Jim Callis Chat: May 16

Follow me on Twitter

Jim Callis: The draft is only 19 days away, and it's the focus of my existence pretty much 24/7 these days. So hit me with your draft questions. (And all other questions welcome, as usual.)

    Jay (Manchester, IA): Any chance that the Brewers would snag Giolito with one of their first round picks? How far does he have to drop before it's not feasible to get him signed?

Jim Callis: Giolito, as I addressed in Monday's Ask BA, is still too much of a wild card to predict where he'll go. Teams just don't know enough about his health or whether he'll drop his asking price right now. Before he got hurt, he might have been the first high school righthander to go No. 1 overall, and he was looking at a bonus of $5 million or more. How feasible it is to get him signed depends on the asking price, and teams don't think it will be coming down much, as well as whether the club that takes him has multiple early picks and more money to play with. That's all a long way of saying "I have no idea what will happen with Giolito."

    Alan At Work (Chicago): Keith Law reiterated the White Sox interest in Smoral. Are they sincerely interested in prep players for once? Their track record in previous years has me skeptical as much as I'd like to believe it.

Jim Callis: The White Sox need to rebuild, and Kenny Williams is beginning to realize that, which opens up the possibility they'll take a longer-term view with the draft.

    John (Richmond, VA): I read that Mike Rizzo was in attendance to see Lucas Sims last night, and that Roy Clark loves Sims. Could the Nats be putting more of an emphasis on upside, now that the big league team is doing so well? I could see the argument that "quick to the big leagues" is not as important. Thanks.

Jim Callis: I'd argue that they've been about upside all along. They invested $2 million in A.J. Cole. Last year, Alex Meyer and Brian Goodwin got $5 million, and neither is going to rush to the majors. I think the Nationals have worried just about talent and not timetables while rebuilding the club.

    Jimbo (MN): What would be your guess as to what the Tigers will do with Castellanos? Trade? Move to OF? Stay at 3B and have Cabrera/Fielder split DH and 1B?

Jim Callis: Don't see why they'd move him. He's a lot better at third base than Cabrera is. When Castellanos is ready, you upgrade the defense with him at the hot corner and let Cabrera and Fielder share first base and DH.

    Steve (Saint Louis): In your opinion, does Addison Russell have any chance to stick at shortstop?

Jim Callis: He's in better shape this year and has a chance to stay there. I'd caution that when you usually hear about amateurs maybe having to move, it's a sign that they're going to need a move. But scouts give him a chance.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Not complaining, honestly, but why exactly is BA doing draft scouting reports for and ranking FIVE HUNDRED prospects for this year's draft, especially given how poor the crop is? Seems to me last year would have been the opportune time to do so.

Jim Callis: It's not really different from what we've done in the past, just presenting it differently. In past drafts, with our state-by-state coverage, we'd list roughly 1,500 players, write reports on about half of them, and rank them by state. We'll still do that (though closer to 1,200 total listed this year with the draft cut to 40 rounds), but we're also going to put the overall 201-500 guys in order. Believe me, it's really not that much more work than what we did in the past. And come on, we're Baseball America! The quality of the draft may fluctuate, but the quality of our coverage will not!

    @Jaypers413 (IL): About how close to June 4th will teams get the definitive word on Giolito's present health and be able to see him work out?

Jim Callis: No one seems to know that yet. Word is they'll get medical reports and there's hope he will be able to throw a bullpen, but no definitie timetable right now.

    Bud (Spokane): Matt Davidson has really taken a step forward this season at the plate. Do you see him being a part of the Diamondbacks long-term plan?

Jim Callis: I always have. He has the best impact bat out of all of Arizona's early-round picks in 2009.

    Steve (Saint Louis): Given his offensive struggles, I don't understand why Marrero is still considered a first round prospect. Am I undervaluing defense, or do scouts really think that the bat will come around?

Jim Callis: Undervaluing the defense of a player who can stick at shortstop at the major league level—there aren't many of those in a typical draft. Marrero has had some success hitting in summer ball, and some teams believe he'll provide quality defense at short and hit decently. He's a lock first-rounder, could go in the top 10.

    Harry (Atlanta, GA): Are you as sure about Jameis Winston not signing as you were about Josh Bell? More? Less?

Jim Callis: I'll say less, because I thought it was 99.999999999999 percent that Bell wouldn't sign. But I do think it will be hard to lure Winston away from Florida State football. Maybe he signs a deal that allows him to do both.

    Paul (Baltimore): What would you grade this draft on the 20-80 scale?

Jim Callis: 40 or 45, depending on how jaded you want to be. It looks worse compared to last year's bumper crop, but there's talent in any draft.

    Josh (Beantown): I was wondering what your thoughts were on Fernando Perez out of Central Arizona? I noticed he wasn't on your top 100.

Jim Callis: He just missed and will be near the top of the 101-200 group, which we'll unveil on Friday. Has a history of hitting, profiles well at third base, fits in the third round.

    Taylor (Houston): Jim - call me crazy, but what would you think about popping Giolito 1-1, and if you don't sign him, take your two very high picks next year in what is hopefully a better draft class (assuming you still get compensation for not signing your first rounder - I don't know if that rule changed). He's the best prospect in the draft, and would probably be the consensus #1 guy had it not been for the injury.

Jim Callis: I don't think a healthy Giolito is clearly the best prospect in the draft. He's in the top group, I'll give you that. But I think taking him No. 1 overall would be crazy. You already have health questions about him, and the track record of guys who throw 100 mph in high school having long, healthy careers is poor. This isn't a great draft, but I'd be thrilled to take Byron Buxton with the No. 1 overall pick. I wouldn't gamble that high on Giolito. He fits best with a team that has extra picks and not as many holes as the Astros.

    Jeff (NoCal): Cubs at #6.....shouldn't the cubs focus on the college pitching available to them due to the lack of arms in their system or is Theo and crew going to hone in on Almora or Correa? Who do you like better of the two players?

Jim Callis: You have to take the best available talent. I love Texas A&M's Michael Wacha as much as the next guy, but if the top three college arms are gone (Appel, Gausman, Zimmer), you can't just pop Wacha at No. 6 because you need arms. I'm not even sure the Cubs would take all three of Appel, Gausman and Zimmer at No. 6.

    Chris (Savannah): Would you consider Buxton to have a higher ceiling than fellow Georgian Jason Heyward before he was drafted?

Jim Callis: Yes, because his all-around tools were better. Heyward's bat was better than Buxton's, though. It's too bad Roy Clark isn't still with the Braves, because I'd love to see how he might try to get Buxton to fall to No. 21.

    Jon Laguna (California): What separates Buxton from Albert Almora, who seems like one of the most polish HS hitters in a while with his track record and above-avg tools, and Carlos Correa who has a chance to be a premium bat at a more premium defensive position plus is one of the youngest players in the entire draft?

Jim Callis: Buxton isn't as polished as Almora, but his tools are a cut above Almora's (and Almora is impressive in his own right). Correa isn't a lock to stay at shortstop, so you might be stacking up a third baseman vs. a center fielder. All three of those guys are very talented, and you could rank them in any order and defend it.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): In your mock draft, you had the Reds taking Michael Wacha, who do you think they would target if they want a bat at #14 (too bad Courtney Hawkins goes one pick earlier)?

Jim Callis: Hearing a lot of Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer with the Reds, and they wanted to make a run at him out of high school.

    Dale (Pa): why are the Royals playing Wil Myers @3B with Moustakas on the big club. why not just stick him in RF and leave him there.

Jim Callis: Why not try to increase his value? Moustakas isn't a lock to be a long-term third baseman. If it doesn't work, move Myers back to RF.

    Hank (Tulsa, OK - Tulsa (TUL)): Hi Jim: I've been hearing a lot about Bennett Pickar, catcher at Oral Roberts. I see he wasn't listed in the magazine as a top-6 round pick. Any insights?

Jim Callis: Very good defender, very questionable bat. He's not a top-10-round talent for me, but never underestimate how high a catcher might get drafted. Remember Jackson Williams?

    Sean (Stockton): What are scouts thoughts on Gio Brusa?

Jim Callis: Switch-hitter with some strength and athleticism, though it's unclear where he fits best on the diamond. We have him as a fifth/sixth-round talent.

    Greg (OHIO): Jim how does Andrew Heaney compare to Danny Hultzen?

Jim Callis: Hadn't thought about that comp of the best college LHP from each of the last two drafts. Hultzen's a little more physical and his stuff is maybe a half-grade better, but it's not a huge difference. Heaney is going to be a nice pick for someone in the middle of the first round.

    Bill (Bozeman, MT): Thirty days til Omaha! No question, just that!

Jim Callis: I'm looking forward to it as well. Will be making the drive West with kids in tow, as usual. Still my favorite baseball event.

    david (minnesota): I saw that Mike Radcliffe, Twins executive, said earlier this year about the #2 pick: "We just need to identify the top college pitcher available and take him." He spoke as if it was a given that they would take a college pitcher. Is that the vibe you are getting from the Twins or would they more just take the best player available? I hope they go best player.

Jim Callis: They need a pitcher more than anything, but the vibe I get is that they'll take the best player available. I'd still guess Buxton.

    Ben (Conway, AR): Any chance Lance McCullers falls to the Yankees at 30? How about Matt Smoral?

Jim Callis: I don't see McCullers coming close to the Yankees at 30. Scouts had mostly pegged him as a reliever early in the year, but now they're much more sanguine about his chances to start, and he's always had one of the best arms in the draft. I think he goes close to the middle half of the first round. Smoral could, because he has missed most of the spring with a broken bone in his foot, but I still think he goes off the board before No. 30.

    Sean (MI): What has caused Chris Beck to drop so much?

Jim Callis: He just hasn't lived up to his performance in the Cape Cod League last summer. His pitches are flatter, his command and velocity are down. A lot of scouting directors will remember his Cape, though, so he probably won't get past the second round.

    Andrew (Toronto): Can you help me understand what seperates Appel from Gausman and Zimmer? I guess I'd just expect more swing & miss from a guy pegged at the top of the board.

Jim Callis: It's all eye of the beholder. I'd take Zimmer over Appel, go back and forth on Appel vs. Gausman. You're not the only one—a lot of scouts would like to see more dominance from Appel.

    colin (toronto): Hi Jim...given the combination of a weak draft along with the higher bonus slot designated by MLB, do you see a lot of underslot deals in the 1st round and Supp 1st. It seems to me there are not a lot of guys that will be worth the value of the slots they will be draft in.

Jim Callis: Well, the pick values were negotiated by MLB with the MLBPA, and they represent a much more accurate picture of market value than the old slots, which the MLB created on its own. The values for the guys at the top of the draft seem high for the talent on hand, but I think you'll see the majority of first-rounders get full pick value. That said, if you're looking to get a guy who wants more than pick value, most teams will take a discount guy early and the expensive guy second, rather than the other way around.

    Matt (Malone, NY): Is there any scenario at all where Byron Buxton falls to the Mets at 12?

Jim Callis: No. I can't see him getting past the Mariners at No. 3.

    Chris (Pittsburgh): How likely is it that at least one of Almora, Giolito, or Correa will be available when the Pirates pick at #8? If all three are available, who should the Bucs choose?

Jim Callis: Likely, as of today, only because Giolito is a total wild card. I don't think Almora or Correa gets to them. If all three were on the board, I'd be torn between Almora and Correa. I hear so many raves about Almora, I'd lean that way. (If Giolito were healthy, I'd quickly take him.)

    Steve (Owltown): What are the prospects for a couple Rice eligible guys who graduated last week - Matthew Reckling, a senior who was a midyear first teamer on BA's AA squad, and Jeremy Rathjean, a junior after a medical redshirt in 2011, who appears to us Owls' fans who have watched him the last four year to be a five tooler, but hasn't cracked your 100 list?

Jim Callis: I think those guys both go in the fourth- to seventh-round range, maybe a little earlier for Reckling because he's a college senior with no leverage. Reckling profiles as a reliever with a good fastball/curveball mix, and Rathjen is a good athlete.

    Jeremy (Texas): Shocked to see Mitchell Traver & Teddy Stankiewicz not in the draft top 100.....both had pretty good spring's. What gives? Thanks!

Jim Callis: They're both in the second 100. Traver hasn't lived up to his performance from Jupiter last fall, and Stankiewicz does a lot of things well but scouts say there isn't a plus pitch right now to hang his hat on. I think both of them wind up in college (TCU for Traver, Arkansas for Stankiewicz) and are early picks in 2015.

    Allan (Wi): Jim, loved the Mock draft? Did you just match up players for this, BPA style, or is there some info regarding certain players and teams. Loved what the Brewers took away in your version. Thanks

Jim Callis: Thanks, Allan. The first version was done so early that it's impossible to really know what teams in the bottom half are going to do. I'd say the upper half of that projection was based on what we're hearing on players and teams, and after that, it's more what would seem to make the most sense.

    Jack (North Carolina): Georgia's Alex Wood has been one of the most consistent starters in the country this year how is it that he is only 54 on your top 100. He has to be a sure fire first round pick with that velo and Changeup from the left side?

Jim Callis: The breaking ball and delivery worry a lot of scouts. He's not a sure first-round pick, though he has a chance to go toward the end of the round. And this is a proud Georgia alum telling you this.

    Chuck (Wichita): Of the 3 top college pitchers, would you say Zimmer has the most upside because of his athleticism?

Jim Callis: Only have a few minutes left, so we'll do a brief lightning round ... Yes, that's fair to say on Zimmer.

    James (Kansas City): It sounds like the Royals are almost a certainty to draft a college arm with the 5th pick. Will there be any pitchers left by that pick who you can see being advanced enough to make it to the majors in 2013 to start helping out this rotation that's holding a potentially good team back?

Jim Callis: Agree they want college arm there, don't see anyone helping them that quick.

    tim815 (Illinois): The second catcher off the board should be (Trahan/Mathison/The field)? Why? Thanks

Jim Callis: Lot of concern that Trahan won't be a catcher, so I'd take Mathisen, who has all-around promise as a catcher.

    Bill (Bozeman, MT): Jim, is there a recent comp to Giolito in terms of his injury and how it's affecting his draft status? I'm wondering specifically about high school pitchers.

Jim Callis: Nick Adenhart and Homer Bailey were considered the class of the 2004 HS pitching crop before Adenhart blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John surgery. The Angels took him in the 14th round and signed him for $710,000. Much harder to do that with the new draft rules.

    BBallfan (NY): What's your take on Victor Roache? Will he be a bargain in this draft and how far do you think he will drop?

Jim Callis: Still think he goes in first round even after missing most of the spring, because he has a lot of power and it's a bad year for college bats.

    Mick (Chicago): Who will be the highest drafted position player out of an IL high school?

Jim Callis: Kevin Ross, current SS/future 3B, Niles West HS in Skokie. I think he goes in the 7th-10th round.

    Brett (Harrisburg, pa): Where would Buxton slot slot in the top 100 prospects rankings of 2012? Thanks

Jim Callis: Right ahead of Bubba Starling for me.

    Pops (TX): Can you give me your take on Tyler Naquin and also where you seeing him going in the draft. I've heard the A's love him. Thanks

Jim Callis: Could be best pure hitter in the draft, very good arm, but he's kind of a tweener who's not a CF and lacks RF power. Will be a first-rounder but No. 11 seems a little rich.

    Steve L. (Minneapolis, MN): I understand the "draft the BPA" ideology in baseball, but with the Twins SP prospects in the minors in dire straights, can you make the argument they have to draft a SP at #2? And as a follow up, is there another team in baseball worse off in high-end pitching prospects?

Jim Callis: You can definitely make the argument. The Twins don't have any obvious pitching answers in their system.

    Jimmy (Gurnee): Do you see Stroman as a starter or reliever? Do many teams take issue with his height?

Jim Callis: Teams wish he were bigger, and he probably winds up a reliever, but I'd give him a chance to start. Best stuff in this draft, don't think he gets past first 10-12 picks.

    William (Chicago): If I subscribe, how far back can I get scouting reports on players, pre-draft? I'm thinking of doing a study on 1st round high schoolers with high velocity and their rate of success/failure.

Jim Callis: Our draft archives, with scouting reports, go back to 1999.

    Landon (British Columbia): Could the Jays theoretically draft Giolito at 17 and then sign someone for say 750k at 22 and use the savings to give extra cash to Giolito?

Jim Callis: Yes, that's the type of scenario I alluded to earlier. Not sure that's enough cash for Giolito, though.

    Andrew (Chicago): With the new CBA in place, do you see higher picks signing earlier than in previous years or will nothing be official until signing deadline?

Jim Callis: Think the pace will be quicker, especially because the deadline is a month earlier, but we'll still have a lot of guys waiting until the deadline (July 13) because everyone has to figure out how the new system will play out.

    Landon (ft. Worth): Where do you see Josh Elander and Jason Coats going in draft? Can't wait for the draft

Jim Callis: Third to fifth round for Elander, higher if someone thought he could make it as a catcher. Sixth to 10th round for Coats as a discounted senior.

    Greg (OHIO): Thoughts on Anthony Rendon's injury?

Jim Callis: Makes me sad. Wish he could stay healthy. Still believe in him.

Jim Callis: I've got to grab a quick lunch before we meet to finalize the order of draft prospects 101-200, so I'm out of here. I'll be back next Wednesday, and until then, hit me up at askba@baseballamerica.com with longer questions (include name and hometown) or via Twitter at @jimcallisBA.