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March 10, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, everyone. We have spring-training games, so finally some real baseball news again. Fire away . . .

Brian (Georgia)

Do you think a line like .280 avg .340 OBP 20 hr 70 RBI would be a fair for Jason heyward? that would be a solid year.

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

That would be a very nice year for a 20-year-old rookie. I think that's fair.

mymrbig (New Orleans)

I know you have been fairly down on "24" so far this year, but if you just focus on the Jack story line, it has been pretty good. Or in scouting parlance, the "Jack/terrorist" story has been a 65 for me, but the Dana Walsh story has been a 20 (lower if possible).

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

That's fair. I might give the Jack story a 60 rather than a 65. The Dana story has been worse than Johnny Damon's arm or Bengie Molina's speed.

Grant (Chicago)

How do last year's hot shot (Wilmer Flores) and this year's international hot shot (Sano/Jean) compare? Will we all forget Sano this time next year while the next top signee creeps onto the end of the top 100 list?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

They're fairly similar. Flores may not have shown it much as an overmatched 17-year-old in low Class A, but he has similar power. Both guys likely will have to move off shortstop. We'll see how Sano plays this year in Rookie ball. The previous year's sensation, Michael Ynoa, didn't pitch at all last season, so he fell by the wayside a little bit.

Mike B (Chicago, Southside)

How does the loss of Nathan help the WhiteSox and their pursuit of another AL Central title ? I have to think Ron Gardenhire pressures the ownership to acquire another "closer type" before the season begins.

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

It has to help the other AL Central clubs. I'd still lean toward the Twins as the favorite, but Nathan has been so automatic for so long, that missing him can't help but cost Minnesota a couple of games. It's not like there are a lot of Nathan-type closers ready to be acquired. Personally, I wonder if Jose Mijares might be the best in-house option.

Brandon (Nashville)

Chapman: RP or SP? Does he get a full year in the minors or do they bring him up?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

He'll get every chance to start. The Reds didn't give him $30 million to make him a reliever. He'll start the year in the minors and as soon as he shows consistency with his secondary pitches and command, he'll be in the majors.

derek (wisconsin)

Better bet for best lefty in mlb into the next decade: brett anderson or chapman

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

I'm going to say Brett Anderson.

Chris (NYC)

As I watch Livan Hernandez, Mock, JD Martin, etc battle it out... should I be sad or mad the roation could be- Strasburg, Porcello, Crow, Marquis, Lannan (with JZimm on the mend)?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

Not too sad. Strasburg will be up this year, but there's no reason to promote him until his arbitration eligibility is delayed. As for Porcello, the Nationals (and several other teams) just weren't going to pay $7 million to sign him. They should have signed Crow, though.

Todd (des moines, IA)

I hate to add to the hype machine but though last weekend Bryce Harper is hitting .408 and slugging over .830 with 6hr. in 20 games not bad for a kid huh?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

And he's a 17-year-old hitting with wood bats against juco competition. He needs to watch the strikeouts (17 in 71 AB), but he has done nothing to dispel the notion that he's the most talented player available in the 2010 draft. Whether he goes No. 1 overall remains to be seen.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Prince Fielder for Jesus Montero who says no this summer assuming that the Yanks are in it and the Brewers aren't?

Jim Callis
  (2:13 PM)

That's a good question. If I'm the Brewers, I want more than one prospect (even an elite prospect) for Fielder. If I'm the Yankees, admittedly money is no object, but Fielder would be locked into DH if I re-signed him. Montero has a chance to play catcher (though I'm dubious he'll be an asset back there) and might be just as productive as Fielder in time. So while I'm intrigued, I'm not sure either team pulls the trigger on that one.

Adam (Minneapolis)

Everyone is talking Rauch, Guerrier, Crain, Mijares and Neshek for the suddenly vacant Twins closer job. But what about Anthony Slama? Seems to me he's the closer of the future for them and the future is kind of now.

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

Slama is a guy who's tough to figure. His minor league numbers have been spectacular (1.86 ERA, 271 K in 184 IP) but his stuff is much less so. He gets good late life on his 89-92 mph sinker and slider. Very few major league closers were relievers throughout their minor league careers, like Slama has been. I don't see him as a future closer, but he could be useful out of the bullpen.

Jeffrey Wilson (St. Johns, Antigua, West Indies)

Are you buying all the press about the Cubs' brass thinking Fontenot can backup Theriot at SS? Are they that desperate for a left-handed bat? The only middle IF in the Cubs system worse than Theriot is Fontenot!

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

There's no way Fontenot can play SS on any kind of regular basis, at least not for a major league team that fancies itself a contender.

Chris (Detroit)

Has Ranaudo's injury drastically changed his draft stock?

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

Not yet. He'll miss a third start this weekend with a stress reaction in his elbow, but he still has plenty of time to return and get back on track. If he comes back and is healthy and his normal self the rest of the way, he'll still go very high.

Jeff (Mpls)

If Tillman were eligible for the Top 100, would he rank in the Top 20? If I remember correctly, BA did rank him higher than Matusz in the 2009 Top 100....

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

He would rank in the Top 20, though I prefer Matusz ever so slightly to Tillman.

Peter (Portland)

You are high on Pedro Alvarez, and BA ranked his power as an 80. But what scouting scale rank would you give his bat? 65?

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

That's fair, would make him about a .290 hitter.

Jared ((Alpine,UT))

I keep hearing some scouts think Bryce Harper might need to be moved off of catcher. Are first base (which wastes his arm) and right field the only positions he could move to?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

He's athletic for his size, so I wouldn't rule out third base as a possibility.

Josh (Philadelphia)

Hey Jim, do you think the phillies should be worried about making another title run with such uncertainty with their bullpen right now?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

Not too worried. I mean, they had one of the worst closer performances ever in 2009 and almost won the World Series.

Keith (NYC)

Jim,Does the success of Ike Davis, Meija, and Fmart so far in Spring Training boost their status or is it too small a sample? What would you do with these guys if you ran the club? Thank you

Jim Callis
  (2:22 PM)

Small sample size, and spring-training stats are pretty meaningless. I'd give Ike Davis the first-base job if he continues to outplay my other candidates (he's more talented), send Martinez to Triple-A and Mejia to Double-A.

Don (Syracuse, NY)

Who will have more of an impact in the majors in 2011, Jesus Montero, Desmond Jennings or Dustin Ackley?

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

Jennings. He probably won't break camp with the Rays, but he's their best CF right now. Montero and Ackley will spend all or most of the year in the minors working on their defense.

Chris (NYC)

There's a lot of nats fans who want a pitcher at 1.1 and are leary of Harper. Tallion is a possibilty (although history doesnt agree)but I'm having a problem with justifying any of the college arms at 1.1. What do you think?

Jim Callis
  (2:25 PM)

Money not being a factor, right now I'd take Harper at 1-1 and Taillon at 1-2. The pitchers are the strength of the college crop this year, but I wouldn't be dying to take Ranaudo and Co. with the No. 1 overall pick.

Landon (Chicago)

Bryan Morgado has been very average this season for Tennessee. Is he regretting not signing with Chi Sox last year?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

The White Sox (who had just picked up Alexis Rios' huge contract and traded for Jake Peavy) were more responsible for Morgado not signing than Morgado was. He wasn't holding out for huge money.

Matt (Royal Oak MI)

Hey Jim how's it going? I was just wondering what your take on Mauricio Robles is. What do you think his ceiling is? Just wondering because I've read a couple articles about him lately and it sounds like he has good stuff, so as a Tigers fan I'm getting a little concerned that we let another great prospect get away for a washed up has been(Washburn) ala Jurrjens for Renteria a couple years ago. Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

Don't fret too much. Robles is a power-armed lefty who needs to make a lot of progress with his secondary pitches and command, and he looks more like a reliever to me. That trade was defensible--Washburn should have helped Detroit wrap up the AL Central.

God (Heaven)

Jesus Montero or me? Your deification of yet another overhyped Yankees prospect is troubling: beware the worshipping of false idols.

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

Yeah you know me, Yankees fans are always complaining about how I overhype their prospects. Heyward and Montero are easily the two best all-around hitters (average, power, OBP) in the minors.

Gavin (County Court)

Do you think with scouting as it currently stands that we will ever see a player the caliber of Albert Pujols slip as far as he did in the amatuer draft in the future?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Sure. Pujols was a tough guy to evaluate. He came to the U.S. from the Dominican, graduated HS early and went to junior college. There were a lot of questions about how old he really was, and he wasn't in great shape. He was on our preseason Top 100 High School Prospects list before what would have been his senior season, so he wasn't a complete unknown.

KO (Pittsfield, MA)

Favorite offseason player quote: "I am in the best shape of my life" or "I plan on stealing 30 bases this year" or "I will not talk about my contact situation during the season"?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

I'll take Option No. 1. It's amazing how many players are in the best shape of their life each year. I'd love someone to come in and say, "I ate like a pig and didn't work out all offseason. I'm in terrible shape."

Ian (Louisville)

Vanderbilt's Jack Armstrong has been talked about as a power arm who could be a top pick in the 2011 draft, but the numbers haven't really been there yet this season. Are you bullish on him?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

I like him but I wouldn't say "bullish." He ranked No. 6 on our Cape Cod League prospects list last summer, but we noted he still needed work on his breaking ball, command and mound presence. Looks like that's still the case.

Kyle (Oakland)

The Torrero's Sammy Solis seems to be fully healed from his back injury and back to his old form. Do you see him potentially jumping into the 1st round of the draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Yes. Scouts liked him even before he got hurt, and I had some directors mention that he could jump into the first round when I was working on our Early Draft Preview.

Andrew (Middlebury, VT)

Any word on the status of Big V? Your best guess: will he ever play professional baseball again on US soil?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

No word on his status. I'd be surprised if the government ever let him back in the U.S., even if he is exonerated.

Travis (Boston)

Jerry Crasnick was unimpressed with my point that Theo Epstein made a horrible decision to sign Mike Cameron for 2 years at $7.5M per, when Jermain Dye can be had for $2-3M and Damon went for 1 year at $8M. You have to agree with me...because I'm right.

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

I'll side with Jerry. Jermaine Dye is a 20 defender right now. Committing to Cameron for an extra year won't sink the Sox, and there was demand for Cameron. He's one of the more underrated players of the last decade.

Jon (Fairfax, VA)

Better Indians pitching prospect, Rondon or Corrasco?

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

Rondon. (As an aside, I grew up right next to Fairfax in Oakton, Va.)

Jason (Salem, OR)

Did you see Randy Galloway of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's report that said some baseball people felt Mitch Moreland would be the team's 1B in 2012 rather than Davis or Smoak? Thoughts?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Did not see that. And that's insane.

Jason (Dallas)

So Jim...how many innings will Strassburg see before they shut him down?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Just wrote a column on this that hasn't been posted yet at baseballamerica.com. I bet he pitches 50 innings in the minors in April and May, 100 innings in the majors from June through August and gets shut down in early September. There's no reason to pitch him more than 150 innings this year.

scott (balto)

Hi Jim, I need to know, who ya got, Jacob Turner or Martin Perez?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Perez, but it's close.

Justin (Indianapolis)

5 years from now... Markakis or Bruce?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Bruce.

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Does the lightning round seem to be starting a little early this week. Why yes it does . . .

Jon (Grand Rapids, MI)

Recently I read a Casey Crosby/Clayton Kershaw comparison. Is this outrageous or fairly accurate?

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Not that far off course.

Alan (St. Pete)

Apparently Desmond Jennings has a sprained wrist, FYI. How much of a concern is his injury history? Do his problems seem more chronic or flukey?

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Fluky, and not a concern.

scott (balto)

Mitchell or Westmoreland?

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

Westmoreland.

Dave (Seattle)

Sizemore or Jackson as Tiger's ROY?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

Sizemore. Not as tooled up as Jackson, but I bet he outperforms him this year.

Dan (Chicago)

After spring training, which level would you send Jered Mitchell? High A or Double A?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

High A and move him up at midseason if he performs.

Mike (DC)

The comparison I see Red Sox fans make the most for Michael Bowden is Jeff Suppan. Is that fair? Could he have that type of success or is he more of a middle reliever?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

That's fair, could be a decent if unspectacular starter if he puts it all together.

Matt (DC)

Jim, we often see minor league players ranked against other minor leaguers as well as college players ranked against other college players, but how come we don't often see a combination of the two? I'd love to see how Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole stack up against Tyler Matzek or Jacob Turner.

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

I got an email about this yesterday, too. Definitely something BA should consider for the future.

Dan (NY)

Hellickson or any other 5th starter for the Rays?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

I like Hellickson, but he'll have to wait his turn. Who would he displace among Garza, Shields, Niemann, Price and Davis?

Baron (Large, PA)

Lightning Round: Did you play baseball board games growing up? Which? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

I did. Started with All-Star Baseball (cool game with spinners when you're really young), moved on to Sherco (you plotted where balls were in play on a 28x28 grid, I loved that game) and then to Strat-O-Matic.

Rick (Boston)

Jennings over Upton right now? I know he's been disappointing, but PECOTA has him projected to hit .275/.370/.450. Do you think Jennings can top that in his first ML season or do you think that's to optimistic for Upton?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

I'd put Jennings in CF and move Upton to RF. That would give the Rays their best outfield.

Ted (Dallas)

Who is Jurickson Profar, and should I be excited about him?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

He's a shortstop from Curacao who signed with the Rangers for $1.55 million last year. The Rangers are very, very high on him. I'm interested to see how he does this year.

Grant (Chantilly VA)

The Orioles have ranked in many people's organizational top 10's, but appear to lack many top 100 prospects. Would you rather have a depth of talent in the minors or elite prospects if you were trying to rebuild an organization like the Orioles?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Elite prospects. You win with stars. That said, the Orioles just promoted Matt Wieters and Chris Tillman to the majors last year, so that's a great start.

Matt (DC)

A follow up to my earlier question, if you can tell me briefly, how do Sonny Gray and Gerrit Cole stack up against Tyler Matzek and Jacob Turner?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

I'd rank them Matzek, Turner, Cole, Gray. The first three are debatable in any order, and Gray would be the clear fourth for me.

Martin Meyhew (Lions GM)

Who do i draft vs. who should i draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

You take whichever DT is available, McCoy or Suh. Looks like you're leaning that way, too.

Me (Here)

Crosby or Withrow?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Crosby.

Russell Anderson (Davis, CA)

Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell for Matusz, Tillman and another prospect or two. Who says no first?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

The Orioles. You can't give up two young, cost-controlled, stud pitchers like that. It's a lot easier to find a first baseman and closer.

Matt (ct)

Heyward, Adam Jones, or McCutchens over the next 5 years?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Heyward.

Jon (AZ)

Wade Davis, Garza, or Price...rank them for 2010

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Garza, Price, Davis.

Justin (Indianapolis)

How upset should I be that the Reds won 1 more game than the Braves in 06, and that's the difference between Gomes/Stubbs/Bruce and Heyward/Stubbs/Bruce?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Very upset.

Rick (Kildeer, IL)

Montero for Castro. Yanks have no position for Montera and the Cubs have another ss prospect. Why not?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

The Cubs have a more pressing need for a shortstop and it's not certain Montero can catch (and that Soto won't rebound). I don't think either team would make that trade straight up.

Vance (Seattle)

Greinke or F.Hernandez right now? Career?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Hernandez for me in both cases.

Nick (Mke)

How about a Brewer's question? Fielder for Westmoreland, Kelly and a throw in.

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Don't think you'll see the Red Sox give up Kelly or Westmoreland, let alone both in one deal.

Me (Here)

Could you do Jon's 3 for the future, too, please: Davis/Garza/Price

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Price, Garza, Davis.

Bryce (Wisconsin)

Should the Brewers look to trade Angel Salome for some more pitching prospect(s) since Lucroy should be ready by 2011?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Salome wouldn't bring much in return.

Nick (Cleveland)

Well Justin, how upset should I be that we have Beau Mills instead of Heyward who went one spot later?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

More upset.

Me (Here)

Lee or Green at SS?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

If I had to have a shortstop, I'd take Lee, because it's not certain Green can stay there.

Howard (London)

Odds on Hosmer reverting to elite?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Keith (NY)

Any chance Harper's bonus demands are so insane that he drops all the way to the Yankees, similar to how Porcello dropped three years ago?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Slim. The Red Sox pick ahead of the Yankees at No. 20, and I bet they'd step in and make sure Harper didn't fall either further. The Angels have three picks ahead of the Yankees--why not gamble one on Harper?

John (Portland, ME)

Opening Day SS for the Red Sox in '11, Scuturo or Iglesias?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Scutaro. But Iglesias might be starting by the all-star break in 2011.

Chris (Hoboken, NJ)

If Harper is there at 7 and the mets don't take him we will burn Citi field to the ground!!!

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

But the Mets haven't gone aggressively way over slot since Mike Pelfrey . . . in 2005. And that hasn't worked out as hoped. I'd be surprised if the Mets popped Harper--Wilpons wouldn't want to upset Selig.

Jeff (Minneapolis)

Span, Revere or Hicks is the Twins CF in 2014?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Revere in LF, Span in CF, Hicks in RF.

Steve (Vegas)

Why isn't Harper being treated like A-Rod, or Justin Upton...could they have hit .407 with wood in JUCO?

Jim Callis
  (3:05 PM)

Not to take anything away from Harper, but yeah, I'm betting A-Rod or Upton could have.

Hulk (Hands)

Ike Davis or Brandon Allen? Mike Trout or Josh Reddick? Inoa or Mejia?

Jim Callis
  (3:06 PM)

Davis. Trout and Reddick are different players, Trout has a higher ceiling but I'll take Reddick because he's proven a lot more. Mejia.

Jeff (Minneapolis)

T/F - Joe Nathan saves 40 games sometime again in his career.

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

False. He'll be at least 37 when he's back to 100 percent and ready for a full season.

Nick (MKE)

RE: Upton or Arod - as 17 year olds??? Perhaps they couldve, but Harper IS doing it. His name has to at least be in the conversation with them for all time elite HS bats...

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

I didn't say it wasn't, just that those guys were similarly gifted at the same stage, even if Sports Illustrated didn't overhype them as "Baseball's LeBron."

Greinke (KC)

Am i really that good or was 2009 a fluke year?

Jim Callis
  (3:08 PM)

Really that good.

Scott (Philadelphia)

Who will be the Eagles' starting quarterback next season?

Jim Callis
  (3:08 PM)

Still McNabb. I miss the NFL already.

Mike (Rutland, VT)

If Harper is available, do you see the Pirates picking him?

Jim Callis
  (3:08 PM)

Depends on what he's asking for. If he's looking for eight figures, I see the Pirates passing.

Glen (MSP)

Is there a way that Selig can reward teams that don't go over slot?

Jim Callis
  (3:09 PM)

Not anywhere remotely close to making it worth their while.

Jim Callis
  (3:10 PM)

That's it for this week. See you again next Wednesday.