Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. I’ve obviously been working mostly on the draft, but the College World Series, minors and majors are
all fair game. Anything baseball-related, for that matter.

    Joe (Minnesota): Will Delino Desheilds just be Ben Revere?

Jim Callis: They have similar toolsets, though I think DeShields has the potential for a grade or two better power than Revere.
And he’ll have to go a long way to show he’s as gifted a hitter as Revere, whose career average was .331 the last time I checked.

    Eli (NY): Is Montero still the yankees best prospect? Does he project to be like a posada or is his ceiling much lower?

Jim Callis: I still think so, despite his lackluster year. It’s easy to forget he’s 20 and in Triple-A. His ceiling is higher
than Posada’s. Not saying he’ll reach that ceiling, but he has the potential to provide more offense than Posada did in his prime. Still not sold Montero is a long-term catcher, but it’s not like Posada is a wonderful defender either.

    Nate (Maryland): Which recent braves draftee is
    closest to the majors?

Jim Callis: It might be Matt Sucshak, a seventh-round righthander out of Toledo, if they bring him along as a reliever. Pittsburgh third baseman Joe Leonard, a third-rounder, is the other obvious candidate.

    Pat (Indiana): Hey Jim, have you been able to do any estimations on those slot recommendations yet?

Jim Callis: Not yet. That’s usually an early-July project once we have enough signing data. The interesting thing to me is
that teams told me the slots were up a little over 2009, yet almost all
of the signings have been at or below the 2009 numbers.

    Nate (Maryland): How is martin prado as good as
    he is when he got almost no attention though the minors?

Jim Callis: Good question. He never hit like this in the minors, always looked like a decent-hitting utilityman to me.

    Scott (FL): Should we be concerned about Kyle Gibson's last two starts? He was on track to move to AAA if not for those two starts. Thanks!

Jim Callis: No, just a blip on an otherwise strong season.

    Brian (Alexandria): What are the odds the Nationals sign AJ Cole? How much is the immediate perception of success/failure predicated on signing Cole (along with Bryce Harper & Sammy Solis)?

Jim Callis: My guess, and this is just a guess, is that
he’ll be very tough to sign after lasting until the fourth round. Harper is going to cost a ton, and while the Nationals have been willing
to spend on the draft, they may not do many over-slot deals after Harper. I don’t think the success of their draft depends on signing Cole. It begins and ends with signing Harper, which they’ll get done.

    James Kap (New York): Andrew Brackman has looked strong his last 5 starts, if he keeps it up, where would you rank
    him in your preseason top 100 next year?

Jim Callis: Brackman certainly seems to have found himself, doesn’t he? I still want to see more, but if he keeps this up (34-4 K-BB in last 29 IP), I’d put him in the second half of the Top 100

    David Bowen (Potsdam): What are the chances that the Dodgers will actually sign their first round pick......Zack Lee?

Jim Callis: If I had to bet, I’d say they wouldn’t. I think they’ll make a full effort and don’t buy the conspiracy theory that they’re punting the pick. In that case, they’d still have to sign the comp pick the next year. I think it just came down to the Dodgers liking Lee enough to make a run. If they don’t sign him, they’ll try to compensate by paying some lower draft picks like Gausman and Pederson.

    Tom (NJ): Is Jonathan Singleton working his way
    to top 25 overall prospect status?

Jim Callis: That’s bit hefty for a low Class A first baseman, isn’t it? Would you settle for Top 100?

    john (philadelphia): Hi Jim, Thanks for taking our questions. I love your dedication towards the draft, you do a great work. I had a couple question about the Phillies: Firstly, what do you think of the Phillies draft, do they have a chance of signing Scott Frazier or David Palka?? Second, where does Biddle rank in the Phillies top 10?
    Thanks and keep up the great work

Jim Callis: Thanks, John. It was a typical Phillies draft, grabbing a lot of upside and hoping to hit some home runs with a couple of guys rather than just playing it safe. That approach has worked well for Philadelphia. They took Frazier high enough that I think
they’ll make a strong run at thim, but Palka may be unsignable. Biddle fits in the middle of the Top 10 somewhere. He wasn’t a first-round pick
for me, but he was arguably the best HS LHP in the draft and their system has been thinned out by trades.

    Joe (Kansas City): Any chance we could see a cameo of some of t he top prospects any time this year, i.e, Hosmer, Moose-taco, Montgomery, Crow, Robinson? And I know Gordon is mashin in Omaha, but are you worried about his strike out rate?

Jim Callis: I could see some September callups so the front office can say, “See? We’re bringing in some talent. Our club has hope!” They need to put Gordon in the big league lineup and see what he can do. Honestly, don’t know what to make of him anymore, but keeping him in Triple-A makes no sense.

    steve (glenville ny): do you see matt harvey as
    a front of the rototion starter or as a closer or bust

Jim Callis: I know he made a lot of strides this year, but he was so inconsistent in the past that I don’t fully trust Matt Harvey. I think he’ll be more a reliever than a starter in the long run,
but maybe I’m just pessimistic.

    Ryan (Houston): Hey Jim - love the work you guys do! Astros fan here and I admit it! With the sad shape of the Astros minor league system, how many of the recent high draft prospects (DeShields, Folty, Kvasnicka, Velasquez, Wates, Doran, Heath) might wind
    up on their top 10 list?

Jim Callis: Maybe six of them. Castro, Mier, Lyles and Bushue are the only Top 10 locks, and Castro and Mier aren’t having very
good years.

    Sean (Calgary, Alberta): Could you provide an update on Price and Weiters (the #1 prospect debate a year ago). Price seems to be better than advertised lately and Weiters hasn't really hit his stride. Who would you rather have now and why?

Jim Callis: I would have taken Price at the time, so there’s nothing that’s really happened since then that would change my mind. I think a true front-of-the-rotation ace is the hardest thing to find in baseball, which is why I took him then and would take him now. The fun thing is, this debate will probably go back and forth for years once Wieters hits his stride.

    Caleb (Rochester, MN): Don't know much about the Cards third-round pick, Sam Tuivailala. He's a HS SS that not too many seem to know about. Your thoughts?

Jim Callis: I’ll let our scouting report from our Advanced Draft Database speak for itself below. If you head there, you’ll get reports like this on every player in the first 10 rounds and many players after that:

High school talents that pop up the summer after their junior year quickly gain a lot of attention. Tuivailala attended a small showcase in Sacramento last summer and started a lot of buzz when he hit 93 mph on the gun. He also showed bat speed and strength as a position player and is being considered by some scouts as a third baseman. At 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Tuivailala has good size and strength and a projectable frame. He has long arms and legs and
has athletic agility. His secondary stuff is evolving. His curveball is
a tweener pitch that should be a slider from his three-quarters slot, and he lacks a third pitch. He sits in the 88-89 mph range, with movement. He lacks a lot of mound time and an organization that is strong in pitching development will value him most. Tuivailala joins Judge in Fresno State’s recruiting class.

    Steve (Wilmington): Is 150K the amount you can sign any prospect without requiring commisioner approval this year? It appears that the Rangers have already signed a prospect to a slightly overslot deal in Jordan Akins or is that considered a slot deal because the spread the bonus out as Akins is a two-sport player?

Jim Callis: There are specific bonuses recommended for each pick in the first five rounds. After the fifth round, the limit is $125,000 though you can jump to $150,000 without jumping through any major hoops. Akins did sign a two-sport deal worth $350,000 that MLB values at $315,040, which would put it right in line with the $315,000 slot value at pick 103.

    Kevin (San Diego): Jim, why are your chats no longer on Falling out of sorts? I love BA, but your chat software is archaic, to say the least.

Jim Callis: We have a new relationship with Our Wednesday chats may eventually be hosted there, but for now they’re at and linked at

    Mark (Belmont, CA): Hey Jim,

    What are your thoughts on the Giants' SJ High-A prospect Brandon Belt?

    His #s are just ridiculous this season. He's got a great frame for a power hitter and SF bloggers are saying Belt is a very good defensive 1B
    as well



Jim Callis: I think his numbers are somewhat a product of the Cal League. I just don’t know if he’s going to have the power you
really want in a first baseman, though he is a good defender.

    Elvis (Memphis): In terms of percentages, what are the chances the Cards have to sign Z. Cox? T. Jenkins? A. Wilson?

Jim Callis: I’d be stunned if they don’t get Cox signed. Jenkins is 50-50, and that may be pessimistic. I’d be stunned if
they do sign Wilson.

    Travis (Boston): What is the max that any team has spent on thei entire draft? The Red Sox seem to be in line to top whatever that figure is, especially if Ranaudo dominates the Cape League.

Jim Callis: The most bonus money a team ever has spent is the $11.5 million the Nationals spent in 2009, and that figure doesn’t include another $7.6 million in salary guarantees to Stephen Strasburg. The Red Sox have spent $2.2 million on their top two picks (Kolbrin Vitek, Bryce Brentz), and the asking price for their next four choices (Anthony Ranaudo, Brandon Workman, Sean Coyle, Garin Cecchini) is somewhere in the neighborhood of $9.5 million. They also took some tough late signs, too.

    Rog (NJ): Hey Jim, thanks for the chat....can you tell me the extended outlook on High Desert's quartet of Dennis Raben, Denny Almonte, Rich Poythress and Johermyn Chavez? They are all having pretty nice seasons and are all still relatively young, but are they legitimate prospects or just products of the hitter's league? Do you see any of them following in Carlos Peguero's footsteps and continuing thier hitting in tougher leagues? Thanks

Jim Callis: They’re all prospects, but High Desert does
inflate their numbers and I wouldn’t classify any as having more potential than a future solid regular at this point.

    JC (STL): Are there any surprises of guys that have signed quickly? Guys that you thought would have been a tougher sign?

Jim Callis: I was a little surprised that Chad Bettis (Rockies) and Derek Dietrich (Rays) signed so quickly for slot money at the bottom of the second round. Both got some late-first-round attention, and I thought both slid a little because they were angling for more money.

    Dave (ST. Louis): When will you guys do an update on each MLB team on who they have signed from this years 2010 draft...?

Jim Callis: We updated our Draft Database constantly. In most cases, we wait for official confirmation or to see the player on
a minor league roster, but we do update it daily. There should be a flurry of teams announcing signings as they form the rosters for their short-season and Rookie clubs.

    AJ (Pittsburgh): Do you think the Pirates have a
    realistic chance to sign both Taillon and Allie considering the 10+ million it will take to sign them will outweigh their usual draft budget
    in its entirety?

Jim Callis: I do. You don’t take Taillon at No. 2 unless you plan to sign him, and you don’t take Allie in the second round if you don’t plan to make a strong run at him.

    Theron (Pittsburgh): With Mike Trout going crazy in Low A, did teams miss the boat with him last year or was there a
    small something that put teams off?

Jim Callis: It’s just hard to scout the players in the Northeast compared to the rest of the country because of the weather and
quality of competition. The consensus was that his bat was raw and would need some time, but that hasn’t been the case. I’ll give credit to
MLSB chief Frank Marcos. When we both worked on the MLB Network’s draft
show in 2009, Frank had Trout as one of the top five players in the whole draft, and I thought he was overrating him. But Frank sure looks smart about Trout right now.

    Kevin (CT): Hi Jim,

    Since with the exception of Harvey, Mets went cheap in draft, do you expect them to be aggressive during July latin signings?

Jim Callis: I guess, though they haven’t been as aggressive internationally recently as they were at the beginning of GM Omar Minaya’s tenure. Why they don’t spend more on the draft or international market just baffles me.

    Jason T (Tampa): How "wierd" was this draft compared to other drafts?

Jim Callis: I think the “weirdness” was overblown. There was little consensus after the top three picks, and the consensus usually runs deeper than that, but there’s uncertainty in every draft.

    root (virginia): what is the story on that shore kid from oklahoma university who shut down virginia monday night? they said he throws low to mid nineties, with four good pitches and was drafted lat year out juco. why wasn't he drafted this year?

Jim Callis: He usually throws 88-90 and doesn’t have an
out pitch, though he mixes his stuff well. He’s not real big (6-foot-1,
174 pounds) either, and his asking price must not have fit what teams thought of his ability.

    Johnny (Miami): Danny Hultzen got knocked around in his last few starts before his brilliant effort against OU in the Super Regional. In a stacked draft class in 2011, where does he stack up?

Jim Callis: He’s still a first-rounder.

    Mike (Indianapolis): Hi Jim, I know everyone was shocked by the Cubs picking Hayden Simpson. When he signs, where do
    you think he will rank in the Cubs Top 10 next year. I am also curious
    what you think about Micah Gibbs, and whether he will be in the Cubs Top 10 as well. Thanks.

Jim Callis: Maybe the back end of the Top 10, because the Cubs system is getting deeper. If he comes out and throws 92-97 mph like the Cubs saw in his final games, and tears up the minors, he’ll rank higher than that. I like Gibbs some, VG receiver and runs a pitching staff well, not sure how much he’ll really hit. More of an 11-20 guy than a Top 10er.

    Jason (New York): Can you rank these first round college pitchers on a pure talent ceiling, rather than a draft ranking which might use signability as a ranking tool. Pomeranz, Loux, Harvey, McGuire, Sale, Simpson, and Wimmers. Feel free to include Ranaudo, Wojciechowski, and Ruffin for extra credit.

Jim Callis: Sale, Pomeranz, McGuire, Wimmers, Harvey, Wojciechowski, Loux, Ruffin, Simpson. If you can guarantee Ranaudo’s health, I’d put him as high as third. If you can’t, I’d put him between Wojo and Loux.

    Doug (Fountain Valley, CA): Is Zack Cox the next Brett Wallace? Left handed mashers with no real defensive home?

Jim Callis: I think he has more raw power than Wallace and can stay at third base.

    Joe (WI): After a rough start, Brett Lawrie has
    really started to hit consistently in Double A, but his defense has been real bad. With the likelihood that Prince Fielder will be moved and the lack of first base depth in the system, is it likely that Lawrie
    will move to first or is the first candidate going to be Matt Gamel.

Jim Callis: I like the bat but even last year didn’t think he’d cut it at second base. I think his future home is right field.

    Matt (Kansas City): What do you make of the Red
    Sox willingness to spend so much in a consensus down year for the draft? Are they zigging while everyone else is zagging?

Jim Callis: There’s talent in every draft. You just have to find it and be willing to pay to sign it.

    Steve (El Paso): Jim—a lot of people are calling Mike Trout a potential Top 10 Prospect for 2011. Do you agree?

Jim Callis: If not Top 10, then Top 20. He has looked great this year.

    Dave (Raleigh): It's never too early. The front-runner for cover boy of the Prospect Handbook 2011 is? GO!

Jim Callis: Bryce Harper?

    Brad (MO): The scouting report on Brett Eibner was more about his pitching, can you tell us anymore about his defense? Moore has said they drafted him as a centerfielder, was he the best outfielder/centerfielder available?

Jim Callis: Chance to play CF, more likely ends up in RF. Fits the profile there very well.

    Mark (NYC): Would their be a big uproar if the Yankees 1st 5 picks would need over $10MM to sign and they signed them? If Red Sox sign these guys and 25 other players they will need a $15MM budget or more. Is that wrong or is it wrong that the Yanks draft cheaply?

Jim Callis: The draft is the most cost-efficient way to
hoard talent. No one is stopping the Yankees from spending if they want

    Sean (Calgary, Alberta): Could you give us thoughts on what Pedro Alvarez's line might look like for the rest of the year? How many games does he play at 3rd vs. 1st?

Jim Callis: .260/.340/.480 works for me. He’ll play third base for now.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the questions. See you again
next week.