Jim Callis Chat: July 26

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Jim Callis: Sorry I'm a couple of minutes late ... Let's jump right in and I'll go long to make up for the delay!

    Bryan (San Francisco): I heard whisperings that Robert Stephenson touched 100mph in game a couple weeks ago (Billings newspaper article). Also heard he has been sitting in the mid to high 90s. Is this true, and if so has he made a huge jump as a prospect? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Stephenson has been putting up big velo numbers. Not sure I'd say he's made a huge jump, because his big arm is what got him drafted in the first round and earned him a $2 million bonus last year.

    Pierre (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada): Where does the Astros farm system stand now? Middle-of-the-pack? Top 10?

Jim Callis: Off the top of my head, without having broken down all of the farm systems, I'm guessing they'd fall in the 10-15 range. All of their recent trades have brought in more quantity than quality, adding depth. Their 2012 draft was very good and added cornerstone guys like Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers Jr.

    Virgil Dahl (Waterloo, Ia): Jim; what are your odds for Mike Trout winning the MVP this year? tks

Jim Callis: If he keeps playing like he has, and the Angels keep winning like they have since promoting him (in stark contrast to how they played without him), he's a strong favorite to win the award. I also could see Robinson Cano winning it.

    Malcolm (San Diego): What are my Pads going to do with their bottleneck at Third Base? Seems Jedd Gyorko is blocked by Chase Headley. Can either one of them move to 2nd Base or the Outfiled? Who gets traded and for what? We seem to have picked up some young pitchers in past trades ( Casey Kelly, Bobby Erlin, etc).

Jim Callis: I'm not really buying Gyorko as a second baseman, though I've always liked the bat. I think this is going to get resolved by Headley getting traded in the next week. Smart move would be to target the best available talent rather than a specific area of need.

    Alex (Santa Rosa, CA): Will you guys be releasing an Updated Top 100 Prospects listing? Seems like fast riser guys like AJ Griffin and Dan Straily are getting lost in the shuffle .......

Jim Callis: We released a midseason Top 50 update. The Top 100 list comes out once a year, every February.

    Bobby D (Fenway Park): With a $175 Million team payroll, do you see the Red Sox as Sellers this time? Or perhaps still Buyers? They have a lot of pressure to keep up with the Yanks but won't be able to without trading for a couple of starting pitchers.

Jim Callis: I don't see them making a big deal — there isn't a single player who can come in and make them a playoff club unless the guys they have on hand (Beckett, Gonzalez, Lester, etc.) play up to their capabilities. I could see them trading guys who have expiring contracts if they can get something worthwhile in return.

    Stu (St. Joseph, MO): Jim, Realistically speaking do Matt Barnes and/or Dylan Bundy have a chance to be in opening day 2013 MLB rotations?

Jim Callis: I think that's unlikely. Mid-2013 would be more realistic and still way ahead of the initial schedule.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Please compare and contrast Carlos Correa and Addison Russell.

Jim Callis: Short version: similar offensive ceilings but Correa has a better chance of sticking at shortstop. No one questions that he's a shortstop, while some wonder if Russell will have to move to third base.

    tom (toronto): Hi JIm, I just wanted to ask where does the Blue Jays minor league system rank compared to Texas. Are they still in the discussion for top 2? THanks

Jim Callis: Those are the top two farm systems in my opinion, and I'd put the Rangers at No. 1. If they swing a big trade in the next few days, that could change.

    Andrew (Montgomery): Josh Rutledge has been mashing since his promotion. If and when Tulo gets healthy, do you think the Rockies will shift him to second or send him down to Triple-A? Clearly he won't supplant Tulo in Colorado, so do the Rockies switch him to the Keystone or attempt to trade him?

Jim Callis: I think they'll move Rutledge to second base, his best position anyway, and trade Scutaro. That would make the most sense.

    Josh (Texas): Which of these trade scenarios for Chase Headley seems more realistic? Pirates deal Taillon and Marte or Yankees deal Sanchez and Williams? Or am I just dillusional?

Jim Callis: Delusional. Headley isn't bringing those kind of packages back in a trade.

    Esteban Edul (Chicago): Who is the player you like the most early on for the 2013 draft?

Jim Callis: Stanford RHP Mark Appel. If you make me pick a guy who wasn't eligible for the 2012 draft, then Arkansas RHP Ryne Stanek.

    Ron (Fairfield, CA): With Oscar Taveras amazing slash line of .330/19/75, a league leading .593 slugging percentage and just 48 strikeouts in 361 at bats this year in AA at the age of 19-20 is he the front runner for Minor League Player of the Year now that Wil Myers and Jurickson Profar have slowed some lately ? Seems with those numbers and his age Taveras should be the clear-cut guy right now. He is nearly 2 years younger than Myers with half the strikeouts and his worst month of the year in May is Profar's average for the season.

Jim Callis: I have to admit, I don't usually think about these things until I get these questions, but it's a good question ... Right now, if I was picking a MLPOY, I'd go with Myers over Taveras. Still another month to change my mind though.

    Danny (Dallas, TX): Who wins the American League wild card spots?

Jim Callis: Angels, Rays.

    Joe (Miami): How have the Marlins done in the 2 trades so far? Will Turner, Eovaldi, and Brantly make an impact in the majors next season?

Jim Callis: They did fine, though Turner's scouting reports aren't as glowing now as they were a couple of years ago. He's less overpowering, kind of the same thing that happened with Rick Porcello and the Tigers. Eovaldi may be better suited to be a reliever than a starter. Brantly can be a big league regular behind the plate.

    Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat! Higher ceiling, Christian Yelich or Brian Goodwin?

Jim Callis: I'm going to say Yelich because I think his bat is that much better.

    Jared (Las Vegas): I keep seeing mixed reviews about Colton Cain. Some people like his stuff and some say he is nothing more than Minor League Depth. What should expectations be?

Jim Callis: He signed for an eighth-round record $1.125 million in 2009, throws in the low 90s, still developing his command and secondary pitches and hasn't blown lower-level minor league hitters away. He's a prospect but not a frontline guy.

    Jared (Las Vegas): Lunhow came out and said the PTBNL in the White Sox deal will be a significant piece. What caliber of player would we expect considering the money we sent and what we already received?

Jim Callis: There aren't a lot of significant pieces in the White Sox system, but it makes sense that the PTBN will be of value because the other two players (Heidenreich, Walters) in the Brett Myers deal are fringy. I really don't have any clue who it might be, though.

    John (Boston): What is the ceiling of Javier Baez? Are there any questions about his strike zone discipline?

Jim Callis: Huge ceiling. He has a big-time bat and has played a better shortstop than expected, to the point where he might be able to stay there. His biggest need right now is to tone down his approach at the plate, though it's hard to argue with the results.

    Jason (Austin): What about hitters? Stick a fork in which hitter? Aaron Hicks, Tim Beckham, Lars Anderson.

Jim Callis: Hicks actually has gotten his bat going in Double-A, so it's not him (though he's striking out too much). Anderson is in a holding pattern in Triple-A. Beckham is still just 22, but I'm not sold on his bat or his ability to play shortstop. Hicks is the only one of these three guys whom I can get enthused about.

    Christopher (MA): I always hear prospect experts say that Xander Bogaerts will not play SS at the major league level but they never go into detail as to why. Can you explain why he will need to move off SS and where he will likely end up?

Jim Callis: He's reasonably athletic but he's big, 6-foot-3 already, and once he fills out he probably won't be quick enough for shortstop. He moves well, so third base and right field are good fits.

    Chuck (Wichita): Vertura or Zimmer as Royals top pitching prospect?

Jim Callis: Zimmer. Still believe there's a good chance Ventura winds up as a late-inning reliever.

    John (Ashburn, VA): D.J. Mitchell - future brighter in the Mariners organization?

Jim Callis: May be easier for him to stay in the majors, but he's still going to be a middle reliever.

    Joe (Minn): You always seemed the most optimistic about Kyle Gibson being more than "just" a middle of the rotation type. What are you hearing about his rehab? Does he start next year in the Twins rotation?

Jim Callis: I do drive the Gibson bandwagon. His rehab is going well, but opening next year in the Twins rotation would be a stretch. If he's in the rotation by the end of the year, that would be a reasonable goal.

    Mick (Chicago): The Rangers really need a #1 and the Brewers need a long term solution at short. Will they give up Profar to get Greinke? I would think the Brewers couldn't do better than that.

Jim Callis: I agree, don't think you could do better than getting Profar in a trade. But everything I've heard makes it seem like the Rangers won't give up Profar. Mike Olt wouldn't be a bad way to start a trade package, though . . .

    Logan (Collingswood, NJ): Why do people say the Phils gutted their farm system? Of the guys they traded NONE of the prospects have made any impact yet. Gose, D'Arnaud, Singleton, & Cosart for Halladay, Oswalt, Lee, & Pence seems like a good deal to me. The others, (Drabek, Taylor, Marson, Donald, Carrasco, et al) have done nothing. Am I correct?

Jim Callis: Those prospects might not have made an impact yet, but the Phillies did give up a lot of talent. I do agree that it's hard not to like what they've gotten out of the guys they've acquired, though.

    Matt C (Ankeny, IA): Is Dillon Maples hurt? Cubs #1 prospect if you wrote the Top 10 today - Baez or Soler? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Maples tweaked his elbow earlier in the year and the Cubs have exercised extreme caution. I'd have Baez No. 1 . . . don't forget about Almora, either.

    Steven Alengakis (NYC): Hi Jim, Mark Montgomery has been great, but how good a prospect is he? Does he look like he could be a top 15-20 prospect in the Yankes system even though he is a reliever?

Jim Callis: He's legit. Guys just don't hit his slider, and his fastball is a solid second pitch. He was No. 23 on our Yankees Top 30 last year, and he'll definitely move up. And I'm betting he won't qualify for the 2014 Prospect Handbook because he'll lose his rookie eligibility in 2013.

    Starling Marte (Steel City): Do you believe I'm ready for the show, Jim?

Jim Callis: I do, and I'd put you in left field ahead of Alex Presley.

    Benny (Cincy): Oh, great prognosticator. How many steals do you see B-Ham finishing the year with? Thanks.

Jim Callis: 146, so he breaks the minor league SB record held by Vince Coleman by one.

    Jerry (Milwaukee): Cody Buckel and Mike Olt for Zack Greinke - who says no, if anyone?

Jim Callis: I could see that happening. As I mentioned earlier, I don't think the Rangers want to give up Profar, but I could see them sacrificing Olt to bring in a significant piece.

    Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Jim, thanks for the chat! Higher upside, Matt Barnes or Kyle Zimmer? Does Zimmer throw harder than Barnes? Zimmer has a better breaking ball than Barnes, right?

Jim Callis: I actually think their upsides, fastballs and breaking balls are extremely comparable. Where they went in the draft (19th overall for Barnes in 2011, 5th overall for Zimmer this year) was more reflective of the talent in their drafts than their ability.

    Dan (Galveston): Where does Robbie Grossman slot in the Astros top 10? Does he look to stick in CF or is his ceiling a good 4th outfielder?

Jim Callis: Not an Astros Top 10 guy for me, more of a fourth outfielder. Now instead of Pirates fans getting mad when I say that, I can infuriate Astros fans.

    Craig (DC): Settle an argument: What is Rudy Owens ceiling?

Jim Callis: No. 4 or 5 starter.

    Marc (Edmonton): Better future at 2B, Rosario (MIN) or Colon (KC)?

Jim Callis: Rosario.

    Jared (New Jersey): Do you view Mason Williams as a top 25 prospect? Would you rank him ahead of teammate Gary Sanchez?

Jim Callis: If he's not, he's close. Him versus Sanchez comes down to whether you're sold on Sanchez as a catcher. I'm not completely, so I'd lean toward Williams.

    Ron (Chatham, ON): Under what conditions should a prospect be considered off-limits in trade talks? Or, do you feel that there should be no such thing as an untouchable prospect?

Jim Callis: The latter. No one should be untouchable in the right trade. That said, an elite prospect is worth so much potentially compared to his pre-free-agency salaries, I'd hate to trade one.

    Bryant (San Diego): Jayson Stark reported that the Padres were looking for a package similar to the Mat Latos deal for Chase Headley. A couple questions from this: first, is that an unrealistic expectation & merely GM gamesmanship? How does Jedd Gyorko's ceiling compare to Headley's current production? And, would the Padres benefit more from both in the same lineup with Gyorko at 2B & Headley at 3B? Thanks in advance.

Jim Callis: I think that's unrealistic. It's a lot harder to find quality starting pitching, which is why Latos commanded so much. If I were the Padres, I'd hope to get that much for Headley but I don't see it happening. I think Gyorko could provide as much or more offense than Headley, but he can't really be a big league second baseman.

    Andrew (Montgomery): Was it a blessing in disguise that Dempster wouldn't waive his 10 and 5 rights to go to the Braves? Delgado was a bit of an overpay, right?

Jim Callis: That was my gut feeling, yes. Dempster is having a great year, but my first reaction was surprise that the Braves would part with Delgado to get him.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the good questions, as usual. See you again next week!