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March 31, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:00 PM)

Hi, everyone. Hard to believe we're only four days away from Opening Day!

Logan (Gaithersburg MD)

If you had the no.1 pick next year would you pick Harper or Tallion also is Stetson Allie a pitcher or outfielder

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

I assume you mean this year. I'd take Harper at No. 1, though I wonder what it will cost to sign him. He's has rare power and a chance to play an elite position--that combination is hard to top. Taillon would be my No. 2 prospect right now. Allie can really light up the radar gun but he needs more polish--I think he goes more in the bottom half of the first round.

Eric (Monterrey, CA)

If you were in a prospect draft (i.e NL-only Fantasy League) who would you take 1st between Aroldis Chapman and Starlin Castro? Why?

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

Stephen Strasburg already gone? I'd take Chapman over Castro because I think he'll make more of an impact quicker than Castro will.

Thomas (Houston)

Which player makes the Hall of Fame Craig Biggio or Jeff Bagwell?

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

I think they both do unless writers decide to leave Bagwell out because they think he used steroids.

Matt (Chicago)

Is Samardizja's ceiling that of a set-up guy? I don't think that is what Hendry had in mind when he gave him 10mil a few years ago.

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

That isn't what the Cubs had in mind. But while Samardzija throws hard, he doesn't miss as many bats or command his stuff as well as hoped.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH)

Who wins the 5th starter spot for the Reds now that Aroldis Chapman seems destined for at least a couple months in the minors after his recent back issues: Travis Wood or Mike Leake? And how impressive has Mike Leake been despite no time in the minors except for the Arizona Fall League?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

Leake is more talented, but it may come down to how well they fare in their final spring starts. Leake has been very impressive. I wouldn't have taken him eighth overall in the draft--and I'd love Reds ownership explain why they had to toe the line in the draft but can spend $30 million plus on Chapman--but Leake has been very impressive. He's not the most overpowering guy, but he can make a variety of pitches do whatever he wants.

Tim (Towson, Md) [via mobile]

Good afternoon, Jim. This may be a little obscure, but what are your thoughts in Lou Montanez? I know that he is #6 on the Os outfield depth chart, but I think he could outperform the #3 oufielder on at least a few teams. What do you think will happen with him if he manages another triple A triple crown sort of year?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

No question is too obscure for a Baseball America chat! Back in 2000, Montanez was the third overall pick in the draft. He has torn up the minors in recent years, but I see him as more of a reserve than a regular in the majors. He's not in the greatest situation, because the Orioles aren't lacking for outfielders. If he has another big year, I assume he'll look for a club that offers him more opportunity.

Josh (Cleveland)

Moises Sierra put up good numbers as a young kid in the FSL last year and even hit when being promoted to AA. Why is he not ever mentioned among the Jays top prospects? Won't the power come?

Jim Callis
  (2:08 PM)

He's still pretty raw, and he slugged .393 in the FSL. That said, he was 20 and he is mentioned as one of the Jays' top prospects--he's No. 11 on our Toronto list in the Prospect Handbook.

Chris (Miami, FL)

Is Manny Machado's defense good enough to make it to the majors as a SS or do you see an eventual move?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

He's the top SS prospect in this draft and will stay at the position.

Grant (Portland)

Does Wynn Pelzer end up a starter or reliever?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

Reliever, but I think he can be a good one.

Layton (Chicago, IL)

Is Alex Wimmers more of a safe pick, middle of the rotation guy, or does he have the upside to be a star?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

I'd safely project him as a No. 3, but I'm conservative when it comes to projecting pitchers. All three of Wimmers' pitches grade as plus at times, even if none is overpowering, and he commands them well. If you want to dream a little, you could easily project him as a No. 2.

Paul (Cleveland, OH)

Hey Jim, love the chats. I was just curious why you're not big on Carlos Carrasco. Is it makeup issues? The change-up based arsenal? Something else? His MiLB peripherals are pretty good.

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

He consistently underperforms and there are issues with how hard he competes. I don't mind the stuff, not crazy about the makeup.

Mark (Old Lyme)

Who has a better shot at seeing the majors, Venditte or Nava?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

Venditte. But both are fringe prospects.

Nate (grand rapids, mi)

higher ceiling, casey crosby or satterwhite

Jim Callis
  (2:13 PM)

Crosby.

Randy (Boston)

Who is the best overall prospect in terms of hitting between Eric Hosmer, Miguel Sano, or Jared Mitchell? Thanks,

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

Hosmer.

Aron (St. Louis)

Jim, Jaime Garcia has made it as the 5th starter for the Cardinals. What how does he project for the future maybe a 2-3?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

Maybe a 3. I don't think he'll be a frontline guy, but I've always respected him.

Mike (Santa Barbara)

You get questions about Posey and Bumgarner all the time but I am more interested in Runzler, I did not like the extensions given to affeldt and Wilson because I believe Runzler can be the closer in SF. Does he have the ability to be a closer?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

Maybe. Runzler has a power fastball-curveball arsenal that led to a spectacular 2009 season and is closer-worthy, but he has had command issues. I'd like to see him succeed over a full big league season before I'd project him as a closer. That said, I would have waited on the extensions, too.

Keith (NYC)

Hey Jim, been asking for a couple of weeks. What is your take on Felipe Paulino, does he have a chance to be a 2 or 3 starting pitcher, and can he be effective as soon as this year?Thank you.

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

Big arm, but I bet he's more of a reliever in the long run.

Nick (Annapolis)

Jim, is the scouting scale adjusted for position? for example would a 2b who hits 20 hr get maybe a 60-65 for power because of his position, or would it be a standard grade for everyone expected to around 20 hrs regardless of position?

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

It's a standard grade, regardless of position. Obviously, giving a player a 50 power grade would stand out more if he were a second baseman, rather than an outfielder.

Mike (Phoenix, AZ)

Mr. Callis, thanks for the chat. The Twins today sent down Ramos. How do the Twins handle this problem in the future, as it appears Ramos will be too good to sit on a bench? Do they move Mauer and his "catcher" contract to 3B, where he could possibly hit .400? Do they trade Ramos for other prospects or ML help? I would think Mauer is better suited for a position move, which wold also serve to protect that hefty contract. Tell me please they won't let Ramos be the best catcher who never plays more than once or twice a week for five years before watching him leave as a FA? Thanks again

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

Part of Mauer's immense value is that he is a catcher, though. I think Ramos helps the Twins the most as a valuable trade chip.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Jim, thanks for the chat. What is your projection on Randy Wells going forward? Never highly touted so was last year a fluke?

Jim Callis
  (2:18 PM)

I think it was fluky. He can have a decent career, but I don't think he'll ever post a 3.05 ERA over 27 starts again.

Bob (Tinley Park, IL)

Jim, unable to make the chat (hate it when work gets in the way like that) so I'm submitting this question early. What do you think of Piniella's comment that the reason Tyler Colvin hasn't drawn a walk is that the pitchers are pitching to him and it doesn't matter as long as he's not swining and missing? Isn't he missing the point here? What happens when "real" MLB pitchers learn he won't take a walk?

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Colvin has drawn 105 walks in 442 pro games, so this isn't a new concern. MLB pitchers will let him get himself out. A first-round pick in 2006, Colvin got back on track in Double-A last year, but even then, discipline was a weakness. I suspect he'll wind up in Triple-A after a stretch.

Will (WV)

What do you believe Smoak's ceiling is?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

All-star.

Andrew (Fresno, CA)

As you probably know 24 is canceled going forward...from your previous posts it doesn't seem that you're going to be too heart-broken, correct?

Jim Callis
  (2:22 PM)

No, I'm not heartbroken. This season has seemed tired and the writers have been in a slump for a while. I haven't even bothered to watch the last two episodes yet. At this point, "24" is much better suited for a two-hour movie that just focuses on Jack Bauer and not on politics or CTU's inability to screen its employees.

Grant (Winnipeg)

A recent BA article made some comparisons between Sale and Travis Snider, which makes sense given position and geography, but seemed to suggest that Sale was a bit more athletic. But is Sale's bat as strong as Snider's was? Can he crack the top 10?

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

Sale has the best bat in this HS class, just like Snider did in his class. Wouldn't surprise me if Sale cracks the Top 10.

Pete (Cincy, OH)

Jim, Have you caught Human Target yet? Based on the old comic book- it is "24" condensed to unfold in one hour.

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

I have . . . it's not the deepest TV show, but entertaining enough. Not as good as the comic book series (the Vertigo version), which is tremendous.

Rob (Baltimore)

Any thoughts on Hernandez over Tillman?

Jim Callis
  (2:26 PM)

I think it's silly that decisions are made on spring-training performance, especially when both guys worked about 15 innings each. But it doesn't matter in the long run. Tillman is much more talented, and Hernandez is destined for middle relief. The Orioles weren't going to win this year anyway, and Tillman will be in their rotation before the all-star break.

Andy (Lynchburg VA)

Jim,Reymond Fuentes....Juan Pierre comp. accurate or does he have a higher ceiling?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

Higher ceiling . . . has the potential to do substantially more damage with the bat.

Darryl (Dayton, OH)

Hey Jim. Do you think this is the year that Jay Bruce breaks out and starts showing some of the potential that all pundits were talking about back in 2008?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

Yes, yes I do.

Ethan (Denver)

Can Mitch Moreland grab the 4th OF spot in Texas from Murphy, or is his D just too poor for that? Either way, I don't understand their fascination with Murphy...

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

That would surprise me. Moreland is really more of a first baseman, and why not let him get regular at-bats in Triple-A to start the year?

Andrew (Fresno, CA)

Tebow or McCoy

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

McCoy. I'm not sold on McCoy because of his lack of size and arm strength, but I don't see Tebow as an NFL quarterback. By the way, has anyone noticed all the baseball connections in this NFL draft, especially at WR with Golden Tate, Eric Decker and Riley Cooper?

Bryan (Baltimore)

Redraft of 2007 draft, would you take Weiters or Heyward then and now?

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

Weiters . . . much harder to find a catcher. I'd take Heyward second though, ahead of David Price.

Nils (Darien)

Has the Blue Jays' signing of Adeiny Hechevarria (sp?) become official yet? This seems to be the least heralded $10 million signing in a long time.

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

It may take weeks of red tape to clear before it becomes official. Didn't the same thing happen with Jose Iglesias and the Red Sox?

Nick (Milwaukee)

You mention Harper's rare power, but could you give current and future scouting scale projections for both his bat, and his power? One scout said "90" for power, but perhaps that's an outlier opinion.

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

It's 80 raw power. Opinions vary on the bat. I'd project him as a 50-55 hitter on the 20-80 scale. He's a potential .275/40 HR guy.

Big Cat (Pittsburgh)

Jim, Please tell me that the Pirates will not pass on either Harper or Taillon at #2? I can't take seeing another Moskos.

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

Too early to know what players are going to ask for and which teams might balk. But last year, the Pirates didn't want to go way over slot (which could rule out Harper) and didn't really want a HS pitcher (which could rule out Taillon). Pittsburgh has spent more money on the last two drafts than any team, so it recognizes that it has to invest in the farm system.

Daryl (ATX)

Jim -- Does Mat Latos have the stuff to be a legit #1? (I thought he did, but I keep seeing other guys be picked for future aces and not hum.). If he does, then what needs to change, what do you need to see for him to ascend into that top echelon? Thanks!

Jim Callis
  (2:34 PM)

The power stuff is there, but his sometimes-shaky command would lead me to believe he's more of a No. 2.

AL (Tampa FL)

Hi Jim,Do you think Joba should remain in the bullpen going forward? Also, are you still high on Hughes or has he regressed in becoming a # 2 or at worst #3 (based on prior projections) major league starter?

Jim Callis
  (2:35 PM)

I'd keep Chamberlain in the bullpen because I think he's best suited for that role and more likely to stay healthy there. Also, can help the current Yankees more out of the pen. I'm still high on Hughes and expect him to live up to his past acclaim. He's been very good when healthy.

JAYPERS (IL)

Your thoughts on the decision to convert Walden into a reliever?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Makes a lot of sense, given that he's had issues with his health, command and secondary pitches.

Mick (Chicago)

I know Logan Watkins has a good relationship w/ his double play partner Hak Ju Lee, but wouldn't he and the Cubs org. increase his value by utilizing his above avg. tools to play shortstop?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

The Cubs would (and by playing him in center field), and they're going to try to give him some time there in 2010.

WhoDat D'Arbanville (Royal Street, Quarter)

I wonder if you can possibly identify ANYWHERE that the damn Yankees can play Jesus Montero when he's ready....?

Jim Callis
  (2:37 PM)

Catcher. I think he breaks into the big leagues sharing catcher and DH with Jorge Posada.

Rick (Portland)

When questions are asked about the top HS pitchers from the 2009 draft I never hear Zach Wheeler mentioned... what is the reason for that? What are your expectations for him?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

He should be mentioned. I think he just gets overshadowed by Tyler Matzek and Jacob Turner a little, but Wheeler is a stud in his own right. He has the upside of a No. 1 or 2 starter.

Rick (Portland)

Congratulations Callis... you've been named to replace Brian Sabean as GM of the Giants. So what are you going to do with Buster Posey?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Send him to Triple-A and have him focus on improving his receiving. And when he does, I give him the catching job.

Dorothy Mantooth (Dan Diego)

Hey Jim, Whats the story with Yankees pitcher Christian Garcia? Will he ever stay healthy enough to become more than an A ball pitcher? Could he be something if he were to ever stay healthy long enough, or does it not matter at this point?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

Very good arm, as talented as just about any Yankees pitching prospect, but he can't stay healthy.

Pete (Cincy, OH)

Has your ceiling for David Price come down? Last year seemed a bit of a disappointment, although perhaps we all expected too much after the splash he made in 2008 post season.

Jim Callis
  (2:40 PM)

I still think he'll be a star. It just takes time for pitchers, and he did get our hopes up after the 2008 postseason. Matt Wieters didn't exactly set MLB on fire last year either.

Oden (Motown)

In that '07 redraft, you got Price or Porcello going off the board as the first pitcher? I know "all things being equal, i'll take the lefty" is a mantra of yours, but biased as i may be, I got Porcello. I think sky is the limit with that kid.

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

I still take Price. I love Porcello, too, but Price misses a lot more bats.

Tim (Towson, MD)

Hello again, Jim. Word out of the Orioles is that Tillman is having problems with his mechanics. As young as he is, what is the harm in letting him work through it in the minors?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

I wasn't upset about the decision--I think fans get too worked about these types of things. No harm at all.

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

For the record, Aaron Crow is represented by the Hendricks Brothers. But I know that's not your point. It's just that with four kids ages 8 to 14, I don't want to join and not keep up with it. I'm weakening, though.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Prince Fielder for Dustin Ackley at the deadline....who says no?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

The Mariners, because they'd have one year of Fielder before he became a free agent, versus six years of Ackley.

Bruce (Michigan)

Is choosing Dontrelle Willis over Nate Robertson as big a gamble for the Tigers as I think it is? They're putting a lot of faith in a guy with a history of inconsistency and instability.

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Not really. I don't see how either guy is going to have any success.

Steve (Chicago)

Lightning Round: Thoughts on Josh Lindblom

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

The lightning round commences . . . like him a lot, think he's underrated, think he could help the Dodgers as a starter or reliever sooner than many think.

Andrew (Fresno, CA)

Worse idea: MLB floating realignment or NCAA Tournament 96 team expansion

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Great question. Both are terrible ideas. I think floating realignment is work. On the 20-80 terrible idea scale, floating realignment is a 75 and a 96-team tournament is a 70.

Carl Crawford (Camp)

Will I re-sign, or does Friedman send me packing by this time next year?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Everyone has you destined for the Yankees, don't they?

Tom (NY)

Martin Perez: late 2011 or early 2012

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Early 2012.

Ryan (Boston)

Gibson or Scheppers?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Gibson.

Kris (Banner Elk)

J. Meija or Jhoulys Chacin?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Mejia.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

2011 is a better or worse than average draft to try and get extra picks for?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Better.

Mark (NJ)

Matusz or Carmona this year?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Matusz.

Rick (Portland)

Ok Callis... biggest diamond in the rough found from the last decade of MLB drafts. I'm assuming Mike Piazza is the pinnacle for this, but he's soooooo last decade.

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Off the top of my head, Jason Bay as a 22nd-round roster filler in 2000?

Matt (Whippleville, NY)

Chris Sale or Drew Pomeranz?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Pomeranz, just barely.

Andrew (Fresno, CA)

by the way... who you got in the Final Four

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

As long as anyone but Duke wins, I'll be fine with the outcome.

James (North East, MD)

Arrieta, Patton, Erbe, or Britton?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Britton.

James (Detroit)

Which Tigers rookie has a better year...Sizemore or Jackson?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Sizemore.

Jim (Ohio)

It seems as though Gauntlett Eldemire is one of the most talented players in this year's draft: he has speed, power, a good arm, and plays an excellent center field. What round do you see him getting selected in?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Sandwich to second round right now, but wouldn't shock me at all in a thin draft for college position players if he went in the first round.

Kyle Blanks (Your Computer)

Are you willing to admit you were wrong about me since I was first drafted?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Sure. You are a better player than I thought you were, even if I'm not buying you as an outfielder. But honestly, I started to come around on you by the second half of the 2008 season.

brad (NJ)

Jim do you prefer guys who are all tools but yet to have it translate or a guy without tools that puts up numbers. For example Donovan Tate vs Jaff Decker?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Can't I have some of each? In this particular question, my gut points me to Decker.

Samuel (Durham NC)

Jim Callis (2:51 PM): As long as anyone but Duke wins, I'll be fine with the outcome. So you're *that* guy, Jim?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

I guess, even though my two sons were born in Durham. I didn't go to UNC like the rest of the BA staff, did. I just always root against the traditional powers and am sick of the sainting of Mike Krzyzewski.

Ryan (Milwaukee)

Why hasn't a team on the bottom rung of the MLB ladder just gone out and dumped 20 or 30 million on a draft to land a bevy of prospects and take a huge step forward? Owner resistance? Commish's office? It can't be that no one has thought of this.

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

I ask that question all the time. You could do that for $15 million. Imagine if you were willing to spend $10 million every year. The commissioner's office would implode, and owners don't want to spend that kind of money. But that's what the have-nots should do.

Yul (SD)

Who gets a bigger signing bonus - Stras or Harper?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Was talking about this to a couple of people yesterday and we couldn't reach a consensus. Strasburg is the better prospect and will help a team a lot sooner, but Harper has a lot more leverage. I bet Strasburg winds up with the bigger deal when all is said and done.

Kyle (minneapolis)

Pujols was a 13th rounder I believe.

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

1999 though.

Russell Anderson (Davis, CA)

Thanks for answering so many Padres questions this week!

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

It's my West Coast, small-revenue team bias kicking in!

JAYPERS (IL)

Jaff Decker or Travis Snider?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

Snider.

Andrew (Fresno, CA)

Tiger at the Masters...finish in the top 10?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Yes.

Kyle (Fort Lauderdale)

Is Andrew Miller ever going to figure it out?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Signs point to no.

Matt (Whippleville, NY)

Yeah really, that must be fun being anit-Duke in Durham! Ouch!

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

I live on the north side of Chicago . . . Jon Scheyer territory.

Nate (Glendale)

JimSo do you think Rasmus rides his playoff success, short lived as it was, and his hot spring into a big sophomore campaign...how good would the Cards be if he does?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

I do, and I think the Cardinals will need it. That would give them three good bats in an otherwise weak lineup.

Tonio (Philly)

Better career OBP: Pedro Alvarez or Chris Carter?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Alvarez.

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

That's it for this week. Just think, next week we'll have real MLB games to talk about!