Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

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Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your draft, prospects and major league questions beginning at 3 p.m. ET.

    Steve Dakota (Orlando,Fl): Does Matt Moore have better overall 'stuff' than Clayton Kershaw? How do they compare?

Jim Callis: Sorry I'm a few minutes late, but you have me for at least an hour . . . Moore looked spectacular in his inning at the Futures Game. He throws harder than Kershaw, but I don't know if I'd say he has better stuff. Kershaw is only a year older than Moore, and he has been overmatching major league hitters with his fastball and breaking ball for four years. Moore may have a little more pure stuff, but it's hard to imagine that it can play much better against big leaguers than Kershaw's has. Hope I made some sense there.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Your thoughts on Brett Jackson and Ryan Flaherty getting promoted to Iowa?

Jim Callis: Deserved and not a surprise. Jackson got off to a hot start this year and slowed down after he injured a finger, but I expect him to be a regular in the Cubs outfield at sometime next year. Flaherty is having his best year ever and he could be in Chicago at some point in 2012 also. Don't rule him out being Aramis Ramirez' successor at third base.

    Steve (Wilmington): Is it me or are draft signings even slower than usual this year? Are that many more people going to be overslot signings? I would have thought that MLB approving the Trevor Story slot +20% deal would have broken the ice a bit more.

Jim Callis: I haven't looked at last year's signing dates, but they feel as slow as usual. There will be a ton of overslot signings, perhaps more than ever, as teams feel this might be their last draft before mandated slotting. I too hoped Story's deal would loosen things up a bit, but not yet.

    Craig (Charlotte): Would St Louis part with either Miller or Martinez for a front of the rotation pitcher?

Jim Callis: I would be very surprised unless you're talking about a young established stud like a Felix Hernandez (which won't happen and would require more than one of those arms). Miller and Martinez are on the very short list of the best pitching prospects in the game, and are cost-controlled for six years, and it's almost impossible for a team to bear dealing one of those guys. When's the last time one of the top five pitching prospects in baseball got traded?

    Tyrone (Denver, CO): 2 more dingers for Wheeler yesterday, 24 total. If you're the Rox, do you invite him to Coors in September?

Jim Callis: I might not, simply because he doesn't have to be protected on the 40-man roster if I don't and I'm already doing well on the corners with Carlos Gonzalez and Seth Smith. That said, I've always liked Wheeler and am glad to see him back on track.

    Wesley (Los Angeles): Hi, Jim. I'm new to the process of promotion, so please explain this to me. You said Matt Moore has better pure stuff than David Price. If so, why was Price fasttracked to the bigs, while Moore is taking it one level per year?

Jim Callis: The Rays are extremely conservative with high school pitchers, and they've done a good job of developing them. Jeremy Hellickson spent most of six years in the minors before he got promoted. Moore repeated Rookie ball and is in Double-A in his fifth pro season. Price, by contrast, was a college pitcher who had proven himself in the Southeastern Conference and with Team USA, so he got put on a much faster track.

    Skrip (Chicago): First off, thanks for the chat. A.J. Cole is having an excellent season thus far in the SAL. He was one of the best high school arms in the 2010 draft yet gets very little pub or hype. Can you break down his repitoire and his ceiling? Also, do you have a comp for him?

Jim Callis: He has gotten plenty of pub and hype. He signed for $2 million and he ranked fourth on our Nats Top 10 this year, behind Bryce Harper, Derek Norris and Danny Espinosa. Cole has a 92-96 mph fastball, and he has a chance to have a plus curveball and average changeup. If it all comes together, he could be a No. 2 starter. Don't have an obvious comp.

    Ryan (Boston): Are Henry Owens and Jackie Bradley close to signing, or will they wait until midnight on 8/15?

Jim Callis: They both had first-round aspirations and went in the sandwich round, so they'll be mid-August signings. I would expect the Red Sox to get both deals done.

    Drew (Georgia): E. Salcedo's been pretty awesome of late (tons of doubles, low K rate). Do you see him as a top-100 prospect?

Jim Callis: It took Salcedo three years from the time he emerged as a top international prospect to when he finally signed with the Braves, but he's making up for lost time. He's in the Top 100 discussion, having a very nice year in low Class A for a 19-year-old. I see him as a little lesser version of Miguel Sano with the Twins.

    Kiefer Higgins (Lynnwood, WA): Whats your take on James Paxton so far this year? Do you see him getting the call next year in the middle of the year or maybe making the Mariners out of Spring Training??

Jim Callis: He might. The Mariners quickly promoted him to Double-A, and if he gets more consistent with his curveball and control, it will be tempting to promote him. There's still a split camp among scouts as to whether he'll be a starter or a late-inning reliever, but he has been impressive after a long layoff.

    Blake (Baltimore): What are scouts saying about Jon Schoop? Pretty much the 3rd baseman of the future I take it?

Jim Callis: He is Baltimore's third baseman of the future. He's just 19 and has tools and potential, but he has been overmatched since a promotion to high Class A and needs more defensive consistency.

    Dave (D.C.): Who says no to this trade? ATL sends Beachy, Hoover and Lipka to the Cardinals for Colby Rasmus

Jim Callis: I'd say no if I were the Cardinals. I like those Braves youngsters, but I think Rasmus is going to be a star.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Thank you for slotting the draftees in the midseason top 50 in Ask BA this week. I thought it was aggressive yet reasonable, but I'd like to hear your response to some of the skeptics. One described Bauer as "a guy who might be nothing more than a curveball artist with a respectable fastball." Another said of Starling that "his bat looks awful." How do Bauer's pitches and Starling's hit tool grade?

Jim Callis: Good god. Bauer is a curveball artist with a respectable fastball? He's 91-93 on a bad day, plus he's an artist on the mound. He gets outs with his changeup and both his versions of a slider. Factor in their ability to command the pitch, and you might take Bauer's fastball over UCLA teammate Gerrit Cole's. I'd take him over any college pitcher in this draft. Starling's bat will need time to develop, but awful? That's ridiculous. He has Josh Hamilton upside.

    Tegan (Chicago): What's happened to Trey McNutt? He seems to really be struggling this year. Is he still salvageable or is he nothing more than organizational filler again?

Jim Callis: He's had repeated blister problems. Still has a quality arm, but it's been a lost season. Long-term potential hasn't changed, though.

    Brian (Ohio): What do you think about Lake County's Jesus Aguilar? There are a lot of interesting prospects on that team, but he seems to be the brightest of the bunch.

Jim Callis: Just started working on our Midwest League Best Tools list, and Aguilar got a vote today from a manager as the best power prospect in the league. He's an all-bat guy who will have to cut down on the strikeouts as he advances, but the power is intriguing.

    Melissa (Bronx, NY): Is Jesus Montero going to end up with the Yankees after the trade deadline? If not, who do you see coming back for him in return? Is King Felix a possibility?

Jim Callis: Yankees fans, repeat after me: The Mariners are not trading you Hernandez. As for Montero, I don't know what to make of his future. I thought he'd make the club as a regular DH/backup C this year, and I have no doubt he could produce more than Jorge Posada. Scouts are telling me Montero looks bored in Triple-A, and if they're not going to play him, the Yankees should deal Montero before his value takes a hit. But there's no Cliff Lee on the market this year—I don't know who on the market is worthy of giving up Montero.

    Mick (Chicago): Does recent Marlin's early round, high school shortstop pick Connor Barron have the plus tools you need to stay at that position?

Jim Callis: He's big for the position at 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, but he has the arm, range and actions to stay at shortstop.

    Mike (Michigan): Who do you think has the best stuff and highest ceiling out of jarrod parker,mike montgomery,jenrry mejia, and arodys vizcaino

Jim Callis: Vizcaino. Health was the only question about him coming into the year and he has looked great, including at the Futures Game . . . I've got a ton of questions remaining, so let's try to plow through them, lightning-round style!

    Nyal R (Queens, NYC): I've been tracking Guillermo Pimentel (a very recent big time international signing) and he's put up some pretty gaudy stats albeit in Rookie ball...Those stats can often be skewd because of the different talent level so could you please deliberate on whether or not those stats are for real and what the future looks like for Pimentel. Thanks!

Jim Callis: Can't read too much into Rookie stats, but his power is not a mirage.

    Dylan (Boston): Jim, of the Red Sox farmhands who seem to be breaking out this season (Middlebrooks, Head, Jacobs, Lavarnway, Weiland, Brentz, Chaing) who do you think is most likely to make the push to elite prospect status?

Jim Callis: Middlebrooks and Jacobs.

    Tim (Pittsburgh, PA): We have been hearing more and more about Goldschmidt, what do you think about STL 1B Matt Adams? Good power numbers in less ABs than Goldschmidt, batting .350, and left handed. Climbing your charts?

Jim Callis: Adams a legit prospect, not too much different from Goldschmidt as an all-bat 1B who has put up big numbers. As a bonus, like you mention, he's lefthanded.

    Shane (Miami): Jim - Was surprised that Castellanos was not in the Top 50. Despite a poor April, he's been unbelievable since. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: Got consideration and I'm as high on him as anyone, just ran out of spots. Personally, I'd take him over Goldschmidt, who was No. 50.

    Jason (Charlotte): Jim, Where do you think the sudden criticism of Teheran's breaking ball is coming from? I saw him pitch last week. While the pitch is inconsistent, when he threw a good one he certainly got some ugly swings.

Jim Callis: Just nitpicking with an elite pitching prospect. It's not terrible, but it's his third-best pitch behind his fastball and changeup. His curveball is plus at times but not as consistent as his other two pitches.

    Glenn (New Jersey): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat. I've read that the Astros' ownership transfer is being delayed as MLB wrestles with Dodgers situation. As we get closer to key deadlines, how do you see things playing out with respect to #1 draft pick George Springer? Will he sign if McLane is still in charge and won't go above slot? Also, what impact will a delay have for the team as it approaches the trade deadline? Jon Heyman with SI has reported that general managers will be reluctant to deal with the Astros. Your take?

Jim Callis: Springer will sign, no doubt, regardless of the ownership situation. Don't see it affecting trades much either—MLB is going to have no problem with the Astros trading high-priced veterans.

    Glenn (New Jersey): Jim, could Jose Altuve see Houston this year?

Jim Callis: He could, though Jeff Keppinger has been his usual solid offensive self at second base. Altuve is definitely more fun to watch, though.

    Bryan (San Francisco): There were seven LHPs listed in your mid season top 50 (Moore, Perez, Banuelos, Pomeranz, Skaggs, Montgomery, Erlin). My guess is the rankings predict who will ultimately be the best, but of the seven listed who do you think will get to the big leagues first? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Perez. Though I think Moore is ready right now.

    David (Bethlehem, PA): Futures Games was the 1st time I've seen Cosart and OMG what an incredible fastball and curve combo. How is he only striking out 6.7 per 9 in A-Ball?

Jim Callis: Good question. I was very impressed with him as well. He got Futures Game strikeouts with his changeup and his curveball, and he didn't throw a fastball under 96 mph in his one inning.

    Anthony (Boonville, IN): Upon reading your top 50 prospects list, I recognized a handful of what in my opinion were glaring omissions. Where were Miguel Sano, Trevor May, Gary Sanchez and Tim Wheeler?

Jim Callis: Quickly: Sano further away than any guy on the list; May's command not consistent enough; Sanchez is intriguing but not performing (though he's young); nice year for Wheeler as mentioned earlier, but he's a corner OF striking out a lot. You can make a case for all those guys, and we discussed them all.

    David (Bethlehem, PA): How would you rank the Clearwater pitching staff? 1) Cosart 2) May 3) Colvin 4) Pettibone 5) Rodriguez?

Jim Callis: Cosart, Colvin, May, Pettibone, Rodriguez.

    Ian (Hell): What's your view on Aaron Hicks?

Jim Callis: Some of the best all-around tools in the minors, but I keep waiting for a breakout year statistically.

    Kevin (Toronto): If you presume the first round June Draftees will all be signed which team has the best farm system? KC must have dropped with the promotions of Hosmer and Moustakas.

Jim Callis: I do presume that . . . J.J. Cooper and I talked about this in the podcast today, and it might be the Rangers or Rays.

    Bill (Raleigh): With the amount of money being spent on international free-agents Jim, is there any sense of urgency from MLB to have a world draft or does MLB have to wait until the new collective bargaining agreement is renewed, before they implement an international draft?

Jim Callis: Oh, Bud Selig wants an international draft. But it's a logistical nightmare and I'm skeptical it will ever happen. Don't think they can just implement it.

    Ted (Green Bay): Should I be concerned the Brewers have not signed their first round picks, especially Bradley whose pick is not protected? Are they going to go over slot to get any later picks signed to replenish the farm?

Jim Callis: No reason for concern. Jungmann and Bradley were two of the best college pitcher, so they're not going to sign for slot, which means they're not going to be signed by mid-July.

    Paul (Fall River, MA): Who is the better SS prospect, Machado or Profar?

Jim Callis: Machado for me because of more offensive upside, but it's close. Profar is no slouch with the bat and a better bet to stay at shortstop.

    David (Tempe): Thinking back on unsigned 2010 first round picks ... Archie Bradley or Barrett Loux? Cory Spangenberg or Karsten Whitson? Jed Bradley or Dylan Covey?

Jim Callis: The two Bradleys and Whitson. Bradley over Loux is the biggest mismatch.

    Heddy (Twins Territory): I don't get the whole "slot" recommendations that MLB has incorporated. What relevance or credibility does it have when someone like Wil Myers (#91 overall) got a $2 million signing bonus when the "slot" was $380,700? Players seem to go way over all the time, so I don't get what it all means??? Any way to explain it in simple speak? Thanks.

Jim Callis: The slots have no real relevance or credibility. It's an attempt by MLB to keep bonuses down but their numbers have no basis in reality. The top 50 bonuses signed last year were 40 percent higher than the top 50 slot values.

    Scott (Burlington): Hi Jim, could you weigh in on the Blue Jays lack of signings to date on this years draft. Is this due to MLB holding them back on bonuses as they had many tough, and very tough signings? or are they waiting for additional reasons to sign these players?

Jim Callis: It's early. Expect a bunch of over-slot signings in August.

    Ryan (Owasso): Casey Kelly or Randall Delgado?

Jim Callis: Delgado. I like Kelly, but would be nice to see him consistently dominate. He hasn't in the last 18 months.

    Joe (Indian Land, SC): Arodys Vizcaino, relief pitcher or starter?

Jim Callis: No. 2 starter if he stays healthy.

    Bryce (IA): Which pitchers out of this group have No.1 upside? Arodys Vizcaino, Jake Odorizzi, Carlos Martinez, Tyler Skaggs, Zach Lee, Trevor Bauer, Archie Bradley

Jim Callis: Martinez and Bradley have the most upside in that group.

    Jason (Florida): Do you have any inside info on the progress of the Rays in signing their 2 1st rounders?

Jim Callis: Wouldn't expect either Taylor Guerrieri or Mikie Mahtook to sign before Aug. 15. Don't think the sides are close on either deal.

    Jason (New York): Matt Moore was hitting 100mph on the ESPN gun during the futures game, but most everyone had him at 98mph. AND most everyone had him low to mid 90's i nthe regular season. Is this fast gun vs slow gun, or was ESPN and / or chase field affecting the readout? Or did he really juice it up that much when he knew he was only being used for an inning?

Jim Callis: ESPN's gun was juiced (big shock!) and he was amped up for a one-inning appearance on national TV.

    Bryce (AZ): What is David Holmberg's ceiling?

Jim Callis: No. 3 starter.

    Bubba (Oklahoma): What are the chances we see Archie Bradley in Oklahoma this year? Playing football and baseball that is...

Jim Callis: Zero. He'll sign a baseball-only deal with the Diamondbacks.

    Southpaw (In A Right-Handed World): Is Blake Swihart something like Wil Myers? Premium bat, athletic new to catching. Are there the same pressures to move im from behind the plate?

Jim Callis: In short, a more athletic Wil Myers. Whoever takes him will have to decide whether developing him as a catcher is worth waiting for his bat. Toughest sign in the first round, though I think the Red Sox will get the deal done.

    Dan (Tulsa): Who has the better stuff, Miller or Martinez? Higher ceiling?

Jim Callis: Martinez both ways. And Miller is a stud!

    Andrew Brotherton (Atlanta, GA): Don't you think a Matt Moore for Jesus Montero trade would work for both teams? Yankees get pitching, Rays get what they lack which is a power hitter for the middle of their lineup.

Jim Callis: If Montero could catch, maybe. But there is ZERO chance the Rays would trade Matt Moore within the division.

    Colby (Fort Worth, TX): How surprised have you been with Profar's bat and what do you see his ceiling as?

Jim Callis: Had heard he has the potential but didn't expect him to start delivering like this so soon.

    Avi (New Jersey): Better prospect Austin Romine or JR Murphy?

Jim Callis: Romine. I don't see Murphy sticking behind the plate, and Romine has value as an everyday big league catcher.

    Ted (Towson): How does Dylan Bundy's stuff compare to Shelby Miller's?

Jim Callis: Bundy has a deeper repertoire and more polish at the same stage.

    Mike (Palo Alto): How has Kenny Dierkroeger's summer been? Is he still on track to be a top 10 pick next summer? Can he stick at short?

Jim Callis: Not playing this summer, focusing on classes and getting stronger. In the mix to go No. 1 overall next year, though that's wide open. Mixed opinion on him staying at short.

    John (New Hampshire): Do you think Senquez Golson will sign with Boston?

Jim Callis: This is just a guess, but yes. He's a steal in the eighth round and Boston isn't afraid to spend what it takes.

    Darryl (Hyde Park): What kind of ceiling do you believe Allen Webster has?

Jim Callis: No. 2 or 3 starter.

    Peter (Pittsburgh): Assuming he signs, would Josh Bell receive any outside consideration for Top 100?

Jim Callis: If he signs, Josh Bell definitely would be in the Top 100. But I don't think he'll sign.

    Chris (Pittsburgh): I have read recent BA pieces praising Bauer, Rendon, Bundy, etc. Did the Pirates make a mistake by drafting Cole #1?

Jim Callis: Not a mistake—he's a legit No. 1 talent and fits the scouting blueprint for a pitcher. There were six elite players in the draft. The order in which I would have taken them was: Rendon, Bundy, Bauer, Cole, Hultzen, Starling.

    Mike (CLE): Jason Kipnis sure had an impressive at-bat against Teheran in the futures game. Do you see any star projection there with the bat?

Jim Callis: Yes. If he can be an average defensive second baseman, his bat will make him an all-star.

    scott (ny): Can Andrew Brackman rebound?

Jim Callis: Been waiting for him for a long time to live up to that ridiculous contract, haven't we? Reliever at best for me.

    Nate (Maryland): Does Selig see that soft slotting is conflicting with his whole "competitive balance" mantra? Teams like the red sox can get as many high round talents as they want because they're willing to pay to make it happen, while some teams dutifully stick to slot and get lesser talent.

Jim Callis: Um, no, Selig does not see that. Hard slotting also will conflict with that mantra, because the draft is the one area where low-revenue teams can compete with anyone.

    LAMEPERS (MA'S CRIB): How is Brett Lawries defense at third bass. Does he have enough to stay there.

Jim Callis: Yes. Getting the job done and has an all-star bat.

    Mike (Denver): What are your thoughts on Dan Vogelbach? Is he worth the 1.65 million dollar signing bonus that I'm hearing? Can the Cubs even sign him?

Jim Callis: There are whispers that deal may already be done. If so, that's a big bet on his power. It's intriguing power, but I'm not sure what else he brings to the table.

    Adam (Houston): Which of the three college shortstops do you like the best for next year, Deven Marrero, Nolan Fontana, or Kenny Dierkroeger?

Jim Callis: Marrero. Best combination of bat and ability to stay at shortstop.

    Wiley M. (Durham, NC): I know it's a little early, but where do you see Marcus Stroman going in next years draft. He's had an awesome summer with team USA.

Jim Callis: For a team that wants a quick return with a potential closer from college, he could be a first-rounder.

    Chris (Brampton): JD Martinez or Collin Cowgill, who's more likely to carve out a career as a MLB regular?

Jim Callis: Martinez.

    David (Bethlehem, PA): Bryce Harper: Over or Under 20 SB in a 162 game MLB season?

Jim Callis: Under. He can run but I think he'll spend more time trotting around the bases.

    John Havok (Lethbridge AB): Can you ballpark when your Top Tools lists for each league will be available? Thank you.

Jim Callis: Toward the end of the month.

    RickSampson (Cleveland): If you are the Indians, do you call up Kipnis? Thoughts on his bat, enough to hit 15-20hrs, .290avg?

Jim Callis: Yes and yes.

    Alex Anthopoulous (Toronto): Should I move Henderson Alvarez to the pen? And would he miss more bats with that 98 mph fastball there?

Jim Callis: Yes and yes. Doesn't sit at 98 mph, either.

    Sean (Kansas City): How soon could Leonys Martin be up?

Jim Callis: In time to be eligible for the postseason roster.

    Rick (Brampton): What do you think Travis D'Araud's ceiling is?

Jim Callis: All-star catcher.

    Jon (DC): Assuming Rendon signs at the midnight hour, what is his ETA to Washington?

Jim Callis: Would like to know his health before answering definitively. But I'll say by the 2013 all-star break.

    landon (CA): Do you think Daniel Norris will sign with Toronto? Is Stetson Allie's bonus last year a good benchmark?

Jim Callis: Yes, and a fair benchmark.

    Charlie Tilson (Chicago): So, am I going to sign, or spend the next three years trying to stay awake in the back of a college classroom?

Jim Callis: I expect the Cardinals to sign Tilson, their second-rounder, to a seven-figure deal.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Assuming hard slotting becomes reality next year, do you see this being a boon or detriment overall to the draft?

Jim Callis: Detriment. Have written this several times . . . hard to contain myself in the lightning round!

    Matt (New York): Any first rounders not going to sign?

Jim Callis: I think all 33 sign in the end.

    Marc (Vancouver): Why Pomeranz over Skaggs? Similar stats at the same level, but Skaggs is in the tougher league and has over two years on him.

Jim Callis: Better stuff.

    Nate (Maryland): Any news on Gilmartin signing? For a slot guy, I don't see why he hasn't signed yet.

Jim Callis: I'm with you. Thought he'd officially be a Brave by now.

    Norman (San Jose): are there any concerns with Carlos Martinez's size/durability?

Jim Callis: Not really. He's small, but he's strong, has a quick arm and doesn't throw with effort.

    Nate (Maryland): I see what you're saying in that hard slotting would eliminate the ability of a team like the pirates spending huge and getting a ton of high round talent, but if you force talent to go in slot order, the best players should go to the worst teams, which promotes parody, right?

Jim Callis: Many of the best high school players would opt for college. Wouldn't allow small-revenue teams to load up on extra talent if they were willing to pay for it.

    Andrew (Nj): 20-80. How much do you miss 24?

Jim Callis: Surprisingly, only a 30. The show ran its course. Would go see a "24" movie. Have plenty of other TV to watch.

    Chris (KC): Jim, your Ask BA this week says that Elier Hernandez signed with the Mariners. Though he signed with the Royals, did something change?

Jim Callis: Typo on my part. Sorry about that.

Jim Callis: I apologize for the delayed start, but I hope I made up for it by giving you an extra 45 minutes. Thanks for all the great questions . . . see you next week. Hopefully we'll have more draft signings to talk about, but I'm not counting on it.