Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

November 4, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (1:59 PM)

I'll gladly take a break from editing our Brewers Top 30 list for the Prospect Handbook to answer your World Series questions. Or to discuss anything else that might be on your mind.

Robert Rice (new york)

do you see the yankees finishing off the phillies tonight? no way pedro pitches like he did in game 2 is there....

Jim Callis
  (2:00 PM)

I don't know what to expect from either pitcher. I don't know how Pedro pulled that Game Two performance out of thin air, but Pettitte didn't look good in Game Three and now he's pitching on three days' rest. I think Philadelphia will get to Pettitte early and barely hang on, giving us our first Game Seven since 2002.

Ken (NJ)

Any thoughts on possibly switching Utley and Howard in the lineup? Therea??s already talk of staying away from Utley and walking him to get to Howard and maybe theya??ll pitch Howard a little differently, giving him a better opportunity to come out of his slump. It could completely screw with the Yankeesa?? thought process on pitch selection to them.

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

I would put Jayson Werth in between Utley and Howard. There's absolutely no reason not to bring in a lefty to face Utley and Howard in key situations right now. And Werth obviously is a lot better at the plate than Howard is right now.

Craig (St. Looey)

Can I get a legitimate scouts answer as to how Mariano Rivera is so successful with 1 pitch. Granted it is a great pitch but I don't see how he is just so dominant. Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

Well, I'm not a scout. But the simple answer is that Rivera's cutter is that good. He throws it harder than most pitchers can, and he gets more life on it than most pitchers can, and he commands it better than most pitchers can. That's why. The guy has been consistently dominant for 15 years and there doesn't seem to be any end in sight. We'll never see anyone like this again.

John (Pa)

If the series goes 7 win or lose is Chase Utley the MVP?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

As good as Utley has been, I don't see how he could be MVP if the Phillies lose. It's not like the Yankees are lacking for candidates. Damon, Jeter and Rivera are all poised to win the MVP if New York wins. It's also possible that Philadelphia could win the Series and Utley doesn't get the MVP. Cliff Lee could win Game Seven in relief, or Jayson Werth could come up with some more big hits.

chauncey (teaneck)

What is wrong with Ryan Howard?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

He has tremendous power but he can be pitched to. Even when he's going well, he strikes out a lot. Now he's slumping and facing a lot of lefthanders, leading to a lot of ugly strikeouts.

Wendell (Liverpool, UK)

Am I correct in thinking that this is Jeter, Rivera and Posada's last shot at adding another ring before their ability decreases too much?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

I don't think so. Sure, the Yankees are an old team, but they won 103 regular-season games this year and even if they slip, they should be in the playoffs next year. And all three of those guys are still highly productive players.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Mr. Callis: I was tossing this idea around with my boss and would like your input. I said that I thought Pettitte should throw his first pitch to Utley tonight up and in just to keep him from getting too comfortable. What it could also do would be to immediately draw a warning for both benches which would, in turn, mean that Pedro the Head Hunter couldn't do the same to A-Rod without being ejected. It could also take away the inside part of the plate which looks like it would benefit the Yankees. Am I wrong in thinking this is a good idea?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

Nothing else is working against Utley, so why not?

ryan (middlebury)

who do you see closing tonight, madson or lidge?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

Madson. We didn't see Lidge with Game Five on the line.

JAMES (Orlando)

lidge needs his rest and hes still dominant he just needs time

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

I'd have a hard time handing him the ball after watching him fold in Game Four, especially after the regular season he just had.

Justin (New York)

Jim, what do you think of the Yanks addition of Ramiro Pena to the post season roster in place of Melky? Is there someone else you think they should've added instead? Or was this the right move to make. THanks!

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think it matters, really. The 25th man on the roster is unlikely to have any affect on the Series, and I can't imagine Pena doing anything beyond making a pinch-running appearance. If the Yankees need him for more than that, something will have gone terribly wrong.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Is Jon Lucroy's AFL performance moving up the timeline for his making the big leagues?

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

First, you get my standard line that AFL performances don't mean very much. Lucroy is playing well and he is the top catching prospect in the Brewers system. But I still think he needs at least a half-season in Triple-A and I'm not convinced he's going to be more than a solid regular.

Jason C. (NY, NY)

I know there was a lot of controversy regarding Madison Bumgarner's velocity at the end of summer. Mixed scouting reports claimed he was down in the 88-92 range from his usual high anywhere between 93-94 to 96-98. A few weeks removed from his promising MLB debut, can you definitively set the record straight on his range of velocity? And if the diminished digits are legit, is it something that you think will prevent him from becoming a true No. 1 or No. 2 - or will that be determined by his secondary stuff?

Jim Callis
  (2:18 PM)

I'm not sure he ever really sat at 96-98. Bumgarner pitched at 93-94 mph in 2008 and his velocity was down last year, that's the truth. It didn't hamper him, however, and I'd submit that he just turned 20 and young pitchers working over the long course of a minor league season will see their velos dip at times. There's no evidence that he's hurt and I still believe he'll be a frontline pitcher. I also will be surprised if he's not working in the low 90s regularly next year, unless there's an injury we don't know about.

james (pittsburgh)

what is your take on the pirates-rays trade?

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

The Rays didn't want to pick up Iwamura's 2010 option or pay his buyout, and the Pirates benefitted. He's nothing special but he's a capable everyday second baseman, and those are harder to find than a Jesse Chavez.

Mark (Austin, TX)

What kind of numbers do you project from Starlin Castro down the road? I recently heard he was compared to Hanley Ramirez. If so, where does he fall in your prospect rankings?

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

The sky is the limit for Castro, who's not far away from the majors as a 19-year-old. He still needs some baseball and physical development, but I could see him in Chicago by the end of 2010 if he continues to progress rapidly. I'm not saying he'll be as good as either guy because they're both elite players, but I think his ceiling is more like Derek Jeter's than Hanley Ramirez'. Ramirez has more pure speed and power than Jeter. I haven't done an overall top prospects list, but Castro will be near the top when I do.

Grant (Chicago)

How much effort does BA make into assessing how well each organization brings talent to fruition? Take the Texas C circumstances: how much can we really do towards answering the question of whether another organization might have gotten an allstar already out of Salty, Tear, et al? Or is this like managerial evaluation for the saber set (i.e., largely the unknowable)?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

We do consider that when we're evaluating prospects, but not as a major factor. There's no way to quantify it. Just for example, the Dodgers converted Russell Martin from a juco third baseman to an all-star catcher. How much of that is a credit to the Dodgers' development efforts, and how much is the result of Martin's talent and work ethic? No way of knowing.

Steve (NYC)

Thoughts on the Sox' Cuban guy, Igleisias?

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

I'm hearing rave reviews about his glove from the AFL. I'm not sure he'll be more than a bottom-of-the-order hitter, but with his defensive wizardry, that should be just fine.

Jon (DC)

Is Drew Storen closing games next year for the Nats? I guess that's assuming they have a lead at some point next season, but..

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

I think Storen will be closing for Washington in the second half of the season. He's definitely the Nats' best long-term option at this point.

James (Kenosha,Wi)

Would I be wrong to assume that Cody Scarpetta is the Brewers top starting pitcher prospect?

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

We have Eric Arnett rated as the Brewers' best starting pitcher prospect, but Scarpetta isn't far behind and has a deeper repertoire. He's a personal favorite of mine.

Jeff (NYC)

In the event of a Game 7, Hamels (comments notwithstanding...) or Happ?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

I think those comments got blown out of proportion. Hamels was talking about how it has been a tough year, but he wasn't asking out of a potential Game Seven. I'd start Hamels, who looked very good for the first three innings of Game Three. He has performed well on the big stage before, and I think it's easier to use Happ out of the bullpen than it would be to do that with Hamels.

Luke (Madison, Wis.)

Will Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect Jeremy Jeffress, who has already been suspended twice for drug use, ever make it big?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

I doubt it. He has tremendous pure arm strength, but not much clue how to pitch and hasn't been able to stay away from marijuana. If he tests positive again, he gets a lifetime ban.

Rory (NYC)

Jim, is Reese Havens still considered a legit prospect? I know he has had injury issues, but if he can make the move to second base, he would have plus power for the position. His FSL power numbers and walk rate were excellent, but was otherwise unlikely with balls put in play. Can he be a solid starter at second base in the big leagues?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

I like Havens more than most people do. I'm not convinced he has the footwork but second base, but it's worth finding out. I believe in the bat and wouldn't rule out that he could cut it at third base.

Alexander (Minneapolis, MN)

if you were a betting man, where do you think Chapman will wind up?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

The Yankees. They can spend more than anyone else and they're not afraid to do so.

Matt (Chicago)

Please tell me that Sam Fuld and Reed Johnson won't be platooning in center field for the Cubs next year. Does Rick Ankiel make any sense there as a flier?

Jim Callis
  (2:35 PM)

Depends on what it would cost for Ankiel. I think the Cubs would like to kill two birds with one stone and get rid of Milton Bradley in a deal that will land them someone who can play center. The latest rumor is Aaron Rowand, who was a hit with the crosstown White Sox.

David (Texas)

Does Tanner Scheppers slot somewhere in the top 100 prospects?

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

He very well might. There's no question about his stuff, just his health. He has looked very good in the AFL, but his shoulder is still worrisome.

SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)

Starlin Castro, Tim Beckham or Alcides Escobar?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Castro. Better all-around player than Beckham and a better hitter (and not much less a fielder) than Escobar.

James (Kenosha,Wi)

When does the Prospect Handbook come out?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

It goes to print right before Christmas and is available from Baseball America a month later. If you order from us, you get a bonus supplement with an extra prospect scouting report for each club. How do your order from us? Click <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/store/store.cgi?browse=cat_books#125">here</a>.

Jon (DC)

Is it "better" to have a pitcher with shoulder problems or elbow problems? Why?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Elbow. The track record of guys coming back from elbow surgery is much, much better than the track record of guys coming back from shoulder surgery.

Ken (Mass)

how does Starlin Castro's power project for the future? 3 HR in 469 AB and he's skinny, does he project to fill out more ? I know, it's early, he's young etc...

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

He's just 19 and still growing. The Cubs antcipate him being 6-foot-3 and 195-200 pounds. He'll have some strength and he knows how to hit, so I anticipate average power.

Barge (Large, PA)

Lightning Round: better MLB career, BLincoln or TAlderson? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Bring on the Lightning Round! Brad Lincoln.

Paul (Baltimore)

Heyward or Justin Upton?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Tempted to say Heyward, but it's hard to go against the guy who has proven it in the majors. So I'll say Upton.

Mark (Clovis)

Who do you think will put up better number, G. Beckham or E. Adrus?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Beckham will be a better offensive player, but Andrus will be a better defensive player. Two entirely different styles of player.

Joe (Washington, DC)

Jim: OK, so who's your pick to win the WS (you've already predicted that it's going to go to a game seven)?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Yankees in seven.

Tim (Cincinnati)

Your thoughts on Todd Frazier as a second baseman?? Jeff Kent potential??

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

That's fair. Ultimately, I think Frazier's best position is third base.

mike (sd)

Austin Jackson or Jesus Montero

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Montero, easily.

Patrick (Memphis)

DWright or ELongoria?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Longoria.

rayg (burlington, NJ)

who gets to the majors first: Withrow, E. Martin or A. Miller?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Miller.

Brian (Bakersfield)

Can you comment on what Grant Desme is doing in the AFL?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

He's a legitimate prospect and he's having a great AFL, but as I always say, don't read too much into AFL numbers.

Bob (Seattle)

Kirsten Bell or Sarah Michelle Gellar (Buffy days)?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

SMG.

Rich (Bayonne, NJ)

If the Mariners decide they have to deal King Felix and it comes down to the Yanks and Sox for example, would the Yanks top prospects not named Montero (Jackson, Romine, McAllister) and someone like Phil Hughes trump what the Sox were willing to offer and would that be a good enough haul for Felix. I heard rumors the Sox might go after him and I am not sure the Yankees given their 3 man rotation this year wouldn't try to prevent it.

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

The Yankees might try to prevent it, but the Red Sox have a better farm system and would be able to put together a more attractive offer. Especially if New York wouldn't include Montero.

Bernard (DC)

Jim, what have scouts thought about Strasburg in the AFL?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

He looks like the stud everyone expected. No surprises.

rayg (burlington, nj)

you say don't read too much into Desme's AFL numbers, but aren't you (and others) reading alot into Starlin Castros AFL numbers?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Can't speak for others, but I'm not. I was bullish on Castro before he got to the AFL.

Alex (San Diego)

Chapman or Strasburg?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Strasburg, easy.

Jay (Lincoln)

Kershaw or Hamels

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Kershaw.

Rick (Oakland)

Cubs' Tim Wilken or the average major league scouting director?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Wilken vs. the average? Wilken, easily.

John (Toronto)

In 2010, Roy Halladay will be pitching for _______.

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Toronto. I don't think the Blue Jays are going to be overwhelmed by the trade offers they get this offseason.

Vin (Mesa, AZ)

I have been to a few AFL league games this year and spoke to one scout who said that when I see Dustin Richardson I should think "left handed Justin Masterson, the relief pitcher version." Accurate in your view?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

I could see that. Richardson can be a reasonably reliable reliever while relying primarily on his fastball.

Rich (Bayonne, NJ)

In that scenario, if you're Cashman, are you putting Montero in that deal for him or do you let Felix go to the Sox

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

I'd include Montero if it meant getting Felix and keeping him away from Boston.

Nick (NYC)

Hobgood or Z. Wheeler -- first to big club? Better prospect?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Wheeler for both answers.

Mac (Philly)

If Felix makes it to the 2011 offseason as free agent, what kind of deal would he get? Better than CC or Santana?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

I think he'd get the biggest free-agent deal ever given to a pitcher. He'd only be 25--it would be like when A-Rod became a free agent.

Brian (Long Beach, CA)

Desme lost time due to injury, and was a bit old for A Ball last season. What was his prospect status when he was drafted?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

He was hitting his way into the first round of the 2007 draft when he broke a bone in hand late in the college season.

John (Florida)

Alyssa Milano or Jennifer Love Hewitt?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Milano.

Patrick (Memphis)

Is Brett Wallace the best prospect in the Oakland A's system?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I'm tempted to go with Grant Green.

mike (rockaway, ny)

There is some talk about cliff lee pitching some innings on a very limited pitch count in a potential game seven... would you rather he start the game, or would you rather he came in sometime in the middle innings? Would you consider bringing him in during the middle of an inning?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

I'd rather use him in the middle of the game and could bring him in mid-inning. As mentioned early, I think it would be tough to use Hamels in relief, so I'd start him.

Eric (Milwaukee)

Horrible chat system makes your answers look funny. "Alyssa Milano or Jennifer Love Hewitt?" was answered with "I'm tempted to go with Grant Green".

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Wow, that's just not good.

Patrick (Memphis)

Never answered my Brett Wallace question.. or is it even a question?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

That was the Grant Green reply.

rayg (burlington, nj)

Dodgers #1 prospect: Gordon, Miller or Lambo?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Gordon.

Trip (Memphis)

jay leno or conan obrien?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Conan.

Zach (Philadelphia, PA)

Angel Salome - top prosepct? Yes or no? three words why..

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Not at all. Three words? Nothing comes easy.

Jeff (NYC)

Johnny Damon --- resigning with the Yanks or leaving for greener pastures?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

I think he comes back on a short-term deal.

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

It's time for me to head back to my editing. The Prospect Handbook slavemasters only give me so much time away from the book. See you next week.