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March 20, 12:25 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (1:59 PM)

Hello, everyone. Are we really only 11 days away from Opening Night?

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Keith Law suggested in his blog that Strasburg could just be put right into the majors once he is signed. Your thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:01 PM)

I think Strasburg could at least hold his own right away, and he'd be the best pitcher in Washington's rotation. I also agree with Keith that there are only so many pitches in an arm, so why waste a lot of them in the minors? That said, though, Strasburg almost certainly will sign five minutes before the Aug. 15 deadline, after a layoff of about three months, so it's unlikely that he'd be ready for the majors right at that point. He could tune up in instructional league and the Arizona Fall League, then make his big league/pro debut next April.

Kasan (Toronto, ON)

Saw you on the fantasy baseball chat the other day. 2 part question: 1) does Jim Callis play fantasy baseball, and 2) does BA every think of doing some prospect related fantasy content via ESPN? Those in prospect heavy, long term keeper leagues would love it!

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

Yes, it's back-to-back days of chatting for me at ESPN.com. 1) I used to, but with four kids I don't have the time I used to so I stopped. My last fantasy league was a Scoresheet league I really enjoyed, and I was also in a retro Diamond Mind league that was tremendous fun. 2) We've tried some prospect-related content at baseballamerica.com in the past, and we'd be open to doing it with ESPN. For the most part, we try to bombard you with information and let you determine how to use it in your fantasy league. But more focused content could happen.

Steiny (NYC)

Will Jefry Marte ever be able to succeed in the Mets organization? I mean they already have a pretty good third baseman. Will they move him to another position some day?

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

Assuming David Wright doesn't go anywhere, Marte would have to move. He has the bat and tools to profile on an outfield corner.

Jeff (KCMO)

Everyones excited about Moose and Hosmer, but ive really REALLY seen a chance to win with what arms we have in our low minors. Duffy, Montgomery, Melville, and Guiteriez. Thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

I share your optimism, Jeff. Moustakas and Hosmer are two exciting power bats, and they overshadow the pitching depth. I don't think any of the guys you've mentioned get their due. I will rain on your parade, though, and say that the odds that all four pitching prospects developed and stay healthy as hoped is long. If the Royals go 2-for-4 with those guys, that will be fortunate.

Jamie (Boston and Indianapolis)

What do I need to do in order to attending the scouting school held by the Major League Scouting Bureau???

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

You have to get sponsored by a major league club.

Ben (Centerville, OH)

Have year heard about the Reds big league club vs the top Reds prospects game in Dayton Oh on April 4th? Why don't more teams have this sort of exhibition to promote their top prospects to the fan base?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

Had heard of that and I like the idea. I think it makes a lot of sense, especially if there's a minor league affiliate close to the parent club. I'd love to see more of these.

Ben (Centerville, OH)

Grant Green has been somewhat underwhelming so far, any chance a slow start could have him some how fall to the Reds at #7 in teh June draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

He has been somewhat overwhelming, and there's no clear No. 2 pick right now behind Strasburg. I think Green could fall to No. 7, based on a combination of his performance thus far and the fact that he's represented by the Scott Boras Corp. and won't just sign for slot. Will the Reds give out a big league deal to get him at No. 7 after having to do so for Alonso last year? We'll see.

Ben (Kirkwood, MO)

Could Strasburg actually receive a signing bonus in the same neighborhood as Dice-K?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

No. Don't think it's possible at all. I think he'll blow away the record for a draft guarantee (Mark Prior, $10.5 million) and maybe even double it. But he won't quintuple it. He doesn't have that kind of leverage. Going to Japan a year wouldn't make him a free agent. He'd still be an American citizen subject to the draft. And he'd be risking a lot by trying that gambit. Can't see him turning down $15 million on Aug. 15.

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

One other point: If Strasburg were a free agent, I bet he would get $50 million. But he's not.

J New Jersey

Is Wilmer Flores' future with the Mets essentially trade bait since he is a shortstop and a switch the 3b seems out of the question. Also, what do you think his ceiling is?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

Not at all. He could have a very special bat and force the Mets to find a spot for him. He won't be a shortstop and even third base might be a stretch--even if Reyes and Wright weren't around. I think he's a future corner outfielder.

Mitch (Greensboro, NC)

Who do you think is winning the Atlanta CF starting spot? Schafer, Anderson or Blanco? Does Brandon Jones sneak up and take one of their spots on the roster? You've gotta like the idea of Schafer at the top of the lineup. An OBP of .412 with his speed, would really help the middle of the order.

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

I do like Schafer. Not sure if the Braves will give him the job right away, but I bet he's the starting CF by the all-star break at the latest.

Jim Vero Beach

How far will Strasburg fall in the draft, if any, due to Boros's demands?

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

I don't think he will. He's so head and shoulders above the rest of the draft class that I think he'll go No. 1. If not, I think the Mariners (No. 2) or Padres (No.3) would jump on him. I also don't buy that Boras has given anyone a price tag right now--it's too early and that's not his M.O. anyway. And he can ask for whatever he wants, the team can just be as resolved as he is. If I'm the Nationals, I take him No. 1 overall and sign him for $15 million or $20 million.

Glen (NYC)

which pair would you rather have - Anderson and Cahill or Tillman and Matsuz?

Jim Callis
  (2:18 PM)

Anderson and Cahill, but Tillman and Matusz are no slouches.

J.P. (JC)

Dice-K only received a $2m singing bonus. Strasburg will get more than that. The $51m was the posting fee...

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

Dice K got a $52 million major league deal, and that's what Peter Gammons alluded to in a recent column. And there's no way Strasburg will get that.

Doug (NY)

If Strasburg and Bryce Harper were both in this draft, who goes #1?

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

I think Strasburg would because there's less projection involved and he could help a big league team quicker.

Will (St. Louis)

We're going to Memphis to see Cardinals play Memphis Redbirds on April 4th. I assumed it was a norm for most teams.

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

No, the difference is rather than playing one of their affiliates, the Reds will play a team consisting of their top prospects (from all their affiliates). That's what's cool about it.

Nick (Annapolis, Md)

Hey Jim,can you make a case for the Orioles having the best "top 3" prospects in the bigs?(Wieters,Matsuz, Tillman)

Jim Callis
  (2:22 PM)

You can make that case, and I'd buy it considering how good Wieters is. Others to look at would be the Giants (Bumgarner, Posey, Villalona), Rangers (Feliz, Smoak, Holland), Marlins (Morrison, Maybin, Stanton), Braves (Hanson, Heyward, Schafer) and Rays (Price, Beckham, Davis).

Alex (WI)

Of the college pitchers other than the top names (Strasburg, White, Gibson, Leake), who have you been most impressed with stuff/performance wise and who has moved into or stayed in first round consideration? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

The two guys who have probably jumped the farthest into the first round are Ryan Berry of Rice and James Paxton of Kentucky.

Steve(Va)

Jim, in your opinion, is Daniel Bard closer to being a Papplebon or Craig Hansen? Thanks so much

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Those are two extremes, aren't they? I think Bard is going to be more of a setup man than an elite closer, if that helps.

Doug (NY)

Read an article recently whose premise was not to take Strasburg first (especially if the $ was ridiculously high), since so few pitchers who have been taken #1 overall have ever amounted to much of anything due to things like injuries, commitment, and the overall riskiness of pitchers....any foundation to that argument?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

I think that was a Thomas Boswell column, and he's right, the history of No. 1 overall pitchers isn't the best. No Hall of Famers in the bunch. However, if you're picking No. 1, you have to take the top talent. And the top talent, by a mile this year, is Strasburg. There's also no clear No. 2--to pass on Strasburg to take someone else would be a major decline in talent.

Paul (Abingdon, MD)

Hey Jim, what do you see as the timetable for Wieters to hit the bigs for good?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

He could handle it right now. But the Orioles almost certainly will keep him down long enough to delay his free agency (and possibly his arbitration) by a year. And as much as that stinks from a fan standpoint, it makes perfect sense for a team with no shot of contending. Why burn one of his non-free agent years?

Ross (CA)

Hey Jim, why do you think Nick Noonan is so often overloooked? It's beginning to get annoying hearing people say SF is so "top-heavy" with their prospects. Either scouts and industry folk stop comping him to "Utley-Lite" or they continue to do so and give him his proper due.

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

Noonan is one of the best second-base prospects in the minors. He just gets lost in the shadow of Bumgarner, Posey, Villalona and Co., and he didn't have a huge year in 2009. He's not even 20 yet--plenty of time for him to get his hype.

Dave, Bloomington, MN

Hey J.C., I need your help settling a dispute between myself and some co-workers. They are convinced that the AL Central is the toughest division in baseball. I keep saying the AL East. In your mind, what is the toughest (not most competitive but toughest) division in all of baseball?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

It's the AL East, no contest. Any of the top fhree teams in the East would be the favorite to win the Central, and the Jays might be too. The Central will be competitive because the teams are all about even, but it's not as tough as the East. Shoot, the three best teams in baseball are in the East.

John (Austin, TX)

Can Moustakas play a competent 3B at the major league level? If no, can he be a competent catcher?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

Probably, though some scouts who saw him last year weren't impressed by his range and thought he had a thick lower half. If I had to pick right now, I'd bet that Alex Gordon will be a better defensive third baseman. It's doubtful KC will spend the time turning Moustakas into a catcher, though he has the tools to do it. His bat is so good that you don't want to take away from it or slow him down. I bet he's a 1B or LF in the long run.

John(ChapelHill, NC)

Jim, do you think Donavan Tate steps foot on campus or enters the draft? Appreciate your input.

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

Just too early to tell. He's a two-sport athlete and advised by the Scott Boras Corp., so he won't be as inclined to sign as most top prospects. If I have to guess, I'd say he will go high enough in the draft that he will sign.

Max (Norfolk)

Welcome back! I see where Boston sent Tazawa down to the minors. No way he stays there long, right? He could contribute immediately.

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

I have heard nothing but raves about Tazawa this spring. The Red Sox have impressive pitching depth in the majors and minors. Tazawa probably could be a No. 3 starter, but he may have to settle for relieving in Boston (kind of like Justin Masterson and potentially Nick Hagadone down the road).

Ron (Chatham, Ontario)

Jim, is there any validity to this thought? If Wieters does pan out to be a star, the Orioles would almost surely sign him to a long term deal well before he hits free agency. So, why worry about delaying his FA status by a year when you have no plans to have him hit free agency in the first place? I understand that Wieters is under no obligation to accept any long term offer, but if the dollars are right, players tend to say yes, don't they?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

No validity. His agent is Scott Boras, he won't sign away his free agent years.

Jason (NJ)

Please tell me that Smoak and Hosmer are both future All Stars... please, please please...

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Yes to both.

Jeff (NYC)

Mat Gamel or Brett Wallace?

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Brett Wallace for me.

Nick (Milwaukee)

Doug (NY): If Strasburg and Bryce Harper were both in this draft, who goes #1? Regarding Stras/Harper comparison: if Harper was Strasburg's age and continues to develop as he should, who would be the pick then? There are far less Weiters-esque prospects that there are Strasburgs, not to mention the arm longevity questions.

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

Given the results when I asked top player-personnel guys to compare Matt Wieters and David Price, the answer would be Harper, if he too was a college junior this year and had continued to build on what he's shown thus far.

Rod (Chicago, IL)

Beckham signed early; won't MLB recognize Strasburg as unique and OK whatever deal is finished because it should not effect other signings

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

No, MLB doesn't want Strasburg signing for $15 million or so on July 1 and having other agents try to build off that deal (at lesser amounts). Tim Beckham signed a two-sport deal, which Strasburg won't, and MLB doesn't have a problem with those coming early.

Jonathan (Atlanta)

Seems like there is alot of attention on the internet about Strasburg and the "invereted W". Is it a big deal? If it was such a big deal, why would we not hear more about it from scouts?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

I actually wrote a column about this that should be posted on baseballamerica.com today or tomorrow. One internet site came up with the inverted W and a lot of bloggers seem to have run with it. We've talked to 10-20 scouts about Strasburg, and none of them is worried about his mechanics. I joked with Keith Law that he didn't mention the inverted W (isn't that an M?) in his Strasburg blog on ESPN.com, and Keith's reply was that it didn't exist when he saw him. Could Strasburg get hurt? Sure, but that's true of any pitcher. Scouts don't think his delivery puts him at risk, and yes, that's still no guarantee he'll stay healthy.

KL (Boston)

Why not move Aug 15th up? If players are going to agree and not sign until the deadline, or agree at the deadline isn't everyone better off having an earlier date? And is anything really accomplished by agreeing and waiting to 'not influence other picks'? Does anyone buy that besides Selig?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

I'd love a July 15 signing deadline, and I haven't ever spoken to anyone in baseball who wouldn't. Teams would rather get players out there quicker, and agents just need a deadline, they don't care when it is. And no, I don't buy the influence argument. If I'm running the Mariners and my No. 2 pick tries to latch onto Strasburg's coattails, I tell him, "You, sir, are no Stephen Strasburg."

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Let's go to the lightning round . . .

Joe (San Diego)

Any chance people are NOT worrying Stasburg's mechanics only because of Tim Lincecum's delivery and success (to date) with it?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

No, that's apples and oranges. Scouts don't see anything that indicates undue stress or future problems in Strasburg's delivery. Of course, that doesn't mean he won't get hurt--pitching is unnatural and most pitchers do get hurt.

Matthew (Boston)

How do you feel about Anthony Rizzo's chances of becoming a fast rising prospect after his return this season from cancer treatment?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

He has the talent to do that and it's hard not to root for him.

Andy (Dallas)

Bumgarner or Hanson?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

So torn, keep going back and forth. I picked Bumgarner in the Prospect Handbook, now leaning toward Hanson.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

Lawrie or Noonan?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Lawrie. Not sure he's a 2B but the bat could be very special.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

Pick a Jordan -- Zimmermann or Walden?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Zimmermann.

Jason (NJ)

In 25 years. Better career. Texiera or Smoak?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Teixeira, easy to say that because he has such a nice head start.

John ( PHX,AZ)

Louisville vs Arizona?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Louisville.

Jay Portland, Oregon

Eric Hosmer or Yonder Alonso?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Hosmer.

Ted (Redwood City, CA)

First to bigs and biggest impact: Stanton, Morrison, Blanks, Tabata

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Give me Morrison twice.

Patrick (City of Angels and Smog)

Jim, bouncing through Irish baby names right now. What do you think of 'Jameson'? Have a future prospect ring to it?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

RHP Jameson Taillon (The Woodlands, Texas) is the top HS prospect for 2010, so start that trend now!

Rob (Brighton, MA)

Over/Under: B.J. Upton hits 20 HR

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Over.

Jason (NJ)

Whats Gerrit Coles ceiling. I am curious since he spurned the Yanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

He has an electric arm, though some scouts aren't crazy about the rest of the package. Still, he's the top college prospect for 2011 right now.

Jack (Cincinnati)

Who switches positions: Votto or Alonso?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Votto to LF.

Ryan (Pittsburgh)

Pirates CF next year. McLouth, McCutchen, or Tabata?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

McCutchen pushes McLouth to a corner.

Rob (Brighton, MA)

Who's the funnier actor: Jason Seigel or Ryan Reynolds?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Jason Segel.

Adam (Spokane, WA)

Adam Jones or Delmon Young or Lastings Milledge?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Adam Jones.

John: (Boston):

Do you think Josh Reddick will be ready to play RF for the Red Sox once JD Drews body falls apart in 2011?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Yes.

June (Chicago)

More upside: Dae-Eun Rhee or Jay Jackson?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Rhee. Fine question.

Jason (NJ)

I can draft one of the following in a prospect draft. Hanson, Mab Bum or Feliz. Who should I get?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Hanson. Will help you the quickest and may be the best of the lot anyway.

Bob ( Winthrop Ma)

Since you are in Chicago, I am wondering what your thoughts are of Chris Getz. As always, thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I think he's just keeping second base warm for Gordon Beckham.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

More upside - Stolmy Pimental or Casey Kelly?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Kelly.

Jackson (Texas)

Robbie Ross or Neil Ramirez?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Right now, it's Ramirez, but I'm a big Robbie Ross fan.

Aaron (Timbuktu)

Best prospect of any nationality you saw in the WBC? Darvish?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Darvish, though I must admit I didn't watch a lot and never caught Aroldis Chapman with Cuba.

Rod (Chicago, IL)

Your comment about being the Seattle GM is what I was asking. Won't MLB have the faith that other teams will not consider the Strasburg deal at all so let it get signed if it is done.

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

No, MLB doesn't have any faith in that. Hence they play air-traffic controller and land all the big-money deals in reverse order on Aug. 15. They should give the teams more credit. Besides, in most cases, the two sides have discussed parameters well before the signings start happening.

Followup

What are the chances that Alexi moves off SS for G Beckham there in Cchicago?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Ramirez is more athletic and a better bet to stay at shortstop. But Beckham is no slouch and will get the nod if Ramirez is found wanting and moves elsewhere.

Kevin (NYC)

Holt, top of rotation, middle or future closer?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

I still think he's more of a closer.

Drew (New York)

Jason Motte: stud closer?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Great arm. I still think Chris Perez is the longtime closer in St. Louis, though.

Jason (NJ)

Better movie? Major League, 8 Men Out or Bull Durham?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Bull Durham.

yanks, ca [via mobile]

What do you think about darvish saying he won't come play for the mlb?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

That's his right, isn't it? He's still only 22, may pitch in Japan for a few more years. But the money will eventually tempt him, I'm sure.

Jason (NJ)

Best SP in Missouri. Wainwright or Grienke?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Greinke.

Rob (Brighton, MA)

Over/Under: TB Rays 93 wins.

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Under. Just barely.

Jim Callis
  (3:06 PM)

With that, I'll leave you until next week. And can someone please get Jerry Crasnick a Wikipedia page, for crying out loud?