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April 7, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:00 PM)

Well, I finally took the plunge and joined Twitter. You can follow me at <a href="https://twitter.com/jimcallisBA">https://twitter.com/jimcallisBA</a> if you'd like. Now let's get to your questions while I battle hunger . . .

Hobbs9 (NY)

The Nationals alternatives to Harper are not ideal in a right handed HS pitcher and good not great 2010 college pitcher. Could they plan on drafting Harper with a real eye toward #2 in 2011 because Harper might want the moon? Do you think they could take Rendon or Cole with an unprotected pick? Even so is it a good move because it seems like they have an opportunity to be sure of either Harper, Rendon or Cole. Am I right that these three are worth the fuss more than the rest?

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

I've said this many times when asked about these scenarios . . . a team at the top of the draft will not pick a player with the intent of not signing him and gaining the comp pick. In this case, if they took Harper and didn't sign him, Harper would have to consent to allow the Nationals to redraft him, which probably wouldn't happen. Taking Anthony Rendon or Gerrit Cole with an unprotected pick would be extremely dangerous and give those players all the leverage. Drew Storen is a good prospect, but the Nationals took him in part with their unprotected pick at No. 10 last year because he would sign immediately. If Washington fails to sign the No. 1 pick this year, it would have to do the same in 2011 and sacrifice some ability for signability. I do agree with you: Harper, Rendon and Cole are the most attractive players in the 2010-11 drafts.

Abe (NY)

So in the past ten years EIGHT different teams have won the World Series. Over the same time eight different teams also won the Super Bowl and ONLY THREE DIFFERENT TEAMS won the NBA Championship...... Can everyone shutup about parity in baseball now?

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

I'm with you, Abe. While teams that spend a lot of money and spend it well (the Yankees and Red Sox) are going to make the playoffs more often than not, having three rounds of playoffs makes it difficult to just steamroll toward a title. Baseball's financial and playoff system is what it is.

Rob (Alaska)

If Jason Heyward retired today, would he be a Hall of Famer?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

Not quite yet.

ross (NY)

The NL Cy Young seems pretty clear-cut with few real contenders, while the AL seems to have a much more even field with many people with a legitimate shot. do you have any dark horse candidates whose names havn't been thrown around as much?

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

A real dark horse, because his team won't win a lot of games and he was terrible last year, but Fausto Carmona has a shot if he pitches like he did in spring training. Brett Anderson is another longshot candidate.

Ray A. (San Diego, CA)

Do you see ML-potential in one of the Giants top prospect outfielders: Kieschnick, Neal, or Ford? Honestly I like Thomas Neal a whole lot.

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

Potential, yes, but sure things, no. I'd like to see those guys put up big numbers this year when they're away from the Cal League.

Bill (Washington, DC)

Jim, any chance we see Jacob Turner on the Tigers major league roster this season?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

I don't see it . . . The earliest would be sometime next year, and even that would be pushing it, Rick Porcello's success not withstanding.

Doug (Cincy)

Jim, last week you mentioned you were a fan of the Human Target series from Vertigo. Are you big comic book guy? What are some of your favorites?

Jim Callis
  (2:09 PM)

With four kids getting older and busier every year, I don't have as much time to read as much as I like (books, magazines, comic books). For comic books, I prefer getting trade paperbacks these days so I can follow a plot arc easier. Most of my favorites are traditional, starting with Spider-Man and Daredevil, also Spawn. Human Target had a new trade paperback out now that it's a show on TV, and I got hooked easily. Great stuff.

Joey (Oakland)

Is Tyson Ross a 'pen guy for you long-term? If so, why will he be an ineffective starter?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

Not necessarily. I won't say I saw him making the Opening Day roster, but he has the stuff, athleticism and stamina to be a starter.

Joe (Minneapolis, MN)

T. Beckham or A. Hicks?

Jim Callis
  (2:10 PM)

Hicks. But no, we're not starting the lightning round this early.

Jon (Westlake,CA)

Whats your take on Austin Wilson? How far do you see him getting pick in draft? Will he sign instead of going to college?

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

He's one of the best athletes in the draft but his signability could be a factor. He's committed to Stanford, and I've heard that there are fears that his asking price could be huge. So he could slide.

Matt (Chicago)

Please tell me Colvin is going to save us from the scourge of Soriano and his onerous contract. Are you too worried about OBP issue?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

Unless he murders Soriano, Tyler Colvin isn't going to make that financial commitment go away. I think Colvin can be a decent regular, maybe even a solid regular, but he'll never have a high OBP.

Jason (San Francisco)

What is the best way to follow the progress of prospects like Dustin Ackley, Brett Wallace, Justin Smoak without paying any money?! Thanks.

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

Check out <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/">baseballamerica.com</a>--we have plenty of free coverage. And if you want prospect updates delivered daily to your e-mailbox, check out <a href="http://www.baseballamerica.com/e-mail/bapr/">our Prospect Report</a>.

joeyS (Morgantown, WV)

Nats take Harper, your 1 guess as to whom the Pirates select with #2?Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:17 PM)

My guess is it would be whoever they deem the top college pitcher available. If I get one guess, I'll say LSU's Anthony Ranaudo, if he's healthy.

Will (Tampa)

See your finally on twitter - nice. matzek isn't on any of the opening day rosters - extended spring training?

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

Yes. The Rockies want to keep him in warm weather and on a regular schedule. Look for him at low Class A Asheville in May.

AJ (NJ)

Hi Jim,Two part question. 1) Jordan Danks will be in Chicago ____? 2) His future ceiling is: a) All-Star, b) Solid regular, c) Useful bench player

Jim Callis
  (2:19 PM)

1. September. 2. Decent to solid regular.

JB (Wash DC)

Are you buying the lovefest over Ricky Nolasco? Seems to have great stuff, but he sure had a lot of game last year where he gave up 7-9 earned runs an outing.

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

I am. I always liked him coming up through the Cubs system and believe he's for real. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he becomes a regular 15-game winner.

NevyBear (SI, NY)

Hi Jim. In your opinion, is Anthony Rendon a 300 average and 30 homer kind of guy? Also, can he move back to shortstop and stick there in pro ball?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

Yes on the bat, no on shortstop.

Phil (Maine)

Other than Brian Matusz, Desmond Jennings, and Carlos Santana, which American League prospect/rookie do you believe stands the best chance of breaking out and winning rookie of the year?

Jim Callis
  (2:22 PM)

Wade Davis. I think he'll settle down and stay in the rotation, and being on a good team will help his numbers.

Phil (Maine)

Do you believe there is a reasonable chance that Dustin Ackley makes the same kind of impact as Gordon Beckham did last year in the 2nd half of this season?

Jim Callis
  (2:23 PM)

No, because I think it will take him some time to adjust to second base or the outfield. I bet Ackley hones his defense in the minors all summer, comes up in September and takes off next year. Now if they wanted to just give him their first-base job and focus on hitting, yes, yes he could.

Ben (Leland Grove)

Why do you think Jordan Lyles and Dee Gordon were skipped from Low A to AA to start the season?

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Lyles to avoid Lancaster, the worst pitcher's park in the minors. Gordon because he'll be 22 in two weeks and they wanted to accelerate his path.

J (Somerville, MA)

Harper or Rendon? Taillon or Cole? Cole or any other amateur pitcher in the next two drafts?

Jim Callis
  (2:24 PM)

Harper. Cole. Cole over the field.

Bryce Harper (NV)

If I go #1 this year, what is your guess on my signing bonus? Teix at 10.5Mil? Stras at 15Mil? Chapman at 30Mil?

Jim Callis
  (2:27 PM)

It's a tough call because Harper has a lot more leverage than Strasburg, but Strasburg was a better prospect. I think it will be closer to $10M than Strasburg's $15M. Just can't see Harper turning down $10M if it gets offered. $10M would be the most ever guaranteed to a hitter (Teixeira got $9.5M).

Bud (MIL)

Hey Jim, do you think we are going to have draft slotting soon? It seems a bit ridiculous to continue to short changing young players but hey, they're not in the Union.

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

I think we will have draft slotting, and perhaps an international draft. The owners will figure out something to give the union to make it happen, and as you note, the draftees aren't union members. And once we have draft slotting, we'll have a whole other set of unintended consequences and problems.

Kyle (Fort Lauderdale)

What is Chad James ceiling? Was he a easy sign draft pick? Or was he picked in the right spot?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Chad James has frontline starter stuff. He went about where he should have (18th overall) in the 2009 draft. He signed for more than slot money ($1.7M vs. $1.422M slot), so it took a while, but he wasn't considered to have an exorbitant price tag.

Paul (SF, CA)

Your comments on Jason Heyward re: Hall of Fame show your complete ignorance of modern baseball analysis. Sure he doesn't have the traditional counting stat totals but his rate stats are off the charts.

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Ha!

Jason (St Louis)

If Harper goes number one and doesn't sign and goes in the draft again next year, won't that end up costing him money? That puts free agency off one more year, which is where the real money is going to come from, not his signing bonus. Why wait another year over a couple million when that first year of free agency could be worth 15-20 mil down the road?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

It very well could, for the reasons you suggest. However, I don't think Harper is going to rocket to the majors within a year or two of signing as a 17-year-old. His big league ETA may not change much if he signs next year as opposed to this year.

Mike (Houston)

Lightning Round: Tillman, Hellickson or Perez. Please rank short-term (2010) and long-term.

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

Not lightning round yet! 2010: I'll take the order you have. Long term: Perez, Tillman, Hellickson.

KO (Pittsfield, MA)

Good day Jim. So is Victor Martinez the most accurate comp for Carlos Santana? Is he a .300 hitter with 30 HR power or is that too optimistic in his peak years?

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

I think that's fair.

David (Bethlehem)

Saw Lehigh Valley - Reading scrimmage last night and Scott Mathieson was sitting 96-97 and touching 98! Gun was legit as Savery touched 88 just once. If Mathieson is really back, and chance he fills the "Ryan Madson" set up role and Madson takes Lidge's J.O.B.?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

Yes, could easily see that happening if Mathieson stays healthy and maintains his stuff.

Chris (Northern Virginia)

Hello Jim, thanks for the chat. I was on a site the other day that was discussing Jason Heyward. One of the posters mentioned that he believe that Heyward was one of the "weakest" #1 prospects in recent memory. Not only do I not agree with that, I suspect he is one of the "stronger" #1 prospects in recent memory. If you had to rank BA's 1 prospects in the last 10 or so years, where would Heyward rank, in your humble opinion? Thanks again, Jim.

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Send this to <a href="mailto:askba@baseballamerica.com">Ask BA</a> (and include your full name and hometown) and I'll tackle this in Monday's column. Short answer: he's one of the best.

Joel (PA)

Who is the worst team in baseball?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

The Royals.

Dan (CT)

Jim, you should probably get caught up on 24 if you haven't already. The last 4 epsiodes were at least as good as the season openers, if not better.

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Got caught up last night. I've enjoyed the more Jack-centric action, but the writing is getting borderline silly. I'm jaded. I'll watch to the end, but I'm ready for it to end. "Chuck" isn't supposed to be nearly as serious, but I think the writing there comes off as more realistic.

Ron (Michigan)

Tigers, Sox or Twins? Very even I think

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Twins, but that division is going to be very tight.

Jeff (Oakland)

Better career when all is said and done Price, Anderson or Porcello?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

My gut says Brett Anderson.

Jeff (Los Angeles, CA)

Jim, in a recent Ask BA question you referenced the amateur bonus spending of the Pirates and Royals, saying they are #1-2 in overall MLB spending the past two years. How come you only include signing bonus in amateur draft spending? The Nationals spent more money in 2009 on the amateur draft than the Pirates spent the past two seasons. Does the other $8 million Strasburg signed for not count because it is a salary? That doesn't make much sense. The money is still owed and being spent to sign a player from the amateur draft.

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Washington was close at $16.3M in bonuses, which ranks fourth (Boston is third). We do bonuses because major league contracts are spread over several years. Strasburg signed a $15.1M deal, but in present value, it was worth $1M less. To be accurate, we'd have to have the present value data on all the big league deals, and we don't have that.

Chris (Charlotte)

2011 draft: Gray or Jungmann?

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Now it's Lightning Round time. Jungmann. I think Gray is going to wind up as a reliever.

Dusty (Loyola Chicago)

Lightning Round: Chicago Sports Restaurants. Ditka's, Harry Caray's or Market?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Harry Caray's. Can't stress how much I love the veal parmagiana.

Jack (LA)

Lightning Round: How did Duke's championship taste?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

I never said I hated Duke, just that they were very easy for me to root against. I slept easy Monday night.

waldo (Chicago)

More power? Michael Taylor or Dominic Brown?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Brown.

Johan (Arizona)

Reddick or Kalish?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

Reddick.

Nick (Long Island, NY)

Deck McGuire or Drew Pomeranz? AJ Cole or Karsten Whitson?

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

First one is a dart toss, I'll say Pomeranz. Whitson over Cole.

Baron (Large, PA)

Lightning Round: What position player would the Pirates get the least grief about if they chose him at #2 this year? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:46 PM)

Bryce Harper. After him, there's such as steep dropoff, that the next 10 or so best prospects might all be pitchers.

Jerry ((mpls))

If Chapman had been in the draft last year, where is he selected? How about Sano?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Chapman probably third, behind Strasburg and Ackley. Sano, late first round.

Bob (NYC)

Jim,So who makes it to the show first, Ike Davis or Domonic Brown?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Davis. His team is more desperate and needs him more.

Brett (Toronto)

Shaun Marcum or Brandon Morrow? Kyle Drabek or Zach Stewart?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

Marcum. Drabek.

Johan (Arizona)

Manny Machado or Chris Colon?

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

Machado.

Tim (NY)

Utley or Cano?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

Utley.

Paul (Los Angeles)

Won't slotting just push more multi-sport athletes to stay away from baseball?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

That would be one unintended consequence, yes.

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

That would be one unintended consequence, yes.

Scott (Philadelphia)

Anthony Hewitt's 2010: progress or more of the same?

Jim Callis
  (2:49 PM)

I don't think he'll ever hit.

Jimmy (Exhibition Stadium)

Is Hechavvarria a big time score for the Blue Jays? How would he compare to Sano (all bat) &#x26; Iglesias (all glove)?

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

The deal isn't official yet, but it's a significant signing once it is. Hechavarria falls in the middle of that spectrum. Should stay at shortstop, not as dazzling as Iglesias and doesn't have as much offensive upside as Sano.

Jason (St Louis)

Wieters or Harper?

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

Wieters.

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

White Sox.

Eric (PA)

Halladay or Johan Santana, both for this year and long term

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Halladay for both.

Dave (Dallas)

Best 2010 draft catcher behind Harper?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

LSU's Micah Gibbs.

Jays fan (Pity me)

True or false: Toronto Blue Jays will not win more than 70 games.

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

True, but they're headed in the right direction.

$waGhetto (East Side)

Posey or Wieters

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Wieters.

Eric (PA)

Porcello or Bucholtz this year?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Buchholz.

Mark (NJ)

Who is the better future closer.. Joba or Bard?

Jim Callis
  (2:55 PM)

Joba.

Wade (Tampa)

Casey Crosby's elbow: uh oh?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Hearing that someone who had Tommy John surgery in 2007 now has a tender elbow is not good.

Draftnerd (Michigan)

Matt Harvey what round?

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

Pitching his way back into the first round.

Mike (NC)

Andrus or E. Cabrera?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Andrus.

Littleton (Detroit)

Jason Heyward or sliced bread?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Heyward.

Norman (NY)

Fielder or Howard?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Fielder.

steve (detroit)

Liriano or Slowey for the next 10 years?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Liriano.

Gavin (County Ct)

Braves offer Heyward for Pujols. Who hangs up?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

I can't see the Cardinals ever trading Pujols--they'd get crucified in St. Louis. But balancing talent and the cost (Heyward won't be eligible for arbitration until after 2012, while Pujols soon could be making $30M annually), Heyward will be the much more cost-efficient player. Call me crazy, but I'd rather have Heyward and all that extra money to spend elsewhere.

Tyler (NJ)

Halladay or Lincecum for one year?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Halladay.

Dan (CT)

How can you say Toronto is heading in the right direction? I like the moves that have been made by the GM from a rebuilding standpoint. But they're looking at less than 70 wins from 75 last year (and a pythagorean win/loss of 84-78. You could easily argue they were a move or two away from being in contention even in the AL East. If they had upped and signed Lackey and another decent player and kept Halladay, with a little luck they could have been a 90 win team.

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

I don't buy it. Lackey and this other decent guy would have cost a lot of money, their farm system would have been pretty decimated without the trades and needing luck to get to 90 wins--that wouldn't even guarantee a wild card. They needed to tear it down.

Jason (St Louis)

Better deal for their team, Evan Longoria's or Adam Lind's?

Jim Callis
  (3:06 PM)

Longoria's.

Bret (Calgary)

d'Arnaud or Arrencibia?

Jim Callis
  (3:06 PM)

d'Arnaud.

Jim Callis
  (3:08 PM)

Seemed like a lot of Blue Jays questions today. I'm off to find some lunch. If your question didn't get answered, try submitting it for my Ask BA column by emailing it to <a href="mailto:askba@baseballamerica.com">askba@baseballamerica.com</a> (please include your full name and hometown). I answer three questions every Monday, and can get into more detail in that forum. See you next Wednesday!