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January 6, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, everyone. I haven't seen any Hall of Fame results yet, but we should get them very early in our chat. Feel free to fire HOF questions or anything else at me.

RT (Tulsa)

Thanks for chatting Jim. Can't wait to get the Prospect Handbook. Matt Cain, Jeremy Affeldt and some dollars to the Rangers for Smoak and Feliz. Who hangs up first, Sabean or Daniels?

Jim Callis
  (2:01 PM)

Rangers would hang up quickly on that one. I like Matt Cain a lot, but Feliz could be just as good or better. Add in Smoak and that deal looks lopsided to me.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

Jim, I enjoyed your All-Prospect Starting Lineup Card within your latest edition of Ask BA. I've heard talk of Ackley possibly getting the shift to 2B. If true, would he take Starlin Castro's place on your card? And if so, who would replace Ackley at 1B?

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

Thanks. I would take Ackley at second base over Castro, but I think it's a big stretch to assume he'll be able to do that before he actually tries. If we made that move, Smoak would be the next-best first-base prospect. Or I could shift Montero to first base (where he's never played) and put Carlos Santana at DH.

Rick (Ft Worth)

Jeter seems like a sure HoF after he's retired. Do you think his continuing to insist on playing shortstop will hurt him? Do you think he'lll eventually change positions (if so, when)?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

He's a lock first-ballot Hall of Famer and may get the highest voting percentage ever. He's winning Gold Gloves these days (and looks improved at shortstop), so he's only enhancing his legacy. He'll be an effective hitter longer than he's an effective shortstop. Maybe he moves in 2012 or 2013.

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

OK, the results are in. Andre Dawson gets in, Bert Blyleven misses by five votes (fifth-closest call ever) and Roberto Alomar sets a record for highest percentage for a first-ballot player without getting in (73.7).

Enrique (San Juan)

Roberto Alomar narrowly misses getting the nod. Your thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

Alomar obviously will get in if he got this close on the first ballot (though I never understand how guys can gain/lose support when they're done playing). I would have voted for him (I'm not a BBWAA writer) and thought he was getting in on the first ballot. He's on the very short list of the best all-around second basemen ever, seems like a no-brainer to me.

Jim (Chicago)

MLB.com is reporting that Andre Dawson is the sole electee for 2010. Thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

Dawson is a borderline Hall of Famer for me. Not sure I would have voted for him, but I don't think it's a travesty. If you would have told me only one player would have gotten in, my first guess would have been Alomar and my second would have been Blyleven.

Stanley (Duluth, MN)

Blyleven shafted once again. Will he eventually be recognized for how great he was? Or will he continue to be ignored and never make the hall?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

He'll get in next year. Players tend to gain support rather than lose it in their last years on the ballot, and he's got two more shots.

Chip (Cleveland)

The process where a player gets more votes over time is ridiculous. Isn't the writer simply admitting 'i didnt do my homework before when my vote was different'?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

I think a lot of writers put a lot of care into their ballots, but a lot don't. There's also a "He's not a first-ballot Hall of Famer" line of thinking and a "I don't vote anyone on the first ballot" line of thinking, which I don't understand.

Todd (Philly)

Funny how there was little pre-buzz about Alomar not getting in. Every report I saw had people forgiving Alomar for the umpire incident - do you think that was ultimately the cause of his missed call, or was it that Blyleven/Dawson gained more attention?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

There are so many different mindsets with HOF voting that I don't think you can pin it on any one thing. I don't think the spitting kept him out. I guarantee there are at least eight voters who refused to vote for any first-ballot guys who will vote for him next year, so he'll get in. But it still seems strange.

Cee (Albuquerque)

Who fell off the ballot after the voting this year?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

Andres Galarraga 22 (4.1%), Robin Ventura 7 (1.3%), Ellis Burks 2 (0.4%), Eric Karros 2 (0.4%), Kevin Appier 1 (0.2%), Pat Hentgen 1 (0.2%), David Segui 1 (0.2%), Mike Jackson 0, Ray Lankford 0, Shane Reynolds 0, Todd Zeile 0. No miscarriages of justice there.

Mike (Ohio)

Any word on how short Edgar came?

Jim Callis
  (2:13 PM)

He came in seventh with 36.2 percent of the vote and faces a long uphill climb.

Ryan (New York)

Is there any chance Tim Raines ever gets inducted into the HOF?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

I'd vote for him, easily, but he came in eighth at 30.4 percent. I'd love to see breakdowns of HOF voting by age, or by years the writer spent covering a team, because I bet Raines does a lot better with more modern writers than older ones. He has a lot of ground to make up, so I'm not very optimistic he'll get in.

Joel (Cincinnati)

What are your thoughts on Barry Larkin's chances to get in over time? Seems like he had a pretty good first showing considering many voters probably didn't vote because he wasn't considered a "first ballot hall of famer"

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

He came in fifth at 51.6 percent. I'd have to check the numbers, but I think almost anyone who gets that kind of support on his first ballot eventually gets in. He's a Hall of Famer in my eyes.

Larry (Brooklyn)

I was watching MLB network and they were discussing the hall of fame candidacy of Andre Dawson. They said you can't hold his low OBP against him because that wasn't something players were concerned with back then. But I can't buy that. Isn't one of the main objectives in the game to get on base and avoid outs? That's all OBP reflects - how often a guy avoids an out. Additionally, if you look back at hall of famers they had good obp's because they intrinsically know the point of the game even if they didn't know about OBP. Examples - Mike Schmidt - 380 obp, Willie Mays - 384 obp, Babe Ruth - 474 obp. Dawson - 323. Those other guys seemed to understand. But oh well. It's more amazing that only Andre Dawson made the HOF.

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

That's just a silly thing to say. Walks and OBP may not have been valued as properly back then, but when in baseball history did hitters try to make outs? Do we really think Dawson would have gotten on base more if he thought it would help his HOF chances? I'm pretty sure he was trying to get on base as much as possible to help his teams win.

Art (Boise)

Who are your top five 2nd basemen of all time?

Jim Callis
  (2:18 PM)

Hmmm . . . Morgan is No. 1 for sure. Then Collins or Hornsby, then probably Biggio and Lajoie. Hope I'm not forgetting anyone.

Doug (NYC)

With Randy Johnson's retirement, has been discussion over the top lefties of all-time. How about Mr Callis' top 5

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

In order: Grove, Johnson, Spahn, Carlton, Koufax.

Jay (Melviile)

Why did you rate Ackley over Smoak at 1B in your all prospects line up? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Simple. I think Ackley is a better prospect. I do like Smoak, though.

Doug (Chicago)

Why is Sandberg a first ballot guy and not Alomar?

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Because he got more hype? I'd take Alomar over Sandberg, though it's close.

Dave (Tampa)

Alomar was better than Biggio for 10+ years. Alomars 10 year prime is way better than any 10 years of Biggio

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

I'd give Alomar the edge in peak value, though I think it's closer than you think. Biggio clearly had a better career.

Andrew (Rock Hill, SC)

Did you forget Ryne Sandberg or was that intentional?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

Good player, but not a top five second baseman for me.

chauncey (teaneck)

who do you see getting elected in the hall of fame next year?

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

Blyleven and Alomar will get in in 2011. Jeff Bagwell is the best of the first-time candidates, and I'm not sure if he'll get in right away or not.

Phil (Dallas)

Thanks for giving some support to Biggio. Is he a first ballot guy or how long do you see him having to wait?Also, do you think Desmond Jennings wins an OF spot to open the year?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

Biggio should be a first-ballot guy, but you never know. My guess is because the Rays have other outfield options, they'll delay Jennings' arbitration and free-agent eligibility by giving him a couple of months in Triple-A.

Chuck (MPLS)

You obviously forgot Todd Walker on your best 2B list.

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

He'd be the best <i>college</i> second baseman of all time . . .

Mark (Boston)

Jim, what do you make of the Red Sox moving Ellesbury to LF?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

Mike Cameron is a better defender, plain and simple, so that makes sense to me.

Eric (DC)

How is Larkin getting so much more love than Trammel? Their numbers are very similar, and Trammel stood out playing in the age before the dominant SS's. Thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

I'd put Trammell in, too. Not sure why he's so underrated.

Jon (San Diego)

Why is body type taken into account when rating prospects? If you look at Jaff Decker's numbers and age he should be considered a J.Heyward type prospect. Ruben Rivera had great physical attributes and look at what he did.

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

Because athleticism does matter. It's not a be-all and end-all, because you have to be able to turn your tools into production. But scouts thought Decker's athleticism was horrid when he was 19 in the Midwest League last year. If he has well, well below-average speed and little defensive value, that puts that much pressure on his bat. He's a prospect, it's hard not to love the bat, but he can't play DH for the Padres.

Michael (Virginia)

Any chance Pat White re-evaluates his desire to get his head bashed in every week and signs with the Yankees?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Can't see it. He hasn't played baseball in so long that the odds of him being able to hit are slim.

Dave (Tampa)

I think you are overvaluing Biggio to AlomarBiggio career average .281 obp .363 SLG .433 291 HR 1175 RBI 414 stolen bases in 20 yearsAlomar BA .300 OBP .371 SLG .443 210 HR 1134 RBI 474 stolen bases in 17 yearsPlus Alomar was a gold glove winner 8 times to Biggio 3.Biggio was good, Alomar was better. He just did last as long and did it for the most part in the AL

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

I'll take the guy who gave me 500 more games of production and has his early-career numbers ruined by the Astrodome. For peak value, as I said, give me Alomar.

Joey (West Palm Beach)

Do you see Roger Clemens as a first ballot guy? Will McGwire ever get in??

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

With all the moralizing and pontificating by writers about steroids, there's no chance Clemens gets in on the first ballot. Not sure what would have to happen for the mindset to change, but I don't think anyone associated with steroids will get in for a while.

Ali Nagib (Chicago)

Since we're talking HoF keystone men, where would you rank Jackie Robinson?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

He just didn't play long enough in the majors (for obvious reasons) to rank ahead of the other guys. Had he had a normal career path, he'd be in the top five.

Todd (Philly)

Do you feel HOF votes should be made public?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Yes, definitely. I think all of the voters should be accountable. For all the criticism that the writers take, I think they generally do a good job. I get more worked up about people who think they "know" exactly who should or shouldn't be in Cooperstown, and anyone who disagrees is a moron. The NFL system of 15 dedicated electors would be better, but the baseball HOF is still the most exclusive of the major sports HOFs. And they get most of the players right. Most of the guys people are up in arms about getting in or not getting in aren't slam-dunk HOFs/non-HOFs. They're on the borderline. I wouldn't have voted for Dawson, but it's no travesty that he got in.

Jason (Atlanta)

Jim, why has Will Clark gotten no HOF support?

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

Because he ended his career abruptly while he was still productive. If he had played for another five years, that might have made the difference.

Phil (Dallas)

Who are your picks for rookie of the year in both leagues?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Jason Heyward, Neftali Feliz.

Dean (Madison)

Yesterday, you posted your all-prospect team on the baseball america website and it sparked a lot of discussion. My question, if that team were in the majors, how well would it do in 2010? How many wins would it get?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

That column is at <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2010/269334.html">http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/ask-ba/2010/269334.html</a> . . . I think that team would struggle because very few of the players would be acclimated to the major leagues. Maybe 72-90? I'd take my chances with that club 2-3 years down the line, though.

Fred (Toronto)

There seems to be some varying opinions on Yankees' farmhand Gary Sanchez. What is your take on him?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

He's so young that it's all projection. There's a lot of power in his bat, but will he hit pro pitching? Can he catch at the major league level? He's very intriguing but far from a sure thing.

Ryan (Arlington, VA)

How would you handle Jason Heyward this year?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

I'd give him Atlanta's right-field job and get out of the way.

Ryan (Arlington, VA)

Last week you said you liked the Phillies system over the Braves. Even after the Halladay trade?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Good catch. Those were my rankings for the Handbook, which were finalized before the Hallday trade (and the Vazquez trade). I would take the Braves over the Phillies now.

Ryan (London)

What do you think of Kirk Nieuwenhuis? Legitimate starting CF or 4th outfielder

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

More of a corner guy, which might make him a fourth outfielder.

Kyle (Rome, NY)

Hey Jim, Is there any more news on the Angel Villalona front? I search the internet once in a while but i can't find anything more. Do you think he will be playing pro ball in 2010? not sure how quick they would come to a dismissal

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

I haven't heard anything recently. Even if he gets acquitted though, it's unclear whether he'll ever be able to get a visa to get back into the United States.

Dan (Philly)

early lightning-round style question: Chapman or any other pitching prospect not named Strasburg

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Let's head to the lightning round . . . I did an Ask BA on this a few weeks ago. I believe Chapman is overhyped, and I would take guys like Neftali Feliz, Brian Matusz and Madison Bumgarner over him without hesitation.

ray (burlington, nj)

Lightning Round!!! Dee Gordon in the Callis Top 50? Where?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

No. 35.

Jason (St Louis)

Texas or Alabama tomorrow night?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Alabama.

David Segui (Baltimore)

Who was crazy enough to vote for me?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Probably someone who appreciates your candor about using PEDs.

Isaac (NYC)

What is the scouting report on Manny Banuelos? Why am I having so much trouble finding anything?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Because you haven't checked out the Yankees Top 10 list at baseballamerica.com? Average fastball, average curve, fringy changeup, good command.

Charles (Toronto, Ontario)

Do you like what Toronto got for Halladay?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

I do. They did as well as could have been expected.

Jason (St Louis)

Did Wagner Mateo ever sign with another team after the Cardinals voided his contract? Last I heard the Giants were looking in to him but that was over the summer.

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

He's still unsigned.

Kenny (Coalinga, CA)

Posey or some schmo who is willing to sign a one-year contract on the cheap?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

The Giants want Posey to clean up his receiving so I bet they go with a veteran to open the season.

Trader J (Indy)

Simon Castro or Arodys Vizcaino

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Vizcaino, but it's close.

Chuck (MPLS)

Sano, Hicks, or any other Twins prospect?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

I'd take Kyle Gibson over both of them, but I do like Hicks a lot.

Harry (Babylon)

Jose Reyes or Jimmy Rollins?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Reyes.

joel (pdx)

even with the addition of lee, seatle's staff is still weaker than the angles...no?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

No.

Andrew (Philly)

If you were Ruben Amaro, would you have kept Lee and tried to sign him, made the Halladay and Lee trade or just kept both for one dominate year?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

I would have kept both for 2010. If I fall out of contention somehow (unlikely), I trade Lee at midseason if I can't sign him. I suspect Philly's ownership mandated that Lee be dealt to make room for Halladay's salary, but I would have hoped to 1) save money elsewhere or 2) at least have more time to get closer to Lee's value in return.

Jeff (Vegas)

Appier, Hentgen, Segui getting a vote... seriously? This is why ballots should be made public

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Those don't bother me a lot. Very few writers vote for 10 players on the ballot, so in almost all of those cases, those votes didn't take a vote away from a deserving player.

Phil (Dallas)

Who do you like more Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman or Brett Anderson? Why?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Anderson. Best combination of stuff and command. All three of those guys are very close.

Joe (RI)

Jesus Montero; Athletic enough to play corner outfield?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Maybe, but we haven't seen him out there yet.

Mike (North Carolina)

Feliz or Joba right now, which would you take?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Feliz.

Drew (Winnipeg)

Why so down on Chapman? Sorry if it's asked and answered elsewhere. I do read BA, but my memory isn't always picture perfect.

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Not down on him, and I'd see him as a Top 25 prospect or so, but my enthusiasm is tempered by the number of Cuban defectors who haven't lived up to expectations, and the fact that his radar-gun reading are a lot more exciting than his pitchability.

Keith (Grand Rapids)

Posey or Castro?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Posey.

Derek (NY)

Thoughts on Holliday's $120m deal?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Not sure what the market was that drove the price up that high. Who else was bidding?

Brandt (Florida)

B.J. Upton or Desmond Jennings

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Tough call. Upton has been underachieving but is so talented . . . Put a gun to my head and I'll say Jennings.

Seth (SF)

Does your opinion of the Lee trade change if Aumont becomes a starter?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Not really. I'm not sure he can hold up as a starter. Even if he does, that gives them a starter and two guys who are likely complementary players on a contender in Gillies and Ramirez.

J.P. (Springfield, IL)

Chapman or Matzek?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Matzek. Another tough call, though.

Steve (Pittsburgh)

Buy or sell on Tim Alderson?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Sell.

Doug (NYC)

Having Montero as your cleanup hitter in that BA Q&#x26;A, does that mean he has the best bat in the minors?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I think Jason Heyward has the best bat but Montero has more power.

James (Chicago)

Chad Jenkins or Carlos Carrasco?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Jenkins.

James (Chicago)

Scheppers or Kyle Drabek?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Drabek.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)

Niese or Ian Kennedy?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Niese.

Casey (Texas)

Kyle Gibson or Kyle Drabek?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Drabek.

steve (pittsburgh)

Pedro Alvarez or J. Smoak?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Alvarez.

James (Chicago)

Drabek or Porcello?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Porcello.

Dwayne (MPLS)

Mauer a Twin or a Yankee in 2011?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Twin.

Brad (Chicago)

True or False: Buchholz will still be on the Red Sox in 2011

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

True.

Oscar ((Santo Domingo))

Koufax or Pedro (Peak)?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Pedro.

Adam (Maine)

5th Starter: Joba or Hughes

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Hughes.

James (Chicago)

Knapp or Casey Crosby?

Jim Callis
  (3:04 PM)

Crosby. Give me the guy who's lefthanded and healthy.

Day Man (Philly)

I like this game....Cole Hamels from the 08 WS or Randy Johnson from the 01 WS?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Johnson.

zack (boston)

no chance your team of prospects wins 72 games

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

I might be optimistic there, I agree.

Chris (Toronto)

Better Career for corner OF Heyward or Snider?

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

Heyward.

Tom (Gouverneur, NY)

David Wright gets his HR power back next season?

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

Sure.

mj (edmonton)

Niemann or Drabek, in terms of peak upside?

Jim Callis
  (3:08 PM)

Drabek.

Nick (Seattle)

Team you hate the most (any sport)?

Jim Callis
  (3:10 PM)

I must be getting old, because I don't know that I hate any team. Can't say I didn't enjoy seeing Georgia Tech lose to my alma mater in basketball and lose the Orange Bowl last night, though.

Jeff (Indianapolis)

What's your opinion on Tim Alderson being a sell?

Jim Callis
  (3:10 PM)

His stuff was down last year and I don't see him as a major contributor to a contender.

Chris (Fort Wayne)

Does Alphonso Soriano ever get back to 35+ HR?

Jim Callis
  (3:10 PM)

No.

Chris (Fort Wayne)

Why all the roulette with the Yankees for Damon? They are the best fit for him, but aren't paying Boras' asking price.

Jim Callis
  (3:11 PM)

Damon doesn't have a lot of teams beating down his door, so why should the Yankees' meet Boras' asking price. They can wait him out.

Doug (Chicago)

Viciedo or Brent Morel?

Jim Callis
  (3:11 PM)

Morel.

Paul (NJ)

Ceiling on Daniel Hudson?

Jim Callis
  (3:11 PM)

No. 3 starter.

Jim Callis
  (3:12 PM)

That's all for today. I'm going to go proof a few more Prospect Handbook pages and work on a column. See you next week.