Prospects And Draft Chat With Jim Callis

Andrew (NJ): No Georgia Bulldogs in the top 500??? FORESHAME!! Not sure if this is directed at Coach Perno or at BA.

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. As always this time of year, I can’t promise I won’t be diverted by a phone call, but I will do my best … Can’t blame us for that one. My alma mater doesn’t have a top-500 guy, though Kyle Farmer did just miss and could go in the top 10-15 rounds. Clint Frazier is a UGA recruit, if that counts!

Saul (Minnesota): Jason Hoppe is about to set a record for consecutive shut out innings for NCAA division 11 for Minnesota Mankato. Will he be drafted and when?

Jim Callis: He’ll get picked, not real high. Six-foot RHP who overmatches D-II hitters with his breaking ball.

Jerome (East Grand Forks): What are the odds that the first four picks are Gray, Appel, Bryant and Stewart, in that order.

Jim Callis: That’s the most likely scenario as of today. When negotiating comes into play, who knows? But if I could bet a four-pick parlay in Vegas, that would be my call.

Paul (Redlands, CA): What is your take on Phil Bickford?

Jim Callis: He has one of the nastiest fastballs in the draft, draws some Jered Weaver comps and has helium. Could sneak into the top 10 but I think he goes in the teens.

Steve (Wilmington, DE): Do teams in the middle of the first round do homework on the Top 8 guys just in case one of them falls? Or do they view that as a waste of time?

Jim Callis: It depends. It would be a waste to really bear down on Gray, Appel, Bryant, Moran because they’re not getting out of the top five. But someone like Austin Meadows might slide into the mid-teens, so you have to be ready just in case.

Brad (Marathon, Florida): If Grant Green gets called up by the A's, will he be able to handle the SS position or is he more likely to move over to 2b moving Lowrie back to SS?

Jim Callis: Green is a better fit at second base. Still believe in the bat somewhat but don’t see him as a big league shortstop.

Michael (Sleepy Hollow, NY): In looking at BA's top 500 it seems as if after Gray, Appel, Stewart, Shipley, and even Stanek there is a bit of a gap until the next crop of pitchers. Does this fact along with the potential availability of Wilson, Judge, Lorenzen, McKinney, Tellez etc. later on lead you to see a possibility that teams in the 10-15 range or so might reach for that second tier of pitchers (guys like Clarkin, Anderson, Gonzalez) and grab bats in round 2?

Jim Callis: I think after those first four pitchers go, the next tier is Stanek and A.Gonzalez on the college side and Bickford and Clarkin on the HS side. (Manaea is a wild card.) After that second tier goes, I think there are a ton of college arms available, so teams will have a run on position players and think they can grab a college arm in round two.

Dwayne (Greensburg, PA): Your scouting report on Reese McGuire says the only question on him is how much he will hit. What is the realistic expectations of his hitting abilty down the road?

Jim Callis: He has good bat speed, think he can be at least an average hitter. Which considering the rest of his tools and his position could make him an all-star.

Kevin (Minneapolis): The Twins seemed to benefit from drafting Buxton at slot value last year. Why would they now change their stance and possibly cut a deal with Reese Mcguire instead of drafting the more promising position of need player in Stewart?

Jim Callis: I think that’s more Plan B, in case Stewart’s signability scared them off. I think they’ll take best player available and go for Stewart.

Jordan Miller (Lincoln, NE): Which draft prospect is the closest to MLB ready, and if different; which draft prospect will be the first called up to the Majors?

Jim Callis: Mark Appel. Could be a reliever who gets their first, maybe someone like Andrew Mitchell (Texas Christian) if a team puts him in the bullpen.

Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): Knowing the draft board as well as you do, is Colin Moran a reach at 1-1 or 1-2? Or is he similar to Carlos Correa as a top guy who could be had at a discount because he could fall to 1-7 or lower?

Jim Callis: Correa was No. 2 in our final rankings last year, a legitimate No. 1 overall choice who didn’t have as much leverage as most guys in that situation. To me, Moran is a reach at No. 1. I love the bat, but is there another above-average tool? He’s a very good hitter with average power and fringy defensive skills at third base. I could see taking him at No. 5, but I wouldn’t consider him over Gray, Appel or Bryant. I don’t really think the Astros would take him at No. 1, but we’ll see. They can save money without him because no one in this draft is a $7.9 million player. I don’t see the top pick landing more than $6 million or maybe $6.5 million.

Andrew (Grand Forks): With the top three picks likely being some order of Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kris Bryant it looks like it is a bad year to have the 4th pick. Which players are serious options for the Twins at #4 and who do you see them picking on draft day?

Jim Callis: Wouldn’t say that. There is a clear top three, but if I needed pitching like the Twins, I’d be thrilled to get Kohl Stewart (who I believe is their preference) at No. 4. The best pure hitter in the draft (Colin Moran) should be there, too. So will the top high school positions guys (Clint Frazier, Austin Meadows) … plenty of good options.

Alex (Columbus, Ohio): You have the Indians taking Moran at 5 and i have to ask why? Grants draft strat has been to take middle of the diamond guys over the last few years.

Jim Callis: I’ll quibble with you on that because Chisenhall projected as a third baseman and Naquin projected as a right fielder. I’m hearing a lot of Moran at No. 5, the Indians take a lot of college players and I think they’re more comfortable with him than the HS options.

Kevin (Jacksonville, AL): Rank the following 6 heading into their respective drafts: Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray, Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, David Price, and Justin Verlander.

Jim Callis: Strasburg, Price, Cole, Verlander, Gray, Appel. As I’ve mentioned in chats and Ask BA and a few radio shows, Gray vs. Appel is a coin flip.

Bren (Pearl River, NY): I know it's not an issue, but would you be in favor of allowing College players to enter the draft after one year like they can in Basketball? How much of an impact would such a rule have?

Jim Callis: At heart, I believe in a free market and letting people turn pro when they want. But that would wreak havoc on college baseball. If there was a rule like that, I think you’d have to make guys declare for the draft with no turning back.

Kevin (Minneapolis): Any chance a 2nd round select by his hometown team, the Twins could persuade Ryan Boldt into turning pro or is he set for Nebraska?

Jim Callis: I haven’t been able to pin down his signability. The Twins could have some money to play with, because they may not have to use their full $4.5 million at No. 4, and No. 43 is valued at $1.3 million. If they want Boldt, they can pay him.

Jay (Austin,tx): What round projection do you see Ben lively from central Florida going? Tall lean frame with two above average pitches! A competitor! I see him being converted I to a relief guy and helping a team in the next few years.

Jim Callis: Third to fifth round. Breaking ball is more average, I could see him being a fast-moving reliever if a team wanted.

Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): How much of Jonathan's Gray's value is his ability to throw high 90s? Put another way if the riggors of the professional 5 man rotation puts him sitting in the low 90s, does that significantly alter his projection?

Jim Callis: It lowers it, yes, but the heavy life on his fastball and his slider still could give him two devastating pitches. He’s also strong, I don’t foresee a huge dip in velo.

Kevin (Jacksonville, AL): What would Kris Bryant have to do to be ranked ahead of Appel and Gray?

Jim Callis: Nothing else that he hasn’t already. You could construct an argument that he’s a 35-or-more HR guy in the big leagues, which gives him impact, and that as a position guy he’s a safer bet than the pitchers.

Roger V. (NJ): Hey Jim, thanks for taking my question. What is your take on Stetson Allie? Although a little old for single A, what he is doing just one year from being a pitcher, is pretty good. Do you think he can move quickly or do you think he is just a fluke? Thanks again.

Jim Callis: He could have been a third-round pick or so out of high school as a power-hitting third baseman. The power is real, though he strikes out a lot and we’ll have to see how well he hits at higher levels. But he is a legitimate power prospect.

Bill L (Bozeman, MT): Who should I hope is available for the Royals at #8?

Jim Callis: Braden Shipley.

Mike (Virginia): Is Alex Gonzalez still rising on your draft board? Seems like many scouts/analysts view him as at least a mid-1st round talent now.

Jim Callis: He was soaring last week, then had a good-not-great start in the Southland Conference tournament. I think he fits somewhere in the back half of the first round, perhaps towards the top of that range.

Mike (Virginia): Can you name one or two of the toughest signs for players in the top 15 on the BA rankings.

Jim Callis: In our top 15 (Gray through Crawford), I think they’re all going to be relatively easy signs, going high enough in the draft to where the money won’t be an issue. Kohl Stewart has a scholarship to play QB at Texas A&M, but he’s not going to want to sit behind Johnny Manziel for a couple of years. Toughest sign in our top 30 will be Sean Manaea, because his stock has dropped and there are health worries. Among our top-two-round guys, Connor Jones is unsignable and Ryan Boldt and Cavan Biggio could be difficult.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is the middle infield crop of prospects stronger in college or high school in rounds 1s-3?

Jim Callis: Let’s switch to lightning-round mode … High school, because the college middle-infield crop is brutal.

Mike (Virginia): Do you expect teams to continue the strategy of reallocating slot bonuses by selecting lower level college seniors in the 5th-10th round range?

Jim Callis: Yes, moreso than last year because there are fewer compensation picks to play with. To move money around will take more work.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): With it seeming that Kyle Serrano is unsignable, who else are the Reds linked to in round one and with their supplimental pick just 11 spots later?

Jim Callis: Overlooked Serrano when I mentioned tough signs, should have included him … I think the Reds would love to have Samford outfielder Phillip Ervin available at No. 27. No word yet on No. 38.

Chris (kennewick): Do you think Kaminsky is still there at 26 when the yankees pick, it seems like he keeps moving up draftboards

Jim Callis: Could go either way, honestly.

T Ham (Napa, CA): Who goes off the board first, Frazier or Meadows?

Jim Callis: On talent, I think more teams prefer Frazier. Hearing rumblings that Meadows may do a deal that would get him picked first, though.

Bryan Chevez (Los Angeles, California): Who do you see the Dodgers drafting with the 18th Pick? And are there any position players that interest them the most?

Jim Callis: I’m going to guess high school arm (Bickford, Clarkin, etc.). Position players I’ve heard there are Dominic Smith and Eric Jagielo.

Jeff (Toronto, Ont.): Who likely becomes the better MLB pitcher: Ball, Shipley or Stanek? If all three are available at 10 (unlikely as that seems) who do you think the Jays should take?

Jim Callis: I’ll lean toward upside and say Ball.

Jeb (Chicago): Has BA ever tried to see how accurate its final mock is compared to the actual draft? My guess is that the first 5 picks usually don't surprise, the next ten are perhaps generally correct in names but not order, and that after that, you something of a free-for-all? Comments?

Jim Callis: Oh, I always look. Once I miss a pick or two, it snowballs. I’ll usually mention 3-4 scenarios for clubs and I’m happy if I mention the guy they pick (even if I don’t get the precise choice correct).

Andrew (Minnesota): Twins have been linked a ton to Kohl Stewart in various mock drafts. Is this due to industry knowledge that they like him a lot, or because they "should" take him there?

Jim Callis: Both.

Mike (Chicago): What are the chances that Eric Jagielo falls to the White Sox at 17?

Jim Callis: I think he’ll be there but won’t last much past that.

Bobby (Cape Cod): If the Red Sox had a choice between Stewart and Frazier, who they both seem to be very high on, who do you think they would go with? (I know Stewart likely won't be there though)

Jim Callis: Stewart. I think they view him as the realistic best-case scenario. If the Twins don’t take him at No. 4, I think he gets to No. 7.

Tony (Youngstown, Oh): any truth to the rumors Clevelands taking Trey Ball?

Jim Callis: If they take a pitcher, I think it would be Shipley or Ball.

RPage (Charlotte, NC): What are the chances that Chris Okey makes it to Clemson?

Jim Callis: Slim. He’ll get picked in the top two rounds, my guess is in upper half of the second.

Jim Callis: That’s all I have time for today … Feel free to hit me up on Twitter at @jimcallisBA if you have more questions. Only eight days away from the draft!