Rey Garramone a draft and follow. I was woundering are they going to sign Aaron Briet and Drew Miller the top 10 JC players in the Draft.

Jim Callis: The easy guess (and the way I went in our initial projection) is to give Grady Fuson, who’s overseeing scouting and player development for San Diego, a polished pitcher: Texas RHP Kyle McCulloch. Missouri State RHP Brett Sinkbeil could be another possibility. Breit and Miller are two of the best JC prospects in the Midwest. I’m not sure of their price tag, which will play a large part in San Diego’s decision. They have until midnight Monday to lock those guys up.

 Q:  Jerry from Clarks Summit Pa asks:
Why has Colin Curtis of ASU dropped out of the top 100 draft prospects for the 2006 draft?

Jim Callis: He’s one of the best college outfielders available, but he doesn’t have a high ceiling or a standout plus tool. He projects as a fourth outfielder at the big league level.

 Q:  Daniel Kresse from Keene, NH asks:
Jim, I was surprised to not see our former Swampbat & NEBCL MVP Jim Negrych (2b, Pitt) not on the Top 200 Prospect list. Any idea where he falls?

Jim Callis: He just missed . . . we discussed him for the Top 200 and ultimately left him off. He’s similar to Colin Curtis, in that Negrych is a good college player but doesn’t have a high pro ceiling. He’ll go in the fifth-seventh round, probably.

 Q:  Ryan from Houston asks:
Any word on what the Astros will do? I sure hope they pick a hitter…possibly Chris Parmelee…sweet swinging 1BOF…any Lance Berkman comps?

Jim Callis: I like Parmelee, too, but he hasn’t shown that kind of power yet. Sounds like the Astros most likely will go for a pitcher, probably a college but also perhaps Oklahoma HS LHP Brett Anderson.

 Q:  John from Vista CA asks:
What do you think about Jeremy Barfield brother of 2b Josh Barfield of the Padres? What round wiil he go? Will he be a pitcher of a outfielder

Jim Callis: Defintely an outfielder. He wants to sign, and he’ll probably go in the third to fifth round. He’s one of the better HS hitters in Texas, and he has those good bloodlines to boot.

 Q:  Frank from Denver asks:
Here’s what I don’t understand. Why not draft Hochevar and offer him the same bonus that the Dodgers were willing to give him- with no room for negotiation? It seems highly unlikely to me that he has much negotiating power- he’s not going to sit out another year. Even with Boras as his agent, he won’t want to become the next #1 pick working at Best Buy.

Jim Callis: I had this conversation with someone today. How does Hochevar have any leverage, really? Why not offer him the $2.98 million he initially agreed to, or even slot money based on where he goes in the draft. Is he really going to sit out another year. Yet I continue to hear he’ll get a major league contract. Fort Worth Cats teammate Matt Harrington must be shaking his head.

 Q:  Matt from PA asks:
Any idea where Pennsylvania players Jim Negrych and Matt McBride will go in the draft?

Jim Callis: Just handled Negrych. McBride might be the best all-around catcher in the draft, at least in terms of being solid both offensively and defensively. We might have him ranked a tad low in the Top 200, and I could see him going as high as the third round.

 Q:  J.D. from Fort Collins, CO asks:
Good afternoon. What is the lastest from Bill Schmidt and the Rockies’ camp? Are they still looking hard at Evan Longoria? Thanks.

Jim Callis: We continue to hear they’ll take Andrew Miller or Longoria, in that order.

 Q:  PHIL D. from SEATTLE asks:
Who do you think the Devil Rays are leaning towards with the 3rd pick? Do you think Dallas Buck will go late in the 1st round or fall to the 2nd or 3rd?

Jim Callis: They’ll get a college pitcher, most likely Houston’s Brad Lincoln. Buck is another guy who’s tough to figure. His stuff has been down and he has some elbow issues. A lot will depend on his signability.

 Q:  WILL from CALIFORNIA asks:
How does Lars Anderson one tool figure in this years draft.

Jim Callis: If you count hitting and hitting for power as separate, he has two tools—and those are the two most important tools. Could sneak into the late first round, probably a supplemental first-round choice.

 Q:  David from Las Vegas, NV asks:
The Denver Post said the other day the Rockies have focused their attention on Brad Lincoln and Evan Longoria, assuming the Royals take Andrew Miller. Who should the Rox take-Longoria or Lincoln? Who would present the best value for the Rockies in the long-term? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I would take Lincoln. I like Longoria, and he’s the best position player in the draft, but he’s more just solid than a guy you build a lineup around. Lincoln should be a No. 2 starter, maybe more. And I’d love to see him get to hit in Coors Field.

 Q:  eric from Moundsville W.V asks:
The Pirates, prior to the last two years, have apparently made selections in the first round not based on the best projected talent but upon how quickly a prospect can reach the majors. Do you see that happening again?

Jim Callis: I don’t see that, Eric. They’ve taken two high school position players in a row, Neil Walker and Andrew McCutchen. I think they’re going to take the best player available (the only strategy that makes sense at No. 4), and that’s probably going to be a college pitcher like California RHP Brandon Morrow, Stanford RHP Greg Reynolds or Nebraska RHP Joba Chamberlain. Maybe Texas HS LHP Clayton Kershaw if Kevin McClatchy would permit it.

 Q:  James from Baltimore asks:
Doesnt it seem wise for teams that lack a lot of position player talent in their system to draft proven “baseball players” instead of toolsy, projectable guys? It seems that teams like Arizona and LAA could take toolsy guys, because they also have a ton of guys who know how to hit. It seems that it would be harder to “teach a guy to hit” then to find a position for a guy who might not be a superb athlete, but knows the fundamentals of the game. If the Phillies take Jared Mitchell, it smells like Jeff Jackson and Greg Golson all over again.

Jim Callis: That’s the problem. It’s easy to dream on the toolsy guys, but it’s also easy to get burned on them. I’m in the school of thought that if you have concerns about a guy’s bat or swing at the amateur level (like with John Mayberry Jr. last year), he’s a good bet not to hit in the majors. As for Mitchell, it’s not that he has a bad swing or needs to fix something. It’s just that he hasn’t played much baseball, so it’s a different scenario. But in any case, he is high risk, high reward.

 Q:  Scott from Texas asks:
Could you post a schedule of your draft coverage? Last year you let us know when each state would be previewed and when the Mock Drafts and Post Draft coverage would be on your excellent site…

Jim Callis: The first state rankings went up to day, covering most of the West. Next is California, followed by Texas, the Midwest and then the East. We’ll continue to update the Draft Tracker between now and the June 6 draft, and I’ll do my annual final draft projection following 1,000 phone calls sometime late the night of the 5th or in the wee hours of the 6th. I keep making calls until I get to the point where I feel uncomfortable calling any more (usually about 2 a.m. Central).

 Q:  Ryan from Brisbane, CA asks:
Okay, you and everyone else has gone on the record saying Stanford’s Greg Reynolds has “bust” written all over him (although he’s rated #5 on your list). Do the pro team’s feel the same way and is there any chance he could experience a slide on draft day? If not, where do you see him going?

Jim Callis: I never said “bust” when I discussed him in Ask BA a couple of weeks ago. I just said it bothered me that he has size, stuff and control and doesn’t consistently dominate college hitters, which made me see him as more of a mid- to back-of-the-rotation guy than a frontline starter. Reynolds was moving up a lot of draft boards before he got hit hard by UCLA last weekend. He’ll still go in the first half of the first round unless he continues to get rocked.

Moderator: That’s it for today. Stay tuned to baseballamerica.com for continuing draft coverage—there’s plenty more to come!