Jim Callis Chat: July 18

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    Mike (Chicago): What were you more wrong about: The Chicago White Sox major league team or the Chicago White Sox minor league system?

Jim Callis: The major league team. They usually contend when I don't think they'll be very good, and they usually don't contend when I think they will. We weren't wrong on the farm system. Just because they've sent a few relievers to the big league bullpen team, that doesn't mean it's a good system. Still has very little in the way of impact talent or depth.

    Willis (IN): Where would Carlos Rodon have gone in the draft this year if he had been eligible?

Jim Callis: He would have been in discussion for the No. 1 overall pick. But he'll pitch two more years at North Carolina State before a pro team can get him.

    marty kohl (omaha,ne.): Hi Jim,thanks for getting me over the hump with the wednesday chat.As we are over the halfway point to the season could you give me a top 4 list of players that are in the running for your Minor League Player Of The Year Award?Thanks for your input,Marty.

Jim Callis: Very quickly, off the top of my head and in no particular order: Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, Oscar Taveras, Nick Castellanos, Danny Hultzen, Jose Fernandez. Well, that's six.

    Anderson (DC): Blake Swihart seems to be more on track after a slow start this season. Your assessment? How high is his ceiling?

Jim Callis: Like a lot of young high school players, he took some time to adjust to low Class A. Nothing wrong with that. His ceiling is huge. I'm not saying he'll become this good, but he has the tools to become Buster Posey.

    Josh (West Babylon , New York): Will Lucas Giolito be a top 100 prospect at the beginning of next season? and if so where about would he rank?

Jim Callis: Depends if he's back on the mound and how he looks before we do the Top 100 next February. If Giolito hadn't hurt his elbow this spring, he'd easily rank in the top third of the list.

    Ben (Miamisburg, OH): 8 starts into AA and Tony Cingrani still isn't slowing down. If his slider keeps improving like scoting reports have said, what kind of upside does he have as a starter?

Jim Callis: Cingrani has been a revelation since the Reds took him in the third round last year. If he can get an average slider to go with his plus fastball and solid changeup, he has a ceiling as a No. 2 starter.

    Steve (Orlando,Fl): If Nick Castellanos stays at a corner OF spot for the Tigers, will he be at least a Hunter Pence level offense outfielder?

Jim Callis: Sure. And I still think Castellanos plays third base. He's a much better defensive option than Miguel Cabrera.

    Joe D (Everson, PA): Jim, thanks for the chat. I read your story on Appel and the Pirates today. The bottom line, is Mark Appel talented enough to earn a $6 million bonus? It seems that if he was, a team would have selected him earlier.

Jim Callis: Well, under the old system without draft-pick penalties, I think Appel would have gotten $6 million. The Pirates probably would have paid it to him, given their recent history. Once the Astros passed, it was unlikely he was going to go second or third to the Twins or Mariners, and the new system was going to make it difficult for anyone to give him $6 million. Appel's worth in talent remained constant wherever he was getting drafted, but the ability of a team to pay him diminished as he slid further in the draft.

    Tom (San Francisco, CA): Hi, Jim. I have to say that, as a Jays fan, I'm really pleased with this draft. I realize you're a tad biased in this regard, but would you say that Ryan Borucki is a better investment than Ryan Kellogg at this point? Thanks for all your great work.

Jim Callis: That depends on Borucki's health. If he hadn't hurt his elbow in the spring, he might have been a third-round pick. I also don't know if the $426,000 Borucki signed for would have been enough to pry Kellogg away from his Arizona State commitment. Borucki's bonus was the largest any team paid out after the seventh round.

    John (Ashburn, VA): Jim: Brad Miller's 31 errors as of yesterday - are the Mariners concerned and do they see his defensive struggles as an issue that needs to be corrected before he moves up the ladder? Or is it a non-issue as long as he rakes?

Jim Callis: He had similar issues at Clemson as well. I question whether Miller can stay at shortstop, but if he continues to hit, he'll find a spot in Seattle. It might not come in the middle infield if the Mariners keep Dustin Ackley and Nick Franklin there.

    zach (fuquay-varina): What is your take on Carter Capps? He has a huge fastball what do you see his ceiling is?

Jim Callis: His slider has its moments too, though his calling card is definitely his fastball. His ceiling is closer, though set-up man is a more reasonable expectation.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): What are the odds Addison Russell sticks at SS, and is the bat enough if he has to move?

Jim Callis: He got his body in better shape this spring, selling scouts that he can stay at shortstop. If not, I think he'll hit enough for second or third base.

    Greg (Fullerton, CA): How close was Hunter Virant to signing? Big score for UCLA

Jim Callis: Once the Astros paid Rio Ruiz $1.85 million, they didn't have enough money left in their bonus pool to make a run at Virant, an 11th-round pick we rated as a sandwich-round talent. That was a tremendous pickup for the Bruins.

    Tony (Illinois): With the new draft lottery today , and the picks being tradable , do you think the Cubs may be waiting to trade Dempster to see if a team that gets a pick is willing to include it in a trade ? Tigers or Indians?

Jim Callis: I believe the Cubs would prefer upper-level pitching prospects more than anything. I don't think they're waiting on the lottery today, but I'm sure they'd love to pick up an extra draft choice if possible.

    Ernie (Concord, NH): Jim, What scenario do you see when Jackie Bradley comes up, him playing LF or Ellsbury moving over to leaving and Bradley taking over in CF ? What timetable do you think for Bradley, summer of 2013 ?

Jim Callis: If Bradley keeps hitting like this, he'll be ready by mid-2013. He'd be the best defensive center fielder in Boston, though sometimes a team will defer to the veteran. In either case, Bradley will be a better CF defender than Ellsbury.

    Jared (Las Vegas): Is it possible the Astros can get Shelby Miller or Jacob Turner in a trade for Wandy, or is their stock not down enough?

Jim Callis: I don't see the Cardinals parting with Miller. Turner got bombed yesterday and the Tigers are definitely in win-now mode, so maybe the Astros could get him.

    Alex (Stroudsburg): Where does Ty Hensley fit into the Yankees top 10 prospects?

Jim Callis: Somewhere toward the end of the list, more because of the Yankees' depth than any concern I have over Hensley's shoulder. I thought Hensley was one of the best high school arms in the draft, though some teams didn't love his delivery.

    Jimmy (Columbia, SC): Hey Jim, How about Dan Straily? Where did he come from and is it possible for him to see the majors this year?.

Jim Callis: He was a 24th-round pick out of Marshall who saw his velocity and command improve as he got into better shape in pro ball. If he stays on this roll, no reason he couldn't pitch in Oakland by August or September.

    John (KC): Is it time for Eibner to pitch? How did he rate as a pitching prospect as compared to a position player when drafted?

Jim Callis: Teams were fairly split on whether Eibner should hit or pitch in pro ball, but his preference was to play every day. He topped out at 97 mph and flashed a plus slider at times. He has plenty of power at the plate but swings and misses a lot. He has less than 600 pro at-bats, so I wouldn't pull the plug on him as an outfielder yet. But I'd start to think about it if he doesn't begin to show some improvement next year.

    Yandro (Miami, FL): Suppose the Marlins win a compensation pick from this new draft, and they trade one of their current players before the July 31st deadline. As part of the return they get from the trade, a team offers their new draft compensation pick. Do the Marlins get to pick twice, or do they forfeit one of their picks? If so, do they receive the higher one?

Jim Callis: The Marlins would keep both competitive-balance lottery picks in that scenario.

    Dave (Pittsburgh): Jim, I'm interested in whether you think the views of Josh Vitters have been affected at all by his performance this season. Though it is true that the PCL has a rep as a hitters' league, it is also true that (with Rizzo now in the majors), Vitters is the youngest guy in the PCL with an OPS of over .800, and a goodly number of the two dozen guys with better OPS' are considerably older. Also, he seems to now have a track record of adjusting to new leagues after a slow start. Still, no one — not BA, not ESPN, not anyone else — is even acknowledging that this former top 5 pick who has not yet turned 23 even exists (from a prospect perspective. Is there more to this story that is not obvious to those of us who do not actually see him play?

Jim Callis: Not sure how we don't acknowledge his existence when he ranked No. 9 on our Cubs prospect list coming into the season. Vitters has made some strides this year, but his numbers aren't exceptional for the PCL and he still doesn't walk much. Scouts aren't sold that he can handle third base defensively at the big league level. He's a prospect, but he's not a top prospect and his ceiling is solid regular at best.

    Bill (Bozeman): Where do you see Ryne Stanek stacking up among Friday starters next spring, and among draft-eligible college pitchers in terms of the draft?

Jim Callis: Mark Appel and Stanek are the top two college pitching prospects (maybe the top two prospects overall) for the 2013 draft.

    Jerred G (Elizabethown, pa): Is Charlie Tilson going to play this year? and what do u think of him as a player?

Jim Callis: Tilson, who played at the local high school (New Trier) here in my hometown of Winnetka, Ill., separated his non-throwing shoulder diving for a ball in May and had surgery that will keep him out for the year. He's a good athlete with plus speed and the potential to be an asset in center field and at the top of the order.

    Greg (LA): "worth" is entirely a product of the system. And the system was designed to reduce the power of agents (read "Boras") to push teams to pay more money. System worked fine, as everyone but Appel signed, and teams spent less money than previously.

Jim Callis: I wasn't commenting on the system. But Appel's intrinsic value as a pitcher is the same whether he's drafted No. 1 overall or No. 8 or returns to Stanford. His ability to get paid may change, but his value does not.

    Ian (MPLS): Is Miguel Sano having a disappointing season?

Jim Callis: Not at all. He hasn't maintained his fast start, but he's showing tremendous power in the Midwest League at age 19. We knew coming in that he needed to make more contact and improve his defense, so that shouldn't be a surprise.

    Bryan (Texas): After Luhnow's tremendous draft this year, where does this put the Astros in the discussion of best farm systems?

Jim Callis: The Astros don't have one of baseball's best farm systems. But after their trades last summer and their draft this summer, they're much improved.

    Brandon (Doylestown, PA): Profar or Trout when it is all said and done?

Jim Callis: I think Profar is the best prospect in baseball right now. But I wouldn't take him over Trout. I don't know if there's a single big leaguer whose future I would take right now over Trout's.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the good questions, and I'll see you again next Wednesday. I'm off to update all of our various draft charts now that the Astros have signed seventh-rounder Preston Tucker for $100,000.