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March 17, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:01 PM)

Hi, everyone. Are your brackets filled out? Hit me with some questions . . .

Harold (Chicago, IL)

So Jim, your thoughts on the Pujols/Howard trade rumor?

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

I don't think it was a trade rumor so much as it was the Phillies having discussions about broaching the possibility if need be. I don't see it happening.

Rick (Boston)

Strasburg's 2010-2011 or Prior's 2002-2003? (328 inn, 2.75 ERA, 392K, 4.5 K/BB)

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

I'll take Prior. He faced better competition in college than Strasburg did, so I think he was more prepared for MLB.

JAYPERS (IL)

Hey, Jim. At this point, what are the chances of Heyward making the Opening Day roster, in your estimation?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

95 percent . . . Can't see how they leave him off. It would make some financial sense, but the Braves expect to contend and in that case, there's no justification for not having Heyward on the club.

Dave (B'more)

hey jim, big fan here. lets say that harper goes first in the draft in june. what are the chances that the pirates pass on taillon and the orioles take him?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

Bear in mind that I haven't spoken to teams about what they want to do in the 2010 draft. But I will say this: the Pirates didn't want to take a high school arm at the top of last year's draft, so I think it's quite possible they could pass on Taillon.

Ben (Leland Grove)

While ST stats don't amount to much, what are your thoughts on Neftali Feliz's struggles thus far?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

It's just seven innings, so I'm not really concerned. I still wonder if he's a closer in the long run.

Ethan (New York)

I"m sure most people missed Dominic Brown's torrid day yesterday (3-3 2hr's), he was scalding the ball. I know the Phillies outfield is crowded this season, but do you see a scenario where Amaro can fit Brown into this potent lineup in 2010?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

Sure. If Ibanez, Victorino or Werth gets hurt, I think Brown gets regular playing time.

Phil (Grand Rapids)

Scale of 1-10....how worried are you about Bumgarner? 1 equals 'Don't worry, still an ace in the making.' 10 equals 'Just waiting for the surgery announcement.'

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

Starting to get more worried . . . I don't think he's necessarily hurt. But the fact that he's living in the high 80s after finishing last season there is bothersome. I'll put a 4 on my worry.

Evan M (Phila PA)

Jim - in ask BA, there was an excellent segment on prospects who could be potential #1's. Could you do the same for the recent rookie class of Hanson, Price, Anderson, Porcello, Latos, Tillman, Cahill, Happ etc - I am interested who you think is a potential #1 and who do you consider the best of the group- thanks for your good work

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

Thanks, Evan. Ask BA is only as good as the questions I get . . . Out of that group, I see Hanson, Price, Anderson, Porcello and Tillman as potential No. 1s. It's tough to pick just one, right now my gut says Hanson.

TIm (Seneca)

Thoughts on Chris Sale? Can he be a frontline starter?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

I like Sale. He was our top-rated prospect in the Cape Cod League last summer and looks liek a first-round pick for June. I see his ceiling as a No. 2 -- reports vary a little bit on his velocity (avg to plus to peaking a little better than that) and on the quality of his breaking ball.

Grant (Nashville)

Read about 2011 HS pitcher Dylan Bundy's no hitter on Baseball America. Is he a 1st round talent for next year's draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

Yes, definitely.

Dale (San Diego)

Is Wynn Pelzer's ultimate role as a starter or reliever in your mind?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

Reliever for me. His fastball-slider combo and his command fit better in that role.

Wes (Toronto, Canada)

After seeing how off the field issues have affected Elijah Dukes, do you see the same outcome for other talented youngsters with issues like Slade Heathcott?

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

You have to look at each situation individually. Dukes' problems were self-inflicted, while worries about Heathcott stem from his family life. I wouldn't compare the two, and I really wouldn't compare anyone to Dukes. That said, the Nationals said Dukes' release today was based only on on-field performance.

Dale (Calvert City KY)

Jim, What can you tell me about James Russell? He is pitching lights out for the Cubs this spring. I think he is the son of Jeff Russell???

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

He's a lefty with decent to solid stuff, and he is Jeff's son. I see Russell as a middle reliever in the long run, so don't get too worked up about his spring stats.

Justin (Chicago South Side)

I have heard numerous Michael Young comps for Gordon Beckham. Do you see Becks putting up some of Young's numbers over his career?

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

I think Beckham will put up better numbers. He has more power and more patience.

Mike (Fairfax)

If the Nationals select Harper in the draft this year, where do you see him starting off in the minors?

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

Harper almost assuredly won't sign before 11:55 pm ET on Aug. 16, so he probably won't play in the minors in 2010. I'd guess low Class A in 2011.

Carl (Oakland)

Do you see Ryan Sweeney ever developing 20 hr power? He has a good looking swing, but it doesn't generate the loft to carry over the fence.

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Not really. I think he's going to max out around 15.

Brendan (Columbus)

I saw that Manny Acta projected Carlos Santana to become V.Martinez with even more pop. Do you share this assessment?Is he really going to be as good/better than Victor Martinez?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

That's possible. He has a similar profile, so that's not hyperbole.

Dave (Dallas)

I subscribe to BA, BP, ESPN insider, and Scouts.com; however, I always read/trust you first. Are you as concerned as some have been about Rich Harden's slow start and low(ish) velocity? It could be the norm for him in spring training, but I don't remember scouting reports from spring training last year much less for the last seven years.

Jim Callis
  (2:22 PM)

Thanks, Dave. Harden's velocity was down last year, too, and he was much more hittable than usual. I wouldn't say I'm concerned. I'd say I'm resigned to the fact that there's just no way Rich Harden is going to have Rich Harden stuff for anything close to 32 starts.

Haastile (Louisville)

Ive heard scouts say that Aroldis Chapman is more refined and less raw that originally thought and therefore a bargain for the reds. Do you agree with that statement?

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Based on what, four innings? Chapman is going to have to be exceptional for $30.25 million to be considered a "bargain." I acknowledge that he has a great arm, but he's going to have to pitch more than four spring innings to convince me that he's polished. And the track record of Cuban defectors is not good.

dp (connecticut)

Hey Jim, thanks as always for the chats. Neyer mentioned yesterday that he wouldn't be suprised if Madison Bumgarner went under the knife in 2-3 months. Can you shed any more light on this?

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

He's just speculating based on the diminished velocity. I haven't seen anyone suggest that his mechanics have changed or that he's laboring, so I don't know what to tell you.

bang nguyen (ottawa)

If you had first selection in the June draft, would you draft Harper at all cost? Which players would be competing for the 1 honor?

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

If all cost means handing Boras and the Harpers a blank check, no. That said, Harper is the No. 1 prospect in the draft right now. Texas HS RHP Jameson Taillon would be No. 2. I don't think there's another serious contender right now. LSU RHP Anthony Ranaudo has been hurt and none of the other college pitchers grabs me as a No. 1 pick.

JAYPERS (IL)

How likely is it Posey switches to 1B?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Unlikely. Maybe he plays there some this year out of need, but it would be a waste to move him from the scarcest position to the easiest to fill. Posey is athletic enough that he could play 2B or 3B in the long run if the Giants decide they don't want him to catch.

Dorothy Mantooth (San Diego)

Hey Jim...Love your work. I was wondering what your thought are on David Robertson. His minor league numbers were great and he was fantastic last year, especially in the playoffs. With all the Joba debate, could Robertson actually be the best guy to replace Rivera?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Not sure I see him as a top-notch closer, but I love him as a setup man. Yet another guy whose prospect stock soared in the Cape Cod League.

Mike (SLC, UT)

Westmoreland just underwent brain surgery? Not to be insensitive, but...how does this affect his prospect status?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

We don't know yet. The reports are that the surgery was a success, but we don't know how it will affect him physically. Until we know that, it's foolish to speculate. If he does make a full return to health, losing a year's worth of at-bats won't help, but he's only 19 and has plenty of time to make them up.

Christian (San Jose)

True or false: Pablo Sandoval long-term will be much closer to Pujols than to Sean Casey?

Jim Callis
  (2:34 PM)

Casey, and that's not meant as a slight to Sandoval.

Peter (Pittsburgh)

Do you feel the consensus in the scouting community is that people were a bit suprised by how well McCutchen played last year... and that some expect a regression?

Jim Callis
  (2:35 PM)

No, not really. Everyone always thought McCutchen was very talented. Maybe there's a little surprise that he broke in so easily, but he has the tools.

Jack (Toronto)

I finally got to see Starlin Castro play the other day. It was amazing. He looked anxious in the field, but at the plate I can see why you have been gushing over him. Despite his low walk totals last year I was amazed to see he's not a hacker at all. He seemed to absolutely control the strikezone and would drill the first pitch he can handle. A double to lf and a line drive single to rf. In the field he got to a ball in the hole that Theriot wouldn't have gotten within 4 feet of. Sure his throw was off target, but I'm impressed. What do you see the Cubs doing with him this year? Tune up at AAA?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

That's the thing -- he makes contact so easily. I think he'll spend the first half of the year in the minors, and if he's playing well, he'll come up and Theriot will move over to second base.

Darryl Shotton (The Pas)

What happened to Travis Snider last year? and will he bounce back?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Just a young kid who, like many others, didn't take the majors by storm right away. I still like him a lot for the long term.

Jason (St Louis)

It sure seems more and more likely Mauer hits FA. If the Red Sox and Yanks get in to a bidding war on him, what potentially do you think he could end up signing for? Is 8 years 225 mil outside the realm of possibility?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

Not outside the realm of possibility if he becomes a free agent, but I still think he resigns with the Twins.

Kyle (OH)

Can Machado stay at SS in the pros? If so, is he a possibility for a SS-starved Orioles organization or is that too much of a reach?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

He can stay at shortstop and yes, he could go that high in the draft.

JC (Brooklyn)

Jim, Here's my 24 question/comment/rant of the week...I love the show but what kills me is for 8 "days" now there's always someone in the govt that questions Jack's skills/abilities, does that ever bother you? Oh and will Jarek Cunningham ever be any decent kind of MLer?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Yes . . . how can anyone doubt Jack? And after he's been on TV (congressional hearings) and some details of some of his exploits certainly must have leaked out, how he is not generally recognized. Anyway . . . I like Cunningham if he can ever stay healthy. All his tools are solid or better, but repeated knee problems have held him back.

Mike (Seattle)

What kind of power do you think Dustin Ackley will have? Is he likely to max out at 10-15 HR per year, or does he have potential for 20+?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Let's start the lightning round: 20+.

Dan (Fairfield, CA)

I know the season hasn't started yet, but do you think the Gnats will take Rendon with the #1 overall pick in the 2011 draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Yes!

JAYPERS (IL)

Lightning round -- better hitter in five years' time: Longoria or Alvarez?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Longoria.

Stephen (Louisville)

Who will be the Cubs' 5th outfielder, Fuld or Colvin? Assuming Nady is the 4th.

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Fuld, with Colvin getting regular ABs in Triple-A.

Al B (Ontario)

Will Dellin Betances and or Brackman ever realize their potential as a front line starter and remain healthy in your opinion?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Maybe stay healthy, but I'd be shocked if either became a frontline starter. Maybe a quality reliever, but both have a long ways to go.

Joel (PDX )

Hi Jim, I'm an Angel fan and really liked Sean Rodriguez: do you see him 1) making the Rays April roster; and if so, 2) is he starting or super-utility?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Yes, and super-utility.

Adam (NY)

Is Francisco Cervelli a prospect? What can we assume his ceiling to be? Higher or lower than Jose Molina?

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

He projects as a defensive-minded backup, not a regular.

James (Milwaukee,Wi)

Who would be a better catcher prospect long term for the Brewers Lucroy or Salome?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Lucroy, but I just see him as a decent, maybe solid regular.

Jason (Bmore)

Who will be the first catcher called up for the Jays, Arrecibia or D'Arnaud?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Arencibia, because he's further along. D'Arnaud will be better in the long run.

hectec (chitown)

happy st.pats!!!! greater ceiling for cubs pitchers a. cashner or j. samardjia

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Cashner.

Joey (West Palm Beach)

Montero or Wieters?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Wieters, because they're similar hitters but Wieters has a much better chance to catch for the long term.

Steven (Toronto)

Thoughts on the Jays Cuban signing?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Haven't talked to any scouts about him, so I don't have much of a feel for his bat. I've had several questions about Hechevarria today . . . I'd take Jose Iglesias over him, because he's more of a known quantity (based on the AFL) and scouts keep telling me he's the best defensive shortstop in the minors.

Jack (Chicago)

The next Cubs 1B (after DLee) is Fielder or Pujols...T or F.

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

False. If they struggle this year, I don't think they'll expand the payroll further.

chris (NYC)

I understand your "blank check" arguement on Harper, but what would you pay him? Would you go to 15mil?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Based on talent, I would take him No. 1 right now. And because of the unique leverage he possesses, I'd probably have to pay him the $15 million.

mikey (Philly)

would you have kept Cliff Lee for 1 more year?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

As I've said many times, yes. Don't think they got enough to make it worth trading him now. Why not wait until July?

Fred (Chicago)

Jared Mitchell. Discuss.

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Missing a whole year will hurt him more than most players out of college because he spent so much time playing football.

Zach (Athens, TX)

Who will be the starting catcher for Houston?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Not sure on Opening Day, but Jason Castro by season's end.

Brian (SC)

Jason Heyward might be the best Braves player in as soon as ______ ?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Opening Day.

jeff (new orleans)

jiovanni mier or hak-ju lee?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

I'll say Mier, but it's close and it wouldn't surprise me if I changed my answer to Lee by the end of the year.

Nick (Milwaukee)

Strategically, if you are the Nats do you take Harper #1 one, try to sign him but dont cry yourself to sleep if you dont because worst case scenario you get the #2 pick next year. Meaning potentially two Top-5 picks in a much better draft filled with college talent?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

No, no, no! If they don't sign Harper, the No. 2 overall pick they would get as compensation would NOT be protected. They wouldn't be able to take a legitimate No. 2 pick based on talent--they would have to cut a deal to make sure they could sign the guy. Shades of what happened last year when they took Drew Storen at No. 10.

Jackson (WCH, OH)

Sam Bradfor or Ndamokung Suh?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

The Rams desperately need a quarterback, so I'll say Bradford.

Nils (Darien)

Better chance to make the Sox top 10 next year: Hissey or Lin?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Lin.

John (SF)

Latos or S.Castro?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Castro.

Dave (NJ)

Strasburg got 15 mil last year as a college player widely recognized to be the best pitching prospect in a long time. Harper has a much shorter track record, is in a draft following a winter in which the cost of a FA win decreased, going to a team that Strasberg already breathed some life into and someone in the conversation to pick No. 1 over him. He wont get 15 mil.

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

The difference is that Strasburg had little leverage. If he didn't sign, he'd have to re-enter the draft as a 22-year-old senior with no eligibility remaining. He'd have a hard time exceeding $15 million in that situation, and he'd almost have to sign at the point. Harper, meanwhile, can re-enter the draft for the next three years and be only 21 at that point. He has a lot more leverage, so don't underestimate what he might ask for and what he might get.

jeff (new orleans)

wil myers or alex aliva?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

Myers.

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

I'm off to mess with some draft stuff. See you next Wednesday.