Jim Callis Chat: Sept. 23

    Tommy (KC, MO): I'm having a hard time picking a
    number one prospect between Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Wil Myers, who seem to be the most obvious candidates. How would you rank these guys in what order, and why? Thanks, Mr Callis.

Jim Callis: I actually ruminated on that subject in Ask
BA a month ago: http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2010/2610585.html.
The short answer is I’d take Moustakas, because I love that power and he has proven himself at higher levels, but I think you could argue for any of the three. Also talked to a scout today who just might take John Lamb over any of them.

    JAYPERS (IL): Do Taillon, Allie and Heredia have any shot whatsoever at playing in the AFL? Dominican Winter League?

Jim Callis: That would surprise me because they’re all so long. Can’t see it for either of the high school guys. Maybe Heredia would pitch in the Mexican Pacific League, but the Pirates might not want that.

    Greg (Atlanta): If you are the Braves would you give up Freeman and Teheran for Greinke?

Jim Callis: If I was just concerned with winning in 2011, yes. But otherwise, it would be tough considering what Greinke will cost compared to the other two. By 2013, Teheran could be just as good as Greinke at a fraction of the cost. The Braves are still regretting the Mark Teixeira trade.

    Will (Bel Air, CA): Since the trade to the Royals Will Smith has borderline dominated, and put up an outstanding 51
    K to 4 BB line, I know the expectation with him has dropped A LOT, but has the hope come back that he can be more than a 5th starter? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Maybe a No. 4. His stuff isn’t as good as his K-BB ratio. He has very good control, but his changeup is his only solid or better pitch.

    Chris (CT): What are your thoughts on Jeremy Hazelbaker?

Jim Callis: He’s not a top prospect, but has a chance to make it as a speed/OBP center fielder. Worth keeping an eye on.

    Eddy (NY): as a hitter who's the better prospect? 2006 Billy Butler or 2010 Eric Hosmer? and Butler still has a 30+ HR potential? How about Hosmer?

Jim Callis: 2010 Eric Hosmer, because he has more power. Butler might get to 30 homers, but looks more like a high-doubles, 20-25 homer guy to me. Hosmer has 30-homer potential.

    TG (Beantown): Is Wade Gaynor of the Tigers a legit prospect? Seems to have really found his swing this year.

Jim Callis: Another guy who bears watching a little but
isn’t a top guy. Gaynor has size, strength and speed but doesn’t make enough contact. He’s just adequate at third base, too.

    Betty (Joliet): Jim,
    I am a big Cubs fan. Any chance they move Aram over to first and promote Marquez Smith?

Jim Callis: I don’t see that. Smith had a nice year in Triple-A, but he’s better suited to be a utility guy than a regular.

    Brian (Delaware): Where do you see Angles' Mike Trout starting next season. Can we expect to see him in AA or back to Rancho?

Jim Callis: I’d say Double-A. Never thought I’d say this a year ago, but he may play his way to Anaheim by the end of the 2011 season. He’s the top prospect in minor league baseball for me.

    Ben (Houston): What's the purpose of an instructional league in the minors? Is it to see where each player will
    be placed such as Rookie, Single A, etc?

Jim Callis: Instructional league is for the better young prospects in an organization to work on different aspects of their
game. They play games, but the emphasis is on instruction and development.

    Simon (Montreal, Canada): What will the Yanks do with Jesus Montero next year?

Jim Callis: He doesn’t have anything to prove offensively in Triple-A, and Jorge Posada isn’t a gem defensively. I’d let him and Posada split catching and DHing at the major league level. Not sure how the Yankees will handle it. They could play the service-time game and keep him in Triple-A until late May.

    Sylvain (Ottawa, Ontario): Chances of the Pirates drafting Anthony Rendon. More than 80%?

Jim Callis: He’s still the favorite to go No. 1, but that’s too high. Very few guys are that much of a lock this far in advance, and the 2010 draft is deep. Don’t be surprised if the Pirates decide a college pitcher like Gerrit Cole, Matt Purke or Matt Barnes is the way to go.

    Joel (Wilmington, De): What is your opinion of Jon Singleton? And what is his high end potential? Thanks

Jim Callis: He’s a very polished hitter for his age. His high-end potential is to be an all-star, and it comes down to how much power he develops. He should have at least average power and could have considerably more.

    Elliot (Youngstown OH): Jason Kipnis seems to hit better each time he escalates a level. He would've been a shoe-in for No. 1 on the Hot Prospect List, if you did one this week, nearly hitting for the cycle two games in a row in the IL playoff clincher and then in the AAA showdown game. How good can be for the Indians? When does he arrive in Cleveland?

Jim Callis: I could see him taking over second base in Cleveland next year. I like him a little more than Cord Phelps. Kipnis will hit. The question is how good he’ll be defensively. I’ve heard mixed reviews.

    Allan (Wisconsin): What is Mark Rogers ceiling now, as he will most likely be joining Brewers rotation mid 2011?

Jim Callis: If you really dream, you could see his power arm turning him into a No. 2 starter. But his command makes being a
No. 3 starter a more realistic, and I still see him as more of a reliever in the long run. His comeback from two shoulder surgeries to regain his stuff is one of the best baseball stories of the year.

    Chuck (Wichita): It looks like the Royals will pick 5th or 6th next year. Can they afford to pass on a talent like Bubba Starling that is in their back yard?

Jim Callis: Yes, because as good as Starling is, he won’t be one of the top five or six players available in the draft.

    Dave Gershman (White Plains, NY): Out of the 4 Royals left handed prospects (Duffy, Montgomery, Lamb, and Dwyer) how would you rank them and which ones will be top 50? Thanks Jim.

Jim Callis: Another Royals question where you could argue them in a variety of orders. I’d go Lamb, Montgomery, Dwyer, Duffy. First two guys should be Top 50 Prospects when we do that list.

    Raymond Veras Casso (Bronx,NY): What is your Opinion on the Yankees farm system. Is it top 5 in all of MLB?

Jim Callis: It’s hard to answer that question with any precision, because those of us who try to rank farm systems do so after taking a deep look at all 30 organizations. My gut feel is the Yankees will rank in the 6-10 range. It has been a good year for their system.

    Chris (Washington, District of Columbia): You wrote a couple days ago that you like Drake Britton over Rizzo. Do either make your top 100? How would you order Kelly, Doubront, Renaudo,
    and Britton?

Jim Callis: I’m not sure either makes my Top 100, but they could fit in toward the end. I’d rank those pitchers like this: Kelly, Ranaudo, Britton, Doubront.

    tony (albuquerque): What do you make of Josh Vitters season?

Jim Callis: It was disappointing. I expected to see more out of a guy who’s supposed to have an elite-level bat. But he’s still just 20, and there’s plenty of time for him to figure things out. I
wouldn’t give up on him, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations so far.

    Ryan (Milwaukee): Fielder for Hank Conger and Garrett Richards is a Brewer fan fantasy, right? Is there any way the Brewers can get multiple potential impact players back for Fielder?

Jim Callis: I’m not a huge Conger fan, so I don’t think
that trade is unreasonable. But I would caution you not to expect a big
return for Fielder, who’s a year away from free agency and represented by the Boras Corp. There aren’t a lot of teams in the market to invest heavily in a first baseman. I was talking to a scout today who thinks the Brewers could get a lot more for Ryan Braun, and I agree.

    Tommy (New York): I know you remarked a few chats ago that the talent in the AFL this year is the same as it is normally, but I am just not seeing it. Did I just get spoiled last year being able to see Strasburg, Heyward, Stanton, Posey, Starlin Castro, Casey Kelly, Ackley, Moustkas, Domonic Brown, etc.? Was last year just a
    ridiculous year that isn't likely to be repeated any time soon

Jim Callis: I’d say the latter—last year was an exceptional year and this year is more normal than down.

    Jose (Bronx, NY): Do you think Matt Lipka is a top 10 Braves prospect? What kind of potential does he have?

Jim Callis: Yes, and I really like Lipka. He can hit, he runs well above-average and I think he’ll either be a solid shortstop
or good center fielder.

    ryan (florida): Is gary sanchez bat legit? Or is he another overhyped yankee prospect?

Jim Callis: It’s a legit bat and he’s a legit talent. That said, GCL performance means very little in the long run.

    herb (NJ): Who's bat do you like better long-term, Choice or Sale?

Jim Callis: I like Josh Sale’s bat more than Michael Choice’s. Both are good offensive prospects.

    Tony (Albuquerque): Are Matt Moore and Julio Teheran both in contention to start 2011 in the rotation?

Jim Callis: The Rays already have a crowded rotation and I can’t fathom that they’d jump Moore from high Class A. Teheran’s ETA would me mid-2011 at the earliest.

    MT (SF): Would it make sense for the Cubs to trade Josh Vitters or Bret Jackson for a quality first baseman?

Jim Callis: Vitters, sure, but I don’t think he’d be the cornerstone of a major deal right now. Jackson has a chance to be a center field with five solid or better tools, so I wouldn’t deal him for
an expensive first baseman. Especially because I don’t think the Cubs can realistically contend in 2011.

    Lance (St. Louis): There has been a buzz up here about the way Shelby Miller finished up his first full season. How quickly do you see him advancing and would you take him over Jacob Turner.

Jim Callis: Miller had a very nice first full pro season, but he’s still figuring out command and consistency, so I don’t think he’ll rush to St. Louis. I’d say late 2012 would be the earliest realistic ETA. I’d still take Turner because I think his secondary pitches and control are better, but it’s very close.

    Avery (Walnut Creek): Has Lamb surpassed Montgomery as a prospect? If so, is his stuff better or are the injury concerns with Montgomery keeping him down?

Jim Callis: He has for me, and not because of injury concerns. I just think Lamb’s stuff is better.

    Nick (DC): Where does Nick Castellanos rank in terms of Tigers prospects? Also is he even close to the top 100?

Jim Callis: He’s close to the Top 100, not sure if he’ll make it. For me, he’s clearly the No. 2 prospect for the Tigers. I’d put Jacob Turner No. 1.

    Brian (Chicago, IL): Justin Wilson was just named MVP of the AA playoffs and now he's headed to the AFL. Any chance we see him in Pittsburgh next year (especially if he's lights out this fall)?

Jim Callis: Sure. The Pirates need arms and Wilson’s stuff jumped up a notch this year. If he pitches well in Triple-A to start next year, I could see him in Pittsburgh at midseason.

    Paul (Fall River, MA): What order would you rank these pitching prospects, Matt Moore, Tyler Matzek, and John Lamb

Jim Callis: Matzek would definitely be third. Moore vs. Lamb is a very tough call . . . I’ll say Lamb, Moore, Matzek.

Jim Callis: Who would have thought that the Royals would dominate a chat? If this keeps up, I’ll be accused of having a Midwest bias. Thanks as usual for the good questions, and you can always
try submitting longer ones for to Ask BA (email to askba@baseballamerica.com with your full name and hometown, but realize we can’t answer them all in our weekly column) or shorter ones to me via
Twitter (@jimcallisBA). I’ll see you again next Wednesday.