Draft Chat With Jim Callis

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Jim Callis: I can't promise that I won't take draft-related phone calls during this chat, but let's see how many questions we can bang out. And while the header on this chat says "Draft and Prospects," my focus is on the former . . .

Jim Callis: Let's kick this chat off early, in case my phone starts ringing. Maybe we can even break a signing via the chat room, if we're lucky.

    Jared (Las Vegas): should the astros have went after Virant instead of overspending on ruiz?

Jim Callis: We had Virant ranked ahead of Ruiz, but teams love who they love and a lot of scouts really liked Ruiz' bat. Virant is more of a projection than a finished product right now, though I could easily see him becoming a first-rounder after three years at UCLA.

    Boris (London): Any idea what Jays signed Will DuPont for? Couldn't have been much given how Borucki got ocer $400K

Jim Callis: DuPont is an athletic but raw high school infielder from Missouri, signed in the 16th round. Wouldn't have been more than $105k, or else the Jays would be forfeiting a first-round pick next year.

    Jason (Raleigh): Will Nats ultimately get Giolito signed in your opinion?

Jim Callis: I'm just guessing, have no secret insight here, but I say yes. Adam Kilgore had a report that the Nationals won't pay draft tax by exceeding their pool, and I'm sure the team wants to avoid that. But they can go to $3 million if they'll pay tax, and to me that seems like a fair compromise between what he would have made if healthy and the current risk involved with his elbow.

    Brian (Alexandria, VA): Thanks for answering my most-least likely to sign question. Quick 'yes/no' Giolito questions. Does he sign? Do Nats pay penalty by exceeding their pool? Do Nats give up any picks by really exceeding their pool?

Jim Callis: To follow up on the last question: Yes (signs), yes (tax), no (picks).

Jim Callis: Bear with me . . . phone calls . . .

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Jim, could you rank the remaining six first rounders from most likely to sign to least likely? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Back now, sorry about the delay, but also expecting another call. Most to least likely: Shaffer, Gausman, Hensley, Giolito, Heaney, Appel.

Jim Callis: Phone again . . .

Jim Callis: OK, I'm back now. Sorry about that . . .

    Chris (At Work): I'd love to mock the multitude of "Will my team be signing the guy they drafted early and haven't signed yet?" questions you're going to get, but... Will the Mets be signing 2nd rounder Teddy Stankiewicz?

Jim Callis: Unsure on that one. Just had a source tell me he was willing to sign for slot ($680,400), told the Mets that before the draft, but they haven't gotten there yet. He could wind up at Seminole (Okla.) JC.

    Warren (New London): Did any of the scouts who told you Bundy was better than Profar apologize after the Futures Game?

Jim Callis: Ha! You can't base anything on one inning of work. That said, I love Profar and he'd get my vote as the best prospect in baseball.

    Jim (WV): Jim, Thanks for having this chat. What's sticking point in the Orioles' negotiations with Gausman?

Jim Callis: I think both sides are just playing chicken with each other. Orioles are trying to sign him for as little as possible, while the Gausman camp is trying to turn his sophomore-eligible status into extra leverage. I really will be surprised if he doesn't sign for something around his $4.2 million pick value.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Which player's bonus exceeded your wildest expectations, if anyone?

Jim Callis: Rio Ruiz getting $1.85 million in the fourth round from the Astros, after he missed much of the spring.

    Grant (Chicago): Is Rhett Wiseman officially a scratch?

Jim Callis: Yes. Cubs would lose a first-round pick if they gave him $123k, and that won't come close to luring him away from his Vanderbilt commitment.

    Chris (Los Angeles, CA): Any word on the negotiations between Oakland and Kyle Twomey?

Jim Callis: Nothing specific, though the guess here is that the Athletics get him and second-rounder Nolan Sanburn done. I think a lot of teams will spend today trying to avoid paying the draft tax, then give in tomorrow if that's what it takes to sign a guy.

    Ian (PA): Does Mark Appel lose all leverage by going back to school? And is there any reason to think that teams at the top of the draft wouldn't follow the Astros model of take a reasonable 1-1 talent but one under slot to spread the bonus money out because there doesn't seem to be a clear 1-1 next season, including Appel?

Jim Callis: Not all leverage. Fellow Boras Corp. advisee Luke Hochevar reneged on a $2.98 million bonus in 2005, went to independent ball rather than return for his senior year at Tennessee, and got a $5.25 million big league contract. On the flip side, it's hard to imagine Appel turning down a team next year and re-entering the draft again in 2014. I think other teams will try to follow the Astros' model. Though the great thing for the Astros is that Carlos Correa was a legit No. 1 overall pick, not a money-saver of lesser talent. Houston was able to discount him because he would have gone sixth or seventh if he didn't go first. Great scenario for the Astros.

    Bill (Bozeman): Anything about the Omaha experience strike you this summer in year two of TDA?

Jim Callis: Still love Omaha as much as ever, and TD Ameritrade is a great place to watch a game. That said, I miss Rosenblatt and it seems impossible to hit the ball out of TDA from gap to gap.

    laxtonto (Texas): How much of a surprise is Gallo been with the AZL Rangers? I know it is a small sample size but the kid is getting on base WAY more than people expected. The power is there, but the OBP skills are a surprise.

Jim Callis: AZL stats mean next to nothing, especially just 17 games' worth of AB. But it's heartening to see 8 HR and 20 BB in 17 games.

    Alex (Miami, FL): Very saddened and angry to read about your Heaney report this morning. Why did Miami do this??! Argh!

Jim Callis: I think the Marlins play it as tough as anyone in negotiations, trying to save every dollar possible, then expect bygones to be bygones once the player signs. But if that approach costs you a first-round pick, that's a problem. How do you go nuts on free agents in the offseason and open a new ballpark, then screw up your first-round pick?

    Bill (Bozeman): Can I spill over into college baseball and ask if Ray Tanner's move into the AD's office surprised you?

Jim Callis: Yes, though I don't follow college baseball as closely as Aaron Fitt or John Manuel. Then again, not that there was much more for Ray to accomplish as a coach, and Chad Holbrook would have been at or near the top of head-coaching candidates in college baseball. Don't get me started on how I tried to get my alma mater (Georgia) to hire Tanner in 1996 . . .

    Jared (Texas): Do the Astros get a discount on Preston Tucker, and will 450-500k be enough to pull Hinojosa away from Texas?

Jim Callis: I'm not sure why Tucker hasn't signed yet, but remember as a college senior with no eligibility left, the deadline doesn't apply for him. No chance to sign Hinojosa. Not sure even Rio Ruiz money ($1.85 million) would have gotten Hinojosa done.

    Jeff (South Carolina): Whats the latest on Appel signing?

Jim Callis: Nothing new. Pirates still can pay him $3,837,575 without giving up a first-round pick, and that number could change based on what they do with their fourth- and eight-rounders. I don't believe Pittsburgh will forfeit a pick. The $3.8 million is less than what Appel anticipated, but I'd take it rather than re-enter the 2013 draft. There have been several reports that he won't. We'll see.

    Steve (Wilmington): It looks like the Phils are going to let 2nd Rounder Alec Rash get away...yet they had already created just under 200k in pool savings. Do they get anybody else signed by the deadline?

Jim Callis: I think they'll sign a few later-rounders. Agree that Rash won't happen.

    buzz (Atlanta): Will Brandon Thomas and Buck Farmer be playing at Tech next year?

Jim Callis: Farmer, yes. I'm not sure what's going on with Thomas, a fourth-round pick of the Pirates. That one is a mystery to me.

    ttnorm (CT): Who gets the tax $$$?

Jim Callis: It gets redistributed among all the teams that didn't exceed their bonus pools.

    Colin (Cochrane): Assuming Appel doesn't sign, where would he rank next year? Can he really expect to sign for more next year? P.S. I have you 1.1 on my board. Great work as always.

Jim Callis: He'd be the favorite to go No. 1 overall next year right now, but he'd have less leverage. If he went 1-1, he'd get more than the $3.8 million than the Pirates can pay him without giving up a first-round pick. ... Thanks for the kind words, but I still want full pick value.

    Brian (Chicago): Heaney is more likely to sign than Appel? Does that mean your 54% feel that Appel will sign has decreased?

Jim Callis: Yes, I still think it makes sense for the Marlins and Heaney to bridge their gap. And that's a smaller gap than between what the Pirates can pay Appel without losing a first-rounder and what Appel could have gotten had he gone 1-1.

    Ike (Detroit): Nick Castellanos starting in RF for Erie this evening. With Caberer-Fielder-Victor Martinez all signed through 2014, is this the right move to get Nick's bat into the lineup?

Jim Callis: When Castellanos is ready, Cabrera needs to stop masquerading as a third baseman.

    Ittox (Puerto Rico): Long term, Francisco Lindor or Javier Baez?

Jim Callis: Edge to Lindor because I have no doubts that he's a shortstop.

    Brandon (Fayetteville, AR): Why would Stankiwecz go to JC over Arkansas where he signed?

Jim Callis: To be eligible for the 2013 draft.

    Itto (Puerto Rico): Will BA release a top 50 Midseason prospect list including this year draft and the international signings?

Jim Callis: No, but I'll address where the top guys would have fit into the Top 50 in Monday's Ask BA column.

    Colby (Arkansas): D'Vone McClure, Razorback or Indian after tomorrow?

Jim Callis: Indian. I believe he'll sign.

Jim Callis: Sorry for the rough start to the chat with all of the interruptions, but I hope I sated your draft thirst, at least temporarily. Will be fun to see how it plays out tomorrow.