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February 20, 1:10 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

Hi, everyone. We have actual spring-training games being played, so that must mean spring is near.

Jimbo- Staten Island

Hey is Pat Venditte, you know the Yankees prospect that can pitch lefty and righty, a real prospect? Or is he just some very talent and fun to watch guy that will never make the majors? Do you ever project him pitching in the bronx?

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

He has some talent, but he's not a huge prospect and will have to prove himself every step of the way. His stuff is fringy from the right side and he works from a low arm angle from the left side. He's a great story, and it's hard not to root for him.

Chuck (Long Beach, NY)

Is Jack reaching the decline phase of his career? How does he let some random DC Police Officer transport *** *** *** to FBI Headquarters?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

I deleted the item in question so I wouldn't spoil it for everyone, but I too thought that was amazingly trusting of Jack.

Kevin (Livingston, NJ)

What should we expect from Luke Hochevar this season?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

Not a whole lot. Hochevar hasn't missed many bats in the majors and I don't see him making a quantum leap forward. While Hochevar was talented, most teams were stunned when the Royals took him first overall in 2006, and his stuff has regressed a little bit. I don't think he's the most mentally tough pitcher either.

Vik (Chicago)

Who do you think will win 2b for the Whitesox and who would you like to see there? Chris Getz, Lillibridge or Nix?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

None of those options blows me away, but I like Lillibridge the best of him. If his wrist is healthy, I think Getz is the slight frontrunner.

Chris (Madison, WI)

Brett Lowrie has shifted to 2b. Comments?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

I was disappointed to see that, honestly. Lawrie would have more value at catcher, and I lost a little bit of love for him when he decided he'd rather play second base than try to beat out Angel Salome and Jonathan Lucroy to be Milwaukee's catcher of the future. Come on, those guys aren't can't-miss players. Lawrie had a reputation for being indifferent about his defense before the draft, and one of the things that sold the Brewers on him was his willingness to work at catching. Oh well. I do like the bat, though.

Alex NY, NY

Recently I found a few blogs on the internet breaking down Stephen Strasburg?s pitching mechanics. The jury is pretty much split. One source says that Strasburg?s mechanics are deeply flawed and that he is destined to have a short, injury riddled career. Another blog said almost the complete opposite?that Strasburg has displayed mechanics that are as sound as one could ever dream of from a collegiate pitcher. However, both sources cited that Strasburg has sown the dreaded ?inverted W? that doomed Mark Prior. I?m wondering if you guys could please set the record straight? What?s the verdict? Are scouts concerned about Strasburg?s mechanics? Have you heard anything about this?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

I've talked to a lot of scouts about Strasburg, and no one has brought up mechanical concerns. Here's the thing about mechanics--it's great if someone has dream or textbook mechanics, but we still don't know why pitchers get hurt. Prior was supposed to have a picture-perfect delivery, and he couldn't stay healthy. Tim Lincecum has unorthodox mechanics, but they work great for him. I don't profess to be an expert on mechanics, but if a guy repeats his delivery without putting a lot of stress on his elbow or shoulder, who cares if it's perfect.

Frank, chicago

Mr. Callis, what kind of prospect is Trevor Harden?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

There are a lot of Trevor Harden and Pat Venditte questions today . . . Harden might have wound up as Miami's closer if he hadn't signed with ARizona. He had a great debut and has a plus fastball and a promising slider. I think he's a reliever in the long run.

Kevin (San Diego)

Chances Strasburg falls to the Pads at #3? 1 in 100? 1000?

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

I can't see it happening. If Strasburg's demands are so exhorbitant that he scares off the Nationals and Mariners, I think he'd scare off the Padres as well. I'd be very surprised, as of now, if the Nats didn't take him. But if they pass, I bet the Mariners meet his price.

Brendan (PA)

Hey Jim, what's your thoughts on Kyle Drabek?

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

I think he will bounce back strong in 2009 and am eager to see what he can do.

Chris (San Diego)

Do the Rangers have a shot at the AL west crown this year. I know the pitching isn't predicted to do muich this year but the Offense is a bright spot.

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

It may not take more than 85 wins to take the AL West. The Rangers look like the third-best team, behind the Rangers and Athletics, to me, but they do have a ton of talent in their farm system. If a couple of pitchers jump up to the majors and exceed 2009 expectations, they could win it this year. I think 2010-11 is more realistic, though.

John (Kentucky)

Who stole the most bases in the Minor Leagues last year. I have Elvis Andrus' 54 as the highest number of steals I have seen yet.

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Asheville infielder Everth Cabrera, with 73. He was Rockies property at the time, and the Padres took him in the major league Rule 5 draft.

Jordan(Windsor)

I also have to ask, Daniel Bard in and Matt Moore out? I'm a die hard Sox fan but that seems a bit crazy to me.

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

Jordan is referring to our Top 100 Prospects list, which is up live at baseballamerica.com. Both guys have great arms. Bard has proven himself in Double-A compared to Rookie ball for Moore, while Moore has a higher ceiling as a lefty and a starter. You could argue that one either way, I think. I'm not the biggest Bard fan--so blame my BA brethren for that one! On my personal list, Moore was No. 99 and Bard was No. 128.

roberto san juan

kemp or mclouth

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

Matt Kemp.

Keith (Cleveland)

MWieters has been compared to JVaritek, JMauer (w/power) and MTeixeira. What are your thoughts on which comp is most accurate, or is there another comp you would make? Also, is there any chance the kid has a MPiazza-type career, or is that a bit too zealous?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

Keith is referring to a story I wrote to accompany our Top 100, where I talked to a bunch of player-personnel experts and asked them who they'd pick between Matt Wieters and David Price. (Subscribers can see that by clicking <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/online/prospects/rankings/top-100-prospects/2009/267691.html">here</a>.) It's hard to find a good comp for Wieters because his talents are so unique. Among catchers, I think the one that fits best is a switch-hitting Carlton Fisk. But a Teixeira who can catch may be more accurate. Don't go putting Wieters in the Hall of Fame yet, but yes, he has the <i>potential</i> to put up Piazza-type numbers.

Steiny (NYC)

Is Travis Snider a great all-around player?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

I wouldn't say that, but he is a better athlete that people think. He's capable of playing right field, though he'll probably shift to left field alongside Vernon Wells and Alexis Rios.

Zac (San Diego)

I know you've done reviews on the Red Sox system and are pretty well knowledged on the players, so I was wondering who, if any, could make the leap to the top 100 with a good year from the '07 and '08 drafts. Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

There are several candidates. The Red Sox have a very interesting system, full of intriguing talents even after graduating guys like Clay Buchholz, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson. Among the 2007 and 2008 draftees who could jump into the 2010 Top 100 are lefthander Nick Hagadone (though he's coming back from TJ and won't be at full strength), righthander Casey Kelly, outfielder Ryan Westmoreland and third baseman Will Middlebrooks. If you want to count international signees from the last two years, add in righty Junichi Tazawa and third baseman Michael Almanzar.

Ed (Cleveland)

Jim, thanks for taking the questions. Please tell me who is going to fill out the back of the Indian's rotation. I know Huff is a favorite prospect, and Reyes looked great if he can stay healthy, but what about the other three? Are Laffey, Sowers and Lewis all just 4A pitchers or do they have a chance?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

All those guys are factors, but I believe in Huff the most.

Dan (DC)

There are all kinds of rumors swirling that Bowden is on the cusp of being replaced by Tony LaCava -- thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

I've heard those rumors swirling as well. Tony LaCava would be a great hire for the Nationals.

Brian (WI)

hey jim,first time posting. price or joba , s.drew or alexi ramirez for this year? thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

Price, because I think he's likely to make more starts, and Drew.

David (Atlanta, GA)

Hi, Jim, Braves and Chipper's fan here. I saw several analysts recently said that Chipper is a lock for HOF. What do you think? If Don Mattingly don't get voted in, how Chipper can be elected? Unless he still can play another 5 yrs and collect that 3000 hit.

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

I think Chipper is a lock. Mattingly was a first baseman who had six very good to great seasons, while Jones is a third baseman who has had twice as many. No comparison for me.

Ray, NJ

Jim-next year at this time, will you be saying you like Strasburg better than Price/Joba/Kershaw? I think so.

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

I might. I very well might. Though coming into their drafts, I would have taken Price over him.

Phil (Grand Rapids)

Other than Porcello, were any other Tiger prospects (Iorg, Perry) even in the discussion for the top 100?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Not really close, no.

Kevin (Tulane)

Jim, fantasy addicts love projections. Give me your opinion on the offensive upside of Pedro Alvarez in his prime. I say .280-.300/.380/.520 with 30+ HR and 100 RBI annually. Am I right?

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Sure, that seems fair.

John (NYC)

Top 100 question. Does BA apply the trade value theorem? Meaning that the most valuable player is Wieters, and so on and so forth. If that's the case, are you saying that the Athletics would be smart to not trade Cahill(#11) for Pedro Alvarez (#12)??

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Well, theoretically, yes, that's what we're saying, though with a couple of points needing to be made. One, there's almost no difference between No. 11 and No. 12, and almost no difference between No. 75 and 100. Two, team needs would obviously need to be taken into account. It might behoove the Rangers to trade one of their catching prospects for a pitching prospect who ranks a little lower. Also bear in mind those rankings are a consensus of six people. I like Alvarez more than Cahill, but the consensus of our staff did not.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

This time next year, who do you see being the Marlins' #1 prospect, assuming Maybin is no longer eligible - Morrison, Stanton or other?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Logan Morrison. And I'd take Morrison over Maybin and Stanton right now.

Brian (Washington)

Jim, do you think Brian Matusz has the potential to pitch at the front end of a rotation? Is his stuff that good?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Yes, it's that good. His fastball, curveball and changeup are all consistent plus pitches, and he's lefthanded.

Tiger Woods

I just went Birdie/Eagle to start match play. I'm backkkkk...

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Is that true? Tiger is unbelievable.

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Have 45 minutes really passed by yet? Guess we need to head to the lightning round.

Jerome (Calgary, Alberta)

For Fantasy leagues, take Bumgarner or Pedro Alvarez?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Alvarez. They're pretty close, but he should help you quicker.

Jeff (Toronto)

ANDY MARTE -- Career Minor Leaguer or another Adrian Gonzalez/Carlos Pena?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Looks like career minor leaguer at this point.

John (Chicago)

Uh, no - only 4 1/2 minutes have passed us by. You can keep chatting for another 55 1/2 minutes! Would you rather have Martin Perez or Ross Detwiler?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Perez, but it's close and Detwiler did come on in the second half last year. Perez is intriguing, but I think he's getting a little overhyped (partially BA's fault!) considering he hasn't even made it to full-season ball.

Nick (Milwaukee)

Top 100 question asked on the BA.com chat, but it didnt get answered. Were there any players who got an outlyer ranking from one of you that tended to drag the overall rank down? If so, who? Thanks!

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

No, because we debated those guys at length and made adjustments with them.

Drew (Ashburn, VA)

Who do the pirates take at #4, if Strasburg, Green and White are gone? They can't take Ackley because McCutchen is their future. And not Crow, because 2 holdouts in 2 years is not good. Who would it be?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Well, they could take Ackley and play him at first base. Or play Ackley on an outfield corner. And Crow isn't going to hold out for the 2010 draft, he'll sign. I think those are the top tow candidates if Strasburg, Green and White are gone.

Jordon (Tallahassee)

More likely: Yanks win 2009 World Series or Tony Almeida flips (again)?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Tony's not going to flip again.

Joba... The BX,

You're taking other pitchers over me despite the fact I put up a 32:2 strikeout ratio in my fours starts prior to the injury?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

I don't think Joba necessarily is going to hold up for 32 starts.

Steve (Los Angeles)

Heyward or Rasmus? B. Anderson or D. Holland?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Rasmus (and that's a very tough call) and Anderson.

Ted (Philadelphia)

AJ Pollock or Jason Kipnis?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Pollock, though Kipnis is on fire to start the season.

Scott Ames IA

Which minor league system would you choose if you had to put together a complete major league team from it? And what would be the lineup?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

The Rangers. C--Teagarden, 1B--Smoak, 2B--Vallejo, SS--Andrus, 3B (the weak spot)--West, LF--Bianucci, CF--Borbon, RF--Beltre, DH--Ramirez, SP--Feliz/Holland/Perez/Main/Boscan, CL--Beavan.

GGG (Drexel Hill, PA)

Span, Fukadome, or Choo?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Choo.

Ben (SF)

Bj or Kemp?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Upton.

John, NYC

Homer Bailey: prospect bust or future Major Leaguer? He's only 22...

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

I still think he has a chance to be something.

John (Chicago)

Thank you for answering - even though I know you won't be here another 55 1/2 minutes. If you need a starter, who do you draft first? Alex White or Kyle Gibson?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Alex White.

Christoph (Little Rock)

Murphy or Church? This year and long term

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Murphy for both.

Nick (Long Island, NY)

Best Mets prospect that didn't make the Top 100?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Jefry Marte.

JW

Next 7 years, Braun or Longoria?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Longoria. Offensive production is a tossup, but Longoria offers more positional value.

Jerome (Calgary, Alberta)

If you don't care about speed, who's got the higher upside between Bumgarner and Alvarez? Thank you.

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

I still say Alvarez.

Tim (cincinnati)

Rasmus or Bruce?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Bruce.

Steven Irvine

is nick noonan a future starter in the mlb?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Yes, he's the Giants' second baseman of the future. I'm a Noonan fan.

Mark (West Palm Beach FL)

Fowler or Donavan Tate?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Dexter Fowler.

John, NYC

Reds LF on Opening Day? Dickerson? Jacque Jones? Jim Edmonds, perhaps?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Probably Dickerson based on the way he finished 2008, though I think he was playing over his head.

Jason (Bmore)

Does Neftali Feliz project into a #1 starter?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Yes.

Patrick(Hoboken)

The Pirates will win 82 games or more in what year?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

2011.

Jerry (Laredo, TX)

ETA for S. Stratsburg?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Early 2010.

Jerome (Calgary, Alberta)

In the end, do you still have visions of stardom for Elijah Dukes? Is he looking more likely to be Milton Bradley, or can he be healthy and productive?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

I've never had visions of stardom for Dukes. That's not fair to compare Bradley to Dukes. I think the Nationals would be happy if Dukes were merely "volatile."

Charles (San Jose)

Your NL playoff participants are?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Phillies, Cubs, Diamondbacks as division winners, with the Marlins as the wild card.

Ian (Seattle)

Your AL playoff participants are?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Red Sox, Indians, Angels are division winners, with the Yankees as a wild card. The three best teams in baseball are in the AL East, and the Jays aren't far behind the fourth-best.

Herb T.(Cin, OH)

Grant Green or the Mets' 17 yr old?

Jim Callis
  (3:04 PM)

Grant Green over Wilmer Flores.

Jack Bauer (DC)

You didn't talk about me enough today. Do I need to kill more people?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

You only do what has to be done, Jack.

Matt (CHICAGO)

Brad Bergessen or Dave Hernandez?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Hernandez, but I think they're both relievers in the long run.

Ed(Montpelier , VT)

Grant Green or Dustin Ackley?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Green.

Matt (Vermillion)

Ramos or Teagarden because Ramos was higher in the Top 100?

Jim Callis
  (3:06 PM)

Personally, I like Teagarden more. But I've always been high on Teagarden.

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

That's it for this week. You won't see me here again until March 18, but we'll have some quality BA pinch-hitters in here the next two weeks.