Jim Callis Chat: May 23

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Jim Callis: I know you guys are geared up for the draft when I enter the chat room and already have four full pages of questions. Let's dive right in.

    Marty (Orlando, FL): What is the best case for Damion Carroll. It would be nice to see a player get drafted high that did not go through all those tournaments.

Jim Callis: So much in this draft will come down to signability. Carroll, a Virginia HS righthander, has a big body and big arm. Could see him as high as the third round.

    Jack (New York,NY): How has Jeremy Rathjen rebounded from his knee injury last year? What round do you see him being taken?

Jim Callis: Nicely. Maybe isn't quite the plus runner he was yet, but it's more of a 55 vs. 60 on the 20-80 scouting scale, nothing too bad. He has a solid package of tools and can play center field. I think he goes around the fifth round . . . Which reminds me to mention that as we roll out our Top 500 Prospects list (201-300 will go up tomorrow), that's based on talent. Signability will be a huge factor under the new rules, and college players like Rathjen will get selected a little higher than we've ranked them.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Who is the better pure defender between Marrero and Fontana?

Jim Callis: Marrero, a true shortstop. Some teams believe Fontana profiles better as a second baseman, though the team that drafts him almost certainly will think he's staying at shortstop.

    John (Hou): These "rumors" of Appel to Houston seem like a joke to me. Appel isn't even the 2nd best player on some/most people's board. Do you think Astros will end up going Buxton?

Jim Callis: They're not a joke, and while Appel hasn't always dominated like people have hoped, I'd take him over the other college pitchers in this draft. It's close, but he has a better breaking ball than Gausman and a better track record and maintains his velo better than Zimmer. In this draft, Appel would be a worthy No. 1 pick, though I'd take Buxton. You could argue for Gausman, Zimmer and Correa too. As for your question . . . keep hearing college pitcher (Appel) for the Astros.

    Dave (Rochester): There has been a lot of buzz in Minnesota about Rochester Century HS RHP Mitch Brown the University of San Diego signee. I have seen him throw a few times. Very polished for a high school pitcher. I have heard possible first round. Where are you hearing he might fit in when it comes to the draft in June?

Jim Callis: Scouts love him as a pitcher and a person. The first round might be a little rich, and I think the best bet is that the Twins grab him with a sandwich pick at 32 or 42. Teams know the Twins like him, so if someone else wants him, they'll have to grab him in the first.

    thomas (Ohio): What is Trahan lacking? What is his hit tool? If the hit tool is there, why is he not ranked in the 11 2012 daftees that should make the top 100 prospects list (ask BA recent assertion). Isn't a lefthanded powerhittting C w/ speed and leadership skills a more rare/valuable talent than, for instance, the SS's suggested for that list? Is there an issue w/ his arm, behind the plate defense, or some other factor that has over-hyped his status? Thanks for the inside stuff on this, and the great reporting!

Jim Callis: Thanks for the kind words, Thomas. We have a nice team of five guys who are doing draftwork just about 24/7 this time of year. The consensus is that Trahan won't stick behind the plate and will wind up in right field. He's rough as a receiver.

    James (Atl): Would the Astros be crazy to pass on Buxton? This kid has superstar potential.

Jim Callis: I'd take him 1-1, but I wouldn't call the Astros crazy if they passed on him. I don't think anyone has separated themselves from the pack in this draft.

    Chris (San Fran): If the Astros take Buxton will he immediately become the top prospect in the Astros organization over Singleton and Cosart?

Jim Callis: Yes.

    Kyle (Dallas): If the 2012 Milb POY was picked today, who would get your vote?

Jim Callis: Dylan Bundy. Would probably rank him No. 1 on my overall prospects list as well.

    Matt (Kansas): If Buxton and the 3 college arms (Gausman, Zimmer, and Appel) are gone where do the Royals go with the 5th pick? Do you see them going high school pitcher like Giolito or McCullers or do they going position player?

Jim Callis: In that scenario, I'd pick Zunino or Correa. The Royals really need arms, so you might see McCullers or Wacha or Stroman. Regarding Giolito, there are too many uncertainties about his health and signability to know where he's going right now. No. 5 would be kind of high unless those questions get resolved.

    Dwayne (Greensburg, PA): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat. I thought that I had read after the CBA was finalized that MLB was going to distribute 12 extra draft picks in the first and second round to 10 teams that have the lowest revenues & worst records. Is this going to happen, or did I misread this.

Jim Callis: You read it correctly, but the competitive-balance picks (which can be traded) won't come into play until 2013, when the free-agent comp picks will be overhauled. There will be six competitive-balance picks in the supplemental first round, and six more in the supplemental second.

    ScottAZ (Phx, AZ): Do you think there will be any team that completely ignores the MLB draft cap and goes crazy and picks up every player that fall giving guys like Alford, Winston, etc $mill+ bonuses?

Jim Callis: No. I don't think any team will do anything that would cost them a first-round pick, which happens if they exceed their bonus pool by 5 percent.

    Dwayne (Greensburg, PA): The Pirates paid Josh Bell like a top 5 player last year even though he was the top pick in the second round. I had never heard any reports that he was even considered as one of the top 7 players who could have gone #1 overall. Last years draft was obviously very deep, but where would he go in this years draft if he were eligible. I'm just trying to gauge his true worth.

Jim Callis: He'd be a top 10 pick, battling Albert Almora to be the first high school outfielder selected.

    mike (wyckoff,nj): Do you think MLB would allow teams to pool the signing bonuses for the draft and international? Seems like in a down year, teams might want to be able to shift money around. Thanks

Jim Callis: Not in the rules, so not going to happen.

    Richard Z (North Brunswick, NJ): All of the mock drafts I've seen so far have the Orioles taking a college pitcher (Gausman or Zimmer). Is that the general feeling?

Jim Callis: Yes. Can't see them taking Zunino with Wieters on hand. Correa would be tempting, but they have Machado. I think a college arm will be the top guy on their board at No. 4.

    Greg (the Buckeye state): Jim how does Wyatt Mathisen compare to Austin Hedges? How signable is Mathisen?

Jim Callis: He'll go in the sandwich or second round and be signable. Mathisen doesn't draw the defensive raves that Hedges did, with some scouts calling Hedges the best high school catcher they had seen in years. Mathisen is a strong defender though, and his bat is more highly regarded than Hedges' was. Several teams had concerns about how much Hedges would hit, and you don't hear that with Mathisen.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Given that Joey Gallo's mammoth raw power and big time arm, does his hit tool need that much work that he isn't rated higher? And can he stick at 3B or is he destined for a corner OF spot?

Jim Callis: We might be a little low on Gallo (No. 33 on our draft prospects list). There are some concerns about his propensity to swing and miss, but he has big-time power and a big-time arm. I bet some team buys into the power in the second half of the first round. He has a chance to stay at 3B but that's not a lock.

    Greg (OHIO): So Anthony Alford has told teams he's college bound - are "don't draft me" letters still an effective strategy under the new CBA? Can teams still spread draft bonus over multiple years for 2 sport athletes?

Jim Callis: I don't think that's a ploy on Alford's part. I think he's headed to Southern Miss to play football. You can still spread a two-sport guy's bonus over as many as five years, but the net present value of the total deal counts against the current year's bonus pool. You can't spread that over the life of the deal.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): If Raph Rhymes has one of the better hit tools of any college bat in this draft, are his other tools so average to bad that he can't rank higher? Isn't the hit tool pretty important in baseball?

Jim Callis: I wouldn't say he has one of the best hit tools as much as I'd say he's having one of the best statistical seasons among college position players. He'll go around the fifth round or so, but he's a righthanded-hitting left fielder without another plus tool.

    Artie (St Louis): When will the next Mock Draft for the First Round appear on the website?

Jim Callis: Friday. I also wrote a column today for the magazine about who the top 10 teams in the draft SHOULD take, and hope to have that up as well on Friday.

    Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Seeing how they are the worst hitting team in baseball, do you see the A's grabbing an impact bat with their First Round pick? Which players have they been tracking the most?

Jim Callis: I do . . . could see them taking Texas HS outfielder Courtney Hawkins. Also could see them taking an arm like Fried or Stroman if they're on the board. Those guys would be hard to pass up.

    Keith H (Oneida, NY): What players are being connected with the Braves in the early rounds? Thanks

Jim Callis: The name I've heard most recently with Atlanta is Texas A&M outfielder Tyler Naquin.

    RichW (New Jersey): Jackie Bradley has been impressive in Salem. I know he's old for the league but he also was well thought in last year's draft, dropping to the supplemental round due to a wrist injury. Do you think this breakout is for real and if so, what do you see as the projections for his bat and speed?

Jim Callis: He's not a 1.068 OPS guy for real, but Bradley can hit for a solid average and decent power while playing a Gold Glove-caliber center field. He'll steal a few bases in the majors—say 10-15 annually—but won't be prolific. He's good, just not as good offensively as his numbers this year. I do like him.

    Brett (KC): Do the Royals take Correa over a college pitcher given the choice? Pitcher fills a more immediate need, but Correa has tremendous upside with his Trout-esque birthday (17 year old draftee).

Jim Callis: I'm not sure Correa gets past the Mariners at No. 3, and you could make a case that the Astros should take him No. 1. The Royals have such a need for pitching, though, that I think they take one of the top three college arms (Appel, Gausman, Zunino) if they get the opportunity.

    Taylor (Houston): Any updates on Giolito?

Jim Callis: Still the biggest wild card in the draft. No one has a definitive read on his healthy or signability right now.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is this hard slotting system unfair to teams at the top in years like this where the top talent may not be as worth as much as the top talent from the year before?

Jim Callis: Puts them in a tough spot, though those teams have a huge advantage if they can get their players to sign for less than the assigned pick value. Then the club could spread that money around elsewhere.

    Dave S. (Staten Island, NY): Jim - Love your work. I figure you've been asked this a lot but do you think KC will bring up Myers anytime soon? He really seems to be putting it together this season ! Als does Bundy end up in AA by July? thanks

Jim Callis: I could see Myers up after the break. I don't think the Royals are afraid to promote him but probably want to see how he adjusts to playing center field in Triple-A. Bundy could probably handle Double-A but I see the Orioles taking it slow with him this year. Not sure he gets to Double-A.

    Dennis (Chicago): If the Cubs cannot get one of the top 3 pitching prospects who do you think they will take?

Jim Callis: Zunino, Almora or Correa.

    Jack (Milwaukee): Adam Brett Walker II (Jacksonville U) finished college career with lifetime numbers of - .360 BA / .632 SLG% / .437 OBA / & 40 for 41 in SB. I can see a team with multiple early picks taking a chance. The high reward benefits would be worth the risk factor to me. Your thoughts on where this Milwaukee slugger could end up?

Jim Callis: Sandwich or second round. Has some of the best power in the draft, tempered by some swing and miss.

    Andrew (Minnetonka, MN): I am a Twins fan, and I'm hoping they take either Byron Buxton or Lucas Giolito at #2 in the draft next month. Do you have an inkling on how they feel about them, and the likelihood of either?

Jim Callis: I think they like Buxton a lot but may be compelled to take a pitcher. I can't see Giolito going No. 2 with a bum elbow.

    Senators Guy (at work): Hi Jim - simple question: What part of Kevin Gausman's game is most lacking at this point - meaning, what one improvement would have changed his draft outlook from a top tier guy to the clear #1 pick?

Jim Callis: If scouts felt better about his breaking ball.

    Nick (Dayton, OH): With the Cincinnati Reds having some good young pitching talent do you see them focusing on position players early in the draft? Does anyone stand out to you that might be on their radar?

Jim Callis: Chris Buckley and Co. usually stick with their board and take the best guy who gets to them rather than focusing on a specific position. I keep hearing Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer mentioned with the Reds.

    Rip (Colorado): Buxton 2012 v Beckham 2008, comparisons to Upton brothers, and Beckham played against better competition. What's the difference between these players as they were scouted in high school?

Jim Callis: Buxton is a better athlete with more power potential at the plate. Reading their scouting reports at the time, I'd take Buxton, and not just because Beckham hasn't panned out as expected.

    Michael (Chicago): Jim, with the new CBA how important is the role of the advisor in this years draft? Can they help move kids up or increase their value? Does a family even need one anymore?

Jim Callis: I actually think they're more important. Advisers aren't going to increase a player's value, but an adviser who knows where a player figures to go in the draft can help him go higher in the draft (at a discount, but more than he would have gotten anyway. Also, teams are saying that they have to know (not hope they know) what guys are going to sign for, and having history with an adviser they can trust will be huge.

    Kyle (Ontario): What are your high end and low end projections for where Giolito will be selected?

Jim Callis: If his elbow was deemed completely healthy by the draft, he easily could be a top-five pick. If teams are worried about his elbow and if his signability were a concern—let's say he wouldn't come down from the $5 million or so he was set to make before he got hurt—it's possible he wouldn't get drafted at all.

    Dan (Houston, Texas): What round do you have Luke Moran and Shane Henderson from Grayson County College going in?

Jim Callis: Moran in the 8th-12th round as a righthander with a solid frame and an 89-92 mph fastball. Scouts have cooled on Henderson. Maybe he factors into the 16th-20th round if he's an easy sign.

    Joe (St. Louis): Brian Goodwin or D.J. Davis? Trying to get a better idea of this kids comps/tools. I saw that you mentioned him at 19 as possible option for the Cardinals in your recent mock.

Jim Callis: I like Davis more, more athleticism and speed.

    IQ (NJ): Patrick Kivlehan's come out of nowhere to win Big East POY with huge huge numbers. Has he done enough to warrant being a top 10 rounder?

Jim Callis: I think so. There aren't a lot of quality college bats in this draft, and while he's an older guy who played four years of football at Rutgers, Kivlehan has performed and he has attractive power, speed and athleticism.

    Jack (Staten Island): Do you see the Mets at # 12 going with a position player (HS or college) or the best arm available?

Jim Callis: I've heard mostly position guys like Alabama HS outfielder David Dahl, Texas HS outfielder Courtney Hawkins and Louisiana HS shortstop Garin Cecchini.

    Andrew (Minnetonka, MN): Who's the biggest pure-power guy in this draft? Someone you envision hitting 30-40 homers once established in MLB.

Jim Callis: Joey Gallo.

    brian (washington dc): Is it possible the Twins work out a verbal agreement with one of the top 6 players before the draft, like Correa for instance, at a reduced rate from pick #2 slot money? Then they could use the saved money for a player who slides to pick #32, like Giolito for instance, or somebody else.

Jim Callis: Those type of deals will happen in the draft. Not sure how easy they will be to pull off at the top.

    Eric (Lewisville, TX): Jim, I love the work you and all the others at BA do. What is the outlook for Taylore Cherry? He seems like a very intriguing HS pitcher, but I haven't heard his name being discussed in the early couple of rounds of the draft. Where do you see him being selected?

Jim Callis: He had a terrible spring and we ranked him as the 279th-best prospect available. He won't go high enough to get signed away from North Carolina, and a lot of scouts speculate that he won't be good enough to pitch for the Tar Heels.

    Bill L (Bozeman, MT): Will signability issues with top-shelf high school kids be clearer entering this year's draft, or less clear, given the new CBA?

Jim Callis: I don't know if they'll all be public, but in most cases teams are going to either 1) nail down a kid's price tag or 2) not take him. They're not going to gamble as much that they can sign a player if they don't have great feel for what it will take.

    Tyler (Harrodsburg, Ky): Does Jurickson Profar or Trevor Bauer have any say in that #1 prospect ranking (currently) or do you think Bundy is clearly above everyone else in the minors?

Jim Callis: Sure they do. As of today, I'd take Bundy. Profar would be No. 2 on my list.

    Smoltzy (Georgia): Do you think Naquin can play CF? Will he ever develop more power?

Jim Callis: Those are the issues with Naquin, who has as good a pure bat and outfield arm as any college player this year. From what scouts tell me, center field might be a stretch and he's never going to have a ton of power. Good player but could wind up as a tweener.

    William (Pensacola, FL): Anyway Addison Russell sneaks into the Top 15 ?

Jim Callis: Don't see it. He has helped himself this spring but fits in the bottom third of the first round.

    Ed (San Diego): Are the Padres essentially going to draft whoever the Cubs dont take between Almora and Correa?

Jim Callis: Don't rule out Max Fried.

    Daniel (Goldsboro, NC): Who goes first - Wacha or Heany?

Jim Callis: I'll say Wacha but it wouldn't surprise me at all if a team went for the lefty in Heaney. I really like both those guys.

    Bill L (Bozeman, MT): Who do you prefer between Gausman and Zimmer?

Jim Callis: Zimmer, but it's so close. As of right now, I'd go Appel, Zimmer, Gausman. Ask me tomorrow, and I might have a totally different order.

    Scott (Regina): What would be the floor and ceiling for Buxton, Appel, and Zunino? Thank you,

Jim Callis: I assume we're talking about where they go in the draft. Buxton 1-6, Appel 1-6, Zunino 2-8.

    Eric (Lewisville, TX): Nick Williams seems to have big time tools but lacks the polish of other elite High School players. Do you see him getting past the supplemental first round? and what are the chances he becomes a Longhorn? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Maybe the Rangers take him before the second round, but I don't see him going that high. I think he'll be wearing burnt orange in the fall.

    Ryan (Houston): Is Buxton a really good baseball player, or just a great athlete who plays baseball?

Jim Callis: Both.

    Bret (Toronto): If Giolito wants $5M, and teams at the very top are reluctant to draft him, could you see the Blue Jays taking him at 17, and essentially punting (taking a very, easably signable player) at 22?

Jim Callis: The Blue Jays may have the easiest time moving money around to accommodate Giolito. Could see that depending on how they read his health.

    Brad (Louisville, KY): Do you think MLB will ever allow teams to trade top 3 round picks? I think it would be cool to follow and helpful to move up or down since there are restrictions on spending now.

Jim Callis: They're dipping their toe into that water by allowing competitive-balance picks to be traded. If that doesn't lead to unintended consequences, MLB could allow more choices to be traded.

Jim Callis: Lunch beckons, then some first-round-projection phone calls and Top 500 writeups. So I've got to run, but I'll be back again next Wednesday. Thanks for all the great questions. I'm just as enthused about the impending draft as you guys are.