Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your questions beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: The signing deadline is at the forefront of
my mind these days, and I suspect the trade deadline is at the forefront of many of yours’. All questions are fair game . . . let’s go!

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Your thoughts on the Edwin Jackson trade that sent Zach Stewart to the White Sox?

Jim Callis: Salary dump for the White Sox, who save $9 million. I like Zach Stewart some, but I think he’s more of a reliever than a frontline starter. If the Jays are using Jackson to get Colby Rasmus, as rumored, it’s more confirmation that Alex Anthopoulos is a tremendous GM. Jackson has not been Kenny Williams’ finest moment—he gives up Daniel Hudson and Dennis Holmberg to get him, trades him for two relievers, then sees him uses to get Colby Rasmus.

    dylan (ks): where do the cubs stand with vogelbach & maples?

Jim Callis: Rumors persists in the industry that Vogelbach is done or all but done. He was asking for $1.65 million before the draft, and if the Cubs give him that much, it won’t get announced until Aug. 15. I keep hearing the Cubs will go overslot for 9-10 guys at the top of the draft, but it’s unclear whether that group will include Maples.

    Nate (Washington): Vincent Catricala 3B/LF SEA has an OPS over 1.000 in nearly 100 AA plate appearances at age 22 after
    a similar performance in A+. What do the Mariners have here? I keep reading reports that "scouts like/buy the bat," but what does that mean?
    I've read almost nothing concrete about him.

Jim Callis: He has some hitting ability and pop, but he’s not a third baseman and probably has to be a left fielder. The question becomes can he really hit enough to be an everyday big leaguer in left field? He’s more than an org player but he’s not an elite prospect. He’ll have to keep proving himself.

    Charles (KC, MO): The Royals top 5 draft picks are all unsigned. How many will sign?

Jim Callis: Such is life with over-slot draftees: teams
have to wait to sign them. I’d put the over/under at 4 1/2. They’ll definitely sign Starling, and I’m pretty sure they’ll sign Gallagher, Smith and Leonard. Brickhouse is the one I think could go either way.

    Connor G. (NY): Why isnt Oscar Hernandez getting any notice for hos crazy numbers?

Jim Callis: Well, I think a lot of prospect watchers are noticing those numbers. But it’s the Venezuelan Summer League, which
means 1) the numbers mean next to nothing and 2) there aren’t exactly a
lot of available scouting reports to let us know what pro evaluators think of him.

    Marc (Vancouver): Assuming all the draftees sign, where do the D-Backs pitching group, and farm overall, rank against the rest of the league?

Jim Callis: Near the top. You have Tyler Skaggs, Jarrod
Parker, Pat Corbin and David Holmberg already in the system, and Trevor
Bauer, Archie Bradley, Andrew Chafin and Anthony Meo from the first two
rounds of the draft. Very impressive.

    Dan V. (Kent, WA): Any progress to report on Hultzen talks?

Jim Callis: With the top picks and biggest deals, negotiations usually don’t really get going until the final week, so no news doesn’t mean bad news. I think he’ll sign, but it’s probably late on the night of the deadline (Aug. 15). I do think all 33 first-rounders
will sign when all is said and done.

    Dara (Detroit): Is Yonder Alonso going to be a mainstay in Cincy's OF, or just a stopgap?

Jim Callis: I think he can hit enough to hold the job, but I question his ability to handle the outfield defensively for a long
period of time. To me, he’s a first baseman and only a first baseman. I
think he eventually becomes a trade piece.

    Will (Dallas, TX): Texas has clearly shown ability and willingness to sign prospects for big $ (Latin America), what then was the reasoning (or your hypothesis of the reasoning) for going under slot in the Rule 4?

Jim Callis: My hypothesis is that the Rangers have a finite number of dollars in their amateur talent acquisition budget, picked low enough in the draft that they couldn’t get two guys they really wanted (Nimmo and Beede), so they allocated more money to the international market. If Nimmo and Beede had been available at picks 33 and 37, I bet Texas would have taken them and signed them for a combined
$5 million or so.

    Drew (IL): Im confused about the white sox angle on this deal, if the cardinals like Jackson, why not trade straight up for Rasmus, Rasmus seems to be the superior player to Stewart by a lot, what am I missing?

Jim Callis: It won’t be straight up, though it looks like the other guys the Jays will give to the Cardinals are a pair of relievers, Octavio Dotel and Mark Rzepczynski. Jays will also have to pick up some cash, too. But yes, not sure why the White Sox wouldn’t have tried to cut out the middle man and take a shot at getting Rasmus.

    Mark (Las Vegas): I know he's a bit old to be considered a prospect anymore, but what are your thoughts on Mat Gamel, and the type of career he's likely to have?

Jim Callis: He’s another guy who can hit but is limited
defensively, so he’s really going to have to hit a lot to carve out regular playing time in the majors. He’d probably get a shot to replace Prince Fielder in Milwaukee if Fielder departs as a free agent, and he’s
no Fielder.

    Rymer liriano (class A): Why arent I being talked about more? I could go 20hr 60sb with 12% bb rate. What are the scouts saying about me?

Jim Callis: I’m doing our Midwest League Best Tools list, and Liriano earned recognition as the league’s most exciting player. Nice bounce-back year after a weak 2010, and he has five-tool potential.

    Connor G. (NY): At all concerned about Matt Lipka's hitting? No power and low average.

Jim Callis: Still has exciting package of tools and youth on his side. Not all high school guys handle low A well in their first full pro season. Needs another year before I’d start to get worried.

    Tex (Austin,Tx): Future 3rd baseman of the Cubs???? Josh Vitters, DJ LeMahieu, Ryan Flaherty or other?

Jim Callis: I still think Vitters is the best in-house option, but I keep waiting for this breakout year that’s supposed to be coming. Their long-term third baseman may not be in the organization right now.

    Sammy (CA): Was the decision to assign Trevor Bauer to Visalia purely a matter of its' close proximity to Phoenix, or no?

Jim Callis: I think it was more that it would provide a
good test. The Diamondbacks aren’t opposed to moving Bauer quickly if he can handle it (I think he can). I bet he’s not in Visalia for more than 3-4 outings.

    tim (kentucky): Oscar Taveras is crushing everything. Obviously he isn't THIS good of a prospect, but exactly how good of a prospect do u feel he is? Top 50-75?

Jim Callis: I don’t know if he’s that good, but he’s good. The bat looks like it’s for real, and the rest of the tools are solid. Might sneak into 76-100 range on next year’s Top 100.

    Cubs fan pulling my hair out (IL): What can we expect from the cubs over the next few days? It would apear to be the optimal time to stock the system and trade away Marshall, Baker, Johnson, Fukudome, Pena, and Ramirez, but it doesnt appear Hendry wants to admit his failure.

Jim Callis: I don’t think Hendry is afraid to admit things haven’t worked out. Ramirez doesn’t want to waive his no-trade clause. Wood took a lot less money to come back to Chicago, so the Cubs won’t betray him with a trade. That leaves them with a lot of expensive overachievers or role players to deal, and that’s not going to bring back much. So don’t expect any big-time prospects to come to the Cubs via trade.

    Wendy (Dallas, TX): I heard word that Sonny Gray could be a very fast riser, and could make it to Oakland by September. Truth, or too optimistic?

Jim Callis: I don’t think that’s out of the question, but with the Athletics out of contention, there’s no need to do that. I believe the plan behind signing him now is to get him a month in Double-A and put him in position to make the big league club at some point next year. Similar to what happened with the Braves and another Vanderbilt first-rounder, Mike Minor.

    Andre (Tampa): Gut feeling - is Upton going anywhere?

Jim Callis: I’m torn, but I’ll say no. Sounds like the Rays are shooting for the moon in an Upton trade, and I don’t think they’ll get it. He’s intriguing but he’s inconsistent. Lot of demands for him, just not sure at the price Tampa Bay wants.

    Hsu (Taiwan): Engel Beltre have a disapointed season again. What's wrong with him? Is it time to give up him?

Jim Callis: Still just 21, but seems like he’s one of those guys who will always tease you with a lot more tools than production. Never has gained much control of the strike zone.

    @DREWBOKE (IL): What are the cubs plan for Tony Zych once he signs? fast to the majors reliever or try him as a starter?

Jim Callis: His fastball is his lone above-average pitch, though his slider has its moments. He also was in the bullpen throughout his college career. Definitely looks like a reliever to me.

    Joe (DE): Is anyone else surprised that all it took to sign Tyler Greene was 375? Had that number been known would he have dropped to the 11th round?

Jim Callis: I was a little surprised. At the same time,
while he has an impressive array of shortstops, he was so inconsistent offensively and defensively on the showcase circuit and as a high school
senior, so I don’t think teams knew exactly what to make of him. Not surprised at all that it was the Phillies who popped him. Definitely worth a $375,000 investment.

    Ray (Chicago): Has Ryan Flaherty's upside improved enough to be projected as a legit offensive third baseman? And
    including Flaherty, what is the best option at second base for the Cubs
    in 2012?

Jim Callis: If he can play there, which is still a question. He has played all over the place for the Cubs in the minors, in part because they have several infielders like. But he would have been better served not wasting time at second base or shortstop, where he’s not going to play for any length of time in the big leagues, and spending a lot more time at third base. I don’t think Darwin Barney will
be a star, but he’s their best option at second base for 2012.

Jim Callis: Took a couple of minutes there to Tweet about the Rays signing third-round pick Johnny Eierman for $550,000. Looks like Carlos Beltran is headed to the Giants. Back for some more questions . . .

    M.J. (Pennsylvania): What are your thoughts on the upside of Cardinals prospect AA 1B Matt Adams .340 24HR 76 RBI 1.030 OPS?

Jim Callis: Another one of those all-bat guys who’s really going to have to hit to be a big league regular. And to be a regular in St. Louis, Albert Pujols would have to leave. All that said, I
do think Adams’ bat is for real.

    Matt (NJ): Do you think Rendon will play in the minors this year should he sign? If so where do you Washington starts him off?

Jim Callis: I’m going to guess no. Really depends on whether he needs surgery to repair his shoulder injury. If he’s healthy,
we may see him in the AFL. Could start in high A or Double-A next year.

    Jerred G (Elizabethtown, Pa): Whats your take on Zack Cox this year?

Jim Callis: Still a believer, and I still think there’s
more power in there. Not surprised that he’s been able to hit in Double-A, and I think he’ll get the job done at third base too. I’m probably president of the Zack Cox Fan Club.

    Kyle (Maine): Is Bryce Brentz a legitimate prospect?

Jim Callis: Let’s launch the lightning round here . . . Yes. Has the power to be an everyday corner outfielder in the big leagues.

    Dan (Jersey): Pirate Question.
    Which prospect Marte or Grossman has higher upside. Do you think Gorky has regained prospect status with his performance this year or do you think he is still defense outfield with a poor bat.

Jim Callis: Marte, easily, though Grossman has has a nice year. Still see Gorky as more of a glove guy than a difference-maker.

    Hector (New York, NY): Is it time to stick a fork in Wilmer Flores as a Top 100 prospect kind of guy?

Jim Callis: Yes. He’s going to have to be a LF/1B and don’t see him having the bat to be a star there.

    Nick (Boston): Jim, Do you buy Boras's talk about Jackie Bradley going back to school? I know you said you think all
    1st rounders sign, what about supplemental picks such as Bradley?

Jim Callis: Most or the sandwich picks will sign too. No, I don’t buy Bradley going back to South Carolina. I’ll bet Boston signs him to a seven-figure deal.

    Tim (Chicago): It seems that Brett Jackson has had an up and down season..any reason for concern?

Jim Callis: No. He had a minor injury that slowed him after a good start. He’s still the same solid-across-the-board prospect.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Please compare Trevor Bauer to Tim Lincecum at the same stage. Is Bauer lacking substantially
    in the comparison? Some have mentioned fastball command as an issue?

Jim Callis: Short answer: Lincecum’s stuff was more overpowering while Bauer had a deeper repertoire and more polish.

    Dustin (Winnipeg): Of the 4 top picks that the Padres haven't signed yet, how many do you think they get inked? As well, if by some chance they can bring in all 4, where would they stand in terms of overall farm system in your eyes?

Jim Callis: Of their top four unsigned guys, I’m reasonably confident they’ll sign Ross, Kelly and Austin. Wouldn’t surprise me if Hedges went to school. I haven’t tried to stack up systems yet, but the Padres would probably rank in the Top 10 with all four of those guys.

    matt (md): why dont teams fight Selig on letting guys who are overlsot and signed play sooner? They losing valuable time

Jim Callis: I agree. Nothing MLB can do if teams sign the players and submit the contracts.

    Mark (TN): What is the word on Daniel Norris? Will the Jays spend $1.5-$2 million to sign him? If he truely is the best HS lefty this year it seems that it would be a good decision on the
    Jays part.

Jim Callis: My best guess is the Jays will spend a lot of money on the draft, and enough to sign two of three out of Tyler Beede, Kevin Comer and Daniel Norris. Would be a little surprised if they got all three.

    Larry (Gainesvillle, FL): What is the likelyhood of a firm, mandatory slotting system in the next CBA? It seems like one of the few things most involved (other than agents) agree

Jim Callis: I don’t think we’ll see hard slotting. Keep
getting told MLBPA leadership won’t go for it. Think we’ll have an earlier signing deadline, which would be nice.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the great questions, as usual. Feel free to hit me up at Twitter (@jimcallisBA) or send longer questions (with full name and hometown) for possible use in our Monday Ask BA column to Thanks.