Jim Callis Chat

Jim Callis: I’ll be ready in about five minutes. Just wrapping up a phone call.

    CD (Columbus): How high do you see Alex wimmers
    going? Also do you see any other buckeyes getting drafted?

Jim Callis: I think he’ll go 11-20. He should be slot-signable and is a college guy, so that will push him up some draft boards. The Buckeyes will have a few draft picks, including C Dan Burkhart, OF Michael Stephens and Zach Hurley.

    Ryan (Phoenix): Most likely to be inducted in Cooperstown: Bryce Harper vs. the rest of the 2010 draft class?

Jim Callis: I’d take the field vs. Harper just because it’s 1400 players vs. one, but Harper is the top talent in this draft class.

    Ryan (California): It seems I have been reading
    that this is a weak draft recently. Is this because there isn't a lot of studs at the top of the first round or is just a weak draft throughout.

Jim Callis: The overall depth isn’t bad, but the top of
the draft doesn’t thrill scouts. It’s also weak in terms of college position players and overall lefthanders.

    Ronnie (Naperville, IL): From a fellow Illinoisan, hi Jim. I'd like to get your thoughts on our very own home-grown prodigy, a.k.a. Mike "Folty" Foltynewicz. What are his mechanics like? Will he be tough to sign away from Texas? Which round is
    he likely to go in? Thanks!

Jim Callis: His mechanics are fine. The big concern with him is how good a breaking ball he can develop. If you believe in it, he’s a first-rounder. If not, more of a second-rounder. I think he’ll go high enough to turn pro.

    Keith (So Cal): Any chance that Cole, Covey or Whitson fall to the Angels at #18?

Jim Callis: Sure. They’ve all been a little inconsistent down the stretch, and top high school pitchers aren’t always the most signable commodities, so any of them could get to the Angels.

    Fred (Madison): What happened to the BA chats on ESPN? Are there done going forward? Will you be replacing them with
    weekly chats on ba.com like todays?

Jim Callis: We have a new relationship with foxsports.com, so we’ll be chatting there, probably at the regular 2 p.m. ET time. For now, the chats will be hosted at BA. We’ll be having regular Wednesday chats leading up to the draft, maybe even a couple of extra ones too.

    Matt (San Diego, CA): Is Austin Wilson signable? Which players in last week's top 50 are least signable?

Jim Callis: Wilson will be very tough to sign away from
his Stanford commitment. He’s one of the toughest signs among the top talents, along with two other high schoolers: Georgia two-way talent Kaleb Cowart and Texas righthander (LSU QB commitment) Zach Lee.

    JAYPERS (IL): Hi Jim - First off, please pass along our thanks to Nathan Rode for his informative interview with Bryce
    Harper. Second, is it a virtual certainty that he'll sign in time, in your opinion? (I'm guessing both he and Scott Boras are well aware that while he is clearly the top talent this year, next year's crop is much more plentiful in talent and thus, he could very well not be the #1 pick, his current leverage aside.)

Jim Callis: Nathan did do a great job. I do think Harper will sign. Like Strasburg, he’s so talented that he’ll get offered more money than he could really turn down.

    Dave (New Orleans): Where is Louisiana HS, RHP Randy LeBlanc projected to be drafted. I see where he just signed with Tulane.

Jim Callis: Around the third round if he’s signable. He’s risen as high as anyone we really didn’t know much about coming into the spring.

    Matt (Louisiana): Any chance LSU catcher Micah Gibbs will be taken before his battery mate Anthony Ranaudo? Better yet (maybe?) any chance Ranaudo ends back on campus next fall if he drops like a lead weight in the draft?

Jim Callis: He could, because no one knows where Ranaudo might fall now. I don’t think Gibbs is a first-rounder, but I could see him going in the sandwich round. If Ranaudo doesn’t sign, I bet he winds up in indy ball rather than back at LSU.

Jim Callis: I’m done juggling phone calls. Going to stay here for a while and get to a lot of questions.

    Ryan (California): What high schools hitters have the most power in this draft?

Jim Callis: Josh Sale has the most power among HS guys,
with Yordy Cabrera and Kris Bryant behind him.

    Trevor Johnson (Tampa): Do you think it is possible that college hitting production is down because of the new NCAA
    bat rules? Also, how do teams determine the extent of injuries like Pomeranz and Ranado prior to the draft...Can they request (or demand) an
    examination. And if a player refused, would that be seen as an indication that something more serious is going on.

Jim Callis: I asked college guru Aaron Fitt, and he says yes. But when teams bemoan the lack of college bats in the draft, they’re talking about tools and not statistical production. On injured guys, teams do request medical info from players or advisers. In some cases, it’s easier to get that info than in others. If it’s impossible to get that information, clubs usually will move on.

    Jason (Virginia): Thanks for the chat. Jim

    With a deep talent pool in Georgia according to Connor Glassey, can we expect the Braves to be active there again ?
    Or, due to problems with Francoeur, Davies, Mc Bride, Boyer, are they more gun shy with local prospects now ?

Jim Callis: The Braves have had a lot of success in Georgia (Heyward, McCann, Wainwright) that far offsets the guys that haven’t panned out. They’re not gun-shy, but it will be interesting to see if they’re as Georgia-centric under scouting director Tony DeMacio as they were under predecessor Roy Clark. This is a great year to mine Georgia, because it’s loaded.

    Dave (NY): Who are the Marlins looking to take with their first round pick?

Jim Callis: It’s too early to pinpoint picks deep in the first round. The Marlins pick at No. 23. I think it’s safe to assume
they’ll take a guy who’ll sign for slot, and they’re not afraid to take
younger, more projectable players as opposed to finished prospects. But
it’s too early to hear specific names at No. 23. Too many guys still in

    Kyle (Oxford): Who are some other Ohio prospects we should keep an eye on outside of Stetson Allie, Alex Wimmers and Gauntlett Eldemire?

Jim Callis: Two other Ohio guys who should go pretty good are Allie’s catcher, Alex Lavisky, and Toledo righthander Matt Suschak. I think Lavisky will go in the top three rounds, and Suschak could go in the top five. Lavisky has good all-around tools and Suschak can run his fastball up to 96 mph.

    Ryan (Tulsa): With a horrid farm system and 3 picks in the top 40, is this the year the Astros finally take at least one high upside player that may require an over slot bonus?

Jim Callis: The Astros typically don’t go much over slot, though they did a couple of years ago for Ross Seaton in the third
round. With extra picks necessitating more dollars, that usually makes a
club less likely to exceed slot.

    JC (baytown,tx): Thanks for the chat Jim. Rick
    Hague has been one of the hottest hitters in college baseball the 2nd half of the season after a dismal start and is now up to .340 with 11hr and 17 doubles. is he working his way back into 1st round consideration? also, what is the draft projection for mike ojala RHP from rice?

Jim Callis: I can’t see it. Nice bounceback for Hague, but he doesn’t profile well anywhere. He can’t play SS as a pro, he lacks the quickness for 2B and doesn’t have the power for 3B at the next
level. I think he goes in the third round. Ojala has made a nice comeback from Tommy John surgery, could go 6th-10th round as a good senior sign.

    Merkado (White Plains, NY): Has Marcus Littlewood's stock risen at all? Or is he just an overachiever?

Jim Callis: I think he’s solidly in the third round, wouldn’t say it’s rising. He can really hit and play, won’t be a SS in pro ball.

    A.M. Weiss (New York, NY): How does the recent news on Tony Wolters affect his draft stock? Potential to be top 2B in bigs at max ceiling?

Jim Callis: It doesn’t really. Teams have seen plenty of Wolters, and if he can’t play again this spring because he worked out
for the Blue Jays, they still have enough info on him. I think he’s a 2nd-3rd round pick. Probably will have to move off of shortstop, but could be good defender with a good bat at 2B.

    Merkado (White Plains, NY): Just how special is
    Michael Choice, and could he shock and be considered a top 5 surprise pick? Where does he stand at his ceiling?

Jim Callis: He’s good but I wouldn’t call him special. Fits the RF profile very well, and the lack of college bats could push him into the top five. More likely to go sixth to 12th overall. Could see him hitting .275 with 25 homers annually in the majors.

    Bryce (Cleveland): What kind of ceiling does Deck McGuire have? Is he a potential #2 in the rotation, or more of a safe pick that is more likely to reach the big leagues as a #3 or 4?

Jim Callis: Potential No. 2. Stuff hasn’t been quite as
good as a year ago, but he still has a low 90s fastball and throws four
pitches for strikes.

    Hank (Atlanta, GA): Any rumblings on what position Kaleb Cowart is going to man in the pros? Do you see a team using the Casey Kelly approach allowing him pitch half the year, and hit
    the other half? Kelly's stats in the pros showed that he was much more
    effective as a pitcher than a hitter.

Jim Callis: The word is that he wants to hit, but teams
like him more as a pitcher with a power fastball/slider combo. He wants
the same bonus ($3 million) Kelly got. May have to let him hit to sign him, then move him to the mound if that doesn’t pan out.

    Craig (Houston): If Anthony Rendon were in this
    year's draft, where would he be on your draft board? Right behind Harper?

Jim Callis: I would take him over Harper. Rendon will play a tougher position to fill (3B vs. RF), he’s a better pure hitter, he’ll have power (though not Harper’s power), he’s proven himself against much better competition and he’ll get to the majors quicker.

    Gob Bluth (California): Where do you forsee Kellin Deglan going in the draft and what kind of prospect is he? Is he a
    legit first rounder? We need at least one question about Canada. Thanks!

Jim Callis: Keep hearing that he’ll go in the first round as a money-saver for a club with multiple picks. He’s talented, but more of a sandwich-2nd rounder in our book. Good bat and the tools to cut it behind the plate.

    Wes (TX): Where do you see Tyrell Jenkins going
    in the draft? Has his stock improved or fallen toward draft time?

Jim Callis: Has a chance to go in the late first round and probably won’t get out of the second. Maintaining his stock, one of the most athletic pitchers in the draft and capable of hitting 95 mph.

    Josh (San Diego): I have been hearing a lot about this kid from San Clemente High School by the name of Aaron Jones.
    He is a catcher I believe. Everyone I have talked too keeps saying he
    is better than Sable from Aliso. Have you heard anything about him and
    where he might go in the draft?

Jim Callis: We like Sabol better as an overall prospect, but Jones has a better chance to stick at catcher. Good power,
though there’s a lot of swing and miss in there too.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Who is the top prep lefty in the draft?

Jim Callis: Griffin Murphy, from Redlands (Calif.) East
Valley HS, a possible second-rounder. It’s a bad year for high school lefties.

    Derick (Jim Thorpe, PA): After Baltimore's "blunder" last year with Hobgood, there's no way they pull a similar stunt this year is there? Assuming Harper goes 1, and Pomeranz goes 2, does Baltimore jump on Taillon? If Taillon goes 2, where do think Baltimore will go, Machado?

Jim Callis: Early indications are that the Orioles will
not stick to slot. I think they take Taillon or Machado, depending on what the Pirates do. Pomeranz is not at his best right now, so I wouldn’t assume he’ll go No. 2.

    Jake (FLA): Why is Stetson Allie moving up the draft board? Hes always had the 'basic report' of being a hard-thrower with poor command; so what has changed? Has he shown much-improved command or found a breaking ball?

Jim Callis: He’s doing a much better job of harnessing his stuff while hitting 99 mph with his fastball and 89 mph with his slider.

    Morris (Michigan): Why doesn't your mock draft include a pick for the Tigers?

Jim Callis: Because they don’t have a first-rounder and
don’t pick until No. 44. I’ll throw you two possibilities at 44: California HS RHP Peter Tago and Georgia Tech shortstop Derek Dietrich.

    a.j. (las vegas): What is the Royals "window" to compete? How does that affect who they will draft?

Jim Callis: I can’t see them competing before 2012-13 at the earliest. They should take the best available player. Getting immediate help shouldn’t be a priority.

    Matt (LA): Rasmussen was outstanding last season in the Cape Cop League, and has continued his momentum into this year. What round do you see him being selected in and what is his upside?

Jim Callis: I think UCLA LHP Rob Rasmussen goes in the third round or so. He’s not big but has a plus fastball and curve. Probably a reliever in long run but I woudn’t rule out starting.

    Tim (Pittsburgh, Pa): Addison Reed from San Diego State... Fantastic numbers as both a starter and a reliever during
    his career. Where do you see him going in the draft and do you think he has good potential as prospect? Could he be a fast-track type reliever in pro ball that might see the MLB before more highly regarded players?

Jim Callis: Third-round potential, and yes, should move
very quickly as a reliever.

    Burke Granger (Columbus, OH): Are the Indians at #5 a possibility for Kolbrin Vitek? I've seen him all over the board (from 5-25) on Mock Drafts but 5 seems high to me.

Jim Callis: Wouldn’t rule that out, but it is a little rich. He is one of the best bats in the draft, and he’s a good athlete on top of that.

    Allan (Wisconsin): Jim, who do you see available when the Brewers pick,?Do you think they will lean toward pitching, or a bat which they seem to have a better track record of developing.

Jim Callis: I think they’d prefer a pitcher unless there a tremendous value as a hitter there (which is unlikely). They obviously need pitching. Someone like Texas’ Brandon Workman would be a nice fit.

    Lane (IL): Focusing on just one tool...who are the three fastest players available?

Jim Callis: Krey Bratsen, Gary Brown, Delino DeShields Jr.

    Richard (Minnesota): Which of the following high school hitters has the best bat, regardless of position, signability, etc.; Wilson, Sale, Cabrera, Castellanos, O'Connor.

Jim Callis: Josh Sale.

    Jim (Amsterdam, The Netherlands): It seems like
    Zack Cox' stock is on the rise a bit and is projected to go in the top 5. Is there still concern that he has to sacrifice some of his hitting ability to hit for power or is he easing those doubts this season? Also what about his defense, is 2nd base a realistic option?

Jim Callis: I think I like Cox a little more than most.
He’s the best pure hitter in this draft and he’s strong, so I think he’ll be able to develop more power without sacrificing much in the way of average. I don’t see 2B as a realistic fit, though some scouts think it might work. I’d just leave him at 3B and I think he’ll be fine there.

    John (Ashburn, VA): Jim: I read Nathan Rode's "Draft Q&A: Bryce Harper" with interest. When I read about Harper's admission of a lack of friends in high school, his desires to drive himself to be the best in the game, his tone/tenor about relationships with teammates, my first thought was "Uh oh." My second thought was "Todd Marinovich." Someone who was so driven to succeed in a particular sport (from his father and himself), that when he failed, he did not have the social skills/make up to weather the transition to a non-sports
    life. Is there a possibility that we are seeing the same thing with Harper? Granted, we heard similar "make up" issues about Kyle Drabek a few years ago and he seems to have grown through them. But, we are talking about Stasburg-like money for a kid. Understanding that the very
    nature of baseball is humbling (inside and outside the clubhouse), I'd still be scared about dropping that kind of coin on a kid that could put
    together Mantle-like numbers but is still in the Short Season in regards to mental make up. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: That answer jumped out at me as well. I don’t think he’s Marinovich II, but he’s been used to being in extremely
controlled environments, and he’s in for a serious adjustment when he gets to pro ball. I wouldn’t compare his makeup to Drabek’s—there were concerns about off-field issues there, and that’s not the case with Harper. He’s just an immature 17-year-old. I think he’s going to be a star, he has the focus and work ethic, but he has a lot of growing up to
do and has yet to face any adversity.

    Burke Granger (Columbus, OH): Love these chats.
    Can you go out on a limb and predict the Gerritt Cole or Matt Purke of this year's draft? Prep first round pitcher who won't be able to be signed away from his college commitment. Yes I know there were special circumstances surrounding the Purke and Rangers situation.

Jim Callis: Zach Lee, who’s a two-sport star committed to play quarterback at LSU.

    Chris (Pittsburgh): When you project the first round, is it based more on trends a team has shown or conversations with
    representatives from teams? Specifically, I have seen Pomeranz and (more recently) Machado linked with the Pirates. Is it their recent track record of shying away from HS pitchers that makes you think they won't take Taillon, or is there insider info?

Jim Callis: Early on, when teams really haven’t made up
their mind, I read the tea leaves but base a lot on trends. As it gets closer, it’s based on conversations with those in the know.

    Boris (London, ON): Jim, your latest Ask BA article revealed that you have Karsten Whitson much lower than most others do. Could you elaborate on that; because both Cowart and Covey over Whitson is a bit shocking given the talk about Whitson's increasing
    stock over the past month or so.

Jim Callis: I was just reflecting what the BA staff has
been hearing. I think his stock is down slightly, only slightly, but he’s in the mid-first-round group with Cowart and Covey.

    Nick Eustrom (West Hills, CA): Any rumblngs about the McCourt divorce situation effecting the Dodgers draft approach? Could you see them taking someone at 28 with the intention of not signing them and gaining a first rounder next year? If business as usual, who do you like at 28, and could you see Loux from Texas A&M a

Jim Callis: I don’t see them punting a draft pick, but I
do see them adhering to slot. Could see Loux, could also see Indiana HS
catcher Justin O’Conner.

    Rob (Calgary): What is Manny Machado's ceiling?
    Who is his best comp as a current prospect (Mier, Donald, Castro for example) and in the MLB today?

Jim Callis: His ceiling is as a solid shortstop who can
really hit and should have average power. That sounds kind of like Starlin Castro to me.

    Burke Granger (Columbus, OH): Is there any indication as to where Michigan's Ryan LaMarre or Minnesota's Seth Rosin, and Michael Kvasnicka might come off the board?

Jim Callis: LaMarre could sneak into the first round, Kvasnicka probably goes in the second and Rosin should go 4th-7th.

    Nick Eustrom (West Hills, CA): Will any team sign Gerin Cecchini away from LSU? Where in the draft do you see his teammate Hommy Rosado going and do you have a comparable player in mind for these two? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I hate forcing comps. But I will tell you that I do think someone will pay to get Cecchini’s bat, seven figures wouldn’t surprise me. Rosado could go 6th-10th to a team that really likes his power.

    Matt (Pittsburgh): Have you heard any rumblings
    about the Pirates draft strategy this year? Will it be similar to last
    year with a slot guy like Sanchez, or the year before with Pedro Alvarez?

Jim Callis: I’ve heard more “best available player” than “slottable” this year.

    Ace (Detroit, MI): Hi Jim, considering the Royals system appears to lack in Left handers, catchers and middle infielders- do you feel they should take Manny Machado, Chris Sale or Yasmani Grandal at #4?

Jim Callis: I’d take best available at No. 4. In this case, I’d take Machado, followed by Sale and Grandal in that order.

    Ryan Hall (Abingdon, MD): I know that one hits right handed and the other left handed, but how would compare Zack Cox and Kolbrin Vitek as hitters?

Jim Callis: Very similar. Very good pure hitters, average power, also plus arms on defense. Cox has a better chance to play 3B than Vitek, who becomes an OF, maybe a CF.

    Dale Berras Stash (Pittsburgh): I know you advocate teams spending extra money on the draft, but let's assume you were a GM at the 15th spot in the draft and had a $7M fixed draft budget.
    What would your typical strategy be? Hope a guy slides that may be pricey and go slot the rest of the way? Spend on slot early and hope to
    get a HS or two in the later rounds? Something else?

Jim Callis: If I was limited to $7 million, I’d take the best player available who I felt I could sign for around $3 million.
I’d allot roughly $1 million for each of my next two picks and take first-round-caliber talents. Then I’d have to play the rest of the draft
close to slot, but would maybe find a couple of $500,000 guys to fit in

    Ace (Detroit, MI): Hi Jim,

    Will you be attending the draft live on MLB Network again? Is it known yet what players will be there? Hopefully more than the 1 player from last year.

Jim Callis: I will be on the MLBN broadcast again. This
year, they’ll have a one-hour predraft show and cover all picks through
the sandwich round. No word on which players will be there yet.

    Jordan (New Orleans): Hey, thanks for the chat,
    I always enjoy them.

    Where do you see Tulane's 3b Rob Segedin and RHP Nick Pepitone going in the draft this year? They have both had outstanding years, with Segedin hitting around .430 with 13HR while Pepitone is 5-0 with 8 sv and a 2.04
    era. Thanks.

Jim Callis: Segedin should go around the third round unless his healthy history or signability scare people off. I expect Pepitone to return to Tulane for his senior season. Great college pitcher, but he throws 84-86 mph and won’t be a high pick.

    Rimas Ulba (Brampton, Ontario): If you put all the Cuban free agents into this year's draft, where would they be slotted (ie. Chapman and the 2 shortstops that the Red Sox and Jays signed).

Jim Callis: Chapman would be a potential No. 1 pick. Iglesias and Hechevarria would be mid-first-round picks.

    brian (washington dc): With the Twins needing middle infield help in the minors why wouldn't you have us taking Kolbrin Vitek at #21? And what is his ceiling as a player?

Jim Callis: Because he almost certainly will have to be
an outfielder at the next level. He has an all-star ceiling—the bat gives him that kind of potential.

    Dan (CT): Has Jack finally lost it?

Jim Callis: I’m five hours behind on “24.” Need to catch up but not doing a good job of it. Too much draft work to do!

    Shane (Miami): Harper's speed hasn't really been discussed as a tool too much. He seems to have been pretty good this year. Does he project to have enough speed to swipe 20+ bases, at least for his few years in the majors?

Jim Callis: No. He runs well for his size but he won’t be a SB threat in the majors.

    southside cliffy (chicago): Hello, Jim - Would you say picks 2-10 are about equal? It seems no one really stands out after Mr. B. Harper. Yes?

Jim Callis: I’d say Harper is No. 1; Taillon, a healthy
Pomeranz and Machado are the next tier; and picks 5-10 are about equal.

    Pat (Indiana): With regards to your recent mock
    draft, what have you been hearing about Ryan LaMarre that made him a potential first round candidate?

Jim Callis: Has a chance to be a CF with plus-plus speed, plus bat, slightly above-average power. Great makeup helps, too.

    Analyst (The Couch): Is there perhaps some wierd "Harper" psychology going on here where Bryce has raised the bar (of expectations) so high that the 2-10th picks appear "weak" by comparison? After all, Machado is being mentioned in A-Rod comparisons, Taillion is catching "Texas Flame Thrower" (Clemens) spin, and the arms don't seem that bad.

    Also, does Choice have no power to go with the OB%?

    Please don't "Shrink" from a detailed answer...


Jim Callis: I don’t buy that. Look, I like Machado, but
anyone making an A-Rod comparison is smoking crack. Taillon has been likened to Beckett and holds up well against the top high school arms of
past years. There’s pitching depth but the hitting crop is decidely lackluster. Choice has power, though the OBP is inflated by IBB and getting pitched around in a weak lineup.

    Dave (Tempe): What's to stop a team that doesn't like the top of the 2010 draft from picking a player they know won't sign, to get a pick in the stronger 2011 draft?

Jim Callis: I get this question a lot. No one wants to punt their first-round pick. The shelf life of GMs and scouting directors is short enough already. Also, the comp pick next year wouldn’t be protected again, so the player would hold a ton of leverage over the team, forcing the club to cut a deal for a lesser player.

    Mike (Houston): Are the draft slot amounts set for 2010? I seem to recall that they are announced in advance of the draft. Or is there no formal slot "chart"?

Jim Callis: There will be slot, but teams won’t get them until shortly before the draft. I don’t have a good feel for whether they’ll be the same reduced slots from 2009 or restored to their
2008 levels (up 10 percent).

    Jay (NY): If you had to take an infielder and move him 2B, who would it be, Colon or Cox? I ask this because I get the
    sense the Mets will be targeting one of these two at #7.....

Jim Callis: I like Cox more, but if I had to have a 2B,
I’d take Colon. If I were drafting specifically for 2B need at No. 7, that should be a fireable offense.

Jim Callis: Sorry for the slow start, but hopefully I made up for it at the end. If you have more draft questions, you can submit ones requiring longer answers to askba@baseballamerica.com (include full name and hometown), or shorter ones to http://twitter.com/jimcallisba.