Prospects/Draft Chat With Jim Callis

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    Doug (Las Vegas): I noticed on Keith Law's recent list that a kid named Matt Krook popped up as the number 17 prospect in the country. I haven't heard his name and the list did not say a whole lot about him. Is he really a first round type of guy and can you please tell us more? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Glad to be back for the regular Wednesday chats after a winter hiatus as we did our series of Top 10 Prospects chats ... Matt Krook's stock is shooting through the roof. He's a high school lefthander from California who looks like a definite first-rounder, could be the first prep arm taken. Consistent low-90s fastball, spins a tight curveball. I believe Conor Glassey will have more on Krook in his next edition of Draft Tracker.

    Diego Maradona (1986): Do you think Byron Buxton will hit above .250 in his full season debut?

Jim Callis: Yes, not that it really matters either way.

    Justin (Tucson, AZ): I'm hearing great things about Carlos Sanchez with the White Sox. Comparisons to Jeter, Alomar and Ventura have been written but I don't see him in Baseballamerica's top 100 prospects list. He also isn't on's top 100 list either. Is this guy a legit prospect? Gordon Beckham hasn't met expectations so I'm sure the south siders would consider him when he's ready, right? Is he a legit prospect or just a future major leaguer?

Jim Callis: Sanchez is a prospect but those comps are insane. He's a slick-fielding middle infielder (probably a second baseman), but I don't see much impact in the bat.

    Vic (San Diego): Yasiel Puig - Are the numbers legit? Presumably he gets sent down, but just how close do you think he is, full year, half year, first injury to an OF away?

Jim Callis: Spring-training stats mean next to nothing. Even casting those aside, it's hard not to get excited about his upside. He's a beast. I suspect we'll see him in Los Angeles at some point this season, though Opening Day would surprise me.

    Ben (Leland Grove): What are the odds of Jackie Bradley and Brandon Maurer breaking camp with their respective teams?

Jim Callis: Both Bradley and Maurer have had strong springs and are pushing to arrive in the big leagues ahead of schedule. I don't know what odds to set, but if I had to bet, I'd guess both teams will choose the more conservative route and start them in Triple-A. Clubs are usually conservative, and keeping them in the minors for three weeks would delay their free agency a year.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Do you see San Diego's Kris Bryant as a potential first rounder this June? How do his tools rank on the 20-80 scale?

Jim Callis: I think he's an easy first-rounder, could be the first or second college bat drafted. I'd project him as 55 bat, 65 power, 45 run, 60 arm, 40 defender at 3B, 50 defender in RF.

    Eric (Miami FL): There's been talk of Yelich actually breaking camp with the Marlins. How realistic is this?

Jim Callis: Can't see it. He's a gifted hitter and tremendous prospect, but there's no reason for the non-competitive Marlins to bring him up before the all-star break. He also has yet to play above high Class A, so there's absolutely no reason to rush him.

    Harry (Boston, MA): Hey, Jim. Is Gerrit Cole a fair comp for up-and-coming Jon Gray, or is that too lofty?

Jim Callis: Too lofty. I like Gray a lot and I think he's a top-10 draft pick right now, but Cole showed a better and deeper repertoire over a longer period of time. That said, the comparison isn't crazy, which says a lot about Gray.

    Toby Giovanetti (Boston MA): With Taveras fielding, running and hitting so well, along with many other prospects..Yelich, Puig, Baez, etc having such promising springs. My question is I have personally downgraded Profars prospect status on my "top 150" a couple about you?

Jim Callis: Personally, I think it's foolish to adjust prospect rankings based on spring-training performance. I'll buy an argument that Tavares is better than Profar—you can make that case. But if it's based on spring stats, no chance.

    josh (st. louis): Did you see any of Wacha in spring training? Improved ceiling/floor for you?

Jim Callis: Not personally, but the reports sounded like the same Michael Wacha who everyone loved at Texas A&M. Very polished, good fastball, very good changeup, impressive command, wish the breaking ball was a little bit better. I said at the time I was surprised he lasted 19 picks in the draft. He should have gone at the top of the 11-20 range. His ceiling/floor haven't changed in my eyes—they were strong to begin with and again, don't go crazy over spring stats.

    Joel (KCK): Could you rank these college pitchers? Rodon, Manaea, Gray, Anderson (Chris)

Jim Callis: That would be my order. Of course, Rodon isn't draft-eligible until 2014.

    Allen (IA): Any chance Tom Windle can get into the first round? He held his own in the matchup with Manaea last week.

Jim Callis: I think Windle could sneak into the first round but the sandwich round is more likely. There are a lot of quality lefthanders in this draft, and his stuff is more average to solid than plus. He pitched very well in the 2-1 loss to Manaea, though Windle did have just one strikeout while going the distance.

    Mike (Raleigh NC): Hi Jim, Did I see you predicting the A's finishing 4th in 2013? How about a little respect for a team that won the 94 games last year. Why so pessimistic on the A's 2013 chances. Thanks.

Jim Callis: It's not disrespect. I think the Rangers and Angels are both better than the Athletics, and I think Oakland played over its head last year. Third place would have been a safer pick, though I have faith that the Mariners will improve. I like a lot of Seattle's young talent.

    Juwan (D.C.): I know that spring training production isn't an indicator of anything really, but Rendon physically looked sensational in his time with the big club. He looked stronger, his bat speed was sensational, the ball absolutely jumped off of is bat, his batting eye was very good etc. I know that you've been driving the Rendon bandwagon for a while, but what type of ceiling do you think he has? Does he have a David Wright type of ceiling? Is he a perennial all-star type of guy potentially? Thanks for the response, love your work!

Jim Callis: I do think he has a Wright/all-star ceiling with some batting championships in his future if he can stay healthy. I'm still driving the Rendon bandwagon and actually felt bad when I didn't rank him higher than 26th on my personal Top 50 in the Prospect Handbook.

    Carlos Collazo (Chapel Hill, NC): Where do you see Colin Moran going in the draft and what do you think of his defense at third base? Good enough to stay there?

Jim Callis: He's the best pure college hitter in the draft and having a terrific year, so I could see him going in the first five picks. He's good enough to stay at third base but doesn't project to be more than an adequate defender. He's not very athletic but gets the job done.

    Mitch (Iowa): Thoughts on Marcell Ozuna?

Jim Callis: Doesn't get as much attention as he deserves. He keeps churning out 20-homer seasons but gets lost in the shuffle of Marlins prospects, first behind studs Jose Fernandez and Christian Yelich, then behind trade acquisitions like Jake Marisnick.

    Mitch (Iowa): Better offensive tools: Jake Marisnick or Tyler Austin?

Jim Callis: Austin. Marisnick is a better athlete and has a better all-around tools package, but Austin is the superior hitter.

    Cy (Western Mass): First day of Spring, shoveling snow and then : Jim Callis!! There's hope after all! Kyle Zimmer and Kevin Gausman are often ranked right next to each other. I see the similarities now, but 5-10 years from now they aren't likely to be of equal value. Your hunch: who will be the better big league pitcher when all is said and done? Thanks.

Jim Callis: I can see snow outside my window here in suburban Chicago, too. It is tough to separate those two, but if I have to take one, I'll take Gausman because he's got the longer track record of stuff and success.

    Jeff (STL): Hi Jim, relievers don't get a lot of love on the Top 100, so besides Rondon, who are the best RP prospects in baseball?

Jim Callis: Off the top of my head: Carter Capps (Mariners), Cody Allen (Indians), Mark Montgomery (Yankees), Kyuji Fujikawa (Cubs).

    Andres (Rockwall, TX): Is all the hype I'm hearing about the Royals' Adalberto Mondesi correct?

Jim Callis: He's incredibly gifted and could emerge as one of the game's top shortstop prospects as he makes the jump to full-season ball this year. He's a switch-hitter who should hit for average with maybe average power, steal some bases and play a strong shortstop.

    Kevin (South Dakota): When do you see Taillon up with Pirates?

Jim Callis: I'll say September at the earliest. He has made just three starts above high Class A.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Who do you think is a better bet to crack the top 100 for the Reds next year: Nick Travieso or Jesse Winker?

Jim Callis: We ranked Traviso No. 6 and Winker No. 7 on our Reds Top 10, but I'm going with my gut and will say Winker. I think he's more advanced than Travieso right now and will have a solid year in low Class A.

    chuck (oshkosh): Higher upside and who do you like more- Allen Webster or JR Graham?

Jim Callis: Webster, though I like Graham a lot too. The life on Webster's fastball is the separator for me.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Assuming he is in AAA most all of the year, would you take the over or under of 114.5 steals for Billy Hamilton this year?

Jim Callis: Under. He has stayed healthy the last two years, but it's hard to reach 100 steals (or even 115 steal attempts).

    Matt (Wisconsin): Roman Quinn has been playing for AA team in spring training, chance the Phillies send him straight to hi-A?

Jim Callis: That would surprise me. He needs time in low Class A to work on his contact and his defense, would make no sense to make that more difficult by skipping him a level. It's much easier to harm a prospect's confidence than it is to build it back up.

    John (NJ): Hey Jim, any guess why Stanek is struggling so far this year? are there health concerns with him?

Jim Callis: His stuff has been down a little and his command has been off. No health concerns that I've heard of. I still think he goes in the first round, though if the draft were today, it likely would be the second half of the round.

    Mitch (Iowa): If Stanton's name floats around the rumor mill come July, do the Pirates match up well as a suitor?

Jim Callis: They've got several blue-chip guys to tempt the Marlins: Cole, Taillon, Heredia, Polanco, Hanson, Bell. Whether the Pirates would part with several of them is another question.

    tim815 (Illinois): Do I throw a hissyfit if the Cubs think Kris Bryant can play 3B or LF well enough to get picked second?

Jim Callis: I wouldn't get angry but that pick would surprise me some. I think the Cubs are going to take a college pitcher. I'd also take Austin Meadows or Clint Frazier over Bryant.

    Colin (Pittsburgh, PA): Why has the outlook on Puig changed from this report from BA back in June? That is, how did he go from a guy that several teams wouldn't select in the first round of the draft, and may have to play in A ball, to someone who is a top 50 prospect and could make LA's opening day roster.

Jim Callis: Short answer: Scouts are getting more looks at him and he looks fabulous.

    Ben (SF): What's a realistic timeframe for Addison Russell making it to the major leagues?

Jim Callis: Russell had a tremendous pro debut last year and he was the 11th overall pick, but he's also barely 19. If he were to make it to Oakland in 2015, that would be a swift ascent.

    Marvin (Minnesota): Does Aaron Hicks break camp as the starting CF for the Twins? Doesn't seem like it would make sense for a team that will be awful.

Jim Callis: Agreed. He has had a spectacular spring, but Twins would be better served with keeping him in the minors for a few months. And as great as he has looked this spring, he hasn't torn up the minors. Why not just let him go to Triple-A until sometime in June?

    Marc Hulet (FanGraphs): To the guy alluding to my comment about comparing Carlos Sanchez to Derek Jeter... it's taken out of context: I said watching the way Sanchez carries himself on the field reminded me of Jeter and that his character/makeup could help him make the most of his tools (which I did not comp to Jeter).

Jim Callis: That would make much more sense. Thanks, Marc.

    Jase (Dallas): Is there any way the Astros will take Jonathan Gray #1 overall this year?

Jim Callis: That would surprise me.

    Jeff (windy city): Hey Jim If you are sitting in cubs spot with the number 2 overall pick, who do you take? Still to early to tell?

Jim Callis: Appel or Manaea.

    John C (New York City NY): Do you consider SS Oscar Mercado a first round talent?

Jim Callis: Yeah, because it's that hard to find true shortstops. The bat gives me pause, however.

    Tim S (Minnesota): How do you compare Meadows and Buxtons tools from their respective senior seasons? Who has a higher ceiling?

Jim Callis: Meadows is no slouch, but Buxton is more athletic and has the highest ceiling.

    a.j. (dallas): I know prospect for prospect trades are rare but Profar for Tavares seems to make perfect sense

Jim Callis: As I've said on Twitter a few times, I don't think either team makes that trade. Teams tend to value their best prospects more highly than other clubs do, and I can't see the Rangers parting with Profar or the Cardinals parting with Tavares. If Elvis Andrus leaves Texas as a free agent, where does that leave the Rangers at shortstop? Who plays right field next year for St. Louis when Carlos Beltran is gone? This is fun to talk about, but it's not going to happen.

    Jim (Bmore): Which pitching combination would you rather have. Bundy & Gausman or Cole and Taillon?

Jim Callis: Bundy & Gausman.

    Will (Texas): What's the likelihood of the addition of an international component to the Rule IV Draft this year/future years?

Jim Callis: Don't think we'll see it this year—too many logistics to be worked out in too short a time. But where I once thought we'd never see an international draft because of those logistics, MLB really wants it and the owners will give the MLBPA something to make it happen, which is what we saw with the amateur draft. I bet we have an international draft in 2014.

    Darren (Fort Lauderdale): Roberto Osuna has come a long way in the last year, whats his ceiling?

Jim Callis: No. 2 starter. I like him a lot.

    James (New YOrk): I know giolitto has an injury to get over but ceiling wise who do you rank higher, giolitto, zimmer, gausman?

Jim Callis: Giolito has a higher ceiling. But he has to prove he can come back from Tommy John surgery and hold up over the long run, so given my choice today, I'd take Gausman and Zimmer.

    Mick (Chicago): I watched Javy Baez hit four homers in two games this past weekend. Will his superior bat speed enable him to continue this kind of success at the higher levels, considering his flamboyant, exaggerated, Gary Sheffield type movement in his swing?

Jim Callis: That's what we're all waiting to find out. My guess is he tones down his approach at least slightly.

Jim Callis: It was great to get the Wednesday chats going again this week. I'm off next week, but will be back on a regular basis after that. Thanks for all the great questions.