Jim Callis Chat: April 6

Jim Callis: Sorry about that, off the phone now and I’m
yours for the next hour. Don’t get me started on how sad the College World Series is making me these days.

    AC (ATL): Jim, there's something I'm always curious about when I see big bonus IFA signings ranked highly on prospect lists. Given the limited information on these guys, it seems like a big part of their prospect value is based on the fact that someone wanted to give them 7 figures. But often it seems to me that other guys ranked below them would probably have gotten more money if they magically became free agents. For instance, I've seen Luis Heredia generally ranked higher than someone like Enny Romero. But it seems to me, that if Romero was magically available on the IFA market, with his stuff and pro track record, he would easily beat Heredia's bonus. I am I

Jim Callis: Enny Romero was an international free agent
too, but I think I get what you’re saying. IFAs who get a seven-figure bonus also get an attendant amount of hype, sometimes over less-expensive IFAs who blossom more after signing. I generally have a hard time ranking them until they’ve gotten to the United States, because the backgrounds of a lot of these guys and the competition they’ve faced is so iffy. Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals is definitely
intriguing, but I want to see him against some competent pro hitters before I run him way up prospect lists.

    Benny (Charleston): I understand Taillon is being held back in XST until the weather warms up. About how many pro innings can we expect out of him this year? Are the Pirates considering a
    promotion for him if he's legit, or will he remain in Low-A throughout the season no matter what?

Jim Callis: I would think 90-110. Sounds like the Pirates are doing with Taillon what the Rockies did with Tyler Matzek last year. Unless he just comes out and destroys SAL competition, I bet Taillon spends the year in low Class A.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Do the Red Sox have a legit shot at Mikie Mahtook?

Jim Callis: There are few players in this draft who can
combine the year Mathtook is having with his all-around tools. But there’s so much talent in this draft that he very well could be available for the Red Sox at No. 19.

    Byron (Detroit, MI): When can we expect to see Jake Turner at Comerica?

Jim Callis: I think mid-2012 would be the earliest ETA.
That said, it wouldn’t shock me if he has the great year he’s capable of and the Tigers are in contention and needed an arm, that they would call him up late in the season.

    Drew (Il): With cashner & Wells to DL, do we see McNutt in Chicago soon? If not who besides Coleman makes the most sense?

Jim Callis: McNutt has a tremendous arm, but he has pitched just 16 innings above Class A and still needs a good deal of polish. I’d be surprised if he pitched in Chicago this year. Besides Coleman, Thomas Diamond also could get a call. The Cubs also could shift
Sean Marshall to the rotation and call up Scott Maine to take his lefty
role in the bullpen.

    Landon (Canada): Do you think the Jays are being a bit aggressive with Anthony Gose to start the season in AA New Hampshire?

Jim Callis: That’s fair to say. Gose hit .262/.332/.393
with 132 strikeouts and 32 caught stealings in high Class A last year. I
would send him there for a month or two before having him face Double-A
pitching. It’s easier to destroy someone’s confidence than build it back up.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): What's the latest on Alonso HS rhp Jose Fernandez this spring? Is he a first rounder in June?

Jim Callis: We’re working on an updated Top 50 Draft prospects list for the current issue, and he’s in the 16-25 range. Signability could play a factor, but that usually doesn’t rear its head until closer to the draft. He looks like a first-rounder in one of the best pitching drafts I can remember. One of the best overall drafts, too.

    Greg (ohio): When will an updated Top 50 draft prospects list come out?

Jim Callis: Issue goes to print next week, Top 50 should go up almost immediately. So look for the end of next week.

    Dustin (British Columbia): When does Brett Lawrie get called up and does he have the bat to play at 3B?

Jim Callis: Around midseason. Jayson Nix won’t keep him
down when he’s ready. Lawrie definitely has the bat for third base, we’ll see on the defense though spring reports were promising.

    Dara (Denver, CO): Do you expect teams to splurge their butts off in this year's draft? If so, will most of the first round be signing on 8/15?

Jim Callis: Yes and yes.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Is Taylor Guerreri the best HS pitcher in the nation?

Jim Callis: He’s certainly in the discussion. I’d still
go for one of the Oklahomans—Archie Bradley or Dylan Bundy—but I’m still trying to figure out which one is better.

    Joel (KCK): Thanks for the chats Jim!! What are your thoughts on Aaron Crow? Out of college, a lot of people envisioned him in a bullpen if he couldn't develop his changeup. Is this his permanent home or do you see the Royals trying to stretch him out in the future to be a starter again?

Jim Callis: With all the pitching the Royals have in their system, Crow very well could find a permanent home in the bullpen.
There were scouts who thought his delivery would lead him there anyway.
I could see him as a possible future closer if Joakim Soria were to depart.

    Brian P. (Chicago): With the Pirates glaring need at SS, is there any chance Chase d'Arnaud is MLB-ready by 2012?

Jim Callis: Could see him ready in 2012, but I’m not sure he’s a shortstop.

    Jason (Charlotte): Did you find it unusual that
    the Braves assigned Teheran to AAA ? Do you think there is any possible way we see him in Atl by July ?

Jim Callis: No. I think he’s the best pitching prospect
in baseball, and he pitched well in Double-A last year (albeit for just
40 innings). Wouldn’t shock me at all to see him in the majors this summer.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is BA Vollmuth a fit for Cincinnati at 27 and is he ranked higher or lower than that in this draft?

Jim Callis: Vollmuth is having a very good year, but I think that’s a bit rich. I think he’s more of a sandwich/second-rounder than a first-rounder.

    Jake H (kansas city): What draft prospect has the most helium right now?

Jim Callis: Compared to the beginning of the season? Might be South Carolina high school RHP Taylor Guerrieri or Florida high
school SS Javier Baez. On the college side? Maybe Oregon State LHP Josh

    Jimbo (Minneapolis): If the Pirates draft Cole instead of Rendon (or anyone else really) does Alvarez still move to 1B sooner rather than later or could he handle 3B for several more years?

Jim Callis: Alvarez is going to wind up at 1B in the next few years regardless of whom the Pirates draft. If they take Rendon, he moves sooner because Rendon won’t need a lot of time in the minors.

    Casey (Hawaii): A Twins pitcher and a Twins batter who you think will make the biggest jump next year?

Jim Callis: Eddie Rosario, Adrian Salcedo.

    Rick (Daytona Beach, Florida): Peter O'Brien legit First Rounder? Swell as what are yiut thoughts on him?

Jim Callis: Could see him going in the first round because catchers go higher than you figure and he has power and arm strength. There are serious concerns about his receiving, though, so he’d be more of a sandwich/second-rounder for me.

    Jake (Kalamazoo): I have to ask about Matt Szczur - his writeup in the Prospect Handbook makes him sound bulletproof, and Cub fan friends of mine seem convinced that he's ready to go Mike Trout on the minors this year. Is that possible and what are the things he needs to work on?

Jim Callis: I guess I’m to blame for that, because I wrote the report. He definitely has a high ceiling and had a terrific debut, but I’m not counting on him going Mike Trout this year. Because he spent so much time playing football, he’s got to refine a lot of the little things, like baserunning and tracking fly balls in center field. His bat is more polished than expected.

    Bryce (AZ): There doesn't seem to be a consensus #3 player in this years draft. Who do you see as the top 3 contenders, and the overall "winner" of the #3 player in the draft?

Jim Callis: There’s no consensus No. 3, but there are more prospects than usual worthy of that pick, if you know what I mean. On the pitching side, Sonny Gray, Jed Bradley and Danny Hultzen are among the contenders. Among position players, options include Bubba Starling, Francisco Lindor and George Springer. There’s a lot of buzz right now that the Diamondbacks love Hultzen at No. 3.

    Rory (Regina): If you were to start your franchise with one of these young pitchers, who would it be and why.....
    Dan Hudson or Jeremy Hellickson?

Jim Callis: Jeremy Hellickson. He has a better, deeper repertoire and I think his command is a little better, too.

    Bryn (Grand Forks, ND): What do you think Twins
    prospect Miguel Sano's ceiling is? Would Miguel Cabrera be a stretch? Also do you see the Twins trading for a front line starter? King Felix? Thanks!

Jim Callis: A Cabrera ceiling is not a stretch, though Sano is still a long way from getting there. I don’t see the Twins make a
huge trade—that hasn’t been their style. I really thought they should have ponied up a package with Aaron Hicks last summer to get Cliff Lee, and they didn’t.

    Brad (MO): What 3 players (not named Cole or Rendon) are in your personal top 5 prospects for the draft this year?

Jim Callis: I really hadn’t thought about this yet—there’s so much talent it makes your head spin. My 3-5 would be Jed
Bradley, Bubba Starling and maybe Francisco Lindor. Sonny Gray is right
there, too.

    Brad (MO): What right handed pitching prospect has the highest ceiling in the Royals system? Highest floor? Would Crow be in a revised top 100 after an impressive start in the majors?

Jim Callis: Jason Adam and Yordano Ventura have the highest ceilings, and Louis Coleman has the highest floor. I’ve always been a big Crow backer, but I wouldn’t jump him into the Top 100 just based on a couple of big league relief appearances.

    Landon (Canada): Is there a chance that Trevor Bauer slips to the Jays at #21 ?

Jim Callis: I don’t see that happening. Much better chance that he goes in the top 10 picks than he falls out of the top 20.

    Adam (Idaho): Jason Esposito seems to be having
    a good but not great season so far. Do you think he's still a no doubt
    1st rounder, and do you think he could play shortstop.

Jim Callis: I never thought he was a no-doubt first-rounder, as I’ve never been his biggest fan. He’s not playing shortstop any longer at Vanderbilt, and I think he’s a pro third baseman. Looks like more of a sandwich pick right now.

    Mark L. Peel (Arlington Heights, IL): Jim,
    James Russell, who nominally competed for the #5 starter job in spring
    but was shifted back to relief with more than 2 weeks to go in spring, will fill in the other opening in the Cubs rotation.


Jim Callis: Well, there you go. Mark knows all when it comes to the Cubs. I’d still be more tempted to go with Marshall in the rotation and promote Maine, though.

    Kyle (St. Louis): Is there any way in your mind
    that Bubba Starling, Dylan Bundy, or Archie Bradley fall to the cardinals? Much like Shelby Miller did.

Jim Callis: High school studs can have very volatile signability, and this draft is teeming with talent. Those guys are all easily better than the No. 22 player in the draft, but you never know with signability.

    Peter (Brooklyn): Do the Mets have a shot at Matt Purke?

Jim Callis: Yes, at No. 13. Again, I think he’s better than that, but he hasn’t been 100 percent this year and is sliding a little. Also, his signability has to be in question because he’s a sophomore who was offered $6 million out of high school. (Which he agreed to, but MLB killed the deal.)

    Brad (MO): What are your thoughs on Alex Gordon's hot start?

Jim Callis: I won’t read too much into five games, but I still think he can become a solid big league regular.

    JAYPERS (IL): Will Gerrit Cole be the draft pick who spends the least amount of time in the minors once signed? If not him, who gets your vote?

Jim Callis: Fair to say, unless one of the better college pitchers immediately moves to the bullpen, someone along the lines of Texas A&M’s John Stilson.

    Jason (McMinnville, TN): You are a major league scout. Tell me about Vandy RHP Sonny Gray.

Jim Callis: I am not a major league scout. But I can tell you that Gray’s fastball-curveball combination is as good as any in
this draft, and don’t bet against him as a starter despite his small frame.

    Phil Case (Minneapolis): Love the chat's Jim. Can you tell us when minor league opening day rosters will be on your site?

Jim Callis: Thanks, Phil. Webmaster J.J. Cooper says they’re going up as we get them. Go here: http://www.baseballamerica.com/statistics/ and you can access them by league or organization. They’ll all be up before first pitch tomorrow.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): rate these four
    HS outfielders in order of where they project in the draft. Brandon Nimmo, Charlie Tilson, Derek Fisher, and Josh Bell. Thanks!

Jim Callis: Bell, Nimmo, Fisher, Tilson.

    Joel (KCK): Here's a fun one....the first four picks in the 2011 draft are Rendon, Cole, Hultzen, and Gray. You are Dayton Moore. Who's your pick, and why? Thanks, love the Wednesday chats!!!!

Jim Callis: Bubba Starling would be very tempting.

    Dan (Oakland): What do you expect from Zach Wheeler this year?

Jim Callis: Strong year, continues to establish himself as one of game’s best young pitching prospects.

    Dillan (Pasadena, CA): Hello, Is Kolten Wong's highly polished bat (currently hitting .393 with 4Hr's 24RBi's 107AB's on a subpar team) and all around ready game worth of a Major League contract this june? The entire UCLA team and its opponents have a combine 8hrs in over 1750 Ab's.

Jim Callis: He won’t get a big league deal, but I can definitely see him going in the first round. Which is saying something for a second baseman, especially in a draft this deep.

    Sam (Jacksonville): Could you see the Braves using Tehran like the Rays did with David Price or like the Yankess did with Joba during the stretch run this year thanks

Jim Callis: I could. Also could see him being so good that they make room in the rotation.

    Chad Dubick (Surrey, BC): What do you think of Tim Collins? What is his ceiling and what role will he fill long term?

Jim Callis: Great story, setup man is his ceiling and he might just get there. He has the stuff to do it—both his fastball and curveball are weapons.

    Joseph (Skokie, IL): Any idea how long it might take Pittsburgh's Luis Heredia to make it to the big leagues if everything goes right? Thanks, Jim!

Jim Callis: He’s only 16, so at least four years.

Jim Callis: Sorry again for the late start, but we still got to a lot of questions. If I didn’t get to yours, feel free to send long ones for consideration for Ask BA (via email to askba@baseballamerica.com) or try me on Twitter at @jimcallisBA. Thanks!