Draft Day Chat With Jim Callis

 Q:  Andy from Washington, IL asks:
Any chance the Royals actually get Melville signed? Is he just leverage for them against Hosmer so they can hopefully walk away with at least one first round talent?

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Sorry I got tied up there for a moment but I'll make it up to you on the back end of the chat . . . To me, the story of the first day was that the best players went in the first round and that teams didn't let the tough signs after that drop forever. I don't think the Royals would take Hosmer at No. 3 if they didn't believe they'll sign him. If Melville was just a leverage pick, I think they would have waited a little longer. Not sure if they'll sign him—he wants top 10-15 pick money—but he would be a great fourth-round pickup.

 Q:  Nils from Brooklyn asks:
Hey Jim - How do you rate the Twins Day 1 overall? I am really excited by the Hicks and Hunt picks but like most, I am perplexed by the Gutierrez pick - much the same as last year's Revere pick. Is there anything to the assertion that they will try to convert him to a starter?

Jim Callis: They really wanted Hicks and got him, the outfielder with the best tools in the draft. There's talk about a shoulder impingement with Hunt (something the Hunt camp denies), but if he's healthy, that's a very good value at No. 31. Gutierrez surprised me too but they do plan on turning him into a starter. His sinker is very good, and he'll still rely heavily on it as a starter. I also liked the Tyler Ladendorf pick, as he was one of the best shortstops in the draft.

 Q:  nate from minneapolis asks:
With the Twins depth in pitching and outfielders throughout the organization, don't you think it would have made more sense to draft some infielders in the first round like brett lawrie or connor gillaspie?

Jim Callis: Most teams focus on the best available player in the first round. I can't fault them for taking Aaron Hicks over Lawrie. I like Gillaspie a lot but I always sensed that BA thought he was a first-round talent more than teams did.

 Q:  Josh from Fort Worth asks:
Jim, Where do you think Justin Smoak would fit in the Rangers Top 10 prospects?

Jim Callis: That's a loaded system, but Smoak would rank right near the top. He's a switch-hitter with power from both sides and plays great defense at first base. Tremendous value for the Rangers at No. 11.

 Q:  Jeff Speas from North Carolina asks:
Why do you think DJ Mitchell slipped to the 10th round after being tabbed as a first day pick out of Clemson?

Jim Callis: I'm getting a lot of "Why did Player X drop?" questions, and I'll try to take care of most of them with this one. In most cases, if it's a talented player, it's because he asked for more money than teams thought he was worth. Mitchell had a good Cape Cod League season and a good spring, so that's probably what happened.

 Q:  Ron from Dayton(OH) asks:
Has the Reds draft been as bad as it looks to me? Didn't like their first pick of Alonso over Crow, Beckham, and Posey. And almost all their other picks have been low potential college guys(to me).

Jim Callis: They didn't pass on Posey, as he was gone. I would have taken Crow and Beckham over Alonso, but Alonso is a comparable talent and all the teams from picks 5-13 were on him. A lot of teams took relievers early, and I thought Zach Stewart was a decent value in the third round. The rest of the list doesn't blow me away, but you're going to love watching Alonso hit.

 Q:  steve puiszis from oak park asks:
I know you like the White Sox first pick, how do you rate the rest of their draft?

Jim Callis: Let's take a look . . . I do like Gordon Beckham at No. 8. The rest of it looks pretty ordinary, though sidearmed Drew O'Neil could move quickly toward the big league bullpen. Wasn't shocked they made the nepotism pick with Kenny Williams Jr., but the fifth round was too high.

 Q:  Cat from Ohio asks:
What happened to Isaac Galloway? He dropped like a rock! Has he suddenly discovered the benefits of a higher education?

Jim Callis: Another example of money vs. talent. We had him pegged as a mid-first-rounder and he probably wanted more than that. Will be interesting to see how willing the Marlins are to pay him after taking him in the eighth round.

 Q:  Dom from Baltimore asks:
How would you say the O's are doing? When do you think Matusz will be in the bigs?

Jim Callis: Sometime in 2010 for Matusz, the best pitcher in the draft. They went heavy for athletic outfielders after that: Xavier Nady, L.J. Hoes, Kyle Hudson. I really like the Bobby Bundy pick in the seventh round if they can sign him.

 Q:  CofCcougar from SC asks:
When did Jordan Lyles make the move up in draft status? The last I heard from him was that he was expecting to go somewhere between rounds 6 & 10.

Jim Callis: Lyles is an example of the adage that it takes just one team to make a guy a sandwich pick. We thought he was going in rounds 6-10 also, and I think we were closer to the consensus than the Astros were.

 Q:  Norberto Paulino from New York asks:
What do you think the Red Sox will do with Casey Kelly? they say they want him as a pitcher but he has said a few times that he wants to be a SS, will they let him do both and go from there? thanks Jim look great on TV and your analysis were the best.

Jim Callis: Thanks for the kind words (and that's not why I took your question). This will be an interesting deal to watch. Kelly reportedly wants $2.5 million and to play every day in order to give up the opportunity to play quarterback for Tennessee, and the Red Sox like him more on the mound. It's rare when a team takes a guy in the first round if they don't think they'll sign him, so I suspect Boston will get a deal done.

 Q:  Eric from Bonn Germany asks:
Jim.... If one ranks Crowe with the other Nationals pitching prospects how would you rack and stack them - Detwiler, Zimmerman, Crowe, Smoker, McGeary, Ballester, Van Allen etc. Thanks!

Jim Callis: I like a lot of those guys, but Crow is the best for me. I'd go Crow, Detwiler, Zimmerman, Ballester, Smoker, McGeary. Van Allen is not in the same class for me.

 Q:  J.V. from Sherman Oaks, Ca asks:
What do you think of the Dodgers' draft so far? Great job on ESPN by the way.

Jim Callis: Thanks . . . Ethan Martin was the best-case scenario for the Dodgers at 15, and they got him—the best HS pitcher in the draft. Josh Lindblom (second round) is a power-armed reliever, went in a good spot. Third-rounder Kyle Russell hit 47 homers the last two years at Texas, though a lot of people wonder if he'll hit with wood. Cole St. Clair (seventh) and Nathan Eovaldi (11th) have intriguing arms if they're completely healthy.

 Q:  Greg from San Francisco asks:
Wanted to get your grade on the Giants first day draft picks. I thought it went extremely well. Seems like the emergence of Bumgarner/Alderson/Sosa/etc. and the stability of the ML Pitching staff has finally resulted in a shift to developing bats. Would you agree?

Jim Callis: You have to love Buster Posey at No. 5, and I think they'll sign him. I loved Conor Gillaspie as a sandwich pick, he can really hit and plays with a chip on his shoulder. Roger Kieschnick was another good value in round three. Didn't have a great spring but he's still one of the best college outfielders in my book. Lefty Eric Surkamp in the sixth round is another nice pick. They do seem to be focusing on hitters and getting some good ones.

 Q:  Jake from NYC asks:
Why did the Yankees once again let a premium talent in Alex Meyer fall to the Sox? The Yankees have just as much financial muscle as Boston if not more. GRR

Jim Callis: I wouldn't sweat that one, I don't think there's much chance of Meyer signing unless Boston hands him a blank check.

 Q:  T Treece from OH asks:
Do you feel Jemile Weeks has a chance to outperform his brother as a ML'er? Or is it more likely Oakland reached for Weeks at #12 overall?

Jim Callis: I don't think he'll outperform Rickie, whom I still expect to take off. Jemile is a different kind of player, more of a leadoff type. I thought 12 was a little high but not really a reach if Oakland wanted an up-the-middle college athlete at that point. Until the night before, I thought they'd go for Aaron Hicks.

 Q:  Athony from sarasota asks:
Why Beckham over Posey?

Jim Callis: Buster Posey just went yard to make bring Florida State within one run of Wichita State . . . That pick just came down to the Rays' personal preference. The easier choice would have been Posey, because he'll be ready quicker and fill a more obvious need, but Tampa Bay thought Beckham had more upside.

 Q:  Greg from San Francisco asks:
Which players drafted yesterday take over as their organization's #1 prospect? Looks like David Price clearly beats Beckham, but what about Alvarez with the Pirates? Posey over Villalona? Hosmer over Moustakas?

Jim Callis: I love this question! But this would take a few minutes to answer. Do this Greg, send it to Ask BA (askba@baseballamerica.com) with your full name and hometown, and it will be the lead question in Monday's edition.

 Q:  Dean from Milwaukee WI asks:
Do you think the Brewers effectively cashed in on their plethora of early picks? Particularly interested in your thoughts on the two compensation picks between rounds 1 & 2.

Jim Callis: Starting with the sandwich picks, I thought Jake Odorizzi was a nice value after he projected to go in the late first round. Evan Frederickson surprised me a little but he has a big arm (and he came from the same HS that I did). Brett Lawrie (first round) can really hit. The Brewers know what they're doing.

 Q:  Jason from NYC asks:
Rumors have Robbie Ross' bonus demands exceeding $1.5mil. Is he worth it?

Jim Callis: I've heard $1.575 million. I do like Robbie Ross a lot, as much as any high school lefty in the draft. With the Rangers taking him in round two, that makes me think they'll sign him.

 Q:  Mr. Must See TV from NYC asks:
Jim, great coverage yesterday. They should let you and Keith law do most of the talking next year, though. That said, I thought the Mets should have taken Friedrich and Gillespie at #22 and #33 instead of Havens and Holt because they were a better package. Thoughts? Also, what do you think Holt will project as? And what do you think of what the Mets are doing on Day 2 so far?

Jim Callis: I would have made the same choices you did. Holt sounds like more of a reliever to me in the long run. Mets are being conservative as usual, and I think that's a mistake with the financial muscle they're not using.

 Q:  Jason from NYC asks:
Max Ramirez, Chris Davis, Justin Smoak: Which two become the 1B/DH combo for the Rangers and which one doesn't make the cut?

Jim Callis: Smoak and Davis over Ramirez. The questions are flowing in much faster than I can handle, so we'll try to do a quick lightning round. All answers, 10 words or less!

 Q:  Andy P from Sarver, PA asks:
Tim Fedoriwicz the Catcher from North Caroline got drafted on the second day. What was the projected round for him? I thought he would have been drafted in the top 3 rounds.

Jim Callis: Down year, Bosox always have liked him, took in seventh.

 Q:  mez from norfolk, virginia asks:
love the chat! this time of year is my birthday, july 4th and new year's wrapped into one! my buccos taking scheppers in round 2 - if he recovers from the injury and is back to his pre-injury form, would he rank as THE steal of the draft? time will tell of course...

Jim Callis: Would be a steal, but the shoulder sounds very worrisome.

 Q:  Jared from St. Louis asks:
Hey Jim! Thanks for chatting. Any chance Brett Wallace could play leftfield?

Jim Callis: If Luzinski could, he could. More of a 1B, though.

 Q:  Randy from Chattanooga, TN asks:
Being the Reds fan that I am, please tell me the difference between Alonso and Justin Smoak. I felt that Smoak had a better upside from what I read (switch hitter, etc.). What makes Alonso better in the Reds scouting department?

Jim Callis: Alonso better pure hitter, Smoak more power (and better glove).

 Q:  sisyphus from long beach , ny asks:
Given the Brewers' great track record in drafting hitters recently and everything that I read about him , Lawrie would seem to be the real deal as a hitter . Can he play catcher ? He was quoted as saying that he wanted to catch .

Jim Callis: Worth a shot, teams have a split opinion on that.

 Q:  Tom from Fairfield, CT asks:
How big of a coup was it for the A's and Jay's respectively to take Brett Hunter and Eric Thames in the 7th Round? I'll admit, I'm a Pepperdine student so I'm biased. And while I know there is injury concerns with each, neither seem to warrant the drop out of the first day that each endured.

Jim Callis: All depends on health. Probably fell because of money, too.

 Q:  eric from houston asks:
be honest... how bad was the jason castro pick at #10 by the astros.

Jim Callis: Bit early, but good chance to be a solid catcher.

 Q:  John from Detroit asks:
Tigers draft? What do you think? Seems very high risk high reward?

Jim Callis: Velocity, velocity, velocity. More relievers than starters, though.

 Q:  Orlando from Jefferson City, MO asks:
Why did Aaron Luna fall so far? I thought he was an excellent pick by the Cardinals.

Jim Callis: Not a great year, tough to sign Rice juniors.

 Q:  Nate from Minneapolis asks:
Harold Martinez. Why the drop? What will it take to sign him?

Jim Callis: Bad spring after early hype probably created high bonus expectations.

 Q:  JAYPERS from IL asks:
Jordan Danks and Kyle Long (just now) to the White Sox. Will they sign, and what is your evaluation of Long? He sure is a big dude.

Jim Callis: Danks looks better than he plays. Long is still raw.

 Q:  Jake from NYC asks:
Will the Yankees let Pat Venditte continue as an ambidextrous pitcher or will they chose an arm and let him go with that? What's his future role/does he have a shot at the majors?

Jim Callis: Longshot big leaguer, he'll continue pitching with both arms.

 Q:  Ben from Leland Grove asks:
Could you give us your evaluation of Zach Collier, and what Philly has in store for him? I like what I read about this kid.

Jim Callis: Lots of tools, plus he can hit. Great pick there.

 Q:  Keith from Boston asks:
I really liked the Phillies selections of Hewitt, Collier and Gose. The rewards may outweigh the risks. Who do you think is the surest bet to find MLB out of this group?

Jim Callis: Lot of risk and potential reward for Phillies. Collier.

 Q:  Robert Goldberg from Lyndhurst, NJ asks:
Jim - any idea what the Mets were thinking by passing on Friedrich for Havens?

Jim Callis: Think they really wanted a catcher.

 Q:  Jay from Boston asks:
I know we're right in the heart of the actual draft but I have a future question. What do you think about trading draft picks and will MLB ever institute this policy?

Jim Callis: Would make it more interesting, not necessarily better. Yes.

 Q:  Daniel from Ocenside,ca asks:
Hi Jim, Will the Dodgers be able to sign Kyle Russell?

Jim Callis: Yes, not a tough sign at all this time.

 Q:  Jake from Baltimore asks:
How does Matusz rank with the other young pitchers in the Orioles system (Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Brandon Erbe)

Jim Callis: Best of the bunch.

Moderator: That's it for today. We'll try to come back early next week with another draft chat.