Jim Callis Chat: April 27

    @Jaypers413 (IL): With hard slotting looming on
    the horizon, what does this mean for the Boras Corporation and its' prospective clients for this year's draft? It looks as though he won't have team owners by the cajones this time. Correct, or no?

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. As is always the case this time of year, the draft is first and foremost on my mind, but all baseball topics are fair game . . . I actually disagree with J.P. on this one. I don’t think the Boras Corp. has any problems if its advisees
go to college. Teams fear that Boras Corp. players won’t sign more than
they do with other advisers, and clubs are going to pay dearly for talent this year because they think it will be the last time they can aggressively sign high school players for over-slot bonuses. So I don’t think the Boras Corp. (or any agency) will be at a disadvantage this year.

    Lee (Brentwood, TN): Any smallish RHP is going to be compared to Lincecum. How does Sonny Gray compare?

Jim Callis: Lincecum doesn’t draw too many comps because his mechanics are unique. From a stuff (overpowering fastball/curve combination) and command (needs to improve) standpoint, it’s not a bad comp.

    Harry (San Diego): G. Cole's last two starts have been rather, shall we say, uncharacteristic. Does this give you any
    pause to drop him a spot or two, or were they mere aberrations?

Jim Callis: No, not unless this continued for the next several weeks. Still think he’s going to be the top pitcher chosen and still think he or Rendon will go No. 1. He still has velocity but hasn’t
been as sharp with his pitches. There’s nothing to indicate that it’s injury-related, which of course would be a concern. While Cole is the consensus best pitching prospect in this draft, he’s not even the best pitcher in terms of results on his own team.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Since you've been busy on the draft phones, have you heard any early news of any one team looking harder at Trevor Bauer than others?

Jim Callis: No, still too early to pin down who might go where. Some teams don’t like Bauer’s unorthodox mechanics, but some teams absolutely love him. He has the best combination of stuff, command
and performance in this draft, even better than Cole. It wouldn’t surprise me if he went as high as No. 3 to the Diamondbacks, though they’re more closely linked to Danny Hultzen, and I’d be shocked if Bauer didn’t go in the top 10. May not get out of the top five.

    Ted (Chicago): Do you really think the Cubs would pass up Dylan Bundy for Lindor at #9? Isn't Bundys ceiling a lot higher?

Jim Callis: I believe Ted is referring to the first round staged by me, Conor Glassey and John Manuel (http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/draft/draft-dish/2011/2611619.html).
We were identifying who we would take for each club, not necessarily what the team will do. I mentioned Bundy as a Cubs possibility, so could
see them taking him. He has been so good this spring, though, I’m not sure he’ll even make it to No. 9. If you wanted to tell me he was the third-best prospect in this draft, I think you could defend that pretty well.

    Matt (Scranton, PA): Alexi Amarista had a successful debut for the Angels last night, what are the chances he can become a decent everyday player despite being 5'8 150? What is his true ceiling?

Jim Callis: I see him as more of a utility guy than a regular, a Chone Figgins type without the blazing speed.

    Jeff (San Diego): Beemer Weems is off to a great start in AA, is viewed as strong defensively, and has had decent OBPs in his career. Can he become a viable everyday shortstop for the Padres?

Jim Callis: Capable defender, but I don’t think he can hit enough to be a big league regular. Won’t sustain those OBPs in the majors because pitchers there will just overpower him.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Ia.): Jim; it must be spring; baseball is back, as are Jim's chats!
    Who, in your opinion has the greater upside, Brett Jackson, or Matt Szczur? thanks

Jim Callis: Szczur has a higher ceiling but Jackson is a
better prospect. Jackson has a good ceiling and is closer to reaching his. I could see Jackson becoming a .275 hitter with 20-20 potential, playing a solid center field but maybe fitting better on a corner. If Szczur puts everything together, he could be a .300 hitter with gap power, a ton of steals and Gold Glove potential in center.

    Matt (KC): How does Starling's hit tool compare to Donovan Tate's at the same age? More or less raw?

Jim Callis: I heard a lot of concerns about Tate’s bat when he came out of high school and don’t hear any about Starling’s. Starling looked fine on the showcase circuit, though he doesn’t face much in the way of high school competition in Kansas. He’d be less likely to exposed than Tate would have been in Georgia.

    Russ (NYC): What's your take on Shon Carson, including his potential to hit for power?

Jim Callis: He always has struck me as more of an athlete than a polished player, but the raw power is there. His speed is
obviously his best tool.

    Jeff (Bay Area): Should the Padres move James Darnell's to the outfield (RF?) ASAP given his shaky defense at 3B and the existence of Chase Headly and Jedd Gyorko? Thanks

Jim Callis: I think you try to develop a guy at the best position he could possibly play. At the same time, if you think Darnell is close to ready for the big leagues, you don’t want him to learn a new position while he breaks into the majors. I’d split his time
between third base and the outfield corners.

    Dave (Indiana): Any chance Bubba Starling falls to the Cubs at 9?

Jim Callis: His signability will be tough after Donavan
Tate got $6.25 million and Zach Lee got $5.25 million as the best two-sport draftees the last two years, so sure, it could happen.

    frank (toronto): good move by jays to not rush lawrie? whats his mlb eta?

Jim Callis: Yes. They’re not going to contend this year, and he needs some time to learn to play third base. We’ll still see him in Toronto before the end of the season.

    jack (oakland): does cardenas figure in the A's
    2011 plans? he's gotta be better than half the stiffs in their current lineup. also whats his mbl position?

Jim Callis: I don’t know. I liked him when the Phillies
drafted him and early in his minor league career, but I don’t think he profiles great as a regular at any position. He’s not really quick enough at second base or potent enough at third base, despite the scorching start he’s had in the Pacific Coast League. I think he’s more of an offensive-minded utilityman.

    Dave (Pueblo): How do you think the potential changes in CBA with bonuses, world wide draft, etc. will affect this year's draft? Is it more smoke than fire?

Jim Callis: I think we’ll likely see hard slotting in the future, as well as an earlier signing deadline, but not a worldwide draft. While teams are hoping players will have less bargaining power because future draft bonuses will be limited, on the flip side, clubs will always spend for talent and this may be the last year that they can
do what it takes to sign promising high schoolers who don’t go in the first two rounds. Industry-wide bonus spending will top $200 million for
the first time in 2011, bank on it.

    David (Tempe, AZ): Jim, any word on A.J. Pollock? He's putting up good numbers in Mobile, but I wonder if he's still viewed as only a decent prospect and probable 4th outfielder, and a
    misspent first round pick.

Jim Callis: I’ve always liked him. He doesn’t wow you with his physical tools, but they’re solid and he gets the most out of him. He can really hit, too.

    Alex (Staten Island, NY): If the Mariners do decide to trade King Felix this year, can the Yankees pull off a trade without having to give up Montero, Banuelos or Betances? I'm thinking Brackman, Romine/Gary Sanchez, Nova, Noesi, Eduardo Nunez, Dave Adams/Corban Joseph and Heathcott can get it done.

Jim Callis: No. The Mariners aren’t going to trade Hernandez and let any team hold onto its three most advanced prospects. The Yankees already were willing to trade Montero to the Mariners last year, so I’d assume he’d be part of any deal. For King Felix, New York probably has to include Banuelos or Betances, too. And I wouldn’t trade him if I were running Seattle.

    Taylor (Houston): Jim, can you answer this for me - why are scouts concerned about Purke and his troubles, but not at all concerned about Rendon's issues - injury and lack of pop this year? And do you really see Purke falling out of the top 10, and maybe even into Sandwich area? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Because if Purke’s bursitis is a prelude to
further arm problems, it could have a severely negative impact on his career. Rendon’s shoulder should not affect his long-term worth. I don’t
see any way Purke is a top 10 pick as of today. Add in signability questions to health worries, and he could drop into the sandwich round, a
la Anthony Ranaudo last year.

    David (Tempe, AZ): How will the Diamondbacks pick at #7 being unprotected affect who they draft? Will guys like Barnes, Jungmann, etc... take slot money?

Jim Callis: I don’t know individually who will take slot money, but almost any first-round college junior is going to sign. If someone like Barnes or Jungmann might last until picks 11-15 (someone
talented will have to fall), where the slots last year were $1.55 million to $1.79 million, signing for slot at No. 7 ($2.18 million) might make a lot of sense. Deck McGuire went 11th last year and got an over-slot deal . . . for $2 million. I think Arizona will still get a very good player. Maybe they tell Trevor Bauer, “Hey, we’ll let you keep
doing what you’re doing” and that entices him to sign. They’ll have some options.

    Ryan (NYC): Who do you see the Mets taking at 13? I saw a mock draft saying Archie Bradley, is that a good pick there?

Jim Callis: Can’t see that. MLB is going to go ballistic if the Mets bust slot after they’ve been helping the club financially, and Bradley is a two-sport high school kid who won’t sign for close to slot.

    Nick (Long Island, NY): Is there any truth to the recent rumors floating around that Danny Hultzen could be the #1 overall pick?

Jim Callis: That would really surprise me. I really like Hultzen—how can you not—and he’s having a great season but he’s not the top talent in this draft.

    Sean (Boston): Jose Altuve's April has been fun
    to watch, and he's looking like legitimate prospect. What are your thoughts on his ceiling in the majors?

Jim Callis: He is fun to watch, but the profile isn’t great. His lone plus tool is his second-base defense, and maybe his hitting ability if you really believe in him. His pop and speed aren’t special. And how many 5-foot-7, 166-pound regulars do you see in the majors? I think his ceiling is utilityman.

    Gary Lounsberry (Miami,Fl): Who would you draft
    #1 overall...Josh Hamilton 1999 or Bryce Harper 2010, if they were in the same class? Compare the two please.

Jim Callis: Wow, great question. I’m leaning slightly to Hamilton for a wider range of tools, though Harper is no slouch. If you send that to askba@baseballamerica.com, I’ll mull it further and more extensively in Monday’s column.

    Johnny (Irvine): would you rather to have 1 top three picks or 3 first round supplument picks?

Jim Callis: One top three pick. There’s so much more value at the top of the draft. The success rate of the first five picks is markedly better than that for the rest of the first around, even moreso compared to the sandwich round.

    Dan (Tulsa): If a team has only one pick before
    the 2nd round (such as the Cards in the 20's), will/should they ignore signability almost entirely? That is, of course, assuming the player isn't completely unsignable.

Jim Callis: That differs from team to team. They definitely should. Pay what it takes to get the best player available.

    Nic (Pike Lake): Who do you feel is more talent, Julio Teheran or Mat Latos?

Jim Callis: Let’s do a mini-lightning round . . . Teheran.

    Greg (Bronx): Is there any reason to be concerned about Gary Sanchez's awful start?

Jim Callis: No. He’s still very young, as is the 2011 season.

    Steve Johnson (Boston): Your thoughts on Jonathan Schoop of the Orioles?? More upside than Machado???

Jim Callis: That’s crazy on the upside, but Schoop is worth watching. One of Baltimore’s better prospects.

    Knowlton (Nashville): Jason Esposito's bat has rebounded somewhat (though showing doubles as opposed to HR power), and his glove at 3B is as good as ever. Where is he most likely to go? Back of first / 1st supp / 2nd round?

Jim Callis: Sandwich round.

    Eric (Work): Jim, Where do you see Josh Osich fitting in the draft? His season has been more about building strength and the potential is impressive. Could a team with with an abundance of early picks (Rays or Jays) take him based
    on his ceiling?

Jim Callis: Affirmative, on both your statement and question. Could see him in the sandwich round.

    Dan (Macon): Better offensive ceiling, Darnell or Chisenhall?

Jim Callis: Chisenhall.

    Ben (Iowa City, IA): Where does Trey McNutts curveball rate on the 20-80 scale?

Jim Callis: When it’s at its best, a 70.

    Mike (Colorado): Thanks for the weekly chat. Daniel Tillman is fairing well in Low A. Do you see him as a starter or reliever and do you see him being successful

Jim Callis: Reliever, like him, see him moving quickly.

    Brad (Moonstone): Does Randall Delgado profile to be similar to Jair Jurrjens or better?

Jim Callis: Better pure stuff.

    Jared (Chapel Hill): Do you see a big gap between Nick Castellanos and Garin Ceechini?

Jim Callis: Not a big gap, no. I prefer Castellanos but also like Cecchini a lot.

    Steve (Bakersfield): Gary Brown, more like Jacoby Ellsbury or Peter Bourjos?

Jim Callis: Ellsbury. I like Brown’s offensive upside more than Bourjos’.

Jim Callis: Back to the draft phones for me now . . . I’ll be back to answer more questions next Wednesday.