Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Glad to be here for the weekly Wednesday chat. And at the glacial pace that signings are happening, I doubt I’ll be interrupted during the next hour. So your questions are my focus. Let’s get to them!

Mike (Ithaca, NY): What do scouts make of Jesse Hahn so far this? Seems like he is finally getting stretched out and dominating FSL albeit at a slightly advanced age. Is he still showcasing the power stuff that led many to project him as a possible #2 down the road?

Jim Callis: Hahn is showing why he would have been a first-round pick in 2010 if he hadn’t blown out his elbow. The Rays got him in the sixth round for $525,000 and waited two years for him to get back on the mound. Now he’s showing quality stuff again. A ceiling of a No. 2 starter is certainly realistic, and he’s in an organization that excels at getting pitchers to their ceilings.

Ben (PA): How does Noah Syndergaard compare to Zach Wheeler? Can we expect a similar time table next year?

Jim Callis: Wheeler is about two years older than Syndergaard. At the same stage, Wheeler had better stuff while Syndergaard had more polish. Syndergaard has quality stuff, too, and I could see him beginning 2014 in Triple-A and reaching New York later in the year.

Mike (Virginia): What's the deal with Myles Smith? What is the likelihood he could go back to school and make more money getting drafted as a senior (obviously Appel is an outlier)?

Jim Callis: The Red Sox drafted Smith, a Lee (Tenn.) righthander who can touch 97 mph and has a good changeup, in the fourth round with what they thought was an understanding of what it would take to sign him. That has become a misunderstanding and I’m not sure he’ll get done now. The best college seniors (not counting Appel, of course) are fortunate to get half or two-thirds of the assigned value for where they get picked. Smith’s pick value is $454,800. Even if he agreed to a somewhat under-value deal, I think it would be hard to top as a senior in 2014.

Mike (Virginia): Now that Boldt and Sheffield are out for the Red Sox, how do they spend their $$$? Is there any way they have money left over?

Jim Callis: They don’t have enough money to sign Ryan Boldt, but despite the reports this morning, I think they could meet Jordan Sheffield’s price if they want. The Red Sox are aggressive drafters and they won’t keep money in their pocket. Even if they don’t get Sheffield, I think Boston will get some combination of Derek Burkamper, Nick Longhi, Matt Thaiss, etc. The Red Sox will find a way to spend their money and add more talent.

Jack (City): Stephen Piscotty showed decent power in the pitcher friendly FSL and has showed slightly more in AA after his promotion. Has his power projection taken a step forward in scouts' eyes or is it still a cause for concern?

Jim Callis: Piscotty is slugging .490 this year (.556 in brief Double-A time so far), up from .448 in his pro debut. So that’s encouraging, don’t think the power ceiling (average) has really changed but you feel better about him getting there. You’d like more than that from a right fielder, but he still can be productive enough to be a big league regular by hitting for a high average with plenty of doubles.

Joe (Manchester, CT): What do you feel will be the offensive ceiling for Wilmer Flores when he reaches the majors?

Jim Callis: I think Flores can hit for a solid average with average power. The problem is that I think he has to fit defensively at first base, and he might not have enough offense to make a difference there.

Pat (Okla. City, Ok.): Thanks for your time. Will any of the following sign. 1. Tuiz, Wetzler, Weiss and Monda

Jim Callis: I’m guessing that’s Tellez? Anyway … Zack Weiss already has agreed to terms with the Reds for $180,000 last week, so he’ll sign. Jason Monda has said definitively he won’t sign, and I believe him. I think the Jays will sign Rowdy Tellez and believe the Phillies will get Ben Wetzler done, though neither is a lock … If Tuiz = Nick Vander Tuig, I think the Giants will sign him.

Brett (Chicago): Does Renato Nunez have a chance to be a top 100 prospect next year? What is you take on him overall?

Jim Callis: That might be a little rich right now but I do like Nunez. His power and hitting ability are obvious, but his third-base defense and plate discipline need a lot of work.

Redbeard (Pittsburgh): How much does the year to year path reflect in prospect opinions? For example despite being only 2 weeks apart in age Mike Olt is considered a solid/good prospect despite hitting (.204 avg, .683 OPS, 75 wRC+ and 32% K rate) while Andrew Lambo is an after thought while hitting (.305 avg, .968 OPS, 159 wRC+ and 23% K rate).

Jim Callis: The present year doesn’t matter as much as the track record (Olt’s career OPS in the minors is 75 points higher), their positions (Olt is a very good third baseman, Lambo a so-so outfielder) and the fact that Olt never has failed a minor league drug test. Lambo could get a shot in the big leagues, but he’s a bat-only guy in his seventh year as a pro. Olt had some vision problems that hurt his numbers early in the year.

Fred (Ohio): Do you think the Twins have any chance to sign Logan Shore? Thanks for taking my question!

Jim Callis: None. I believe they really like Shore but they ran out of money.

Greg (Germany): What's your ETA for Corey Seager

Jim Callis: 2015. I really like Corey Seager as a prospect.

Tom D. (Madison, WI): With the way Buxton has blown up this year is it officially time for major league front offices to realize that there is no draft strategy as good as "take the best talent available"? I've seen both the Quad Cities and Cedar Rapids play this year (before Buxton's promotion) and there's no way you'd trade Buxton, Luke Bard and Zach Jones for the Correa, McCullers & Ruiz package we've heard so much about. Correa looked good, but Buxton was breathtaking. You'd think teams would have learned by now that trying to save money at the top of the draft is a good way to look like an idiot.

Jim Callis: Correa was a legitimate No. 1 overall pick and is one of the best prospects in baseball … but Buxton is the best. And though Astros don’t want to believe me, the team could have had Buxton and McCullers (just not enough money left over for Ruiz). All that said, Correa is no slouch.

phil (philly): Franco and Sano have similar #'s. But Franco's #'s are better. Both are 20 years old but Franco is a legit 20(as you know Sano had an inconclusive investigation). Franco also profiles at least as an average defender at 3b where sank may require a move. How does sano rank 3rd in your mid season list and Franco miss the top 50?

Jim Callis: Think J.J. Cooper covered this exhaustively on Twitter the other day, but here’s the short answer: 1) Sano has MUCH more power and is the best power hitter in the minors and 2) there are concerns about how well Franco’s swing will play in the big leagues. But also realize that Franco would have made the Top 100 if we went that deep and there’s no shame in not making the Top 50. Franco is very good but Sano is better.

Grant (Toronto, ON): Assuming he signs, what does Rowdy Tellez possess that former 1B prospect David Cooper didn't?

Jim Callis: Much more power potential.

@Jaypers413 (IL): Do you personally believe Henry Owens was worthy of making BA's Midseason Top 50 list?

Jim Callis: Worthy, yes. Love the way he misses bats. But I don’t have any problem with him not ranking that high until he makes strides with his command and control.

Travis (Texas): Blake Goins was consider a tough sign even before the Angels selected him. Why do teams take those type of risk? Do you think he will sign?

Jim Callis: The Angels took Goins in the 12th round. Most 12th-rounders never make it to the majors, so what really is the risk? I believe they’ve offered him fourth-round money and he’s on the fence about taking it or attending Texas.

Pete Lunchbox (Tangerine Grove FL): The White Sox appear to actually be willing to spend money now, spending their full intl bonus pool last year, and paying $1.6m for Micker Zapata this year. Looking at their recent draft, the fact that they should have a top 5 pick next year, will have increased intl bonus pool, and should get at least a couple decent prospects through trades, how high could they climb up the org rankings by the end of 2014? Top 20? 15? It took the Astros a few years of being terrible, is that a best case scenario if they want to develop a top 5 system?

Jim Callis: It’s encouraging that the White Sox are investing a lot more in draft and international talent these days, but years of not doing so means they have a lot of work to do. They still have a ways to go to creep into the upper half of farm systems by the end of 2014. Maybe if they make some shrewd veterans-for-prospects trades it could happen.

Danny (Colorado): With the ability to spend up to $1.1 million without losing a draft pick, which late rounder for the Rockies (Serrano, McGuire, Hansen, Gideon, Hatch) is most likely to sign ?

Jim Callis: I’m not convinced the Rockies will pay any draft tax, in which case they have $490,700 to play with. I think Alec Hansen or Wesley Jones is the best bet to sign.

Max (Columbus, OH): How do you feel about Josh Bell (PIT) as a prospect right now? Seems like he fell off the radar a bit after his knee injury last year but has bounced back and is putting up solid numbers this season.

Jim Callis: Still love the bat. I’m a believer.

Wessel (The Netherlands): Hi Jim, what's your opinion on Mookie Betts. Red Sox minor league 2b?

Jim Callis: Athletic second baseman who can hit. Also one of the best bowlers in baseball.

JR (West Dundee): Assuming the cubs sign Bryant is there are a better group of power hitting prospects than Bryant, Soler, Baez, and Vogelbach?

Jim Callis: Let’s switch to the lightning round and see how many more of my 200-plus remaining questions I can tackle in the next few minutes … No. And might be the best power trio even without Bryant.

Conor (Boston): Andrew Heaney has been dominant since coming back from injury, earning the 33rd spot in your rankings. What is the ceiling on this kid?

Jim Callis: No. 2 starter.

Chuck (Phoenix): Any chance Aaron Judge doesn't sign?

Jim Callis: I don’t see how Judge doesn’t sign. Updating Monday’s Ask BA question, I think the most likely to least likely first-rounders to sign are Judge, Bryant, Moran, Bickford. I still think they all sign, only guy I would waver on even a little is Bickford.

Andy (Lynchburg, VA): Even though he's struggled a bit with the adjustment to AA pitching, do you see mid-2014 as a realistic date for Miguel Sano to arrive in Minnesota?

Jim Callis: Yes.

Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): with the A's signing the Hawaiian catcher yesterday, is it safe to assume that Stanford closer AJ Vanegas is going back to College?
Jim Callis: Safe to assume that even before Iolana Akau signed for $375,000.

Andy (Lynchburg, VA): Is it a foregone conclusion (especially with Middlebrooks' recent struggles) that Xander Bogaerts will arrive in Boston as a 3B or do the Sox still think he can stick at SS?

Jim Callis: He can stick at shortstop, at least for a while. Where Bogaerts plays depends on whether Jose Iglesias hits. Bogaerts could be SS, 3B or RF.

Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Iowa): Jim; what does your crystal ball foresee for Chris Owings? Does his skill set merit a future place on the left side of the D/Back infield, or is he/will he become trade fodder? thanks

Jim Callis: Aaron Hill is signed through 2016, so Owings may need a trade to become a regular.

Felix (Ft Lauderdale, FL.): Which player will Teams regret passing up the most in the First Round five years from now? Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek?

Jim Callis: Stanek went late in the first. I’ll say Sean Manaea, provided he stays healthy.

Daniel (Mckinney, Tx): Do you think Sonny Gray makes it to the A's rotation this? If no, then does he make it next year?

Jim Callis: Pitching too well to ignore him for much longer this year.

John (Chicago): Jim, thanks for the chat. Do scouts think Kevin Plawecki can be an everyday guy in the majors?

Jim Callis: Yes. He may not have all-star tools, but he has no glaring weakness and he doesn’t seem to ever make a mistake in any facet of the game.

Daniel (Mckinney, Tx): What is Grant Greens Ceiling?

Jim Callis: Solid regular with some all-star potential at second base.

Ben (Ca): I notice that in a previous Ask BA where the pirates too 10 prospects were listed, Tyler Glasnow was ahead of Alen Henson, but I don't see Glasnow on the mid season top 50. Can you explain what happened?

Jim Callis: Ask BA is solely my opinion. The Top 50 was a collaborative effort. I’d take Glasnow over Hansen but easy to argue either way.

Rodney Chinn (Ithaca, NY): Has BA ever considered hosting a once-monthly chat with the expert on each organization? While I am curious about Bubba, Mondesi and Zimmer, I would also like to have questions answered about Adams, Simmons, Mills, Newberry, Yambati, Fletcher, and others that I suspect are not what you are looking for when trying to hold the interest of fans of all 30 teams.

Jim Callis: Not sure we could do that once per month, because we’d be chatting every day, but there’s a good idea in there.

JH (California): How come we don't hear more about Tyrone Taylor? With his tools and breakout performance this year I thought I'd start seeing some top-100 buzz. Are there some major flaws I'm missing?

Jim Callis: Good athlete, very nice first full season. Not a Top 100 guy for me yet but definitely one of the Brewers’ best prospects.

Joey Moore (toronto): Hey jim when do you see marcus stroman getting called up and what's his long term role.

Jim Callis: Blue Jays aren’t going anywhere this year, so I suspect it will be 2014 before Stroman gets to Toronto. Most likely he becomes a closer in the long run, but don’t bet against him as a starter.

Tim (Poughkeepsie): Jim, you have said you think all first rounders will sign, but with NYY doing a 2 day physical isn't time running out for Judge quickly?

Jim Callis: Teams can say that, but you don’t have to get the physical done in advance. You can’t renegotiate after the deadline if someone fails a physical, though you could void the deal. The notion that a player has to agree to terms on Wednesday when the deadline is Friday is nonsense. The team may prefer that but it doesn’t have to happen.

Daniel (Toronto): If the jays aren't able to get bickford done, but do get tellez and brentz, plus the 11th pick next year in a much stronger draft, would that be a success in your mind?

Jim Callis: You could maybe call that palatable but I wouldn’t call that a success.

Nick (Cleveland): Given Bauer's struggles, do you see him as a mid to back of the rotation guy?

Jim Callis: I still see frontline stuff. Still think he needs to just go after hitters rather than trying to make them look bad.

The Eastern League (The East): Baseball at our level is too easy for Garin Cecchini, yes?

Jim Callis: Yes.

Ramos (New York): What are your thoughts of Drew Bridges? People thought he would go to college but has chosen to sign with the NYY.

Jim Callis: He’s an all-bat high school guy but it’s a promising bat. Only cost the Yankees sixth-round money, which is a worthwhile investment.

Matt (West Chester, PA): Nick Franklin or Kolten Wong as your long-term 2B?

Jim Callis: I’d take Franklin because I see a little bit more offensive upside. That’s a tough one, though.

Brenden (Houston): What is the upside for Max Muncy? He is hitting the ball well and he has a 1:1 walk to strike out ratio.

Jim Callis: Upside is solid regular and it will come down to power. I know he has 20 homers already, but the Cal League boosts everyone’s numbers. He has a good bat with more average power, would have more value if he could play somewhere besides first base.

Dave Walker (CT): If Moran signs, how soon do you see him playing in Miami?

Jim Callis: Early 2015. Late 2014 if they want to rush him, he could hold his own with the bat. And he will sign.

Geoff (Toronto): What is the probability the Jays sign Bickford? If he signs, what is the price? I've seen a large discrepancy in Bickford's reported asking price: 4.25M from BA and 3M from the Toronto media.

Jim Callis: $4.25 million was the reported number before the draft, which I don’t believe anyone really thought he would get. I think he’ll sign for somewhere around the $2,921,400 pick value.

Eric (Rancho Cucamonga, CA): Why has Garin Cecchini not got more love on your BA top 50 prospects update? He's literally killed the ball all year and is now tearing up double A.

Jim Callis: Don’t blame me. I have to be the biggest Garin Cecchini believer, at least at BA (where he does have plenty of support). Been touting him since the Red Sox stole him in the fourth round.

Mick (Chicago): Will Trea Turner, be the number one pick next year because teams think he can play short?

Jim Callis: Should definitely be in the mix.

Dan (Tulsa): What was the best you thought Matt Carpenter could be before he was in the bigs?

Jim Callis: I’ll admit, I thought he was a corner infield backup. I blew that one. All-star second baseman? Never would have seen that. Kudos to him and the Cardinals.

A.S. (US): Can you explain the slotting system for IFA and the Int'l bonus pool?

Jim Callis: Not in the lightning round. But Ben Badler has a few articles doing just that elsewhere on this website.

Michael (Chicago): How likely is it that a team would accidentally go over their pool value by making a miscalculation on signability?

Jim Callis: Almost impossible. I don’t think anyone would take the chance of losing a first-round pick by spending extra money before they saved it. If that happens, I think you’d see someone lose their job over it.

Jack (Toronto): Where would Kris Bryant have ranked had he been eligible for the top 50 prospects list?

Jim Callis: Personally, I’d take him over any of the Cubs prospects.

Tim (PA): Chats could be more Division focused as in AL East, AL Central, AL West, NL East, NL Central and NL West vs individual teams, no?

Jim Callis: Yes, I was thinking along those lines too. We could do a weekly divisional chat and alternate them throughout the season.

Jim Callis: I’m going to get back to the (glacial) draft signings beat now. Thanks for all of your questions. I’ll be helping with the broadcast of the Triple-A All-Star Game next Wednesday, so someone will be pinch-hitting for me then. But feel free to grill me on Twitter at @jimcallisBA!