Jim Callis And John Manuel Draft Chat

 Q:  Chris from Milwaukee asks:
Can you comment on the Brewers draft so far? I guess I don’t understand Matt LaPorta going that high in the draft.

John Manuel:
LaPorta is a curious pick; I talked to the area scout and he raves
about the makeup and thinks he can play LF. If he can, it’s clearly a
top 15 bat, so it could work. I didn’t think it was a great pick but
that frankly means nothing compared to Jack Zduriencik.

 Q:  Luke from Des Moines asks:
Rick Porcello, and to a greater extent Matt Harvey, slipping in the
draft, what are the chances of UNC getting one or both of them? Also,
what about Jack McGeary (Stanford), and Greg Peavey, Tanner Robles,
Garrett Nash (Oregon State)? Thanks, keep up the great work!

John Manuel:
The Tar Heels are in good shape; Porcello and Harvey are asking for a
lot of money . . . I think both could end up at UNC and if I had to
pick one with the better chance, I’d say Porcello. Nash probbaly will
sign where he was picked (fourth round). Peavey and Robles are tougher
calls, I have thought Peavey was going to college for a while and
Robles might be headed that way now too. McGeary, well, Stanford needs
him, and i hope they get him. For me it’s weird to see Stanford
struggle. The next Ryan Garko or Chris O’Riordan or Carlos Quentin or
John Hudgins needs to step forward. Sorry but I guess I’m a Cardinal

 Q:  Mike Marinaro from Tampa, FL asks:
Did the Yankees get the steal of draft nabbing Brackman at #30?

John Manuel:
he makes sense for them as a high-risk, high-reward pick, but I
wouldn’t call him a steal. I mean, he has ceiling, but he topped out at
87 in his last start and was skipped by a team that needed him for two
key starts. I would want to see more competitiveness out of him to be
sold that he will fulfill his vast potential. If any organization can
bring it out, though, it’s the Yankees, because they demand
competitiveness and they can coach pitchers (see Contreras, Nardi).

 Q:  Kevin from San Diego asks:
here in San Diego we are up in arms. This was seemingly the year to
completely restock our system. Instead of mixing in some high ceiling
talent (with 8 of the 1st 87) we picked a bunch of guys who are sure
bets to help their teams win Northwest and Arizona league titles, but
will never produce above A-ball. I mean, c’mon, Brad Chalk, Cory
Luebke??!! What is wrong with these guys? It’s no wonder they NEVER
produce impact players.

John Manuel: Great questions everyone, keep ’em rolling and thanks for being patient.

John Manuel:
Kevin I was disappointed in some ways by the Padres’ low-ceiling
approach, but when I looked deeper, I thought they did OK. Drew
Cumberland’s hitting tool is in question, for Padres fans I hope he’s
not another Drew Meyer (another middle infielder who couldn’t hit that
Grady Fuson liked). If you’re going to take mostly college guys, they
took some good ones–Kulbacki can really, really hit, and I love Canham
and Sogard. Nick Schmidt is a typical Fuson pick, LHP with
pitchability, and Grady’s track record remains pretty good. They
diversified more than I thought at first glance with Cumberland and
Toledo, a good idea.

 Q:  Chris from Pittsburgh asks:
offensively-challenged Pirates took pitchers in the first and second
round and do not seem to have anyone in their first six picks with any
real power potential. Can you offer any good news on their draft so far
that will keep me from becoming an Indians fan? Please.

John Manuel:
Not a huge Daniel Moskos fan; he’s good but at No. 4 overall, I just
thought that was a bit of a reach, and I’m surprised the Pirates went
to a pitcher. Man up and draft Wieters and sign him; that would have
been a huge shot in the arm to the organization IMO. The rest of their
picks so far don’t do a ton for me, though I ranked Duke Welker ahead
of Casey Weathers last summer in the Alaska League. I was wrong, it
would appear . . .

 Q:  Ron from Dayton, Ohio asks:
every fan of every other team, I am going to ask a question you will
hear a lot :). But what was your take on the Reds picks. In particular,
Kyle Lotzkar and Todd Frazier?
Also, what are your thoughts on Mesoraco. How does his potential
compare to Wieters (impact in the bigs) and other recently drafted
catchers in the past 5 or 10 years? He seems to have the entire package.

John Manuel:
I’m really liking the way this draft is shaping up. Mesoraco at 15 is
pretty darn good; I’m a Lotzkar fan, love the projectable Canadian
power righty, he’s also young and has now stuff. Soto, Frazier and
Cozart all were guys we were hearing could go in the second round range
and they got them all. Good early returns in Cincinnati.

 Q:  Bryan from Work asks:
How much will it cost the Yanks to sign Brackman? Is this another Drew Henson type bust waiting to happen?

John Manuel:
He’s not Henson; he wasn’t as good at his other sport, for one, and he
played college baseball and gave up hoops this spring. That said, he is
like Henson in that he’s much more projection than present stuff. The
odds of him becoming all he can be are long. In terms of bonus, Boras
wasn’t going there last night on or off the record, but you can spread
it out over five years and the Yankees can afford it.

Moderator: One more quick pause . . . sorry

 Q:  Andrew from New York asks:
What do you think of the three highschool bats the Red Sox have taken, if they sign how much of an impact will they make?

John Manuel:
Boston got Middlebrooks late, when we thought he could go at the back
of the first round. If they sign him, that could be huge. I’m a big
Ryan Dent guy, love athletes with juice like that, and then I wish I
knew a bit more about Morris but he’s a power-and-patience guy who fits
the organization’s philosophies. Dent may be the biggest deal in here,
he could be a SS, 2B or even CF and athletes are always welcome there.

 Q:  Mike from Syracuse, NY asks:
Who do you think has had the best draft so far? The Rangers have accumulated a number of quality arms, IMO.

John Manuel:
I like what the Reds have done but agree the Rangers have been very
solid so far. I’m a big Mike Main guy and Blake Beavan at 17 was very
solid. They added arms and athletes so far, a draft they needed to go
well is off to a good start. I have not been on the Toronto tip for a
while, but in terms of first days, I thought they had the best
one–diverse, premium positions, no real reaches, just thought it was
an excellent day.

 Q:  John from left field asks:
the O’s got Wieter. And they say they can sign him. Is this as good as
it looks to be for Birds fans? What becomes of Brandon Snyder? Think he
can hit well enogh to move to first?

John Manuel:
Snyder moves to 1B or even LF; he’s an athletic bat and not the catcher
Wieters is. If Wieters signs, this is huge for the O’s and I like
taking Bascom and Arrieta where they did. Significant upside potential
for the O’s.

 Q:  Jared from St. Louis asks:
Kozma at 18? Couldn’t we have gotten him at 36? Also, based on your
scouting reports seems like the Cards picked up some good arms in the
supp. and 2nd round. Your thoughts? Will they get Russell signed?

John Manuel:
Au contrare . . . I like Kozma at 18 a lot, he’s a HS bat who can stay
at SS, and he makes sense at 18, you could make the case that he’s
better than Kevin Ahrens who went at 16, and I think it was a good
pick. They took very interesting college arms, from Mortensen to Eager
to Kopp and Todd. Eager and Todd are probably relievers, and Mortensen
to me is the big key. He’s got great stuff at times, sometimes three
plus pitches, but he also had a 4.00 ERA for Gonzaga this year, that is
hard to get past sometimes. At times I think I like him as a prospect
too much, but he’s a personal fave. IF they sign Russell, I’ll be
surprised, he’s a 3rd or 4th round talent consensus with first-round
demands and the chance to go back to Texas and try to get out of a
regional, which the Longhorns haven’t done in two years. I see him
going back, just a hunch.

 Q:  Nate from Washington DC asks:
Logan White and the Dodgers over-draft their 1st 3 picks? It seems like
Withrow, Adkins, and Watt would have all been there later on. Thanks
for the great work

John Manuel:
Watt is interesting; I did our Calif. reports and couldn’t find a scout
who really liked him, but he is lefthanded and has hit 91 fairly
regularly, if not better, so there’s something there. Logan White knows
pitching, but for me that is a reach. Withrow and Adkins make
sense–Adkins can really pitch and there weren’t many lefties left, if
you wanted one you had to reach a bit. And the Dodgers did with him and
Watt. Then Withrow might have gone 25 to the White Sox, his stock had
risen late so no, I wouldn’t say he’s a reach. But I do think Watt is a

 Q:  Greg from Toronto asks:
I really don’™t understand the Brett Cecil pick by the Blue Jays. He seems more of a LOOGY than a closer or starter.

John Manuel:
No, you haven’t read the reports right then, Greg. This guy’s low 90s
with a plus-plus slider at times, and he’s shown some feel for changing
speeds. If he doesn’t start, he will move quickly as a lefty who can
get RH hitters out thanks to the plus slider. He’s better than a

 Q:  Warren from Lewisburg, PA asks:
America has compared Jason Heyward to Fred McGriff, Willie McCovey and
Frank Thomas. In addition, it sounds like he has enough speed to play
the outfield, possibly even center field. Why wouldn’t a guy like that
go higher than the 14th pick? He sounds like the best player in the
draft to me.

John Manuel:
I also think he was the best player in the draft to Atlanta, after
Price. They really liked him. HE’s a tougher guy to evaluate because of
his caliber of competition, but to me the athleticism, baseball desire
and tools make him a perfect Atlanta pick. Of course there’s a chance
he becomes George Lombard, but the Braves are pretty fair at player
development, not just scouting, and they have given PD something to
work with here. I’m with you, getting him at 14 is a nice, nice value.

 Q:  steve from scotia asks:
jim what do you think of the mets draft i love the idea of young cheap relievers being in the mets bullpen the next few years

John Manuel:
Kunz is a great pick, he can move quickly and gets LH hitters out with
his changeup and slider. I don’t think they took all relievers, Vinyard
and Moviel have a chance to start, but I’m not a Rustich fan, the guy
doesn’t throw strikes and still hasn’t gotten over that finger issue
that bothered him last year. He has 3 plus pitches at times, but he
lacks pitchability. The rest of their slate hasn’t excited me frankly.

 Q:  Rob from Ann Arbor, MI asks:
are the odds that the Tigers sign both Rick Porcello and Casey Crosby?
If they do sign both of them, how would you rate their draft so far?

John Manuel:
I think they’ll get one of them; Crosby almost seems like insurance for
in case Porcello doesn’t sign. It’s early of course, but I don’t know
that Porcello’s going to sign. I’m hearing $10 million bonus numbers,
at least $7 million, and it’s easier to sell Andrew Miller at $7
million when he’s pitching in Omaha than to sell an owner on a high
school kid from Jersey. If they sign Porcello, the Tigers probably had
the best draft, getting a No. 4 talent at 27? That would be very, very

 Q:  Greg from Toronto asks:
Law has stated that Arencibia is a 3rd string catcher in the big
leagues because he questions his bat. In you opinion is there any doubt
in his bat? Was he a solid pick at #21?

John Manuel:
Our reports on Arencibia are better than that; people loved him last
summer with Team USA. He has had back issues; that’s a concern, no
doubt. But people love the bat, big righthanded power, he might have
been a bit of a reach at 21 but not too significant in my opinion.

 Q:  Craig from vancouver asks:
for taking my question. So when a team takes a player like McGeary
right out of the gate like the Nats did this morning, is it safe to
think that they had a chat with him last night and are pretty sure what
it will take to sign him?

John Manuel:
Yes, that’s a safe assumption that they spoke, but it’s not a safe
assumption that he’ll sign. They should have an idea of what it takes
but might hope that come August, Jack starts looking at textbooks and
changes his mind.

 Q:  jay from oakland asks:
how did the bay area teams do?

John Manuel:
I like both teams’ picks to an extent. The Giants stuck to what they
know, and I like Alderson and Bumgarner a lot. Fairley is an intriguing
choice for a team that has had little success with such players, but
they have to try to develop some of their own hitters. Their
supplemental guys seem like reaches, esp. Jackson Williams, not to
single him out, Nick Noonan can really hit and might move quickly and I
like that pick a bit better. Their second day’s shaping up well, I like
Daniel Turpen, Kyle Nicholson and Michael Ambort as at least solid
organizational soldiers.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
Jackson went 45th to Toronto…scouts opinions on this kid are all over
the place…does Toronto think they got a bargain there, and who do you
guys think he compares to if he reaches his potential?

John Manuel:
Alan Matthews loves Jackson and has staked part of his reputation on
him . . . he believes in the bat and loves the glove and the dirtbag
mentality of the young man. I thought he was a nice pick at 45, good
guy to take a chance on, one of the best HS middle IFs in the draft.

 Q:  Eric H. from Bonn Germany asks:
guys…. in looking at the Nationals draft and looking at the top four
specifically – Detwiler, Smoker, Burgess, and Zimmerman – in terms of
upside talent how would you rank them next to what’s in the system
already? How would Colton Williams and Balester compare to the three
pitchers taken this year and for non-pitchers how would you compare
Burgess to Marrero (both probably RF)? Thanks in advance!

John Manuel:
Liked the Nats’ first day, those four guys are right there and should
be instant Top 10 guys. I like Balester more than most and definitely
would see him as still close to if not at the top of the org’s prospect
list. Burgess is a high-risk, high-reward guy but at one time he was
the top HS hitter in this draft class; to get him where they got him is
impressive. The talent is there; unlocking it doesn’t sound like it
will be easy. Nice job by the Nats; guten morgen to you in Bonn.

 Q:  Fred from Mosquito Falls asks:
should end up as a better catcher for their career, Mesoraco or Romine?
Who will stay behind the dish longer, and who’s ceiling is really

John Manuel:
Mesoraco is the clear consensus here; Romine trailed d’Arnaud in
California for most scouts. I say Mesoraco to all your questions.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
can you tell me about the kid the White Sox picked in the First Round?
I know I’ve read pre-draft reports and I sure don’t remember him being
in the 1st round projections anywhere, Was he a reach after Texas took
Michael Main?

John Manuel:
I’m an Aaron Poreda fan, love power LHPs who work off the fastball.
Needs slightly more control, better breaking ball, but I’m a fan and
don’t consider him a reach.

 Q:  Steve from Las Vegas asks:
What was the most surprising pick in the draft so far? Who jumped the highest fell the most (for non-boras reasons)

John Manuel:
No question Ben Revere . . . No. 135 on our draft board and No. 28 pick
overall. I know the Twins love their scouts and trust him, but as Jim
Callis would say, I don’t love that profile, the speed guy slap hitter,
and 5-foot-9, 152 pounds, hard to look at that and say “first rounder.”
All that said, Mike Radcliff knows more about scouting than me, you,
Jim and everyone else on the planet, virtually. I’ll defer.

 Q:  Jared from Chicago asks:
was curious about the Cubs 2nd round pick Josh Donaldson, if the Cubs
were going to take a catcher with that pick I would have preferred
Mitch Canham but maybe I’m biased because I have seen Canham play and
not Donaldson. Could you compare the two for me? Thank You

Similar players really, athletes who are catchers and may not stay at
C. Canham’s an LH hitter, Donaldson RH, but Donaldson’s hit tool is
probably a bit better. Wilken knows catchers, no doubt, it’s a solid
pick really.

 Q:  Bruce from Ottawa, Ontario asks:
Was the Phillies choice of Savery over Withrow or another pitcher a good risk?

John Manuel:
Thought it was a great pick, Savery has a chance to truly be a No. 1
guy, he does it easy, I’ve put Mark Mulder on him since he was a
freshman and I still see it. Love that pick for the Phils.

 Q:  BL from Bozeman asks:
Moustakas’ value as the second pick in the draft correlate directly to
his ability to stay at shortstop? Is there a chance of this happening?

John Manuel:
This surprised me; no one I’ve talked to likes him in the middle of the
diamond. It really almost doesn’t matter if the bat is what they say it
can be. He has the arm for RF; he could even hit enough to just go to
1B. But the Royals are really going against the grain to say SS or
middle of the diamond. It doesn’t mean they are wrong; it just means
that’s not the consensus view.

 Q:  johnson from (dhaka, bangladesh) asks:
do you think of the Red Sox draft so far and was Hagadone an overdraft?
Thanks guys love your work especially tis time of the year.

John Manuel:
Hello, Bangladesh! Hagadone wasn’t an overdraft at all, and in fact, I
don’t see how he’s so different from Daniel Moskos or Brett Cecil,
except he does have less track record. But their stuff sounds quite
similar for all three, good pick for Boston IMO. Boston’s draft will
depend on who they sign, including Middlebrooks. Jim Callis says
Middlebrooks can really pitch and hit, so it’s going to probably take
seven figures. If the Red Sox spend, they’ll have a very nice draft,
and usually, they spend.

 Q:  Chris from Mission Bay asks:
you think the longr time betwee picks helped the teams to make better
decisions? Before they only had 30 – 45 seconds between
picks…shouldn’t they have been able to think longer, or did they just
know who they were picking based on rankings?

John Manuel:
Interesting question, but my guess is no. The time was purely for TV
purposes; maybe one day if they can trade picks they’ll need all that
time. But I think they went off the rankings they had, not just some
last-minute thoughts.

 Q:  Jordan from Spanish Trails asks:
Long do you think it takes for David Price to reach the majors
(assuming he signs sooner than later)…might we see him in september?

John Manuel:
Price could reach the majors in a month, really, if he signs
immediately. The key to me is not having the downtime. He’s been
throwing for real since February; giving him a month or two off to sign
and then re-starting him, say, in a scenario like that, that just
doesn’t seem like a prescription for good health. More likely you’ll
see him next year and like it!

 Q:  kyle from st. louis asks:
two teams are the cardinals and the twins. from what i’ve heard, they
both had disappointing drafts. is this true from your perspective as

John Manuel:
As I’ve said before, I thought STL acquitted itself just fine.
Minnesota really went long on tools, not so high on present stuff . . .
They did not take obvious guys, let’s put it that way. It seems like
money was a big, big factor.

 Q:  Jim Keane from Bainbridge Island, WA asks:
six picks in the first 51, the Giants went after guys projected to go
in the top 40 or so with their first four picks, then seemed to go way
off the board with their next two, picking guys well out of the top 200
at 42 and 51. Do you think they got concerned about the bonus money
they would have to shell out if they used all six picks on real

John Manuel:
Again, money was a factor–the Giants took some reaches in the
supplemental round who would sign for what they wanted. That said, I
like their first-round guys.

 Q:  Russ from Purple Row asks:
What do you think of the Rockies’ selection of Isaiah Froneberger? There has to be something not readily apparent about the guy.

John Manuel:
Well, he’s got a plus curveball, and he’s lefthanded–that often is a
prescription for, at least, middle reliever. Kind of a safe bet, not a
bad pick.

 Q:  Allan from Madison ,Wi asks:

I understand the Best Player Available theory but why would the Brewers
not take a picther instead of another young hitter which they seem to
have several of right now

John Manuel:
They love LaPorta’s bat, and it’s hard to argue that point. If he can
play LF that pick will work. If you understand the “best player” theory
then you really wouldn’t ask the question that way, would you?

 Q:  Mike from MIll Valley, CA asks:
What ceiling do you see for Bumgarner and Alderson? And does Alderson project more as a reliever or closer?

John Manuel:
Dick Tidrow sees both as starters and said Alderson’s arm works well
enough for him to remain a starter. The scouts i talked to in Arizona
disagree but Tidrow’s track record with pitchers is very good.

 Q:  Alex from New Jersey asks:
do you guys think the TV draft went over? Any chance they move it to
the weekend next year, and air more than they did this year?

John Manuel:
Glad it was on TV, overdue, think the first 5-10 rounds could be on in
a hard-core fan’s view, but it’s hard to find a channel that would do t
hat. When MLB’s channel launches in ’09, I bet the whole darn thing is
on TV. Next year we’ll insist that Jim get some sleep before he go on
the show . . .

 Q:  Norville Barnes from Muncie, IN asks:
of toinght this draft will be in the rearview mirror…is there anyone
other than Pedro Alvarez who may go #1 next year? Who might go #1 in

John Manuel:
Norville, I’d say this sweet baby is going all the way to the top of
next year’s draft. Alvarez’ biggest competition appears to come from
the likes of Justin Smoak, 1b, South Carolina; Tyson Ross, rhp,
California; and Jacob Thompson, rhp, Virginia, at least on the college
side. I haven’t spoken to Alan about the prep class but I know Aaron
Hicks, who has gotten some Darryl Strawberry comps, is the top guy in
Calif. and in the mix for the top 5 picks.

 Q:  Phil Gurnee from Los Angeles asks:
The draft looks pedestrian unless we sign Blair. What are the odds that we sigh him?
Any word on where KC plans to try Moustakas at?

John Manuel:
The Royals are saying SS but I’m still trying to get a scout to talk to
me about that; too much other stuff to do! I agree on the Dodgers, Kyle
Blair could make the class a lot more interesting. My understanding is
he’s signable.

 Q:  Terry from Concord, CA asks:
bet you guys are tired. The Giants don’t have a catching prospect in
their system. Is Jackson Williams legitimate? I see they just took
another catcher in the 6th Round. Any thoughts there? Thanks for all
the great draft coverage. This is the best time of the year.

John Manuel:
Hey, I got some sleep, and Jim slept really well last night . . . for
the first time in two days. It’s all in fun, I was so excited
yesterday, it’s been 10 years of drafts but I was surprised how into it
I was. It’s been cool and I appreciate your kind words. As for the
Giants, Jim says Williams was a consensus 6-7 round talent, just missed
being in our top 200 and is a bit of a reach, but his catch-and-throw
skills are significant.

 Q:  Max from NYC asks:
happened to Vandy’s Dominic de la Osa? I thought he was at the worst a
3rd-rounder coming in. How did his stock plummet like this?

John Manuel:
Good question, I love him, 20-20 year, we’re through 10 rounds on our
database and I don’t see him having been picked, so the signability
must have changed late in the going. Even without Price and Weathers,
Vandy will challenge for Omaha again next year, it’s a talented team
and pitching staff coming back, that could be a big factor in DLO’s
decision-making process.

 Q:  Ron from Rockford,Il asks:
guys had Jake Smolinski rated @ 160 and he went 70th to the Nats.Ahead
of the top 3 college shortstops. Any word on what went on to create
this sudden rise?

John Manuel:
The Nats liked him; this is all personal preference and how teams see a
player. We’ve said that for years and said it strongly in relation to
this class. So it’s not a sudden rise so much as a team that liked him
better than the consensus, which is what we try to report and reflect.

 Q:  Chris Dittoe from Bloomington, IN asks:
What is Matt Dominguez’s comparable? Is he a poor mans Scott Rolen?

John Manuel:
Rolen’s 6-4, 240. He’s been compared a lot more to Ryan Zimmerman than
Rolen, plus he’s a very good defender and probably doesn’t have Rolen’s
30 HRs potential. He’s a very good player, a winner for his whole
career and polished. I think he got overshadowed a bit this spring by
Moustakas’ amazing year, which is interesting because Dominguez
overshadowed Moustakas for three years previously.

Moderator: OK, that’s going to have to be it everyone. Thanks
for coming out . . . Jim Callis is going to come back later for a
SEPARATE CHAT, currently scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Meanwhile check the
database for picks being updated, we’ll be back blogging soon and check
out our podcast, where Will Lingo and I broke down the first day. Plus,
Jim Callis is analyzing every team’s first-day selections, they will be
inserted into the organization reports, which are still being updated
now. So much to read, so little time . . . later.

 Q:  jackie mac from dallas, texas asks:
Do you see guys like blake beavan and michael main making the big leagues as starters or are they merely power relievers?

Jim Callis:
Hi, everyone. I’m out of my draft coma and piggybacking on the back end
of this chat . . . I think the Rangers are thrilled to get both those
guys, and they both project as starters. There is some effort or lack
of orthodoxy in those deliveries, but right now, they’re starters. Two
of the very best arms in the whole draft.

 Q:  bruce from bronx asks:
Did the Yankees draft any sleepers?

Jim Callis:
In terms of good value with talent vs. draft slot, the guys who jump
out at me are Texas third baseman Brad Suttle (fourth round), Louisiana
high school shortstop Carmen Angelini (10th round) and Kent State
righty Chris Carpenter (18th round). We’ll see how signable they are,
but Suttle and Carpenter were potential sandwich-round talents.

 Q:  Nick from Princeton, NJ asks:
What do you tink of the Phillies 1st pick Savery and their 2nd round
pick, i think 83 overall, Mattair? Some pilly phans are thinking they
were just going cheap staying away from Porcello. Savery does seem to
have huge upside though injured.

Jim Callis:
Not cheap at all. Rice lefty Joe Savery would have been a top five or
10 pick instead of No. 19 if teams were fully convinced of his health,
and he finished strong. Washington high school infielder Travis Mattair
drew some sandwich-round interest and was a very nice pick.

 Q:  Ray from Yuma AZ asks:
I know the Padres had a lot of picks due think they did good. I think they passed up a lot better players

Jim Callis:
I do think they went with the polished college players a bit much over
some guys with more ceiling. It’s not a bad draft, though. You can harp
on the fact that first choice Nick Schmidt doesn’t have plus stuff, but
it’s solid stuff, he’s lefthanded and he competes.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
shocker of the draft – LaPorta? Is he indeed being groomed for LF? If
so, how is his lack of speed going to come into play? And finally, any
hint of doubt in your mind that he may not sign? (They say 3rd time’s
the charm.)

Jim Callis:
That did surprise me, didn’t see it coming at all. The biggest shocker
in the first round was Ben Revere to the Twins, but LaPorta came in
second. I love the bat, but I’m not buying that he can do anything else
but play first base. Milwaukee is thinking left field because it has
Prince Fielder . . . we’ll see. He’ll definitely sign, he’s a senior.

 Q:  Terry from Concord, CA asks:
had Charlie Culberson as the 18th best prospect in Georgia, yet the
Giants grabbed the SS2B, with the 51st overall pick. Is that a reach?

Jim Callis:
We had word that one was coming a couple of days before the draft.
Probably the best way to put it is we had him a little low on on our
list (a couple of other teams liked him pretty good) and the Giants had
him a little high on theirs. But with extra picks, clubs often look to
save some money somewhere.

 Q:  Jason from Chicago asks:
did the Cubs take Josh Vitters over Matt Weiters? It seems that Weiters
would fit nicely in an area of need for the Cubs as opposed to third

Jim Callis:
Slotting. The Cubs weren’t going above the MLB recommendation, and
Wieters wasn’t going to sign for the No. 3 slot (roughly $2.75
million). I’m not saying the Cubs wouldn’t have taken Vitters anyway,
but Vitters vs. Wieters didn’t come up because they weren’t taking

 Q:  todd from arkansas asks:
do you suspect the Cardinals took a high school ss with their first
round pick, instead of a polished college pitcher who would be able to
fill a need sooner than the kid they picked? I realize they picked up
some pitcher later in day one, but their first pick still makes me

Jim Callis:
I didn’t get a chance to say this on the ESPN show, but I liked the
Pete Kozma pick at No. 18. He was the best shortstop in the draft for
me, the only guy who was going to stay at short and would hit. That’s a
good value pick in a draft that was very thin on middle infielders.
Kudos to the Cardinals–everyone expected them to go college heavy
(including me) and that’s a good pick.

 Q:  Chris from St. Louis asks:
Is there any way you can make me feel better about the Cardinals draft?

Jim Callis: I hope I just did with the last question.

 Q:  Steve from Kansas City asks:
John, Jim! Do you believe Moustakas can play short at the Major League
level? And any thoughts on the other first day picks made by the Royals?

Jim Callis:
I don’t but I think he had the best bat in the draft and will hit
enough to play anywhere. I’ll say he’ll be an all-star corner

 Q:  Chuck from Boston asks:
is the deal with the Red Sox draft this year? I felt like they would
try to snag some of the tough signs with rounds 7-10 but it looks like
they’re going after guys that have limited ceilings at this point…

Jim Callis:
They grabbed Texas high school third basemanrighthander Will
Middlebrooks, who I like a lot, in the fifth round. Just took Florida
high school catcher Yasmani Grandal (28th round) and Missouri prep
righty Nick Tepesch (29th round)–two sandwich-round talents. Colorado
high school outfielder Matt Presley (25th round) is another good talent
who slid. Virginia high school righty Justin Grimm (13th round) is
another. Boston took plenty of guys who slid and could spend a lot
again this summer.

 Q:  David from Houston asks:
or why did Jake Arrieta fall so far after being a #1 or #2 rounder on
about everything I read? Did signing with Boros hurt him?

Jim Callis:
That didn’t help, but he was really inconsistent against so-so
competition in the Mountain West Conference. That dropped him into the
sandwich-second area, I bet he wanted more money than that, so he slid.

 Q:  Richard Edwards from Easley, South Carolina asks:
Josh Smoker, Nick Noonan and Jake Smolinski all signed LOI’s with Clemson. Will any of them ever set foot on the campus?

Jim Callis: They wouldn’t have gone as high as they did if they weren’t going to sign. Draft day was not a good day for Clemson.

 Q:  Brett from Cleveland asks:
How do you feel about the Indians passing on guys like Blake Beavan and Rick Porcello for a 1B like Baeu Mills?

Jim Callis:
Porcello wasn’t a factor because of the Josh Beckett-plus-inflation
price tag. I thought they’d go Beavan, but they had talked about liking
Mills. Best college bat in the draft, never a bad pick at No. 13.

 Q:  Phonab from SF asks:
how about compare Jason Heyward to Cameron Maybin just drafted?

Jim Callis:
At the same point in their careers, Maybin was a better athlete but
Heyward was a better hitter. Neither was a slouch in either department.
Kind of surprised an athlete who can hit like Heyward lasted 14 picks.

 Q:  Jason from East Coast asks:
did the Nationals draft McGeary at 6? Do they have any shot at signing
a guy with a committment to Stanford and a 2 million dollar bonus
requirement? Seems like a waste of their 6th pick like Sean Black last
year in the 2nd round.

Jim Callis:
Maybe you don’t sign him. But his upside versus the upside of a typical
sixth-rounder, there’s no comparison. That’s why you take the gamble.

 Q:  Pat from New York asks:
Kyle Russell and Bradley Suttle lasting to the 4th round, do you see
either of them signing (with the Cardinals or Yankees – repectively) or
will they play one more year at Texas?

Jim Callis:
I’ve heard they both want $1 million each. They’re both draft-eligible
sophomores, so they won’t lose leverage if they go into the 2008 draft.
MLB is clamping down on paying above slot. So there’s a chance they’ll
rejoin the Longhorns. That said, both the Cardinals and Yankees can
afford the price tag, especially the Yankees.

 Q:  cjb from madison, wi asks:
you think it is a strategy for player A who doesn’t not want to go to a
bad team to 1) hire Boras and 2) let it be known you want huge $? S.
Drew, J. Weaver, A. Miller and now Porcello land in great spots.

Jim Callis: Yep. The slotting system is very easy to manipulate.

 Q:  Adam from Louisiana asks:
Chad Jones…..pro’s or LSU?

Jim Callis:
He’s the 13th-round pick of the Astros and a top football recruit. The
Astros didn’t have a first- or second-rounder, and their draft would be
helped if owner Drayton McLane gave them the cash to sign him. It might
be close to $1 million though, and I’m not sure McLane will do that.

 Q:  Mike from Ogden, Utah asks:
Looking back, any idea where Scherzer would have gone?

Jim Callis:
Middle of the first round. The Diamondbacks misread the market and
really overpaid. No way Scott Boras wanted Scherzer to re-enter the
draft. He’ll be 23 in July, couldn’t afford to hold out again and would
have had to take slot money wherever he went. I say a $2.5 million
straight bonus would have gotten the deal done for Arizona, maybe less.
I’ve heard the D’back considered a $4.3 million contract with another
$1.5 million in easily reachable incentives was a victory because it
was less than Mike Pelfrey’s guarantee. What a laugh.

 Q:  ray from vegas asks:
on A’s draft. good value picks because BA ranked most of them higher
than they went? doolittle, brown, horton, desme..asolid group

Jim Callis:
I really like the draft. Running out of steam a bit, so I’ll copy my
Quick Take that we posted with the draft org report on our site: UC
Riverside righthander Justin Simmons (first round) doesn’t light up
radar guns, but he can really pitch. He just might be the best righty
college starter in this draft. It’s not a good year for college
position players, but the A’s got four of the best in Virginia first
basemanlefty Sean Doolittle (supplemental first round), Oklahoma State
outfielder Corey Brown (supplemental first round), Cal Poly outfielder
Grant Desme (second round) and North Carolina shortstop Josh Horton
(second round). Texas Christian righty Sam Demel will be in the Oakland
bullpen quickly and was a steal in third round. Polished Wichita State
righty Travis Banwart was another good value in the fourth round.

Jim Callis:
By the way, all the Quick Takes are up for the whole AL and the NL
East. The others will be up shortly after this chat is finished.

 Q:  Mike from Mill Valley, CA asks:
draft blog on this site was critical of the Giant’s second and third
pick the the 1a round–were the picks that bad? Where did you have
Jackson Williams and Charles Culberson ranked?

Jim Callis:
I answered a Culberson question a little while ago. Williams was one of
the best catch-and-throw guys in the Midwest, but scouts questions the
bat. I think the Giants overdrafted him to save some money because they
had so many picks. San Francisco picked three legit first-rounders and
probably had to dial back afterward.

 Q:  Greg from Toronto asks:
In comparison to other years, was the Boras factor the same, less, or more?

Jim Callis:
Boras really didn’t affect too many guys. Moustakas, Wieters and
LaPorta all went in the top seven picks. Brackman went 30th, but he’s
hurt. The two guys it really affected were Porcello and Harvey, and a
lot of clubs think they’re all but unsignable at almost any price
because they want to attend college.

 Q:  The Philly Phanatic’s lost brother from Lost asks:
Phillys took a broken lefty!? Was this a smart move or a huge gamble.
Also love Mattair with our 3rd pick will the cathcer we took d’Arnaud
hit enough to make it to the majors?

Jim Callis:
A couple of years ago the Phillies took another lefty with medical
issues, a high schooler no less . . . and Cole Hamels has worked out
pretty well. Not sure on D’Arnaud’s bat. Some of the scouts I talked to
didn’t like it a lot, but they loved his defense.

 Q:  Mike from NYC asks:
what would you consider a successful draft? One where you net two
starters and a bench player for your team? Three starters? One starter
and 2 bench players? Thoughts.

Jim Callis:
You always want more, but if you got two starters and a reseve out of
every draft, you’d be drafting better than most teams. I don’t worry
about total number of guys reaching the majors–quality players is what

 Q:  Matt Maggard from Texas asks:
is is that Kyle Russell was chosen in the 4th round after leading the
nation in home runs this year? He has a great arm from the outfield and
is an above average fielder.

Jim Callis:
Lot of scouts don’t believe in his swing despite the production. He
also was bad at the Area Code Games in high school and in the Cape Cod
League last summer, two places where a lot of high-ranking scouts and
directors saw him. Also, the $1 million price tag was a factor. If he
would sign for slot money, I bet he would have gone somewhere in the
sandwich round.

 Q:  Emmett from Fayetteville, GA asks:
Can you explain the Braves’ alarming trend away from drafting high-risk athletes and towards low-ceiling college players?

Jim Callis:
Don’t see this at all. Why draft a high-risk athlete when you can take
an athlete who can really hit, like Jason Heyward? That was a great
pick at No. 14, great pick. The first college player taken was Georgia
closer Joshua Fields, who has a huge ceiling. The next three college
guys are Texas A&M’s Brandon Hicks (multitooled shortstop),
Mercer’s Cory Gearrin (sidearmer who’ll move quickly) and Oregon’s
David Dixon . . . Dixon is as high-risk athlete as you can get, as the
Ducks don’t have a baseball team and he’s a quarterback! I’m rambling
now, there’s more guys I can mention, but this draft is loaded with
upside. Loaded! Another bangup job by Roy Clark and the Braves.

 Q:  Jean Paul from Illinois asks:
very much liked what I read about Keowen in your Top 200 list, and I
see Boston got him in the 9th. Would you call him a steal, and more
importantly, will he sign? He’s one big dude, and if I were Epstein, I
should think he’s definitely worth chasing after.

Jim Callis:
I think he’s signable, because he’s already 21 after not playing for
two years at LSU (including one redshirt year) before going to
LSU-Eunice JC. He’s a tremendous athlete, a great gamble (he’s raw) to
take in the ninth round. I bet the Red Sox sign him.

 Q:  Bill from New York asks:
does slotting prevent some picks and not others? The Cubs went over
slot last year for Jeff S., but won’t for Wieters? The Orioles clearly
will go over slot for Wieters and the Yanks likely for Brackman. Do you
really believe teams place much value on slotting or is that just an
excuse for actually not wanting to pay the market value for a player?

Jim Callis:
MLB has put a full-court press on teams to stick with slotting this
year, and many fell into line this year, at least in the early rounds,
the Cubs among them. It’s a big issue. We’ll see what happens this
summer if a couple of teams start signing a lot of their unsignable

 Q:  Bill from New York asks:
Sox take Tepesch in the 26th round. Certainly he is better than that
and fell for signability issues. In general, are signability concerns
based on statements of agents and the players or just a general
perception of the player, their options and where they should be
drafted based on talent alone? Or a combination of all of the above?

Jim Callis:
Teams ask players and agents exactly what the player wants. There’s not
a ton of guesswork in what a guy’s asking price is. It’s up to the area
scout to figure out how serious the player will be about sticking to
the price.

 Q:  Steve from Washington DC asks:
Hey Jim, great work yesterday. But I’ve gotta know, did you finally get some sleep?

Jim Callis:
Came home after ESPN, collapsed, slept from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. If you
have four kids, sleeping 12 hours is an accomplishment. I have a face
made for radio, but I don’t usually look as haggard as I did yesterday!

 Q:  Armin from Austria asks:
The Yankees drafted Carpenter (18. Rd) and Peavey (24. Rd). Any thoughts?

Jim Callis:
The Yankees can afford to sign anyone they want. Those are two guys
they can sink some money to bolster their draft if they can’t land
Andrew Brackman . . . but they can sign Brackman and those guys if they

 Q:  Chris from Syracuse, NY asks:
know that it was expected for more teams to drop out before round 50
this year because of the lack of draft and follows, but I don’t
understand how the Toronto Blue Jays can give up on 20 picks the way
they did. Do you know any reasons why they stopped picking that quickly?

Jim Callis:
I guess they ran out of guys they wanted to sign. Personally, I’d
always take 50 players. Even if I can’t sign all of them, even if I
can’t follow all of them all summer, why not take 50?

 Q:  Ryan from Houston asks:
What exactly happens to teams that sign guys for over slot value? Do they get punished or something by MLB?

Jim Callis:
You can’t be directly punished if you go through the mandated process.
If you want to sign a guy over slot, you have to tell MLB. You have to
explain why it’s a good move. Then MLB, much like David Spade in those
phone commericals, says “NO!” Then you say you want to do it anyway,
and MLB tries to lean on your owner. Now, if you’re a small-revenue
owner and you’re hoping Bud Selig will give you an All-Star game or
some discretionary funds, you might fall in line. Otherwise, MLB can’t
really do much to you.

Moderator: Jim is going to finish up his Quick Takes that
we’ll run with our draft org reports–the NL should be complete in the
next hour. Thanks for all the questions, and we’ll keep providing the
best draft coverage in the business!