ESPN SportsNation Chat With Jim Callis

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:01 PM ET ) Hi, everyone. Boy, the drama seems to have been sucked out of the League Championship Series at this point, doesn't it?

Luke (Des Moines): Will Justin Masterson be a starter or reliever long-term? What is his ceiling? Would you rather have him or Michael Bowden? Thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:03 PM ET ) I think Masterson's role will be whatever Boston needs — he's capable of filling any of them. I think he could be a No. 3 starter or a closer for a typical team. The Red Sox seem most likely to deploy him as their top setup man. I'd rather have him over Bowden because I think his sinker is a true out pitch. I like Bowden too, though.

Mike(Utica,NY): I heard Weathers is getting TJ. If you were a GM would you ever take a college closer in the 1st round because I sure wouldn't.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:04 PM ET ) It really would depend on what the draft board looked like. I doubt I'd take one with the eighth overall pick in the draft, though.

Luke (Des Moines): Will the Rays close it out tomorrow against Daisuke, or will the series go back to Tampa? Who do you like in the World Series?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) I don't like the Rays' move to give the Game Five start to Kazmir. I think you don't make changes at this point, especially to give a less effective starter an earlier start. I think the Red Sox win tomorrow but the Rays win Game Six.

Rick (Amherst): Maybin or Snider

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) Snider. He's not the athlete Maybin is, but I'm a little worried about Maybin's bat.

Jill (Boston): Jon Lester's 4 seam fastball velocity has consistently been 93-96, touching 97 the past month and a half. He's throwing harder than he ever has before, at age 24. Is it unusual for a pitcher's velocity to increase like that at age 24, which seems to me to be a little late for a velocity increase?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) Lester flashed that velocity in the minors. And you have to remember that he hasn't had a usual development path, as cancer derailed his progress for a while. This isn't common, but I think it's fair to say the Red Sox envisioned Lester becoming this good.

Gerry, Seattle: Hey Jim, some questions about Cubs relievers. How do you rate Ceda, Samardzija and Cashner? What about Jay Jackson (is currently a starter, I believe)? Do they all project as bullpen pitchers, or can you see any of them as MLB starters? Where do you see them ending up realistically, as opposed to their ceilings? Thanks bubba.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) Ceda is definitely a reliever. The Cubs are toying with the idea of Samardzija and Cashner as starters, but I think they'll be best off in the bullpen. Jackson is a nice sleeper, a talented ninth-rounder from this year's draft. I think he has a chance to be a mid-rotation starter.

Brian (Brooklyn): Fernando Martinez and Aaron Heilman for Matt Cain. Who says no and why?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) The Giants say no. If I'm trading a young stud major league pitcher, I wanted an established stud major league hitter.

John (Grand Rapids): What kind of ceiling does Casey Crosby have for the Tigers?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:10 PM ET ) A high ceiling. He needed Tommy John surgery shortly after signing with the Tigers for $748,500 as a fifth-round pick in August 2007. But he has been throwing very well in instructional league, with one outing in which he didn't dip below 95 mph.

Todd Nizzle, SF: for those of us fresh out of school without the extra income, how bout filling us in on who you had my Giants taking in your first mock draft

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) Ah, yes, I projected the top 10 picks for 2009 in a subscriber-only column at I had the Giants taking Georgia HS outfielder Donavan Tate, the best prep position player in the draft.

David (Vegas): Jim, I watch Rickie Weeks and see this bundle of incredible athletic talent that just hasn't coalesced yet. I'm in denial on calling him a bust, but his lack of production endangers his playing time, which he probably needs to reach his enormous potential. Is he a bust, or just slower in developing?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET ) Not a bust, but I no longer think he'll be a star and I'd think seriously about moving him to center field.

Rory (NYC): D. Murphy is either number 1 or 2 in batting in the AFL right now against what seems to be an elite crop of talent this year. I think he has lost rookie eligibility, but where would you rank him in your top 100 if he did have rookie status? Based on his hitting and how he fared in the big leagues, he should be a top 15-20 player.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:12 PM ET ) That's way too high, Rory. I like Murphy, but he still needs to find a position. He's a good prospect but not an elite prospect.

Jack Bauer (?): Jim, did you forget about me in the past year and a half? I'm coming back sooner than later, hopefully you've seen some of the commercials for the 24 mini movie in November.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) I've seen the commercials. Hopefully "24" bounces back strong this year after a disappointing last season (eons ago). I'll be tuning in.

Eric (Atlanta): Hi Jim, Alot of talk around Braves nation about Jake Peavy? After the Teixeira trade, shouldn't they be weary of dealing Heyward and Hanson for Peavy? It would be nice to see these guys in an Atlanta uniform, ya know?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) I agree. I think the Braves are farther from serious contention than just one pitcher away, and I'd be leery of giving up another big prospect package.

J.J. (CT): Hi Jim. Before this year scouts said that they liked Jed Lowrie's bat but there were questions on whether he could be a MLB SS. Well right now it looks like he could be at least an average defensive SS in the MLB but how about his bat? He really hasn't shown much pop in the bat and seems to be striking out an awful lot. Is it just him needing to adjsut to big league pitching or do you think he might not be that gap to gap hitter everyone thought he was?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:15 PM ET ) Remember he's a rookie. He hit well for a while and just needs to make further adjustments. I think he'll provide good offense for a middle infield, and he's a better shortstop than I expected. I'd start him over Lugo next year.

Danny (Washington DC): Danny Espinosa—what is the ceiling?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) Espinosa, the Nationals' third-round pick this year, is a very good defender at shortstop. I'm not sure he'll hit enough to be a quality regular, though.

David, G'town: For the Cards to get Peavy, would they likely have to include Rasmus? Is CR's stock down like some have suggested? BA articles don't support that. Thanks and keep up the great work!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) Yes, I think they'd likely have to include Rasmus. I don't think his stock is down, and people need to remember that he spent the year in Triple-A at age 21.

Tony (Brooklyn, NY): Can the Yankees safely pencil in Hughes AND Chamberlain as SP next season if they have a combination of Wang, Mussina OR Pettitte for IP, and an FA at the top of the rotation? Or is Kennedy, Aceves, Rasner and the field too thin a group behind them? Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:18 PM ET ) I don't think it's safe to count on Hughes and Joba after what happened this year, and you'd also have to be worried about Wang's layoff and whether Mussina can repeat his performance. They need to add some quality arms.

KO (Pittsfield, MA): Can Garza develop into a #1 starter talent? His stuff and continued maturity make it look like a potential reality.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) He has that potential. I thought the Twins were going to get the better of the Delmon Young trade, but boy, was I wrong.

Dorian (Union,NJ): If he becomes an above average major league catcher, the yankees lord and savior montero or Lars Anderson?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) I like Montero, but I think he'll be an average catcher at best and is more likely to change positions. So give me Lars Anderson.

Rob (Brighton, MA): Jim, I'm on the fence. I'm probably going to buy a years subscription to BA. Why should I do it in November as opposed to March?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:21 PM ET ) So you can get all of our team Top 10 Prospects lists and get our Early Draft Preview. Plus you get complete access to our website. So buy now!

Jeff (Appleton,WI): I keep reading in the local papers they think CC will resign with the Brewers. I think that is a joke there is no way that happens, what do you think?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) I would be very surprised. I think Sabathia is destined to accept the highest offer, and I don't think that will be coming from the Brewers.

mike (NYC): The Nats have been awful quiet regarding their #1 pick in the draft next year. What's your take on the situation? Shouldn't they just pony up the cash?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:22 PM ET ) When you have the No. 1 pick, that means you just had a worst season than any other club. And the only thing you should be doing is taking the best available player and paying to sign him. The best available player is San Diego State RHP Steven Strasburg.

Nate (Madison): Do you think the Brewers should look to move JJ Hardy to 3rd base and move Escobar up to play SS?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:24 PM ET ) Yes, or look at moving Hardy to second base and Weeks to the outfield.

erik - san clemente, ca: Jim, disregarding salaries, who would you rather have on your team for the next 2-3 years....ichiro or ellsbury? thanks.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:25 PM ET ) Ichiro. If you regard salaries, Ellsbury. I still think Ellsbury will be fine. He needs to adjust to getting hammered inside, and I think his power surge in the ALDS has him hitting too many fly balls in the ALCS.

KO (Pittsfield, MA): So do you personally rank Rasmus above McCutchen for the long term? Follow-up to the 21 at AAA.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) Yes, I would.

Dan (DC): Should/could the Orioles get into the hunt for a Peavy or Cain? They need to do something to bolster the rotation.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) They do need to bolster the rotation, but they're not going to contend in the short term and shouldn't deal off 3-4 young players.

Aimery(Venice, CA): IF the Dodgers win tonight, isn't realistic to think that they can pull off the comback? I mean after Hamels the Phils rotaion is pretty weak: Myers(5 ER in 5 in), Moyer(6 ER in 1 1/3 in) and Blanton (3 ER in 5 in)

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) Sure, it would be realistic. But I don't see them beating Hamels tonight.

Doug (NY): Austin Romine the Yanks catcher of the future?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:28 PM ET ) Among their in-house candidates, he has the best shot, yes. Good defender, think he'll be decent to solid at the plate.

Jason (Charlotte): Lets say the Red Sox sign CC. If you were Epstein would you trade Lester plus a B level prospect for McCann ? The Sox need a young catcher and the Braves need young pitching.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) I don't think there's any realistic scenario where the Red Sox trade Lester.

Terry (VA): ***DELUSIONAL QUESTION HERE**** Salty and Neftali Feliz for Clay Buchholz? What do you think?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:30 PM ET ) Don't think the Rangers would do that at all.

Vince PA: More annoying Chip Caray play by play or Frank TV ads?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) The ads are much, much shorter.

Teddy (Los Angeles): Jim, How did Wes Roemer do for the D'backs in his first full pro season? What do you expect from him in the future?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:33 PM ET ) He got knocked around in the hitter's haven that is the Cal League, not unexpected for a strike thrower with decent stuff. I think he's a back-end starter or middle reliever at best.

Mike: Preston he going to get better? Horrible BB to K ratio.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) I wouldn't count on it. At this point, I'd be shocked if he became a big leaguer.

Howard (Philly): Tell Aimery to look past just one game when assessing a rotation, otherwise, we'd think that Billingsley (8 ER in 2+ IP) is terrible. Who do you predict to win if it is Phillies vs. Rays?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:34 PM ET ) Rays in six.

Rory (NYC): Jim, you really think that Murphy's lack of a true position drops him down from "elite" to "good" in terms of prospect rankings. In only 131 big league AB's he walked 18 times, had only 28 K's, and had 14 extra base hits to the tune of an .871 OPS. I would say that is pretty impressive and better than most "top" prospects that have their first cup of coffee. His fielding was league average as well.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET ) I'd submit that 131 big league ABs don't tell the complete story for any player. Murphy is good, but I don't anticipate that he's going to be an .871 OPS second baseman.

Mark (CT): Jim, I'm getting concerned that Big Papi is slowly turning into Mo Vaughn post Boston career. Please tell me it won't be the case.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) I wouldn't panic yet. Let's see how he looks with a completely healthy wrist next year. I don't think he's 100 percent, and he's pressing, and that's not a good combination.

Vince PA: Bigger problem with Red Sox this series with Tampa Bay...Beckett being hurt or lack of production from Varitek/Ortiz/Ellsbury

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:38 PM ET ) I think the lineup. It's hard to score runs with three guys who are automatic outs right now. And it hurt them trying to get that final run that could have won Game Two.

Rod (Chicago, IL): Jim: In BA's article on Jeremy Jeffress it mentioned Reds pitching coach Ted Power tweaking with Jeffress. Do the Brewers want the Reds' pitching coach messing with/tweaking/coaching their top pitching prospect? I imagine someone from the organization is there and that that is the nature of the AFL but it seems odd. What is your opinion?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:39 PM ET ) I don't think anyone is making any changes to Jeffress or any other pitching prospects in the AFL without the consent of the pitcher's parent club.

Jay (VT): Jim, 2010 what's the Red Sox infield look like? I'm guessing Anderson at 1st, Pedroia at 2nd, Lowrie at SS and Youk at 3rd. Do you think I'm right or will the Sox try and go after Teixeira?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:40 PM ET ) That's my guess as well.

RJ (New York, NY): Jim, how many Octobers are there?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Just one. And you can't script it.

Don (Lincoln, RI): Jim - Whether it is the Sox, Yankees or any other team, what makes fans think that other teams will take 50 cents on a dollar for their top talent? Delusional does not even begin to describe it! Thanks!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:41 PM ET ) Every fan thinks his or her favorite team's prospects are better than they are. Most club think their prospects are better than other teams think, too.

John (NY): Would the Yanks be better off with Cain or Peavy? Factoring in prospect package to get them, contracts, age, health and Leftyness (I made that last word up).

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) I'd rather have Cain, all things considered. I think he can still get better, while we may have seen the best of Peavy, who could be in for somewhat of a rude awakening if he leaves Petco for the AL. Also seems like he gets hit hard in a lot of big games.

Karl, Baltimore: Does Brian Matusz rank in the top 20 pitching prospects in baseball? Should O's fans be more excited for him or Tillman?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) Yes. I think that's a close call, I'd take Matusz because he's a lefty and has more good pitches.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:44 PM ET ) Let's head to the lightning round . . .

John (Portland, ME): True or False: The Red Sox would be better off with Buccholz and Bard on the playoff roster over Byrd and Timlin.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:45 PM ET ) I'll say False. Byrd and Timlin (and several other Red Sox pitchers haven't looked good), but Buchholz' confidence was shot at the end of the year and there's no way of knowing how Bard would react to making his big league debut in the ALCS. Too risky.

Garrett (CT): Austin Jackson or Ellsbury?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:45 PM ET ) Ellsbury.

Mike (San Diego): Padres take Grant Green? Good theory?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) I don't think he necessarily gets to the Padres at No. 3.

Luis, Pearland TX: Lincecum, Webb or Santana? who's better

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) I'd take Lincecum.

John (NY): Mets can offer Sabathia the money and the NL. What do you put their odds at?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) I think they're the frontrunners.

Drew(Dover): Phils close it out tonight behind a complete game by Cole Hamels?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) No. Only eight innings from Hamels.

John (Philadelphia): Buzzer beater: What's more annoying? Dane Cook commercials for "Actober" last year of Frank Caliendo spots?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) Dane Cook, no question.

Nick (Long Island, NY): F-Mart is still a elite prospect. True or false?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) I'd say "good" rather than "elite." Though he's been rushed, I think an elite guy would have put up better numbers by now.

Mike (Madison): Jeffress or Feliz

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Feliz.

Nick (NJ): F-Mart or Heyward?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Heyward.

Alex (Boston): Chances of Clay Buchholz starting Game 7 in Beckett's place if DiceK wins Game 5 and Lester wins Game 6?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:47 PM ET ) Zero.

Ryan (Astoria, NY): If you're building your team around one player, who is it?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) It might just be Evan Longoria.

Mig (Minneapolis): START MASTERSON!!

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:48 PM ET ) That's an idea worth considering, though I don't know how many innings he could go after relieving the last few months.

Vince PA: Worse run franchise over the last 10 years pirates or detroit lions

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Lions.

Lance (Livingston, TN): Better major league first baseman: Yonder Alonso or Freddie Freeman?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Alonso.

Karl, Baltimore: Matusz and Tilman or Alderson and Bumgarner?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:49 PM ET ) Matusz and Tillman.

Tim (Chicago): Vitters stock up or down after last season?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) About the same.

Ross (CA): Can you see a match between the Twins and Giants regarding Delmon?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) I've seen those rumors, not sure how they'd match up.

Sacramento, CA: Votto or Loney?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:50 PM ET ) Loney.

Roy Roiders (San Fran): Teagarden or Salty?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Teagarden.

Joel (Coral Gables): Smoak or Lars?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Hmmmm. That's a tough one. I'll say Lars because he's hit in Double-A.

guinness: Murphy or Cano?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:51 PM ET ) Cano.

Mike (San Diego): Loney or Blanks?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Loney. Though Blanks' stock is up.

Roy Roiders (San Fran): Elaborate a little bit on Teagarden over Salty?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Better defender and I think the bats are close.

Eric (Atlanta): Freeman or Alonso and you pick Alonso? Please explain.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) Just like his bat a little better.

guinness: If you were the Mets, would you trade Beltran for Cano, Bruney and Kennedy (that was the rumor out there)?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) If I were the Mets, I'd laugh at that proposal.

Ross (CA): Are you more impressed with a young hitter succeeding at the lower levels in professional ball or a college hitter who has an advanced approach and dominated the college game?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:53 PM ET ) The young hitter. That's apples and oranges in a way, because I'd say college baseball is equivalent to short-season leagues in the minors.

Danny (Washington DC): Darvish or Tazawa?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Darvish.

Josh, San Francisco: Cahill and Anderson or Alderson and Bumgarner?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:54 PM ET ) Cahill and Anderson.

Ryan (Astoria, NY): Should Longoria have not accepted the contract he signed? Seems like he may have cost himself a lot of money in the long run

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) There's something to be said for the security of knowing you'll bank a guaranteed $17.5 million a couple of weeks into your big league career. But yes, he may be leaving more than that on the table, especially if the Rays pick up all the options.

mike (nj): better prospect Marson or Donald (lighting it up in the AFL)

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:57 PM ET ) Marson.

Brett (Mount Prospect, IL): Jarrod Parker or Madison Bumgarner?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Bumgarner, but it's close.

Nick (NJ): Pelfrey and Niese or Hughes and Kennedy?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) Hughes and Kennedy.

Mike (San Diego): Padres outfield prospects: Venable, Huffman, or Hunter?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Venable.

Ross (CA): Lets not get ahead of ourselves: how can we predict that 6 years from now Longoria will resume this level of production? Things happen, and that type of security is unmatched. Tell me anywhere else in the world where your employer offers you mulit-millions of dollars for 6+ years regardless if you perform?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) I understand why he took the deal, but he may have sold himself way short.

Mike (Milwaukee): Gallardo or Cain?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Cain.

Gerry, WA: Best Baseball Blog out there?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Joe Posnanski's.

Jordan, Los Angeles: ANSWER PLEASE lincecum and cain or kershaw and billingsley. and why?

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:00 PM ET ) Lincecum and Cain. It's close but they've proven a lot more.

SportsNation Jim Callis: (3:01 PM ET ) I'm out of here, but I'll be back tomorrow to chat during Game Five of the ALDS. See you then.