Jim Callis Chat: Aug. 17

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Moderator: Jim Callis will answer your questions beginning at 1 p.m. ET.

    Kyle (Fort Lauderdale): Which teams spent the most on the draft? Which teams spent the least? Were the Marlins last in terms of spending on the draft?

Jim Callis: Just did a blog post highlighting some of this: http://www.baseballamerica.com/blog/draft/2011/08/teams-spend-236-million-on-11-draft/ ... The Pirates set a draft record by spending $17,005,700 on bonuses. Counting money in big league deals, the Nationals spent more than that: $17,602,100. The White Sox spent the least of any team on the draft: $2,756,300 on bonuses. The Marlins came in 23rd in bonus spending at $4,135,000.

    Mike (Chicago): How would you rate the cubs draft now, since they got a lot of tough signs?

Jim Callis: They got the best pure HS hitter in the draft in Baez, and they essentially got an extra pick in the 14th round in Dillon Maples. I've heard very good reports on under-the-radar 13th-rounder Trey Martin. Tony Zych was a steal in the fourth round. I could go on, but in a word, yes, they had a good draft.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Is Bubba Starling more likely to start 2012 in low A or in short season? Or extended followed by a late low A debut a la Cuthbert?

Jim Callis: The Royals have sent all of their big-ticket high school bats (Moustakas, Hosmer, Myers) to low Class A at the start of the next season, though Starling is more raw at the plate than they were. I still bet we see him in the Midwest League next April.

    Brian (Ohio): Stephen Tarpley and Dillon Peters were both asking for 7 figures. Were the Indians wise for letting these two go back to school, or will they regret not giving them what they wanted?

Jim Callis: Both are interesting arms ... I look at the draft this way: Most of the players a team signs aren't going to make a significant impact, but those that do will deliver such a huge rate of return on the investment that they more than pay for everyone else, if that makes sense ... So on one hand, I'd sign anyone I thought was promising, but on the other, teams have a budget and have to draw a line somewhere. The Indians spent $8.2 million on the draft and added payroll in the Ubaldo Jimenez trade, so I can't call them cheap.

    Larry (Manhattan): Thanks for the chat, Jim. Any final thoughts on the Yankees' draft haul?

Jim Callis: This probably won't make me any friends in New York, but I continue to be surprised the Yankees aren't much more aggressive in the draft. They went all in in 2007 on guys like Andrew Brackman, Brad Suttle and Carmen Angelini who haven't worked out, and New York has dialed it back since. The Yankees spent $6.3 million on this year's draft, while the average team spent $7.6 million. Huh? Money doesn't guarantee success in the draft, but teams a) generally get what they pay for and b) the more they spend, the more it can pay off ... Top pick (sandwich round) Dante Bichette can hit and is off to a great start. They did go over slot on a few guys they obviously liked more than Baseball America did, such as $1.1 million on Greg Bird. I admire a team's conviction to spend where it sees fit, but this wasn't one of my favorite drafts.

    Mitch (Texas): Ok, not sure if this is just for draft questions or what...but I'm wondering. What is the deal with Rangers 1st base prospect Andrew Clark? Is he forreal, because he has put up some pretty legit numbers.

Jim Callis: Not just a draft chat, though that's where my mind is and will be the focus of most of my questions. (The Prospect Hot Sheet team will cover plenty of prospect questions on Friday.) Clark is old for Class A at age 24, and he's one of those guys who will have to prove himself at every level. He was a good college player at Louisville, though, and so far, so good. Not sure he has the true HR power you want in a big league first baseman.

    ryan (DC): Given, the Nats signings on Monday, they have the top player from the 2010 draft (Harper), many beleive the top player from the 2011 draft (Rendon) and Purke could have been in the mix for the top player in the 2012 draft. Add to that improved depth, AJ Cole, Goodwin, and Meyer, and development of other players in the system, Peacok, Hood, Lombardozzi and Marrero. What would the Nats Top 10 look like now and how would ther system rank?

Jim Callis: Off the top of my head, I'd start their Top 10 like this: Harper, Rendon, Peacock, Cole, Meyer, Goodwin, Purke (move him up if he proves to be healthy). Looks like a possible top-five system, definite top-10.

    John Havok (Lethbridge, AB): Lets take you back in time Jim. You're 18 years old, a pretty good pitcher with alot of projection and you have committed to go to college. You get drafted, get offered 2.5 million. How fast do you sign?

Jim Callis: If I'm the kid, I'm jumping at the money. If I'm his father, I might want him to go to college but that would be hard to stand in his way if he wants to be a big leaguer. I assume this alludes to Tyler Beede, and I have no problem with someone turning down a reported $2.4 million. He's allowed to make that decision.

    David Yuen (Portland, OR): Do either Baez or Vogelbach pass Brett Jackson as the Cubs' best power hitter?

Jim Callis: Vogelbach has the most pure power among Cubs farmhands now.

    John Havok (Lethbridge AB): Now that all signings have been finalized... top 5 drafts in order?

Jim Callis: Send this question to askba@baseballamerica.com and I'll answer it more in depth. Quick analysis: Nationals, Pirates, Diamondbacks, Red Sox ... not sure yet of No. 5. Jays are close, Beede would have put them over the top. Royals also in running for fifth spot.

    Joe D (Everson, PA): How shocked are you that Josh Bell signed? I thought that the Pirates would stop around $3 million.

Jim Callis: Shocked. I do believe he was sincere about attending Texas, and if I had a dollar for every person who told me he might not sign for $10 million, I could have come close to covering the $5 million tab for signing him. On Aug. 15, I though his chances of signing were no more than 1 percent, and that's only because I'd never say never. I thought it was going to take somewhere close to $8 million at a minimum. Great move by the Pirates to take Bell and get him signed.

    John Havok (Lethbridge, AB): Chances of a hard cap slot system being introduced in the next CBA in your opinion and why/why not?

Jim Callis: I'm hearing next to zero. MLB wanted it, but it's not going to happen. If MLB got hard slotting, they'd also have to a) give up something worth more than what hard slotting would save; b) and cause more unintended consequences for the draft. I'll be very surprised if the MLBPA ever agrees to a cap of any kind. I think we'll get an earlier signing deadline (July 15?) next year, and maybe lesser free-agent compensation as part of the new CBA, but not hard slotting.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Jim - please rank these events in order of "shock" factor - 1) Purke signing, 2) Bell signing, 3) Goodwin's bonus, 4) Cole not getting a big league deal. Thanks.

Jim Callis: Interesting. In order from most to least shocking: Bell, Purke, Goodwin (all shocks), Cole (not really at all). I covered Bell already. I didn't think there was anyway the Nationals would come up with a number high enough to sign Purke when he hadn't pitched in a game this summer, but they did. Goodwin's $3 million dropped a lot of jaws, though the industry chalked that up to the tight Mike Rizzo-Scott Boras relationship (see Jayson Werth, among many examples). It really doesn't matter whether a guy gets paid huge money as a bonus or in a big league deal. Cole set a draft record with an $8 million bonus, and he'll be earning big league salaries soon enough.

    Frank (Baltimore, MD): Who is the O's top overall prospect now - Machado or Bundy?

Jim Callis: I love Machado, but I'm going with Bundy.

    Drew M (Toronto): Hey Jim, The Jays signed 2 out of their 3 hard to sign draft picks (Norris, Comer). Were they the 2 best out of the trio or would you have dropped one of the 2 they signed and used that money to get Beede?

Jim Callis: Beede turned down $2.4 million, so it wasn't that simple with Norris getting $2 million and Comer getting $1.65 million. I'd rank them Norris, Beede, Comer.

    Jeff Sullivan (Belchertown, MA): How close were the red sox to signing Golson, Gossett, Lake, or Gaines?

Jim Callis: They offered Golson more than seven figures and Gossett close to seven figures, but the lure of Ole Miss football (Golson) and Clemson (Gossett) was too much. Not sure how close they got on Lake or Gaines.

    Matt (Va): Jim, the Nats obviously had one of the better drafts. Three or four years down the line do they have a chance to compete for the NL East?

Jim Callis: Won't take that long, especially if Strasburg and Harper become everything they're supposed to.

    Bret (Toronto): If the Jays had given Tyler Beede the $3.5M he asked for, or even met him halfway at $3M, would that have been out of line given the prices similar talent was paid in the draft?

Jim Callis: No. Look at it this way ... If the Jays signed Beede for $3 million, they'd control his salaries in the major leagues for six years (three of which he'd be arbitration-eligible) before he became a free agent. So before he becomes a FA, if he's as good as he's supposed to become, he probably earns around $20 million between his bonus and big league salaries. And if he's that good, he's delivering $60 million or more worth of production. That's a whopping ROI. If he's not that good, he's not making much on top of his bonus in big league salaries. And the Jays obviously though he had a high chance of being that good if they offered him $2.4 million. Not faulting them for drawing a line, but no, $3 million would not have been out of line, especially in this draft market. Remember, too, the bonus is not solely dependent on talent. It's also dependent on leverage, willingness not to sign (Beede obviously was willing) and how much the team values you.

    Nick (Maryland): What do you think the Nats do with Rendon? Do they move him to 2nd base?

Jim Callis: Assuming Ryan Zimmerman stays put, Rendon winds up at second base or on an outfield corner.

    J.D. (Florida): I'm sort of surprised Logan Verrett took awhile for the Mets to sign. Did he expect to go higher? Also, what would you peg his ceiling at? Thanks for the chat, as always.

Jim Callis: No. 3 starter. The MLB playbook this year was for the teams to hold firm on going over slot for college juniors, figuring they had less leverage than high school players. That led a lot of those guys to wait until the end. Verrett got $425,000 (versus MLB's $324,900 slot).

    john (Ashburn, VA): Jim: Cutting and pasting a question I asked on an earlier erroneously placed posting. Please discuss the Norris signing. From what I understand Norris' father sent a letter to MLB that Daniel was intent on attending college and the only thing that may entice him to sign was a Strasburg-like contract (or words to that effect). As a result of this negotiation ploy many teams backed off although Toronto took a chance and drafted him in the 2nd Round. Based purely on what I have read in Baseball America, Norris signed for ~ $2M (am not sure of the details, guarantees, signing bonuses, etc.). In your opinion did the Norris strategy come back to haunt them? Norris had been touted as a probable high first round selection. If the Norris family had just laid low and not shown their hand, could he have been drafted higher in the first round and gotten a better deal? Am confused. Doesn't seem to be a pretty savvy move from a money perspective. Your thoughts? Tks.

Jim Callis: Not sure of their motivation and what exactly transpired. We had heard a $4 million asking price before the draft. I see what you're saying, but it comes down to which team would have drafted him. Might have gotten more money in the first, might have gotten stuck with a club that drew a harder line. I don't think he's complaining about the $2 million, but I get where you're coming from.

    Jay (South Riding, VA): Jim, Great coverage as always. You know when the Washington Post is quoting you for confirmation then you are the top dog. As for Purke, he let the Nats perform the enhanced MRI with dye to confirm that there was nothing structurally wrong. If he had returned to school and pitched like he did his freshman year would he have been a top 5 pick?

Jim Callis: Thanks, Jay. If Purke returned to full health and was 2009-10 Purke next year, he could have been the No. 1 overall pick. But he also would have assumed some risk, too much to turn down $4.15 million in guaranteed money.

    Bill (Phoenix): If teams knew ahead of time that Josh Bell would sign for $5 million, where do you think he could have gone? I'm really surprised a team like the Red Sox would pass on him 4 times. Props to the Pirates for taking a chance.

Jim Callis: I don't think he would have made it out of the first round, and the Blue Jays and Red Sox would have been top candidates to pop him.

    Kevin (Boston): Seems like the Red Sox lost quite a few high profile prospects (Golson, Lake, Davidson, Brown, O'Dell) to college. Did they just not offer enough cash or did the kids really just want to go to school instead of the pros?

Jim Callis: The Red Sox always take as many tough signs as any club and it's impossible to get them all done. As I mentioned earlier, I know they went very hard after Golson and Gossett, to name two.

    Mark (NYC): How much does not signing Stafford change the outlook on the Yankee's draft?

Jim Callis: Not a great deal. Strong-armed lefthander who couldn't nail down a spot in the University of Texas' rotation. He didn't make our overall Top 200 Prospects list for the draft.

    Rick (NY): How close were the Sox to signing Golson?

Jim Callis: They pulled out all the stops and offered seven-figure money. But he wanted to focus on football.

    Matt (KC): Regarding your answer to Brian, do your feelings toward paying overslot make it difficult to be critical of teams who may have grossly overpaid? We can make fun of the Nationals all we want for the big league deal to Purke, but If I'm a Nationals fan I'm excited about the chance for that risk paying off big time.

Jim Callis: That's how I look at it. Teams are investing a lot of money in the draft, but the payoffs are so huge that if you have faith your scouting department is identifying the right players, you should spend, spend, spend and spend some more.

    Ken (Alabama): Is Archie Bradley's football career over?

Jim Callis: Yes. Diamondbacks did not pay him $5 million so he can get beat up playing quarterback. When we refer to two-sport deals in the draft, it means the team can spread the bonus over as many as five years. Whether the player can still play the other sport has to be negotiated. Usually the answer is no, though the Reds are allowing Amir Garrett to play basketball at St. John's after paying him $1 million.

    Matt (New york): What's the deal with the mets two sport star who they signed . I've heard he will be in camp for only two months a year. Why didn't he just go to school and play ball for tech?

Jim Callis: Bradley Marquez, who has great speed. They're letting him play football at Texas Tech, and he gets $325,000 to make baseball his summer job.

    Mike (toronto): People complain about the dollars thrown around Aug 15, what about the money given to 16 year old internationals in July. Isnt that looked upon as more of a crapshoot that the USA draft

Jim Callis: Totally agree. Wrote a column making that same point a month ago.

    frank (oregon): jim, there's strong opinions from other baseball publications that bryce harper will be a .265 caliber hitter at the ML level. i know you felt that way at one point as well, but do you still? i find it hard to believe an 18 y.o. that nearly hit .320 in full season ball will only have an average hit tool. jason heyward hit .323 in the SAL league at the same age harper hit .318 and heyward was projected as a 70 or better bat. what gives?

Jim Callis: He has a big swing of times, and you're right, I saw him as more of an average hitter with some swing and miss. I'm giving him more credit than that now after his performance this year. You have to.

    Kevin (Newport): Jim, Long time reader, first time asking a question. Were you shocked that the Rays signed all their first 12 picks? I couldn't believe it and think they should be considered one of the winners in this draft.

Jim Callis: Not particularly, to be honest. They had a record 12 picks in the first two rounds, and they spend a few of them on guys who were going to sign quick or sign for slot (or both). Good draft, and I realize it would be hard to be ultraagressive with all those picks—they did spend $11.5 million—but I thought they drafted conservatively.

    Kyle (Maine): Westmoreland is facing live pitching today for the first time since his surgery. Sox hope to get him into game action in Florida Instructs by the end of the year. Awesome day for a kid with tons of potential.

Jim Callis: Hadn't seen that. Great to hear. He's made amazing progress to get to where he is now.

    John (D.C.): If I visited Durham for work, could I take you and Manuel out for lunch for being the best in the business?

Jim Callis: Thanks, John. You could take John Manuel out to lunch, but I work out of suburban Chicago, so I'll just accept your praise.

    Doug (Phoenix): I'm assuming Trevor Bauer has a good shot of being the first, but who would you rank as the guess will be the first five 2011 draft picks to make the majors?

Jim Callis: Bauer definitely No. 1, perhaps in September. After him: Hultzen, Cole, Gray, Rendon. Bundy is the obvious first high schooler.

    Jeff (Calgary): I know most American's are not interested, so I promise this will be the last Jays questions... I understand that getting Norris and Comer are great, but I can't help being a little bit disappointed in the Jays draft. Suarez, Wiper, Garza and Nola were all risky picks, but how much better would the Jays draft have been if they had been able to snag those guys?

Jim Callis: It's like with the Red Sox—the Blue Jays take as many tough signs as anyone. They landed several, but some are going to get away. I'd be happy my team was aggressive and grabbed more than their share of talent rather than rue the ones who didn't sign.

    Richard (Brampton): Jim with the exception of Beede, the Jays managed to get some tough signs done (Norris, Dean, Lopes, Stilson). Where would you rank their farm system at this point? I'd put them behind the Rays at number 2.

Jim Callis: Definitely in the top five, in the discussion for the top spot. Since Alex Anthopoulos has taken over as GM, no team has improved its farm system as much as the Blue Jays have.

    Kris (Philly): Can you give us one sentence that sums up the Phils draft class?

Jim Callis: Spent just $4.7 million, but got some intriguing high schoolers in Greene (huge power), Quinn (huge speed) and Walding (good middle-infield bat).

Jim Callis: I could talk draft all day, but unfortunately I have other BA-related work to get to. See you next week!