Prospects Chat With Jim Callis

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Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. Glad to be back in the chat room as I am most Wednesdays. Our next issue will have our first overall Top 50 list for the 2012 draft, and we're working on minor league Top 20 Prospect lists, with the organization Top 30s just around the corner. Fire away!

    Grant (Chitown): You mentioned Addison Reed would likely rank "near" the top of the White Sox top 20 list. Which player gets your vote as THE top player in that barren system?

Jim Callis: I did tweet that while walking my dogs this morning . . . There is no obvious No. 1 in the White Sox system. Might be one of their raw toolsy outfielders: Jared Mitchell, Trayce Thompson, Keenyn Walker.

    Hiawatha (HI): If Castellanos continues hitting at his current pace, could he see Detroit next September, or is that too optimistic?

Jim Callis: I like Nick Castellanos as much as the next guy, but that's too optimistic by at least a year.

    Paul (DC): If you're the Nats, where do you start Harper off at, come April?

Jim Callis: I send him back to Double-A so he can get off to a good start, and wouldn't rule out promoting him to Triple-A in May and the majors in June.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Which player has the better hit tool in your opinion - Oscar Taveras or Mason Williams?

Jim Callis: Taveras (though I like Williams, too). Same age, but Taveras hit .389 in the Midwest League, has more power and controls the strike zone more.

    Marc (Vancouver BC): Can Jarrod Parker improve his command enough to be a #2?

Jim Callis: Sure. Command is often the last thing to come back after Tommy John surgery.

    Randy (Detroit): Not a prospect question, but I'll ask anyway. Would you think Verlander is deserving of both AL CY Young and AL MVP?

Jim Callis: Sure. I have no problem with a pitcher winning the MVP. He's been one of the best players in the league and essential to the Tigers making the playoffs, so he's a legit MVP candidate.

    Jake (Idaho): I always look forward to the League Top 20 lists. When does the first one hit, and who's leading off? thanks Jim!

Jim Callis: Arizona League on Monday.

    Haley (Miami): I loved watching Chris Yelich perform this year. Would you give him the nod as the Marlins' top prospect? If not him, who?

Jim Callis: I would. That's another system without a lot of obvious candidates, but he's the clear No. 1 to me for Florida.

    Dino (Bartlett): What are your thoughts on some people saying Matt Szucur being a right handed version of Juan Pierre. Do you think that's accurate?

Jim Callis: Um, no. Szczur can hit and has tremendous speed, but he has more power potential, arm strength and defensive skills than Pierre had in his prime. That comp only works for two tools.

    Tommy (Florida): Who do you think will make a bigger splash in the bullpen down the stretch - Jarrod Parker or Matt Moore?

Jim Callis: Moore. And Tampa Bay should have called him up two months ago.

    Bob (Georgia): I'm puzzled that the Cub's Brett Jackson is rated so high when he strikes out 1 out of 3 at bats. Isn't this a red flag for any prospect? Was Adam Dunn, for example, this strike out prone in the minors?

Jim Callis: Dunn whiffed in 18% of his minor league plate appearances, while Jackson is at 24%. Jackson is always going to swing and miss some, but he has solid tools across the board. Not sure how highly he's rated overall—he's one of the Cubs' best prospects, but I don't see anyone calling him a future superstar.

    bob (Colorado): Jim, what happened to Allen Webster at end..his velocity seemed to drop a tad and got hit harder..tired arm??? Is he still a top 5 or 10 Dodger prospect?

Jim Callis: He's 21 and set career highs in starts and innings, so I'd bet on fatigue. Nothing to worry about and he's still one of L.A.'s best prospects.

    Doug (Orlando): Martin Perez has been hit hard in each debut season in the upper minors. Critics will say he's tapped out because of his size and won't translate to MLB. I know BA has been high on Perez for a while now, how would you explain his struggles and do you still feel he will have an above average MLB career?

Jim Callis: Perez has the makings of three plus pitches—and he's lefthanded—but I wish he'd just flat-out dominate one of these years. That said, he's only 20 and didn't get rocked until he got to Triple-A this year. I still love his upside.

    Mikell (Chicago): Why do the White Sox have the worst farm system of the modern era year after year? And what can be done to alleviate this yearly disaster?

Jim Callis: That's a little harsh, but the White Sox are perennially near the bottom. The answer is simple: Chicago spends less on the draft on any team, and while I don't have international amateur figures, the Sox are near the bottom there too. Hard to bring in talent without spending any money, but Jerry Reinsdorf hates paying big bonuses.

    Joe R (Newport News VA): Has BA considered a "Minor League Veteran of the Year" award, for players who are too old to be prospects but had outstanding years? The current "Minor League Player of the Year" is really "Minor League Prospect of the Year".

Jim Callis: Our MLPOY award always has factored in prospecty goodness. That's what we do. We're a magazine that focuses first and foremost on player development . . . To answer your question, no on the MLVOY, but our minor league all-star teams are based more on performance.

    Matt Carpenter (not St Louis): Any idea why Carpenter didn't get a Sept callup? He's sandwiched in StL by Freese and Cox so it's hard to see how he fits in StL, but an older prospect off a strong year who is already on the 40 man is usually a no-brainer.

Jim Callis: They weren't really contending at the start of the month, they have Freese and Cox and decided not to spend the money.

    Justin (New York): Upside for Brad Brach - 8th inning guy? eventual second-division closer?

Jim Callis: Ceiling is as an eighth-inning guy, probably more of a sixth- or seventh-inning option. Throws 90-93 from a deceptive short-arm delivery, has an OK slider.

    Chris (KC): Jim, I'm curious why Kevin Gausman wasn't included in your Cape Cod League Top 30. I know he didn't pitch much and wasn't there long, but the same applies to Ryne Stanek since both also spent time with Team USA.

Jim Callis: Gausman just didn't qualify. Cape pitchers needed 1/3 IP per team game (14 2/3), and Gausman had 12 and Stanek had 16. I did our Team USA list and had Stanek slightly ahead of Gausman.

    Greg (ky): Jim whats your current take Yorman Rodriguez?

Jim Callis: Still very young (didn't turn 19 until Aug. 15), still very raw. He's still a project but it's oh so easy to dream on those tools.

    Todd (Irvine, CA): Besides the Cubs and Orioles, what GM jobs do you see opening this off-season?

Jim Callis: The Astros job could open up once they get a new owner. It's possible the Cubs could hire a GM from another team, which would create another opening. I don't see another obvious spot.

    johnny (kansas city): Are there any advanced pitching prospects in the 2012 draft that would beable to make an impact in the royals rotation in 2013?

Jim Callis: I just wrote a mock top 10 picks for 2012 column, and had the Royals taking Georgia Southern righthander Chris Beck. But 2013 would be pushing it. The top college pitching prospect for 2012, Stanford righthander Mark Appel, is more of a 2014 guy, too.

    Rich (New Jersey): Higher ceiling: Jonathan Schoop, Jake Marisnick, and Mason Williams?

Jim Callis: Marisnick, as a five-tool center fielder.

    Chris (DC): What do you think the chances are of Shelby Miller being in St. Louis' opening day rotation?

Jim Callis: Slim. I think it's much more likely that he gets to St. Louis at midseason.

    rick (seattle): what is your opinion and ETA for these Seattle prospects: paxton, walker, hultzen?

Jim Callis: I would line them up like this: Hultzen, Walker, Paxton. I could see Hultzen and Paxton up before the end of 2012, Walker is more of a late 2013/early 2014 guy. Not nearly as polished, but he might have the highest ceiling.

    Dave (Cuyahoga Falls, OH): Any idea who would be the O's #3 prospect after Machado and Bundy? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Jonathan Schoop. Good bat, may wind up at third base in the long run.

    Ian (MN): What's your view of Liam Hendriks? I liked his first start, kind of reminds me (in a good way) of a solid Nick Blackburn type who can eat a lot of innings and not embarrass himself.

Jim Callis: Sorry, got sidetracked by a phone call there . . . That's fair on Hendriks. More solid than plus stuff, but he really commands it well. Typical Twins starting pitcher.

    Generic name (Generic place): A lot of people had problems with Trout being #1 over Matt Moore for minor league player of the year. Thoughts?

Jim Callis: I still don't get it. See my lead to this week's Ask BA column at They were both deserving candidates, and either would have been an excellent choice. Anyone who thinks Trout wasn't dominating enough, I just don't understand ... first teenager to hit .300/.400/.500 in Double-A since Gregg Jefferies in 1987.

    brad pitt (LA): Gonna see my new movie?

Jim Callis: I doubt it. I've heard some people say it's a compelling story, others say it's a disappointment. With four kids, I get out to so few movies and don't think my wife is going to be clamoring to see "Moneyball."

    Jay (South Riding, VA): Wilson Ramos or Derek Norris as the starting C in 2013? Nats 1B in 2013? Morse, Laroche or Fielder?

Jim Callis: Ramos, Morse.

    Ken (Kettering OH): Kyle Lotzkar still project as a #1 or #2 starter?

Jim Callis: No. He flashes that kind of arm, but he can't stay healthy.

    Bill (Bozeman, MT): Brett Eibner has such great secondary skills, do you consider his lack of hitting-for-average this summer a fluke, or are there some serious concerns about his swing?

Jim Callis: Eibner is geared up for power and will always swing and miss a lot. I don't think he'll ever hit for a high average. A lot of teams liked him more as a pitcher than as an outfielder when he came out of the 2010 draft.

    Jake (California): Are you a Keyvius Sampson believer?

Jim Callis: I am. He stayed healthy and showed terrific stuff in the Midwest League this year. He's in the running for the No. 1 spot on the MWL Top 20 Prospects list I'm working on.

    Jason (Walnut Creek, CA): Where does outfielder Victor Roache currently slot in the next Draft? Lottery pick? Mid first Round? End of the first round? We could use an Early Mock Draft article for 2012. hint hint ..

Jim Callis: I gave you one ... just submitted it to Durham HQ for the magazine today. Hopefully it will makes its way online next week. I had Roache sneaking into the top 10 as a college bat with a lot of power.

    Greg (Boston): Can you quickly explain how Rendon's contract works, specifically with regards to the option year?

Jim Callis: It's a 2012-15 contract with a $6 million bonus and $7.2 million in guaranteed value. If he went straight to the big leagues next April, he'd earn $9.5 million. There's a $500,000 club option in 2016, but it's doubtful the Nationals will have to worry about exercising it. Rendon can opt out of the deal once he's arbitration-eligible, and he'll likely be eligible before 2016.

    Ian (MN): With Hicks fall off, Gibson's injury and Benson's promotion, who it the Twins #3 prospect after Sano and Arcia?

Jim Callis: Benson will still qualify, so it would be him.

    Tim (Kentucky): Has your opinion on Jean Segura changed any due to the missed time? Still think he ends up at shortstop?

Jim Callis: No, still like him a lot but it was a lost year. Don't have an opinion on shortstop yet because he didn't get a lot of time there and was rarely 100 percent. It's a possibility, though.

    Robbie (Toronto, ON): Where do you think Brett Lawrie would have fit into the MLPOY discussion had he been eligible?

Jim Callis: He was eligible . . . there is no eligiblity standard. Had he spent a full healthy season in the minors and hit .353/.415/.661 over 140 games rather than 70, he would have had a great case.

Jim Callis: That's all for now, but if you have more questions, try me at Ask BA for long ones (, please include name and hometown) or at Twitter (@jimcallisBA). Not sure if I'm doing a Wednesday chat when we start doing the minor league Top 20 chats, which will run daily for about three weeks starting next Monday, but you'll at least get me chatting about the Midwest League Top 20