Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Glad to be back in the chat room. Let’s get to it.

    Kevin (Point Mugu): Jim,

    Is Clayton Blackburn for real? What are your thoughts on him?

Jim Callis: He’s legit. He went late in the 2011 draft (16th round) because most clubs thought he was destined to attend Oklahoma. Good arm, good feel, plus fastball with average secondary pitches.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Assuming he gets the call to Cincy next month, could you envision Dusty giving Hamilton any chances to hit, or would he be used strictly as a PR?

Jim Callis: Might get an AB or two, but I think he’d be
mostly a pinch-runner. Don’t think he’s ready to do much damage against
big league pitching.

    Sean (Coatesville, PA): Brian Goodwin has had a bit of a slow transition to AA, does he still project as a future CF/Leadoff hitter? ETA 2014?

Jim Callis: I didn’t think he’d get to or be ready for Double-A this season, so the performance doesn’t bother me. Projection and ceiling remain the same, 2014 ETA makes sense.

    Brooks (Maryland): Jim-Only 39 games left, are O's going to collapse like Pythagorous says they should?

Jim Callis: I still think they will, but I’ve been saying that all year and haven’t been right yet. I thought they’d regress before now.

    Mike (Orlando): Is Clint Frazier your new #1 for next year's draft?

Jim Callis: No, though he looked good Saturday at Wrigley Field and is as good as any HS player for the 2013 draft. But teams always covet college pitching, and I’d expect Stanford RHP Mark Appel, Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek and Indiana State LHP Sean Manaea to go ahead of Frazier if the draft were today.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Do you believe the Nats knew beforehand that Giolito was a possible candidate for TJ when drafting him?

Jim Callis: The Nats knew what they were getting into. Most teams thought he was going to need Tommy John surgery sooner rather
than later. The success rate of that surgery is so good, however, that it’s not a worry. Just slows down his arrival in the majors but doesn’t affect his ceiling.

    Ryan (Pensacola, FL): Awesome to watch Billy last night. Gut feeling - how many heists will he finish out the season with?

Jim Callis: 15 games left? I’ll say 155.

    Paul (Phoenix): Assuming he doesn't get rocked as Bauer did, could you see Skaggs remaining with the team for the duration?

Jim Callis: Yes. And he has better control and command than Bauer, so Skaggs might be better equipped to make a smoother transition to the big leagues.

    Kyle (Philly): What's gone wrong with Trevor May this season, if you could summarize?

Jim Callis: Same old bugaboo for May. He has fine stuff, but he doesn’t control or command it well enough. Never been a huge fan, see him as a reliever and don’t trust him to be a closer or maybe even a set-up man.

    Tom (Cleveland): Who do you like most out of Archie Bradley, Jose Fernandez, or Justin Nicolino?

Jim Callis: Fernandez, because he has the best combination of stuff and command. Nicolino is the most polished of that trio, but his stuff doesn’t compare to what the other two have.

    Fred (New York): Hey Jim, Thanks for the chat. What's the deal with Zach Lee's scouting being so high but performance so bad? What do scouts see that isn't showing up in games? Seems like he's really having trouble against lefties... that mean the issue he's got is his change-up or is it something else that causing such a big difference in his potential vs. performance?

Jim Callis: I’m having trouble figuring him out, too. He has the makings of four solid to plus pitches and he knows how to use
them, but at the same time he doesn’t miss enough bats.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Safe to assume you'll be attending quite a few Kane County homestands if in fact the Cubs make it their new home in Low-A?

Jim Callis: Affiliation has never been the issue. It’s the rush-hour traffic that kills me.

    Otto (Baltimore): Do you support the Nats' decision to shut down Strasburg after 180 IP?

Jim Callis: No. Think it’s crazy to jeopardize a legitimate World Series championship opportunity. If they wanted to keep
his innings down, why not skip a start every month or so to save him for the playoffs.

    Dark Knight (Near Chase Field): Would you consider Felipe Perez a top 30 prospect within AZ's farm system?

Jim Callis: Not yet. Good signing, but he’s not a Top 30 guy at this point. (I say that, of course, without breaking out a full Top 30 in my mind.)

    Eric (Chicago): Who gets your nod as the Cubbies' top prospect at present - Baez or Soler?

Jim Callis: Baez. Big offensive upside and may just stay at shortstop for a while. I’d take Almora over Soler, too.

    Paula (Queens, NY): Despite his season-ending injury, do you consider Mason Williams to be the Yanks' #1 prospect? If not him, who?

Jim Callis: I’d give Gary Sanchez the nod. Catchers with his offensive ceiling are hard to find.

    Jason (Boca raton): What's the deal with CJ Cron? Impressive numbers for his first full year even though it is in the Cali league. is he a legit prospect?

Jim Callis: Of course he’s a legit prospect—he was the
20th pick in last year’s draft. His numbers are inflated by the Cal League but he has a chance to hit for power and average. All of his value lies in his bat, however.

    Bobby (Cincinnati, OH): Odds of Chapman taking the NL Cy Young?

Jim Callis: Next to zero. He has been the most spectacular pitcher in the NL this year, but he’s not even the best Cy Young candidate on his team. That would be Johnny Cueto.

    Ben (Conway, AR): Am I crazy or is Mark Montgomery really, really good? He's striking out over 14 batters per 9
    in AA w/ a sub-1 WHIP. Should we expect to see him in the Bronx next year (maybe even this September)?

Jim Callis: That slider is pretty unhittable. Could see him in New York very, very soon.

    Ryan (Wash DC): Any chance of Anthony Rendon visiting us in Sept?

Jim Callis: He’s on the 40-man roster already, so it’s a
possibility. But I don’t think he’d do much except pinch-hit a little. With all the time he’s missed, he’d be better off getting a bunch of ABs
in instructional league.

    Steve (Orlando,Fl): Taylor Guerreri the Rays #1 prospect this coming winter?

Jim Callis: There’s no obvious choice like Matt Moore was a year ago, but Guerrieri might be the best one. He has only 37 pro innings, none above short-season ball, but his knockout stuff gives him the highest ceiling in a system that’s not what it used to be.

    Conor (Boston): Better prospect: Robert Stephenson or Taylor Guerrieri? Could either crack the top 50?

Jim Callis: I’d give Guerrieri a little bit of the edge. Neither would be on my personal Top 50, though I like them both.

    Larry (Regina, Saskatchewan): What is Carlos Correa's ETA?

Jim Callis: He’s not even 18 yet, so he’s going to need some time. He’s at least three years away.

    Joel (KCK): Where would Carlos Rodon fit in your top 100, were he eligible? 16-20 range? Thanks!

Jim Callis: I’d more likely put him in the 20s. Click here to see where I would have put this year’s draftees on our midseason Top 50 list.

    Tom B (NJ): Maikel Franco has put up some pretty staggering post All Star numbers (.335/.392/.537/.929) as a 19 year old in Lo-A. Reports I've heard are his glove is solid as well. What are your thoughts on him and does he have any chance at being a top
    100 player this year?


Jim Callis: I don’t think I’d put him on the Top 100 but he’s one of the best prospects in the Phillies system. The bat is promising and he’s a solid defender at third base.

    Ryan (Boston): Is Garin Cecchini's speed elite or are his baserunning skills that good? Also do you think he will develop into a player with Will Middlebrooks power? Thanks

Jim Callis: His speed is pretty average but his instincts are exceptional. I don’t see him as a big SB threat in the majors. His bat is his best tool, and I could see him developing average
power. Looks like he could get squeezed at third base by Middlebrook and Xander Bogaerts.

    Mike (Florida): Hi Jim- I admit it is impressive what Billy Hamilton has been able to accomplish as a basestealer, but he's been thrown out 33 times, which means that his success rate is only about 81.6% I've heard the threshold is 80%, but at this current rate it just doesn't feel like he lives up to the title people are bestowing upon him.

Jim Callis: I agree that he needs a lot of polish in all areas of the game, but he has the most game-changing speed of any player I’ve seen since I started working at Baseball America in 1988. He’s just 21, so he still has plenty of time to learn.

    Zach (Fuquay-Varina): What is your take on Drake Britton? He seems to be getting back on track do you see his upside as a 3 starter?

Jim Callis: He has bounced back after a disastrous 2012, but he still gets hit more than he should. Realistically, I think his upside is as a set-up man.

    Tom (San Francisco, CA): Jim, my sense is that the Jays' system has taken a hit this season, in terms of how many of their guys have underperformed. Is this an accurate assessment, or am I
    overreacting? Thanks.

Jim Callis: I think you’re overreacting because I still
see the Jays as having one of baseball’s best farm systems. They draft a
lot of high school players, and those guys are going to have ups and downs. But the Sanchez-Syndergaard-Nicolino triumvirate at Lansing has been exciting, and they had a better draft than any team in June.

    Brian (Buckhead Ga): Hey! When are the Az Fall league rosters going to be released?

Jim Callis: Sometime before the end of the month. The date is always fluid because there’s a lot of juggling going on.

    Ben (Miamisburg): After a mini rough patch after a skipped start Tony Cingrani is back to throwing impressive game after impressive game. Has he solidified his status as a top 100 prospect after this season?

Jim Callis: He has been so impressive since signing that he’ll be on my Top 100 list. Maybe toward the end, but he’ll be on there.

    Tim (FLA): I know Bogaerts is not quite ML ready, and he's never played 3B, but if you were Boston, wouldn't you be
    maximizing your value to trade Middlebrooks for a starting pitcher and slide Xander in at third at some point?

Jim Callis: Depends on the starting pitcher, but it’s not like a team is just going to hand over a frontline guy for Middlebrooks. I’d keep him at third and I bet Bogaerts winds up in right
field in the long run.

    joe (texas): Domingo Santana is hitting well @ hitter friendly CAL league @ 19 years old. does he have a chance to be Astros RF in 2014?

Jim Callis: That’s a bit early but he is Houston’s right fielder of the future.

    Greg (OH): If the draft was tomorrow who are the 1st prep hitter, pitcher taken?

Jim Callis: Clint Frazier or Austin Meadows for the hitter. There’s no clear favorite for the pitcher, but Trey Ball and Kohl Stewart are two of the leading candidates.

    Doug Plourd (Connecticut): With Olt getting his
    MLB debut, who is the next UCONN alumn to make it to the show, Springer
    (due to lack of players in Houston) or Barnes (more advanced than previously thought)?

    Thanks as always Jim, for answering questions here and on twitter

Jim Callis: I’ll go with Barnes. Easier for a pitcher to advance, and he’s more ready than Springer is as well.

    Kyle (Indianapolis): Does Billy Hamilton get called up this week to qualify for the playoff roster?

Jim Callis: Players can be called up in September and still make the playoff roster via some finagling. Not sure if the Reds will call him up, but I would to make use of his speed. See: Dave Roberts.

    A.J. (Dallas): Most of the Cubs top prospects either seem to be at 3B (Vitters, Villanueva, Baez) or OF (Jackson, Szczur, Soler, Almora). Who do you see as the keepers and what would you
    do with the rest?

Jim Callis: A lot of those guys will have to move anyway. I think Baez winds up at third base (though reviews of his shortstop defense have been positive) and Almora winds up in center field. Chicago’s future outfield will be Soler in left, Almora in center, Jackson in right.

    Mike (Oklahoma): If the Astros passed on Appel this year don't you think it's safe to say they'll pass on him again next year?

Jim Callis: Not at all. Appel will be a lot more signable in 2013, and he could be the best player available.

    Ben (Leland Grove): When does your Cape Cod list go up on the site?

Jim Callis: It will be the closer of our summer league prospect coverage, so it will go up next Thursday.

    Cliff (TN): You can only have one for the future: Manaea or Carlos Rodon? Who would you want and why?

Jim Callis: Rodon. More dominant against better competition at the same stage of his career, and his slider is a better secondary pitch than what Manaea has, at least on a consistent basis.

    Dan (Chicago): Brooks Raley, Chris Rusin, Erik Jokisch, Austin Kirk. Which soft-tossing lefty starter has the best stuff/future with the Cubs? Can any of them stick around long term as maybe a #4 starter?

Jim Callis: I ask myself that question every year when I
do the Cubs Top 30 list. I’ll say Raley, and he has a chance to be a No. 4 at best. I’m not in love with any of those guys. They’re all similar, finesse lefthanders who can pitch a little bit.

    Ryan (Columbus): Jim we're all anxious to see the BA Cape Cod report. I assume he might not make the list due to not qualifying, but what are your thoughts on RHP Josh Dezse from OSU?

Jim Callis: He didn’t pitch enough to qualify but he’s a
guy who could go in the first round of next year’s draft. He has some of the best arm strength available. He also has a lot of power in his bat, but his future is on the mound.

    Jack (MA): What grades would you give Oscar Taveras on his hit/power?

Jim Callis: With the caveat that there really aren’t many 70 bats, that could be a future 70 bat with future 60 power.

    Jim (Bmore): Any chance Bundy pitches with the O's in Sept.?

Jim Callis: Remains to be seen. But at this point, why not? No reason for the Orioles not to be all in.

    Stuart (rockies fan lost in London): Thanks for
    the chat.

    If the draft were today, would Dahl go higher than 10? Seems the rockies have good luck drafting high school hitters, and cant seem to draft pitching of any kind, with story, dahl, swanner etc. Hard to explain.....

Jim Callis: He might go No. 8 now that the Pirates know
they weren’t going to sign Appel. Before they went in that direction, they were going to take Dahl. But I don’t see Dahl going higher than that, despite his great debut, because the players who went in the top eight picks were the consensus top eight prospects in the draft.

    Dan (Chicago): Which of the young pitchers the Cubs drafted early are you most excited about? Blackburn, Underwood, or McNeil?

Jim Callis: Underwood has the most sheer upside.

    Chris (Washington DC): On Strasburg, to be clear, it seems like you do support shutting him down at 180 IP but would have stretched that out longer?

Jim Callis: Let me clarify . . . No, I wouldn’t shut him down at 180 IP. That seems like an arbitrary number. I don’t know of
any long list of guys who exceeded 180 IP two years (two years!) after Tommy John surgery and then were ruined, or guys who stayed under 180 IP
and were just fine. Roger Clemens had shoulder surgery in 1985, and went from 98 IP that year to 254 IP (plus 35 more in the playoffs) in 1986 and seemed to survive OK. So no, I wouldn’t shut him down. But if 180 is the absolute limit, it seems silly to me to not manage it so he’s
available for the playoffs.

Jim Callis: That’s all for today. Glad to be back after a two-week absence and look forward to doing this again next Wednesday.