Jim Callis Draft Chat: May 18

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    @Jaypers413 (IL): I enjoyed reading your first Mock Draft. Do you have approximate dates for your second, third and fourth versions? Thanks Jim.

Jim Callis: May 27 (week from Friday) for the next one, then June 3 (Friday before draft) and June 6 (day of draft). I may blog an updated version on draft afternoon, with just names and not much analysis.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Why hasn't Rendon released his recent medical records to teams?

Jim Callis: It's a page out of the Boras Corp. playbook. The feeling among clubs I've talked to is that the serious contenders (read: clubs willing to pay the most) will get the records eventually. Probably not until shortly before the draft, and they'll have to take what they get.

    Chris (Michigan): The Tigers don't pick until very late...any indication who they're targeting? Who might be the best candidates to slip that far?

Jim Callis: No indication. They pick so low, with their first pick at No. 76 (they're the last team to start drafting this year), that it's impossible to target guys. Really, at this point, even with all of us draft reporters firing off mock drafts, it's still mostly guesswork after the first 10-15 choices. The Tigers could do what they did last year with Nick Castellanos, and pay a lot of money to a guy they really like who can fall to them. But there's no obvious first-round talent whose signability is so crazy that they could drop all the way to 76. Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley have asking prices of a combined $50 million, but they still won't get close to 76.

    Wremo (DC): Jim - love the chats. I have heard that Rizzo/Nats are hot for Bauer, but not interested in Bundy or Cole. Why go for 1 undersized pitcher but not the others?

Jim Callis: I haven't heard that, and it would surprise me. Cole is 6-foot-4, by the way, and not undersized. Nationals GM Mike Rizzo LOVES power pitchers, and has a history of taking Boras Corp. guys, so I would be shocked if they took Bauer over Cole. I could see them going college over high school and bypassing Bundy, but I think they'd take Cole or Alex Meyer over Bauer.

    John (Houston, TX): The Astros have blown a ridiculous amount of saves this year, 11 out of 16 tries, any chance they target John Stilson out of Texas A&M to try to use as a quick fix? Stilson reminds me of a similar closer that graduated from Texas, Huston Street, fair comparison?

Jim Callis: It would be silly for a bad team to target a closer, especially with the 11th pick in the draft. I do like Stilson, and he has enough stuff to start. I don't love the Street comp. Street had a wipeout slider, while Stilson has a better changeup and more velocity. They are similar in that Stilson could get to the big leagues very quickly if deployed as a reliever. Stilson missed his last start, though he's expected back tomorrow vs. Texas.

    johnny (kansas): I've heard the royals may have a chance at gerrit cole? Am I hearing wrong? And if I'm not who should I root for us to pick gerrit or bubba? Thanks love the chats.

Jim Callis: I think the top three picks, in some order, will be Anthony Rendon, Gerrit Cole, Danny Hultzen. I wouldn't count on Cole getting to No. 5, but it's not impossible. He has struggled with his command lately and there are a ton of attractive college pitchers.

    Maurice (Lawrence): How crazy would I be if I told you I kind of like the idea of the Royals taking Josh Bell? You can rarely go wrong taking the best pure hitter/power hitter on the board, even if he profiles as a corner guy.

Jim Callis: It's not a crazy idea, but that's a little rich on Bell. I really love the bat, too, and if you told me he'd be a better big leaguer than, say, Bubba Starling, I could believe that too. It's a special bat. I think he goes in the teens somewhere. And we might look back in a few years, like we do now with Jason Heyward, and wonder how he could have lasted that long.

    Jay (South Riding, VA.): Jim, As always, thanks for the chat. Rumor is that the Nats are high on Alex Meyer. Why would they take someone with an unquestionably high upside but a very inconsistent track record over guys like Bundy, Gray & Jungmann? Bundy especially appears to have a very high upside AND is advanced for a high school arm. On the surface it just seems to defy logic that they would rule out certain guys on a guy that risky. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: I don't disagree. I give kudos to Meyer for making strides with his command, consistency and competiveness, and he's always had big size and a power arm. But to me, he's the eighth-best college pitcher in this draft, more of a mid-first-rounder than the No. 6 pick. There are plenty of other high-quality college arms with more polish and more success. But Nationals GM Mike Rizzo loves power arms, so Meyer is very much in their mix.

    Jeff (North Carolina): Who do the o's take with the 4th pick? Dylan Bundy in the mix, despite his huge demands?

Jim Callis: I've been hearing the Orioles would prefer a college pitcher. I don't think the demands matter much, because they're so high (six years, $30 million) that clubs don't believe they're close to realistic. They'd love a shot at Danny Hultzen.

    Chris (DC): Jim, Who would you predict to be the first player from this draft class to reach the majors?

Jim Callis: Trevor Bauer. Though if a team uses John Stilson or Andrew Chafin as a reliever, they could get there first. Same with Sonny Gray, but he won't be put in the bullpen immediately.

    Greg (Cincy): Why wouldn't Dylan Bundy be selected 1-1?

Jim Callis: On talent considerations alone, he has a case. I wouldn't argue with that pick. But teams at the top of the draft are picking there for a reason, and I'd be shocked if the Pirates used the No. 1 overall pick on a high school arm when they need immediate help. (Not that I ever advocated drafting for need at the top of the draft.) No HS righthander ever has gone No. 1, but I would be tempted by Bundy. Personally, unless the medical report on his shoulder was scary, I'd take Rendon. But it's also hard to use the top pick on a guy who's not at his best.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown MA): Do you think the red sox take a catcher at 19 or 26? If all are available, do they take Swihart, Hedges, or Susac?

Jim Callis: I believe it's more likely they'll take Swihart or Hedges than Susac. Those two HS catchers are not going to sign for close to slot, and while the Red Sox are as aggressive as any team in the draft, they generally don't go way over slot in the first round. We'll have to see.

    Greg (Cincy): Do you expect Arizona to take the best players available with picks 3 and 7?

Jim Callis: Yes, I do. Every indication is that talent will be the only consideration with the unprotected No. 7 pick.

    John (Simpsonville, SC): What kind of ceiling do you see for Vandy RHP Sonny Gray?

Jim Callis: He's not big, but I still see him as a starter, potential No. 2. He'll show you some No. 1 starter stuff, but the command isn't of the same quality.

    Sean Rooney (California): Any chance Hawaii's Kolten Wong slips out of the back end of the second round? If so what team would you see as a good fit?

Jim Callis: No chance. I think he'll go before the end of the first round, and if not, he'll be an early sandwich pick. He's one of the best hitters in the draft, profiles well as an offensive second baseman, very good instincts and makeup too.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): What's your over/under on how many 2011 draftees make the BA top 100 in the winter?

Jim Callis: Off the top of my head, I think the average is around 15 or so in a typical year. With the depth of this draft, plus the fact that I think talent in the minors is a little down, I could see 20 2011 draftees on the 2012 Top 100.

    Billy (North America): What kind of Major-League bat does Alex Dickerson project to be? Assuming he can play Dunn/Gomes type LF would be a good fit at 27?

Jim Callis: It's one of the better bats in the draft. With his strength, swing and approach, he projects as a plus hitter with average to plus power. A lot of teams question whether he'll be able to play left field, so I see him more as a sandwich pick than a first-rounder, probably to an AL team.

    John (Ashburn, VA): Jim: Levi Michael v. Brad Miller. The draft boards have Michael going in the first round, yet, Miller's numbers are comparable (if not better). Your thoughts on the comparison?

Jim Callis: The main reason Michael will go in the first round and Miller will go in the second or third is that Michael has a chance to play shortstop in the majors, while Miller is more of an offensive second baseman. Michael's tools and athleticism are a little better, too.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): So, who do you see being this year's version of Hayden Simpson? You gotta prepare us for these types of happenings, Jim.

Jim Callis: If I knew who it was, it wouldn't be a Simpsonesque surprise! Right now, the most surprising name in the first round is Larry Greene. A handful of teams are on him and he has big raw power, while other clubs say the emphasis should be on "raw."

    Charles (Bloomington, IN): Alex Dickerson - A left-handed Billy Butler? Is that a good comp for his ceiling??

Jim Callis: Yeah, that's pretty fair.

    Dave (Houston): Ive seen some mocks where Jed Bradley or bundy fall to houston pick, do you think that either will last that long, and do you think houstons change in ownership could have an effect on draft spending this year for the Astros?

Jim Callis: I don't think Bundy will get past the first 5-7 picks. There are eight college pitchers who could go in the top 10 picks, so some will get squeezed out. I'd still be surprised if Bradley got to the 11th choice, as he's the second-best lefthander. I don't think the change of ownership will affect Houston's draft, at least not in 2011. Scouting director Bobby Heck has been allowed to worry about talent more than signability, and I expect that to continue.

    Tim (Lilburn, Ga): How far will Zach Cone drop after his lack luster summer in the Cape and down 2011 season at UGA

Jim Callis: I still think there's a good chance that someone bites on the superb athleticism in the first two or three rounds. He might be the best all-around athlete in college baseball, though that hasn't translated to performance.

    J.D. (Everson, PA): Thanks for the chat Jim. I have a feeling the Pirates will end up picking Hultzen. How does he compare to Bryan Bullington? Would they be better off with Bundy or Starling?

Jim Callis: People don't remember this, because then-GM David Littlefield called Bullington a No. 3 starter on draft day, but Bullington was as good as any prospect not named Upton in that 2002 draft. He had a 92-96 mph fastball, a hard slider, good command and a good frame. We ranked Bullington as the third-best prospect that year (behind Upton and Kazmir), and we have Hultzen as the third-best this year. If Rendon and Cole were at their best, to me, I'd take them over Hultzen. But it's hard to use that No. 1 pick on someone not at their best, so that puts Hultzen into the discussion. He has a little less velo and size than Bullington, but he's a lefty who had more polish and a deeper repertoire.

    G (Boston): Hey Jim, it's a great time of year. Do you think the team that drafts Purke makes him pitch at the Cape, similar to Ranaudo last year?

Jim Callis: It is a great time of year. I enjoy it even more once I have all of my Top 200 reports and state lists written! I think it depends on how Purke looks down the stretch. He's going to return tomorrow. If he pitches well through the postseason (he'll have at least three more starts), a team may prefer that he not pitch more during the summer. His entire situation is very fluid. Even if he immediately returns to what he was last year, clubs are worried about his signability.

    Matt (Pittsburgh): Hi Jim, what are the odds that the Pirates surprise everyone and take Bauer #1? Would that be an extreme overdraft? It's hard to ignore his dominance. Thanks!

Jim Callis: I wouldn't call it an extreme overdraft, but I'm not hearing Bauer in Pittsburgh's mix.

    Pious Pirate (Praying): If I took Jed Bradley #1, how crazy would I be? ps. Anything new on Rendon? Thanks. (And I appreciate all the coverage!)

Jim Callis: A little crazy. I like Bradley a lot, but we have him at No. 7 on our in-progress Top 200, and he shouldn't be the top overall pick. Nothing new on Rendon—teams still waiting to see the medicals.

    Wessel Brocken (the Netherlands): Best 5 lefties in the draft in this order: Hultzen, Bradley, Norris, Anderson, Osich?

Jim Callis: Matt Purke (if healthy), Henry Owens and Andrew Chafin are in that discussion, but that's a good list. Your top four are our top four on our latest version of the Top 200. By the way, we'll post the Top 200 next Tuesday, I believe.

    Neil (TCU): With the potential for a hard slotting system in the upcoming CBA, does Purke really have much leverage in coming back to the Frogs for his junior year?

Jim Callis: Sure. Let's say Purke looks good but not as good as he did last year, and there are signability concerns. He goes in the 20-40 range, and someone offers him $2.5 million, banking that he'll bounce back and giving him some credit for extra leverage as a sophomore. That would be a pretty good offer, right? But if he comes back and goes No. 1 in 2012, which a healthy Purke could do, he'd get more than $2.5 million. I don't buy that the likelihood of a hard slotting system takes leverage from players. It only really takes it from guys at the top of the draft who can't go much higher.

    Navin (Pasadena, CA): Lindor and Starling seem like the most popular choices for the Cubs. If they are gone at 9, who do the Cubs consider?

Jim Callis: One of the college pitchers. They drafted Sonny Gray out of high school. They have some interest in Alex Meyer.

    Bret (Toronto): What kind of player as a whole do you see Cory Spangenberg becoming? What kind of hitter? What position does he end up at?

Jim Callis: He has one of the most intriguing bats in the draft. The position is the big question. Might not stick in the infield but could hit enough to play an outfield corner. Center field is probably a stretch.

    Wessel Brocken (the Netherlands): Best SS after Lindor. Baez, Lopes or Levi Michael?

Jim Callis: Michael. I like Baez' offensive upside more, but it doesn't sound like he's going to stay at SS. Michael has a chance too. Lopes' stock has dipped, he's not in the same class.

    Matt (SC): Where do you see Taylor Guerrieri going? And do you think he will sign or go to USC?

Jim Callis: I think he goes in the 11-20 range, and if he goes that high, he won't be a Gamecock. Archie Bradley has a little more momentum and may have passed him as the No. 2 HS pitcher behind Bundy, but Guerrieri has one of the most electric arms in the draft.

    Peter (San Diego): Padres pick 10th for not signing Karsten Whitson. If Whitson were available this year, would he be a top 10 pick? I do not think he would because there seems to be a lot of talent available.

Jim Callis: He wouldn't, because this is a deeper draft. So if the Padres sign a legitimate top-10 talent, they'll come out ahead. And if they get a college guy, they may get someone who reaches San Diego before Whitson would have.

    Steve (Kansas City, MO): A lot of people are saying Royals are going with a college pitcher. Dayton Moore fooled everyone with his pick last year. Any chance he does that again?

Jim Callis: I keep hearing college pitcher. I know Royals fans want to hear they're taking Kansas product Bubba Starling, but I keep hearing college arm. I wouldn't say Moore fooled everyone. They never had a predraft deal with Grandal, contrary to what was reported. I think the Royals thought (like most clubs) that there was a dropoff from No. 3 to No. 4, they had no strong preference, and they were going to take a guy they liked who would sign for slot. That wound up being Colon.

    Doug (Homer City,Pa): Is the fact that Pedro Alvarez has been struggling, going to influence the Pirates at the number 1 spot. I just see Pedro as more of a 1B, thus pointing us in the direction of Anthony Rendon. I get the idea of stockpiling pitching, but currently the Pirates needs bats, and Rendon isn't that far away from the Majors....your thoughts?

Jim Callis: Alvarez won't affect the pick, and I agree, I think he's more of a first baseman anyway. The Pirates will take whomever they believe to be the best player available.

    Nick (Wisconsin): Surprised to see Comer in the 3rd/4th Round range on your pitcher breakdown (posted today). Stuff from earlier this year fallen off? Seemed like a sure fire sandwich guy as of late April.

Jim Callis: He's been a little inconsistent this spring, and it's a deep draft. I don't think he was ever a surefire sandwich guy, though. The sandwich round runs through pick 60, and it's probably fair to say that nearly everyone on the upper half of our Top 200 has a ceiling of going in the sandwich round.

    Dan (Maine): Hi Jim. There has been some speculation that clubs will spend way more than normal due to the upcoming CBA changes. Do you see any signs of this actually happening? What do you think will happen?

Jim Callis: Yes, I do. MLB never sees it that way, always thinks its latest changes (or impending changes, such as likely hard slotting in the next CBA) will give teams the upper hand. But in the end, it comes down to this: teams crave talent, and will pay for it. Hard slotting will make it difficult to sign top high school prospects outside of the first couple of rounds, and teams are going to try to grab as much talent this year before that happens.

    Tom (Buffalo): How does Bubba Starling compare to Donovan Tate, the last ultra athletic prep position player to come out? Who was more raw? Will Tate's slow adjustment to pro ball scare teams away from Starling?

Jim Callis: Starling, like most high schoolers, is raw, and he faced worse competition in Kansas than Tate did in Georgia. However, there were more questions about Tate's bat than there are about Starling's. They're some risk with Starling, but also high reward. I think he may go in the 6-15 range rather than the top five, but Tate isn't scaring people away from Starling.

    Jake (Bellevue): Jim- Any real chance Mariners take Lindor at #2? I feel like they've missed on too many first rounders (Clement, Fields, Aumont, etc.) that they need to take BPA and from what i've read, that would be Rendon or Cole.

Jim Callis: I think they're going to take Rendon. I believe Seattle prefers a bat, so if Rendon does go No. 1, they could take Lindor or Starling at No. 2.

    J (Mesa, AZ): How does Bubba Starling compare with Jason Heyward back when he was coming out of High School?

Jim Callis: Starling is a better athlete, Heyward a better hitter, it's not a real great comp.

    Alex D. (Milk Bar): With the big upside but risky profile, wouldn't Meyer make a ton of sense for Arizona at #7 — especially if paired with Hultzen at #3?

Jim Callis: Not for me. If it were just a draft of college pitchers, Meyer to me would be the eighth pick in the draft. There's a lot of other college arm upside with less risk available at No. 7. And I'd pounce on Bundy if he's still there.

Jim Callis: The draft phone is ringing off the hook, so I need to go attend to that. Sorry I couldn't get to more questions, but try me with long questions at askba@baseballamerica.com (include name and hometown, and your question might make the cut for next Monday's column) or shorter ones at Twitter at @jimcallisba. Thanks!