Jim Callis Chat: Aug. 11

    JC (STL): As we wind down to the signing deadline what are you thoughts on the remaining Cards picks? If they do
    sign do you see these numbers are close guestimates on bonuses? I know
    its no slam dunk on Cox and Wilson but if we do get them signed would these bonuses be about right.

    Cox - $2.5M
    Jenkins - $1.3M - per KLaw
    Swagerty - $500K
    Wilson - $3M

Jim Callis: I anticipate a bunch of signing deadline questions, and bring them on. Before we get into them, I’ll start by saying that 90 percent or more of the players in the top 10 rounds are expected to sign, and in many cases deals (or at least bonus terms) are in place. MLB is clamping down on teams releasing any information before
MLB wants, so many of the deals won’t become public before the weekend .
. . As for JC’s question, Cox and Jenkins look about right. Swagerty’s slot is $485,000, so holding out this long for $500,000 seems a little light. I don’t see them signing Wilson and I’m not sure even $3 million would guarantee that deal gets done.

    SF882 (Northern VA): Are the Nats going to sign Sammy Solis and/or AJ Cole? Has there been any progress here?

Jim Callis: My guess is they sign Solis and don’t sign Cole. I’d be a little surprised if they spent what it took to sign both those guys after spending what it will take to sign Harper with the No. 1
overall pick.

    John (Houston): Who do you see becoming a better major league player: Wilmer Flores or Miguel Sano?

Jim Callis: My gut feeling is Sano, but I don’t think there’s a big difference between the two. I could see Flores moving to the outfield and Sano shifting to third base, which would also give him an edge in positional value.

    Gary (Kansas City): Rank 'em for me, if you could. Moustakas, Myers, Lamb, Hosmer. Or do I have it correct?

Jim Callis: I’d flip Hosmer and Lamb, but you could argue just about any order on those four. Yes, the Royals system is stocked, and it doesn’t end there either.

    James (Philly): Is Dom Brown headed back to AAA once Victorino returns?

Jim Callis: Probably. He’s not tearing it up and there’s no point keeping him on the bench in August. We’ll see him again
in September, I’m sure. And if he does get demoted, it might keep him eligible for the Prospect Handbook and the 2011 Rookie of the Year award.

    Kyle (Oxford): What are you hearing about Billy
    Hamilton this season? It seems like he has made strides since last season and taken to switch hitting.

Jim Callis: He has. He has a chance to be a very dynamic middle infielder. One of the fastest true prospects in the minors.

    JAYPERS (IL): Would it be a reasonably safe assumption that Hellickson is up to stay for the remainder of the season?

Jim Callis: Yes. The Rays have a couple of banged-up starter, Hellickson is pitching very well and they’re in a tight playoff
race. Even if he gets crowded out of the rotation, he could be useful in middle relief. Hard to see him getting crowded out, though, if he keeps pitching like this.

    Stacy (New Market, AL): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat. What is your assesment of Lars Anderson and his chances of making
    the big league roster in Boston in 2011? Also, who would you rather at
    first: Anderson or Smoak? Thanks again.

Jim Callis: With the Red Sox in near-constant win-now mode, I don’t see him making the Opening Day roster. Maybe if he gets going in Triple-A, they’d move Youkilis to third base and install Anderson at first, but I can’t see that being the plan to start the season. I’d rather have Smoak.

    Greg (LA): Why is is that you don't see the Yankees more active in the 16 year old South American market? You would
    think that this would be the best place to overpay.

Jim Callis: The Yankees are usually very active on the international market, and I think they’re just biding their time this year. Signings have been slow there as well so far in 2011. Would disagree about that being the best place to overpay. That place is clearly the draft, where prices are artificially depressed and teams willing to spend can haul in a disproportionate share of talent.

    Max (Florida): Who do you expect the Indians to sign as they have not signed any of their top 4 picks?

Jim Callis: I think Cleveland will sign at least three of their top four picks. They should get Drew Pomeranz, LeVon Washington
and Kyle Blair done, but Tony Wolters might be tough.

    Chuck (Wichita): Have you heard anything about the Royals 2nd and 5th round picks, Eibner and Adam?

Jim Callis: They’ll sign both of those guys, for a combined total around $2 million.

    Brian (Chicago): I read Tyler Jett's story on Wil Myers needing 2 years to be big league ready but his defense behind the plate might not be ready at that time. What is your take on Myers? Would you keep him behind the plate as long as possible or make him a right fielder right now?

Jim Callis: I’d still try to make him a catcher. Keep him behind the plate until at least the second half of next year. If he’s not showing much progress by then, consider moving him. The bat should play anywhere.

    Tim (Boston): How do Brandon Jacobs and Kendrick Perkins compare in terms of tools, and who was further along in
    their development at the time of their respective draft?

Jim Callis: They have similar offensive tools. Jacobs may have been a little more advanced as a hitter, but Perkins has better
athleticism and all-around tools.

    Peter (Portland): In last week's chat you ranked Purke ahead of Cole. Is this solely because he is a lefty, or does his stuff project that much better?

Jim Callis: It’s splitting hairs, but he’s lefthanded and I trust his command a little more.

    Alex (ATL): Chances on Luke Jackson signing? What about Austin Wates?

Jim Callis: Don’t think either is a lock but think the Rangers will sign Jackson (sandwich pick) and the Astros will sign Wates

    Greg (LA): Explain the logic of the Dotel trade
    to me. The LAD's have enough relievers (Troncoso is in AAA), Dotel is a
    2 month hire, and they gave up McDonald (probably as good as Dotel) and
    Lambo, who looks like he has real potential as a LF. What was Ned thinking?

Jim Callis: I think you’re a little optimistic on McDonald and Lambo. It was a short-term move, giving up two once-valued prospects who had lost some luster.

    Andy (Scottsdale, Arizona): Hey Jim,

    What's your thoughts on Marc Krauss's skill set and what he needs to improve on to make it to Arizona ? Do you also think he gets a taste of
    AA this year ? Thank you

Jim Callis: Athleticism and defense, maybe tighten his strike zone up a little bit. I really do like his bat, and it will carry
him to the big leagues. Not sure what Arizona’s plans are, but I’d give
him a month in Double-A.

    Adam (Miami FL): Josh Spence has been off the charts so far in his pro debut. Do you think he will have continued success at the higher levels with his lack of velocity? Are his offspead pitches that good that he will be able to keep big league hitters off balance?

Jim Callis: Pitchers who can command and mix their stuff like Spence often are very successful in the lower minors. I question whether he has enough stuff to last in a big league rotation, but he has won everywhere he has been. He has the feel, but his changeup
may be his only plus pitch.

    Joe (Temecula): Do you expect the MLB bottom feeders to call up any heralded prospects before September 1? Ackley in
    Seattle, Hosmer/Lamb/Myers in KC, Lyles in Houston?

Jim Callis: Maybe Ackley, who’s already on the 40-man roster. The other guys don’t have to be protected yet, so no reason to call them up.

    Clent (Memphis): Jake Odorizzi or Tanner Bushue?

Jim Callis: Sorry about the delay . . . blame John Manuel for calling me! I’d take Odorizzi.

    Max (Rockwood, tn): Hey Jim, Did Seattle blow it by taking Smoak instead of Montero?

Jim Callis: Too early to say. I wouldn’t panic because of Smoak’s early struggles in Seattle. I like Montero more than Smoak, but it’s not a huge difference. Seattle clearly preferred Smoak.

Jim Callis: I just got caught up in another call, but I’m off now. Let’s do at least 20 more minutes of questions, then I have
a third-round signing to report.

    Eli (NY): What do you think Montero's ceiling is? 320 average 30 + hrs?

Jim Callis: That’s a fair ceiling. When we were asking scouts to grade the best tools of the best players on our Top 100 before
the season, Montero was getting some 70s and 75s for his hitting ability and power.

    Eric (DC): Haven't seen Jarrod Parker on any of
    BA's top prospect lists for 2011. Is that because it's hard to project how a player will bounce back from Tommy John surgery?

Jim Callis: I’m sure he’ll be on our next Top 100 in the spring. I still believe in him. But it’s hard to put him on a midseason Top 25 list when he’s missed the whole year. The track record of coming back from Tommy John is pretty good, so his quality stuff should come back.

    Mike (Hopedale, il): Are there more over-slot deals at this point than in recent years?

Jim Callis: Sorry, another draft phone call, I’ll still
hang in here and answer some more questions. I think this year will be pretty consistent with the last two. MLB just is trying to keep deals quiet as long as possible, but we’ll have a bunch to report in the next five days.

    Jim Callis (Tampa, FL): Jim, you 'da man! I love your name. What is the deal with the Bryce Harper signing? Is this happening?

Jim Callis: He’ll sign, but we won’t hear about it until about 11:59 p.m. ET on Monday. I think he’ll set a new record for position players (eclipsing Mark Teixeira’s $9.5 million deal) but fall short of the overall record (Stephen Strasburg’s $15.1 million).

    Bryce (Arizona): What is Daniel Hudson's ceiling? Do you think Barry Enright can remain in the DBacks rotation into the future?

Jim Callis: His ceiling is a No. 3, but Hudson may wind up being a No. 4. Enright is a back-of-the rotation guy, despite his early success.

    Brett (The IL): Do you remember anybody in recent times that had as much in-game power at age 20 as Mike Stanton?

Jim Callis: No, I can’t. Though Bryce Harper may give him a run in three years.

    Kevin (Toronto): Jim, what is your projection for Garrett Richards?

Jim Callis: After struggling for much of his college career, he really turned the corner right before the 2009 draft and has kept that momentum going. He could wind up being a No. 2 starter. Fastball to 97 and hard breaking stuff works for me.

    Bubba (AZ): Anything new on the Barret Loux front? Is it best for the DBacks to just take the pick next year and have 2 picks in the top 7?

Jim Callis: I have heard nothing new. They have concerns about his elbow and shoulder, and the biggest proponent of drafting him (former GM Josh Byrnes) no longer works for the club. At this point, I’d guess they decline to sign him and take the comp pick in

    Dan (Baltimore): Now that Harper is out in RF, how much seperation is there between him and Jameson Taillon for the best prospect in the draft class?

Jim Callis: Harper was the best prospect in this draft.
That said, I think he’s somewhat overhyped and won’t be the instant Strasburg-like savior that fans expect. In many drafts, Taillon and Manny Machado would have been quality No. 1 overall picks, and they’re not far behind Harper.

    Bret (Toronto): JP Arencibia's debut Saturday put Jays fans in a bit of a frenzy. Think he can put up better numbers next year than John Buck has this year?

Jim Callis: Not sure if he’ll better Buck’s current .807 OPS over a full season in 2011, but Arencibia will be a better player in the long run.

    Evan (NH): Deck McGuire is pretty much a lock to sign, right?

Jim Callis: Yes. I can’t see how he’d better his bargaining power from the No. 11 pick this year to being a college senior in a deeper draft in 2011.

    Ryan (Iowa): What the odds of James Paxton signing? How about any recent word on other M's picks such as Littlewood, Stanek, and Keller?

Jim Callis: I expect Paxton to sign, though the deadline doesn’t apply to him. The Mariners don’t seem to be making much
progress with their other unsigned picks, though a lot can change in the next five days.

    Mark (Kansas City): What's your thoughts on why Aaron Crow has struggled this year?

Jim Callis: Command. Our reports on his stuff are still pretty good. I have been very surprised at how much he has struggled.

    Zac (San Diego): To follow up on the Lars question, have your projections changed on him due to recent struggles in both AA last year and AAA this year? He needs to be added to the 40 man roster this offseason so is it make or break next year?

Jim Callis: They have. I used to think he could be a star, but now I think solid regular is a more realistic ceiling. I’m sure the Red Sox will protect him.

    Phil (Toronto): Jayson Heyward or Domonic Brown?

Jim Callis: Heyward.

    Bo (Elmhurst, NY): You mentioned in your '09 Handbook that Hak Ju Lee is more athletic than Starlin Castro and may push Castro to 2B eventually. A year later, do you still think that's the case?

Jim Callis: I do think he’s more athletic. He hasn’t had a great year, though he’s young for the Midwest League, and he certainly doesn’t have Castro’s ceiling. But if you have them in the same infield, I think you’d want Lee at shortstop.

    Stan (NYC): Please give me a abbreviated scouting report on George Springer. Why is he being mentioned as a possible #1 overall pick next year?

Jim Callis: Great bat speed and power potential, good athlete, runs well.

Jim Callis: Thanks for bearing with me and all of my phone calls. I enjoyed answering your questions, and now I will return to the draft signings beat. See you next Wednesday.