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December 30, 7:01 AM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

Sorry I missed last week's chat. I was wrapping Christmas presents (and watching "Happy Gilmore") and lost track of time. But I didn't forget this week . . .

M Kantar (Marlborough, MA)

Hi Jim, I have actually pre ordered a copy of the 2009 Prospect Handbook. I did have one question about where would the Red Sox farm system rank in MLB, about #9 overall?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

The Handbook is off at the printer's and should be back in mid-January. I won't give away all of our farm system rankings--and we will update them again in spring training after more trades are made--but I will tell you that the Red Sox system ranked 13th.

Brendan, NY

Any idea what the Cubs may or may not be doing with these pitchers they just got from Cleveland for DeRosa?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

The Cubs just flipped DeRosa for Jeff Stevens, John Gaub and Chris Archer. This looks like the prelude to another deal, possibly for Jake Peavy. They're on the verge of dealing Jason Marquis to the Rockies, clearing his salary, something else they wanted to do before getting Peavy. My guess is some or all of those pitchers go to San Diego with Josh Vitters and others (Kevin Hart?) for Peavy. They're about to sign (it may be official) Aaron Miles to fill in at second base, too.

Doug (NY)

Since you can't give away the Sox ranking without their heated rivals, yankees please. thanks!

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

OK, that seems fair enough. The Yankees ranked 15th.

Kevin (Pittsfield, MA)

How does a rumor like the Hanley for Buchholz/Ellsbury become public? Do you think one of the teams floated this to show availability of these players?

Jim Callis
  (2:13 PM)

That, or by one of the teams to show they're trying to make moves.

Andrew(Philly)

Was it necessary to take 2 weeks off before giving us the Phillies top 10. C'mon, we're the World Series Champions. Couldn't you have stopped before the Nationals. How about a little hint. Who is prospect #11?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

Prospect No. 11 for the Phillies? LHP Antonio Bastardo.

Polly, Montgomery AL

So, what's your New Year's resolution, Jim?

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

To be more patient with my wife and kids, and to do a better job of getting stuff done in advance of deadlines.

Tom (Arlington, MA)

In light of the Yanks, does MLB need to re-visit draft pick compensation? Why are the compensation picks for the Yanks not signing Cole/Bleich/Bittle not allowed to be transferred to MIL or TOR? Do you think that Cashman had this Free Agent spree in mind when he was negotiating with the picks? Certainly, being able to sign the Big 3 while not losing a years worth of talent infusion, via the draft, is of great benefit to the Yankees.

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

The Yankees did sign Bleich. The Cole and Bittle negotiations had nothing to do with the free-agent spree. They wanted to sign Cole, whom they felt was a steal at No. 28, but he decided not to at the last second. They wanted to sign Bittle, but his shoulder worried them. I don't think free-agent compensation works as much of a deterrent or provides enough compensation in most cases. If it didn't exist, I'm not sure the union would have a right to approve draft rules, and there would be nothing in the CBA tied to the draft, so MLB may very well wish for free-agent compensation to go away completely. I don't think there's any perfect solution that would seem fair to the teams losing big-time free agents. One change they should make is that the supplemental first-round picks awarded for losing Type A or B free agents should be awarded on a net basis. If a team signs a Type B and loses a Type B, for instance, I wouldn't give them a sandwich pick.

KO (Pittsfield, MA)

Who will hit 30 HR in a season first: BJ Upton, Justin Upton, Delmon Young, Matt Wieters, or Alex Gordon?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

B.J. Upton.

Gavin (Berkshire County)

Do you think we see Harden pitch through pain to throw 200 innings and the land his first and probably only monster contract in 2010?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

I'll take the under on Rich Harden pitching 200 innings in any season.

Zac (Flemington, NJ)

What do you know about Edgar Garcia? The Phillies continue to promote him aggresively, and he has always been very young for his league, yet his numbers have been pedestrian. Any thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Promising young arm but not real polished yet. He needs a year to catch his breath, and then he might turn into a pretty decent prospect.

Keith (Millis, MA)

Does Manny end up with less than the $20 million per he would have had with the club options?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

If there's any justice, yes. But Scott Boras is a master of always being able to pull something out of his hat, and I don't think Ramirez is going to get less than the two years and $40 million worth of options on his previous contract.

Henry (Milwaukee)

Is it worth the time for the Brewers to try Lawrie behind the plate? In your draft preview, it was noted that he lacks the "temperament" for it and his bat may be too advanced for him to be slowed by catching.

Stu (Dallas, Tx)

Hey Jim, a group of us are having a huge argument over the Rangers and A's prospects. Which one right now would you take head to head? Also, which out of Cahill/Anderson or Feliz/Holland would you take?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

Anderson/Cahill.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

According to a recent article by Derrick Goold in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, you declared the Cardinals as having the 8th best overall farm system for 2009. What would you attribute this rise since last year to, and what positions do they need help in most?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

That was our consensus ranking in the Handbook. As I told Derrick, outside of the very best and worst organizations, I'm never sure how they're going to stack up until I sit down and start comparing them to each other. The Cardinals at No. 8 surprised me a little. I like Rasmus and Wallace a lot, but their system is more impressive for its depth than its top-end talent. I'm not the biggest Bryan Anderson fan, so their catching doesn't blow me away, though obviously a lot of teams lack catching prospects.

Greg (KC)

Jim, why have the Royals not tried Moustakas behind the plate since he played there some in high school? Isn't it worth a try?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

The problem is that if you do that, you're really going to slow down his ETA to the big leagues. There's no guarantee he can make it as a catcher--though the idea does intrigue scouts--and there's little doubt that he has the power to play on an infield or outfield corner. So rather than slow him down, they'll expedite his bat.

Don (Nashua, NH)

Seems like there are always lots of pitching questions...How would you rank the Top 5 Offensive Prospects for this upcoming season? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:34 PM)

The top five position-player prospects, for me, are Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez, Colby Rasmus, Buster Posey and Tim Beckham.

robert salem NC

Mr callis of the 3 guys the cubs got back in return from Cleveland in the Derosa trade not one of them was ranked on HQ's or Sickels list of Indian prospects and on top of that none of them even got honorable mentioned.. so who are they?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

That's why you need to buy the Prospect Handbook--Jeff Stevens is No. 19 and John Gaub is No. 29 on our Top 30, so you can read all about them there. Stevens is a big-league ready reliever with a plus fastball and deceptive delivery. Gaub is a low-90s lefty who would have been an early pick in the 2006 draft had he not been hurt at Minnesota. Archer was a fifth-round pick in 2006, who has a good arm but is still raw.

Zac (Flemington, NJ)

Have any insight on Julian Sampson? He was supposed to have nice stuff coming out of HS, yet his k-rate was alarmingly low this year in A ball. What does he throw and how does it grade out? What kind of ceiling does he have? Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

I still like him. He's more of a groundball guy than a strikeout guy right now, but he has a nice sinker. He just needs to refine his slider and changeup.

Ryan (NS)

Jim, How does the Blue Jays system stack up with the others in the AL East?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

We ranked the Jays 17th--but that makes them the fifth-best system in the AL East. That's just a tough division all the way around.

Jon (LA)

Can you discuss the relative merits of Caddyshack and Happy Gilmore?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Happy Gilmore is entertaining, but Caddyshack is on a whole other level. That's like the different between a solid regular and a Hall of Famer.

Jon (Denver)

What's your take on the Mike Shanahan firing?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

I thought it was time, honestly. He's had total control of the football operation, and they've won, what, one playoff game in 10 years? Their defense is atrocious and they totally collapsed down the stretch. Time for a change.

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Let's head to the lightning round . . .

Mike (Chicago)

Fontenot or Miles as Cubs opening day 2B? Milton Bradley in RF with a Fukodome/Johnson platoon in CF?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Fontenot at second for me. That's what the outfield is looking like.

dan san jose

hi jim, 5 years from now, do you want posey, alvarez, or alonso for your franchise ?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Alvarez. Though I'm tempted by Posey because catchers are so hard to find.

Pete (Philly)

Michael Taylor of Dominic Brown?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Brown.

Mark Citrone (Natick, MA)

The Red Sox are 13th? Weren't they in the top 5 recently? Why the change?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

They graduated Buchholz, Ellsbury, Masterson and Lowrie--four of their top five prospects--to the majors last year. They have a lot of high-upside talent and could bounce back quickly as it advances through the system.

Paul (CT)

If he was signed, where might have Josh Fields been slotted on your Mariners list? Did he make the book anyway (perhaps at the back of the book?)

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

No. 6, though I'd submit that the order of the Mariners' top prospects is pretty interchangeable. You do get a Fields scouting report in an appendix at the back of the Handbook.

jim (canton)

top 5 teams you get questions for?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Hmmm. Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs have to be the top three. The other two vary.

Scott (Philadelphia)

Golson or Mayberry Jr.?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

I don't love either. Golson's tools are exciting, but his instincts are not good. I wouldn't really want to have to count on either guy. I guess Mayberry if I had to pick.

Brandon (Chesterton)

I think giving up Derosa will come back to bite the Cubs, don't you? He was the glue to the team in the regular season. Although I'm more concerned about the postseason.

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

I agree. His ability to play all over the diamond and produce offensively will be missed.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

Is there a scouting report for Aaron Crow at the back of the Handbook as well?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Nope. There's no chance of him signing before the draft, so no scouting report.

Doug (NY)

Brackman or Betances?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Brackman.

Greg (KC)

True or False? Aaron Miles is a bad Mark Derosa.

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

False. Nowhere near as much power or versatility.

Jay (Hartford)

Lambo with the Dodgers. What chance do you give him to be an impact bat in the Majors in the next 3-4 years?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

I think I like him a little more than most--I believe in the bat. I think he can become a very good big league hitter.

Doug (NY)

okay, can you please rank: Joba, Hughes, Brackman, Betances

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

That order works for me.

Rich Philly

Where will Crow get drafted?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Probably around the same place. It's easy to showcase a pitcher in indy ball, so he'll look pretty good. The pitching is a little deeper this year, but I suspect he'll go around No. 9 again.

Jim (Houston, TX)

Worst system has to be the 'Stros, right?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Yes.

Rich Philly

Any chance that any prospects try and copy Pedro Alverez's negotiation tatics in the draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Can't really copy them. And let's be clear--the Pirates signed him after the deadline, which is against MLB rules.

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

I misspoke on the Blue Jays earlier--we have them ranked 19th, not 17th.

Nathan, KY

K Law had Heyward as the # 1 braves prospect, but BA has Hanson. Why Hanson over Heyward?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

You can argue that one either way. Hanson looked electric in the AFL and has proven himself at a higher level, so that made the difference for us.

Marcos( miami, fl )

Maybin or Rasmus ? who's better long term?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Rasmus. Maybin strikes out a ton, which concerns me.

JR (Vegas)

Oklahoma or Florida?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

As an SEC loyalist, I'll say Florida.

Greg (KC)

Who would you compare the skill sets of Moustakas and Hosmer to at the major league level?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I think Hosmer does it a little easier with the bat, so as much as I like Moustakas, I think Hosmer will hit for a higher average with a little more power. When they're both in the majors, I think Hosmer may be the better athlete, too.

Doug (NY)

Would you move Montero off of catcher now, so he can learn his ultimate position sooner?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

No, I'd try to make catching work. If he moves, he moves to first base, which won't require a lot of time to pick up.

Aubrey (Houston)

You'd rather be seeing Florida vs. Texas though, wouldn't you?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

I'd rather be seeing a college football playoff. And most of all, I'd rather be seeing a Georgia team that played up to its talent and didn't underachieve this year.

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

I've got to run now. Happy New Year to everyone and I'll see you next week.