Jim Callis Chat: Oct. 20

Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your questions about prospects, the draft and the playoffs beginning at 2 p.m. ET.

Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. We've officially begun working on the Prospect Handbook, with the AL East organizations first in the Top 10 rotation this year. Draft Report Cards went up on the website today, the playoffs are in progress—all questions are fair game. Let's go!

    Nate (Lindenhurst): Are the White Sox seeing an improvement in their system with Mitchell, Morel, Escobar, Sale, etc.? Maybe not top of the line prospects, but solid?

Jim Callis: I still don't see a lot of depth with the White Sox. They reap what they sow—Kenny Williams is more willing than most GMs to use prospects in trades, and Jerry Reinsdorf values sticking to MLB's slot guidelines more than any owner. You just mentioned four of their best prospects, but their system isn't going to offer much help in 2011 and still ranks in the bottom third of farm systems.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): What is the ceiling on a player like Reds middle infielder Billy Hamilton who made huge strides in his hitting approach in 2010 after being a 3 sport star in high school? After steal 48 bases in 67 games for Billings, is 100 stolen bases possible if he spends all next year in the midwest league? Will the Reds play him at 2B or SS?

Jim Callis: Hamilton has a huge ceiling—he's a potential all-star leadoff type who could lead the majors in stolen bases. He has a ways to go to get there, though, but he's off to a fine start. I don't know if you'll see a top prospect steal 100 bases in the minors, just because of all the pounding his body will take. The Reds will give him a long look at shortstop. He has the range and his arm may be strong enough.

    JAYPERS (IL): Does Ben Gamel's defense exceed that of his brother's?

Jim Callis: Yes. Ben is nothing special as an outfielder, but he's more athletic than Mat, who really struggles at third base and will wind up at first base.

    Grant (NYC): What does Matt den Dekker best project as - regular, utility, or other?

Jim Callis: He has a chance to be a regular. He's a very gifted defender in center field, and he can hit a little. Good fifth-round pick for the Mets.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Is Yorman Rodriguez a top 100 prospect right now? He does have plate discipline and injury issues, but he also just hit .340 as a 17 year old in the higher rookie league.

Jim Callis: He might be. I haven't tried to put a list together, so I can't answer definitively, but he at least has to be in the discussion.

    Nora (DC): From 1 to 10, how would you grade the Nats' draft overall?

Jim Callis: Grades this soon after the draft aren't very concrete, but I'd give them an 8. They got the best prospect in the draft in Bryce Harper. They spent nearly $4 million to get pitchers Sammy Solis, A.J. Cole and Robbie Ray, all of whom are intriguing. I also like some of their Texas college draft picks—Rick Hague, Jason Martinson, Blake Kelso. John Manuel and I rated the top five drafts for the Draft Report Card Overview, which will go up on the site on Friday, and we ranked Washington fifth.

    Spencer (Brentwood, TN): Where does the Vanderbilt quartet of Sonny Gray, Jason Esposito, Jack Armstrong, and Grayson Garvin project in the 2011 draft? All potential 1st rounders?

Jim Callis: Garvin was Cape pitcher of the year, but he's a finesse lefthander and not a potential first-rounder. He could go in the top three to five rounds with a good spring. The other guys all could go that high, though Armstrong took a step back this summer and I think he'd be more of a second- or third-rounder right now. Gray looks like a lock first-rounder, and Esposito figures to go in the bottom third of the first round right now.

    Vinnie (Philly): Is Hamels too much of a lofty comparison for Biddle?

Jim Callis: Too lofty for me. Hamels was a better prospect at the same stage. Biddle may throw a little harder, but he doesn't have a pitch as good as Hamels' changeup was at the time. Don't get me wrong, Biddle is a good prospect, but comparing him to Hamels is a stretch.

    Mike (Omaha): How good is George Springer and do you think hell still be on the board when the Royals pick at 4?

Jim Callis: Springer, a center fielder from Connecticut, is the best college athlete in next year's draft. He's not the best college position player—Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon is better. I think Springer will be on the board, because the first three picks figure to be Rendon and a couple of college pitchers from a deep college pitching crop. Next year's draft looks a lot stronger than 2010's.

    Jack (SYracuse): What position players would you consider top 10 or at least borderline top 10 talents in the 2011 draft?

Jim Callis: Rendon, Springer, South Carolina outfielder Jackie Bradley.

    Jason (Champaign): Jim, Can Allen Craig translate his minor league numbers to the show or is he more of a AAAA player?

Jim Callis: More of a AAAA player.

    John (Cleveland): Indians fan here do you think the draft is that loaded with pitching that we can still get a potential ace with the 8th pick?

Jim Callis: Yes. There are five really good college pitchers (TCU's Matt Purke, UCLA's Gerrit Cole, Connecticut's Matt Barnes, Texas' Taylor Jungmann, Vanderbilt's Sonny Gray), and a few high school studs (Daniel Norris from Tennessee, Dylan Bundy and Archie Bradley from Oklahoma), and 3-4 of those guys should be available at No. 8.

    Jeff (Kansas City): Royals fan here, do you think picking Bubba Starling at 4 would be too high?

Jim Callis: Right now, that seems a little high with those college position players and all those arms I mentioned in the last few questions. But he's such a good athlete that it's not a stretch to imagine him pushing his way up to No. 4 next spring.

    Jason (Champaign): Jim...is Zach Cox going to be an impact bat for StL? 2b or 3b?

Jim Callis: Impact bat, third baseman. He was a steal at No. 25.

    Harry (St. Pete): Why do people continue to hang on Harper's every word and use them to bash him? The latest - "Nats will be the NL East Yankees in a few years". It never ends. End rant.

Jim Callis: I thought it was interesting he said that, but there's no need to bash him. He's confident and sees himself as being part of a winner. Nothing wrong with that. There are maturity questions about Harper, but that statement shouldn't be part of them.

    Aaron (Palm Springs): Thoughts on Padre prospects Galvez and Rincon? Midwest League seasons were just OK, but they were pretty young for the league and showed some pop.

Jim Callis: Scouts liked Rincon more than Galvez. They liked Rincon's bat but gave him zero chance to play third base. They weren't impressed with much about Galvez except for his speed.

    marty kohl (omaha): Hi Jim,ABSOLUTELY Love The Chats.I `m A Huge Domonic Brown Fan.But do you think the phillies have handled this guy the right way?They call him up give him a few games and now have him pinch hit once in awhile while sitting mostly on the bench.Would it had made more sense to send him back to AAA to keep his AB`S Up And To Keep Him Fresh And to have him go out on a high note keeping his confidence up.Keep up the good work,Marty.

Jim Callis: Thanks, Marty. I don't think it's a big deal. He could have had another 100 AB in Triple-A, but being exposed to a pennant race and the postseason also has its benefits. If Jayson Werth leaves as expected, Brown will need to be ready to step into the lineup in 2011.

    Norberto Paulino (New York): What letter grade would you give the Red Sox on their draft??

Jim Callis: An A-, with the understanding that it would be hard to give anyone a full A this early. The Red Sox, as they usually do, were aggressive and grabbed a lot more than their share of talent. John Manuel and I thought they had the second-best draft of any club in 2010.

    Raymond (Bronx,NY): Outside of Jesus Montero, who is the yankees 2nd best prospect overall?

Jim Callis: Gary Sanchez.

    Suman (Manhattan): I know you just released the Draft Report Cards, but I would grade the Cubs 2010 Draft as a C. No stand out performances so far...Hayden Simpson has not pitched so the jury is still out on whether Tim Wilken was correct on selecting him that high. Tough to be a Cubs fan these days as usual.

Jim Callis: The jury is still out on Simpson, and I wouldn't have taken him as high as the Cubs did. That said, I did like a lot of their later picks. Outfielder Matt Szczur (fifth round) and righthander Ben Wells (seventh) could be flat-out steals. I also thought they really cleans up in round 10-16 with guys like righties Aaron Kurcz, Austin Reed and Ryan Hartman, lefty Eric Jokisch and second baseman Pierre LePage. Don't be surprised if this draft turns out to be a B in the long run.

    Brandon (CA): Can I get some level-headed analysis on who/what Mike Trout will be in the majors? CA baseball talking heads are putting him in the HOF already, so I need a fair and balanced opinion before my head explodes with excitement! Thanks.

Jim Callis: Explode away. I've talked to a lot of people about him, and everyone raves about him. There's no glaring weakness in his game, and he has a chance to reach the majors before the end of 2011. I think he's the best prospect in baseball.

    Laura (Baltimore, MD): When do your Organizational Top 10 prospect lists start hitting the site? Thanks Jim!

Jim Callis: Nov. 1—just 12 days away.

    Merkado (White Plains, NY): Just how high can Bauer climb the 2011 draft ladder with another dominant year? Constantly, he is pointed at as undersized, but the results are something that can't be denied. He has the quality pitches and a routine that allows him to get maximum efforts (like his older clone Lincecum). Can he be a top 10 overall pick come June?

Jim Callis: I think he could sneak into the bottom third of the first round, more likely a sandwich guy. Bauer is good and he's fun to watch, but he's not as good as Lincecum was.

    Terry (Kansas City): Are Colon Eibner and Adams gonna turn into good major leaguers to make the Royals draft not seem as bad at first glance?

Jim Callis: How is the Royals' draft bad at first glance? There was no clear No. 4 overall pick, and Colon was a fine one. He might not stick at shortstop, but at worst I think you get an offensive second baseman. He's a near lock to reach his potential. Eibner should have gone in the middle or end of the first round with his power and athleticism. Adam has a very good arm. Kevin Chapman could get to Kansas City quickly, too. Nothing wrong with this draft.

    russ (philly): What's the word on Jon Singleton's chances of converting from 1st to OF?

Jim Callis: He moves well at first base, but I don't see Singleton making it in the outfield.

    Bryce (AZ): Kevin Towers has said he likes drafting hitters high in the draft. He can't possibly select 2 bats with 3 and 7 and pass on the great arms available can he?

Jim Callis: If you're picking that high, you take the best available player. You have to. That said, it's possible that they could take Springer and Bradley there. If I'm picking at No. 3, I'm getting one of Rendon, Purke and Cole, in that order.

    Casey (Hawaii): If you had to make a fast list, who are the Twins top 5 prospects?

Jim Callis: Off the top of my head: Kyle Gibson, Aaron Hicks, Miguel Sano, Alex Wimmers, Ben Revere. Hope I didn't forget someone.

    Ray (burlington, nj): Where would you rank Zach Lee amongst the pitchers drafted in the 2010 draft?

Jim Callis: Jameson Taillon (Pirates) is the clear No. 1 pitcher. After that, I think the order is debatable. I'd take Chris Sale and Drew Pomeranz after Taillon, and then Lee is in the discussion to be No. 4. His stuff, command and athleticism make for an impressive package.

    Roger (Columbus): Who's the better athlete. Yorman Rodriguez or Billy Hamilton.

Jim Callis: I'd say Rodriguez, because he can do more things. Hamilton is faster, but Rodriguez can run and he has a lot more power and a stronger arm.

    Rory (NYC): Jim, given the fact that the Mets had two players on the BA all-rookie team, does that signal that their farm system is turning the corner? Churning out more guys like Niese and Davis, above average to very good players, to mix with a superstar or two via free agency has the system and team pointing in the right direction. Lots of depth in the system now.

Jim Callis: I'm not convinced. I think Niese and Davis are more solid players than above average or better, and I don't think their depth is very impressive at all.

    Gary (CVille): Thanks for the chat Jim. Where do you think Danny Hultzen will go in the 2011 draft. How would you rate his stuff and polish

Jim Callis: Another very talented college pitcher who could go in the middle of the first round.

    Seymour (New York): Jim, for the life of me I can't understand how you'd rank Casey Kelly ahead of Banuelos.

Jim Callis: I think his stuff and command will be better than Banuelos' in the long run.

    Greg (LA): Why do the Yankees not follow the Red Sox lead and shoot for the stars? Are the Yankees spending their extra money on 16 year old Dominicans?

Jim Callis: Good question, and I know other teams are hoping the Yankees don't change. They go over slot for some guys but aren't nearly as aggressive as they could be, considering their resources. They haven't been as aggressive since failing to sign first-round pick Gerrit Cole in 2008.

    Brian (Chicago, IL): How much does AFL performance factor into prospect rankings? For example, if Andrew Lambo lights it up in the AFL, does he move up the Pirates prospect list?

Jim Callis: It factors in, but not as much as you might think. The AFL is a hitter's league, and most teams don't send top pitchers there. If you look at the AFL record book, you'll see a lot of guys (Ken Harvey, for one) who didn't distinguish themselves much afterward. So tearing up the AFL is a positive sign, but it won't drastically change people's impressions of most players.

    Ed (Ohio): Jim, when do you think Alex White will debut with the Indians?

Jim Callis: Sometime after the all-star break next year.

Jim Callis: I need to get back to some Handbook work, so I'll bid you adieu. Thanks for all the questions, and I'll see you again next Wednesday.