Jim Callis Chat: Aug. 1

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Jim Callis: Hi, everyone. After the trade deadline yesterday, I'm sure we'll have a lot of related questions. But feel free to hit me up on any subject.

    Mike (Denver): Hi Jim. What are your thoughts on the return for Ryan Dempster (specifically Christian Villaneuva)? Where would he and Arodys Vizcaino fall in the Cubs Top 10 prospects? Thanks.

Jim Callis: Getting Randall Delgado from the Braves for Dempster would have been better, but I like Villanueva. He's a very toolsy third baseman. I think both he and Vizcaino would fit in the 5-7 range on a Cubs Top 10.

    George (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada): Do you feel that Travis Snider was never given a chance to establish himself as an everyday player with the Jays, or is he just not that good?

Jim Callis: He got 917 plate appearances in Toronto, but he never got rolling like he did in the minors. I still think he's better than he has shown, and I believe he'll help Pittsburgh's offense.

    Big Dave (AR): Jacob Brigham...is he a guy that can be a K per inning starter at the big league level?

Jim Callis: I don't see it. He's not quite doing that in Double-A this year and I think he profiles more as a reliever in the majors. He has average stuff now, though he touched some 97s a couple of years ago.

    Greg (Ohio): Jim I'm concerned that Reds did not do enough at the deadline. While I believe Reds can win the NL central with the current roster, could/ should they have done more to improve the production from the 2 guys that hit infront of Joey Votto to win post-season?

Jim Callis: Sure, the Reds could have used some more offense at the top of their lineup. But doesn't it boil down to what that would have cost them? I assume they tried to improve in that regard but didn't like the price tag.

    Jake (Chicago, IL): Hi Jim, thanks for the great weekly chats! Who do you like best long-term as the Mariners closer, Wilhemsen, Pryor, or Capps?

Jim Callis: I'll give Wilhelmsen the nod because he's getting the job done in the major leagues. After him, I'd take Capps over Pryor because he throws more strikes. All three of those guys have the requisite arm strength.

    Greg (ohio): do you see Matt Dominguez getting a chance in Houston for 2012/2013? I know he can't hit but doesn't that defense deserve a chance?

Jim Callis: I do. I'm not convinced he'll do enough with the bat, but it's not like Scott Moore is the answer at third base for the Astros either.

    Harvey (Scituate, MA): The Cubs have had a black-hole at C for a couple years now. Does the trade of Soto portend good things for Welington Castillo? He's always had good pop for a catching prospect. In a platoon with Clevenger, I see him eventually emerging on top.

Jim Callis: I think it portends more that the Cubs didn't want to pay a declining Soto $5 million or so next year. Castillo and Clevenger should both get a chance at some regular playing time, with Castillo having the better chance to be the regular.

    skinnyjh (Greenville Drive country): How close were any of the competitive balance picks to making your Top 10 "players" traded list?

Jim Callis: I actually thought about including those picks but decided to focus on players. The No. 33 pick the Pirates sent to the Marlins will carry a value of more than $1.5 million, so that's a very valuable commodity.

    Rich (NJ): Is Joseph ahead of Valle at this point in the Phils fuiture plans?

Jim Callis: I'd rank Joseph as the Phillies' top prospect, so in my mind, he should be.

    Piazza's Handlebar Stache (Bronx, NY): Is Rafael Montero a legit prospect? 14Ks last night with 0 walks in 6 innings. Only 16 walks allowed in over 114 IP all season, and his strikeout rate has improved since being promoted to High A. How do scouts feel about him?

Jim Callis: He is legit. He throws in the low 90s and touches 95, has a solid slider and shows some promise with his changeup.

    Joel (KCK): At this pace, is there any possible way that Trout doesn't win ROTY and MVP along with the batting title?

Jim Callis: Rookie of the Year is a lock. While it's too early to say he has the MVP and batting title sewn up, he's a strong favorite for both of those too.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): How confident are you that Lars Anderson will enjoy more success in the majors than his Columbus teammate Matt LaPorta?

Jim Callis: I don't see either as a regular on a contender, so I think the difference between the two is negligible.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How does Zack Cox compare to Matt Dominguez? I'm curious if you think he's an upgrade for Miami.

Jim Callis: I do like Cox more and I've always been one of his bigger supporters. I still think he can hit for a high average with average power, say .280 with 15 homers and a bunch of doubles. He got off to a horrible start this year, then got hurt and has hit better since. Dominguez is a much better defender, but I don't believe in his bat. If you could combine their strengths into one player, he'd be pretty good.

    Andrew (Washington, DC): Now that Anthony Rendon is healthy and playing again, do you think he can still be an elite prospect?

Jim Callis: Speaking of players whose bandwagons I drive . . . Yes. I'll admit to being more concerned about his health now, but I don't see any reason he can't be an elite hitter and a good defender.

    Ballboy (watercoller): What are the chances that the Astros give Grossman more than the September call-up? His stats, albeit in AA, are better than any of the Houston OF starters, and he gets on base. What do you think his future is with his new (soon to be) American League club?

Jim Callis: Not sure what the Astros' planned ETA is, but their outfield is terrible and he'll get every chance to win a regular job going forward.

    Chris (Toronto): The Blue Jays Lansing trio of Sanchez, Syndergaard and Niccolino have been tearing up Low-A this season, do you see any or all of them being ready for AA next season?

Jim Callis: Maybe by midseason, but I don't see the Jays skipping any of those guys past high Class A.

    SJ (Colorado): How do you feel about Josh Rutledge as Rockies 2B going forward?

Jim Callis: The 1.076 OPS isn't going to last, but I can see him making a solid offensive second baseman. I thought his Cal League breakout was fueled by the hitting environment there, but he has kept the momentum going forward this year.

    Disgruntled Rays Fan (Limbo): Jim, I could not be more angry that yet ANOTHER July has passed, and Friedman's silence was absolutely deafening as the deadline came and gone. Could you give us some speculation as to what's rattling around in his head? Is he simply demanding too much for his better guys (i.e. Shields, who is NOT the guy he was at this time last year), or is he overconfident in the team that he has? I must be missing those World Series rings his guys are currently wearing. Thanks for letting me vent. Any insight?

Jim Callis: Well, the Rays are contending again and keeping Shields may help them to another postseason berth. They can still trade him in the offseason for a nice haul if they want. Why deal him now if you don't get a package that blows you away?

    Bobby (Birmingham): I know the Pioneer League is a hitter's league, but how impressive has David Dahl been? Hitting .370 and playing CF as an 18 year old is not normal right? Thanks!

Jim Callis: Correct on both counts. Pioneer League statistics don't mean much, but Dahl's performance has been outstanding.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): I'm curious who you'll be watching out for in Chicago, for the upcoming UA game?

Jim Callis: Austin Meadows, Clint Frazier, Oscar Mercado among the hitters. Trey Ball among the pitchers.

    Bryce (Sunnyvale, CA): Adam Eaton has done nothing but hit since the time he was drafted. I know his size is a big knock on him in the industry, but what are your thoughts on him?

Jim Callis: I like him as a sleeper out of Miami (Ohio) when I was writing up our Midwest draft reports in 2010. He showed good tools then, though his 5-foot-8 frame relegated him to the 19th round. At every level he's played at in pro ball, he has shown a plus bat, speed and defensive skills to go with some gap power. I don't think he'll maintain his .353 average in the minors at the next level, but he has a shot to be a regular in the majors. If not, he'd make a good fourth outfielder.

    Ben (Miamisburg,OH): Are you surprised how well Billy Hamilton's hitting and plate discipline has translated from High A to AA?

Jim Callis: Not really, from the standpoint that he made tremendous strides from the first half to the second half in the Midwest League last year.

    Ben (Arlington): Ok, Nick Williams 4-4 yesterday. What do you think of this guy?

Jim Callis: There's no question Williams had one of the higher ceilings in the 2012 draft. Scouts didn't think his skills matched his raw tools, so he lasted until the second round. If he can make consistent contact and add a lot of polish, he can be a star.

    Jon (Tulsa): I've seen widely-varying positions on the Braves-Cubs deal. Some think Vizcaino was too high a price for 1 1/3 years of Maholm and 2 months of Johnson. Others think he is destined to be a reliever and is rehabbing from TJ surgery, so it made a lot of sense for the Braves. I fall in the latter camp (though I don't like seeing Vizcaino go), but what are your thoughts?

Jim Callis: I can see where both sides are coming from. The Braves get two complementary players who can help them for a guy who wouldn't have helped them much if at all before 2014. Vizcaino doesn't have a history of durability. On the other hand, the Cubs get a high-upside guy who was untouchable in trade talks a year ago for two guys who don't figure in their long-term plans. Makes sense to me.

    Pops (Houston): I see some people bashing the Astros for picking up "average" prospects in their deals. However, I believe Lunhow did a great job adding depth to the system, especially considering he didn't have any great commodities to sell. How do you think Lunhow and the Astros did?

Jim Callis: The Astros did add more quantity than quality, but there's nothing wrong with that. Look at who they traded: Carlos Lee, J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon, David Carpenter, Wandy Rodriguez, Brett Myers, Chris Johnson. Those guys weren't going to bring back elite prospects.

    Josh (West Babylon , New York): Thoughts on Aaron Sanchez? Ceiling?

Jim Callis: Still needs polish and time to develop, but he has a huge ceiling. Could be a No. 1 starter if it all comes together.

    FS (MD): Did Nationals need to make any dramatic moves this past deadline to win the division?

Jim Callis: No. They're still the best team in the NL East, and they're 2.5 games up on the only team that can catch them, the Braves.

    Lupe (Benicia, CA): After the A's missed out on Hanley and failed to upgrade at Shortstop at the trade deadline, do you think they'll finally give Grant Green a shot at staying at SS? What do you think of him?

Jim Callis: I keep waiting for his bat to get going—I always thought there's more offense in him than he's shown. But he's not a shortstop at the big league level. I'd try him at third base.

    TexAg (CS): Can you rank the 13 new prospects the Astros got from their deals. Including: Dominguez, Rasmussen, Musgrove, Wojo, Rollins, Perez, Heidenreich, Walters, Grossman, Cain, Owens, Borchering, and Krauss.

Jim Callis: Not in this space, but if you send that question to askba@baseballamerica.com with your name and hometown, I might take a crack at it for Monday's column.

    Mountaineer34 (Nowhere): Singleton, Santana, Cosart, and Zied were a much better return than Scheirholz, Joseph, and Cosins right? If you're a Phillies fan how mad are you that you gave up those prospects for about a year of Pence?

Jim Callis: Yes, the Phillies gave up a lot more than they got for Pence. I'm not sure why they felt compelled to trade him now.

    zach (Fuquay-Varina): Baseball now has two trades involving draft picks, Do you see baseball making all draft picks tradeable?

Jim Callis: I don't because I don't think there's a lot of agreement on whether it's good or bad. Allowing competitive-balance picks to be traded is kind of a trial. But for every person in baseball who thinks trading draft picks would be good and give teams added flexibility, there's another who thinks it would be bad and allow players and agents to dictate exactly where they want to go. For instance, what if Bryce Harper was so determine to be a Yankees that he would have forced the Nationals to trade the No. 1 pick in 2010 to New York?

    Matt (NJ): gut call: Any phillies in the top 100 next spring?

Jim Callis: Tommy Joseph is the closest thing to a lock, and I'm not sure he's a lock.

    Dave (DC): Who would you rather have if you were the Cubs, the higher ceiling, but risky Vizcaino, or the lower ceiling but Major League Ready Delgado?

Jim Callis: Delgado, because of the better health and better chance to be a starter.

    Duke (Toronto ON): Very pleased to read Marcus Stroman's Twitter account this morning, in which he says he was just promoted to AA New Hampshire. Do you believe he will get a cup of coffee, come September?

Jim Callis: Maybe, but only if the Jays are actually in contention. No reason to promote him otherwise.

    Brian (DC): You imply that the Phillies have gotten more for Pence later? Did they make a good deal or a bad one?

Jim Callis: I would have kept him. If you had to trade him, and that was the best you could do, why not wait until the offseason when teams will have more flexibility and you might have gotten more?

    Matt (NJ): Thoughts on Cody Asche?

Jim Callis: Good lefthanded power, solid bat, gets the job done defensively. Chance to be a big league regular.

Jim Callis: Thanks for all the good questions, as always. I'll be back to take more next Wednesday. See you then!