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May 5, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

Hi, everyone. I'm in the midst of juggling several tasks for our Draft Preview issue, so the draft is very much on my mind. Hit me with some questions . . .

Smith (Boston)

How Overrated is Jesus Montero? He been horrendous in AAA.

Jim Callis
  (2:02 PM)

Montero and Ackley are both off to surprisingly poor starts. But I think those are just flukes--I'm not worrying about either guy. Still love them both.

Jai (Spokane, WA)

Not a bad night for Michael Pineda: 7 IP, 11 SO, 1BB. Listening to the game, he was hitting 96 on the stadium gun consistently. Granted he stays healthy, what's his ceiling?

Jim Callis
  (2:03 PM)

No. 2 starter. His cutter and changeup also have their moments.

Bryan (Oklahoma City)

Moustakas is crushing it in Double-A. Could he be a Top 5 3B in the bigs?

Jim Callis
  (2:04 PM)

I still wonder if he's going to stay at the hot corner in the long run, so I wouldn't put him in the top five down the road. But the power is very enticing.

a.j. (las vegas)

if you were the Pirates GM, would you take a college pitcher like Ranaudo or Pomeranz over Taillon even if you had Taillon ranked #2 because the college pitchers would be ready to help your core guys like McCutchen and Alvarez sooner?

Jim Callis
  (2:05 PM)

No. I would take the best player available and pay to sign him. Getting quick help shouldn't be a factor when your club still needs a lot of help.

JAYPERS (IL)

If Austin Wilson happens to fall to the Red Sox or Yankees due to signability and one of them drafts him, do you see him turning them down as well? (i.e. Gerrit Cole)

Jim Callis
  (2:06 PM)

I would think any team that drafted Wilson would try to determine exactly what it would take to sign him before picking him, at least early in the draft.

Craig (Lindsay, ON)

Hi Jim, I know that Austin Jackson is off to a great start. But reading a lot lately about how the Yankees made a mistake with him. But, yeah, he's hitting about 350 right now, but also leading the league in K's, I think. When he puts the ball in play he is hitting over 500. This won't last. What kind of player do you think he truly projects to?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

It won't last. I think Jackson will be a solid regular, don't think he has an all-star bat when all is said and done.

Doug (Cincy)

Are you suprised at how much Drew Stubbs has struggled at the plate this year?

Jim Callis
  (2:07 PM)

Not really. He's always been prone to strikeouts and thus streaky.

Doug (Cincy)

Have you had a chance to see Mike Leake at all this year? He has been pretty impressive so far.

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

Yes. He can really, really pitch. The BB are high because he's walked a tightrope, but I think he'll bring those down.

Brian (MD)

Who are the O's more likely to take at pick 3 between Taillon and Machado? Personally, I believe they have had much more success with college players in the first round as evidenced by Matusz(college), Wieters(college), Rowell(HS) and Snyder(HS)

Jim Callis
  (2:11 PM)

That's not a great comp. Wieters was the top position player in his draft, while Matusz was the top pitcher in his. Rowell and Snyder weren't in the same class. Right now, and a lot can change in a month, I'd guess they would take Taillon if he's there.

Andrew (Middlebury, VT)

Mad Bum has given up just one ER in each of his last three starts. Was the panic at the beginning of the season completely unwarranted?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

Not unwarranted, because his velocity had been down for a while. It's been back up to 91-93 recently, good to see.

Taylor (Pittsburgh)

Jose Tabata is hitting .340 in AAA as a 21 year. There is no question that he has a good bat, but will he ever develop power to be a 20hr guy? Is he more of #2 hitter that gets on base a bunch, rather than a #3?

Jim Callis
  (2:12 PM)

I don't think he has that kind of power, more of a No. 2 hitter for me.

Fred (Atlanta, GA)

Is Ranaudo's stock dropping out of the top 10 for the draft? He has not put in a dominating performance yet in his return from injury.

Jim Callis
  (2:14 PM)

He could slide some. Hard to pinpoint where he'll go between his inconsistency, his health questions (he also missed time as a freshman with elbow tendinitis) and being advised by the Boras Corp.

ryan (new york)

With the Mets having such a high pick this year, do you see them going above slot? If so, who do you think is the best available arm out there for them to draft?

Jim Callis
  (2:15 PM)

I'll believe they'll go way over slot when it happens. I think they take a guy who signs for slot at No. 7, which will eliminate some of the top HS and college arms. Maybe that leaves them with Deck McGuire or Chris Sale.

Chris (NYC)

From your article about Tyrell Jenkins, which was great (49 sec 400m?!?), i took that he was ready to sign and play pro ball. Is that the read you get from him? And are you at all concerned about 'wasting' all that athletic ability on the mound? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:16 PM)

The expectation is that he'll go high enough (sandwich round?) to sign. Don't know much about him as a hitter, but athleticism works great on the mound, too. And he throws as hard as 96 mph, so he's staying put.

Benny K (Jupiter, FL)

Maybe I'm a little biased, but I think Michael Stanton may have as big an impact (sort and long term) as Heyward. Thoughts? Also, got a chance to see Kyle Gibson toss a 1-hit CG gem last week in the FSL--I don't think there was a single fly-ball out! What are your thoughts on his cieling and ETA?

Jim Callis
  (2:20 PM)

Stanton is a better athlete and has more raw power, but I think Heyward is a more advanced/better hitter and will have a little more impact. I've been president of the Gibson Fan Club ofr a long time--that was some classic Gibson last week. He can really pitch and has a three-pitch arsenal.

Jake (St. Louis, MO)

Jim-What are your thoughts on David Freese and his start to the season?

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

He has always hit. He won't keep batting .360, but it's a legit bat, even if the rest of his game isn't pretty.

ethan (denver)

do you have a preferred website for checking on the injuries of minor leaguers? it's hard to find regular/reliable updates on even decent prospects...

Jim Callis
  (2:21 PM)

Ben Badler does a weekly injury report at baseballamerica.com. Head there!

Joe (Minn)

What is different with Liriano this year and will he keep this up?

Jim Callis
  (2:28 PM)

Doesn't look as explosive as he was in 2006, but he's healthy and his stuff is still plenty good. If he stays healthy, he'll continue to be very good.

Luis (PR)

What do you think about Leake? Ceiling?

Jim Callis
  (2:29 PM)

His command is so good that I'd give him a chance to be a No. 2 starter, but he's more likely a No. 3.

Sim (Stockton, CA)

Where is Donavan Tate?

Jim Callis
  (2:30 PM)

Not playing yet. Hurt his shoulder in spring training, then got hit in the head by a pitch in extended spring while working his way back.

yDan (Boston)

Seeing Grandal, Tepesh, Morris and Grimm on the upcoming draft lists and knowing the Red Sox drafted these guys in '07, lead me to thinking......did you guys ever think about doing a top lists of the ones that got away?

Jim Callis
  (2:31 PM)

We've done that from time to time. I wouldn't feel too bad about your Red Sox. They aggressively draft guys who are tough to sign, and they sign more than their share.

Michael (columbia, SC)

South Nevada pitchers Roach and Harper signed with South Carolina. Do you think they go to college or get drafted and sign.

Jim Callis
  (2:32 PM)

They both go high enough in the draft to sign. Sorry, Gamecocks.

Jason (St Louis)

I know the tasing incident has been beat in to the ground at this point, but lets be honest. If there are two places where it would be better to tase someone first and ask questions later, Philly and Yankee Stadium are 1 and 1A, right?

Jim Callis
  (2:33 PM)

I have no problem with tasing someone who runs on the field. It's a willful criminal act, and puts the players (and coaches and umpires) in a potential position of harm. Don't understand the uproar.

Ryan Kopycinski (Columbus, OH)

Hey Jim. Do you see Alex Wimmers going to the draft this season, skipping his senior season? If so, who drafts him?

Jim Callis
  (2:34 PM)

He'll go in the top 10-20 picks, too early to know exactly where. He has solid stuff, solid command. Missed last weekend with a hamstring tweak, so might slide a little if clubs don't get to see much of him at the end of the college season.

Craig (NYC)

Rasmus or McCutchen - this year and long-term?

Jim Callis
  (2:36 PM)

Rasmus. But I like both--who wouldn't?

Danny (Washington DC)

When will the MLB get off their myth that the an international and domestic combined draft is not possible? The NHL does it successfully so why can't baseball with all of its resources figure it out?

Jim Callis
  (2:38 PM)

Actually, I think it would be a disaster. If you make international players wait until they're HS seniors to be eligible, you could dilute the market, as in Puerto Rico. The logistics of trying to verify ages of eligible players could be a nightmare. If you allow international players to sign as free agents if they go undrafted, you're going to see a lot of shenanigans. Adding them also will make it harder for small-revenue teams that excel in scouting those areas to harvest the market as well as they do now. I could keep going . . .

james (dallas)

It is my extreme bias or is it ok for me to be completely confident in Justin Smoak winning AL ROY even over Jackson's great batting avg?

Jim Callis
  (2:39 PM)

I'd be confident, too.

SW (Lawrence, KS)

What can you tell us about Tony Thompson, Kansas 3B, who won last year's Big 12 Triple Crown? Also, two local HS pitchers - Albert Minnis and Cody Kukuk? Prospects?

Jim Callis
  (2:41 PM)

Thompson was derailed by a hairline fracture in his kneecap to start the season. He has some of the best power in the draft, though scouts aren't sold he can stick at 3B. I think he goes 4th-7th round. Minnis would go in about the same range on talent, but may slide because I'm not sure if he's signable away from a Wichita State commitment. He's a LHP who's still figuring it all out but has an 88-89 mph fastball. Kukuk is a 2011 guy, big athlete, big arm, could be a very early pick next year.

Sean (Los Angeles)

What can you tell me about Brandon Belt? He is raking in the Cal League. Any chance he gets promoted to Richmond by mid season?

Jim Callis
  (2:42 PM)

Don't get seduced too easily by Cal League numbers. It's a great hitting environment. He's a decent prospect, but I don't think he's going to have the power to make much of an impact at first base. Promotion makes sense--challenge him at a higher level.

Jim Callis
  (2:43 PM)

Let's head to the lightning round . . .

Bill (Madison)

Is Alex Gordon's demotion telling us that KC is washing their hands of him?

Jim Callis
  (2:44 PM)

Not necessarily. Think it tells us more that the Royals have misplaced priorities. He hasn't been the guy he was supposed to be, but he was pretty good in the second half of 2008 and has been hurt a lot since. Shouldn't a bad team be playing him regularly to find out what he is? Chris Getz, who moves into their lineup, is not a difference-maker.

paul (upstate ny)

jim - could you talk a little about mike minor? maybe where you rank him from that 1st rd class (minus strasburg) and what is his ceiling? thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:45 PM)

My opinion on Minor hasn't changed. I like Minor. But he was not the seventh-best player in the 2009 draft. On talent, he belonged in the 15-25 range. He'll get to the majors quicker than most 2009 draftees, but there will be several players taken after him who make more of an impact.

David (Philly)

BA's College Player of the Year - Bryce Harper or the field?

Jim Callis
  (2:47 PM)

We treat juco guys separately, so Harper wouldn't be eligible. The front-runner right now is Drew Pomeranz.

Dan (CT)

20-80 scale, monday's episode of 24.

Jim Callis
  (2:48 PM)

I am now three episodes behind. All I know is that there's a "significant depth." With the Draft Preview going to print next week, I will probably fall four episodes behind before catching up.

tim (pa)

What if the kid had an unknown heart ailment and the electric shock from the taser killed him? Would the uproar be justified? A taser should be used to subdued a potentially dangerous person. A taser should not be used by a fat cop who is having trouble catching a kid in a confined area.

Jim Callis
  (2:50 PM)

Fans shouldn't be on the field, period. Remember when the two idiots attacked Tom Gamboa at Comiskey Park a few years ago? What happens if someone seriously harms a player/coach/umpire?

Steve (Kansas City)

How about Gordon actually earning playing time rather than having it just handed to him. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, and you hit the ball..... he hasn't done any of it.

Jim Callis
  (2:51 PM)

He has been hurt most of the last two years. All I'm saying is it's silly not to let him play when the alternative is Chris Getz. I know Getz isn't leading the Royals out of mediocrity. Maybe Gordon still could.

Ben (Leland Grove)

Who will be the toughest guy to sign in this year's draft? Do you see there being more of these tough-to-sign players this year than last year?

Jim Callis
  (2:52 PM)

Bryce Harper. I think he'll sign, but he has lots of leverage and it will take a record deal for a hitter and not become official until minutes before the signing deadline. Still early to really know about signability on a lot of the HS guys. I sense it will be similar to 2009.

Zack (Maryland)

What is Levon Washington's upside?

Jim Callis
  (2:53 PM)

Upside is Carl Crawford, maybe with a better bat.

Russ (Chicago)

Lightening Round: Bell or Chisenhall?

Jim Callis
  (2:54 PM)

Chisenhall.

Baron (Large, PA)

Lightning Round: % chances Buccos draft Machado (FL SS) at #2? Lifetime starts for Bryan Morris for them? Thanks

Jim Callis
  (2:56 PM)

I think Pomeranz might be the guy at No. 2 right now. Machado has the Boras Corp.--not sure the Bucs want to pay those prices at No. 2. Maybe 20% on Machado--that's just a guess. Morris is rebounding, have some faith. I'll set the over/under on Pittsburgh starts for him at 50 because he's still far away.

Bill (Toronto)

How about having a young man flopping around from the electrical currect running through his body isn't the best thing in a stadium full of children? It seems a lot of people bring up Gamboa but that was one incident out of hundreds. If you think tasering is alright then shooting him the the leg can't be far off.

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

You run on the field, you're assuming the risk of what might happen. There's no good reason for anyone, kid or adult, to run on the field.

Jason (Bmore)

Avila or Ramos?

Jim Callis
  (2:57 PM)

Ramos.

Jeff H (Hermosa Beach)

Lindblom: In the Dodgers rotation by June?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

He's off to a slow start, so that's early. But I could see him there by the end of the season.

Jason (St Louis)

Wilson Ramos or Carlos Santana?

Jim Callis
  (2:58 PM)

Santana. Ramos is good but not that good.

Norris (CA)

If he has a good year in Pawtucket is Lars Anderson Boston's 2011 opening day first baseman?

Jim Callis
  (2:59 PM)

That's a real possibility.

Jason (Bmore)

More important play in Steeler Super Bowl history: Jackie Smith dropping Stabauch's pass in the endzone, or James Harrison's td return at the end of the 1st half against AZ?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Harrison's return, and I'm thrilled to say I was there in person to see that. Steelers were up big late against the Cowboys. They probably don't beat the Cardinals if that's a TD to Boldin instead of a TD for Harrison.

Craig (NYC)

Chacin or Friedrich?

Jim Callis
  (3:00 PM)

Friedrich.

Jason (Salem, OR)

There's an easy way not to get tased: DON'T RUN ON THE DAMN FIELD DURING THE GAME!

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Thank you, Jason.

Jeff (Indianapolis)

Better future: Jaime Garcia or David Freese?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Garcia.

Brian (Phoenix)

Davidson or Borcherling on Dbacks? Who has more upside?

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Borchering.

Jimbo (Chicago)

I think they should tase anyone who runs across the mound.

Jim Callis
  (3:01 PM)

Or maybe just tase A-Rod on general principle.

The Most Interesting Man in the World (TV Land)

Are the Padres for real?

Jim Callis
  (3:02 PM)

No. I still think they finish fourth or fifth despite the good start.

Danny (Washington DC)

Strasburg or Darvish?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Strasburg.

Jason (Bmore)

T or F? Duensing an effective every 5th day starter

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

More of a middle reliever for me, despite his 2009 heroics.

Bryan (Montclair, NJ)

Career - Ike Davis or Fernando Martinez?

Jim Callis
  (3:03 PM)

Davis.

Hank (Ann Arbor)

Simon Castro, Lyles, or Pineda?

Jim Callis
  (3:04 PM)

Castro.

Ben (Leland Grove)

Chances of Harper remaining at catcher by the time he reaches the bigs?

Jim Callis
  (3:04 PM)

I think he winds up as a RF. He's so big, and it will be tempting to get his bat to the majors more quickly by putting him in the outfield.

Jim Callis
  (3:07 PM)

I've got to run back to the draft phones now, so thanks for the chat. I've enjoyed doing these every Wednesday, but Baseball America has a new relationship with foxsports.com, so this will be our last ESPN chat. You can still send me questions, for the Ask BA column at askba@baseballamerica.com, via Twitter at jimcallisBA, or in chats at baseballamerica.com or foxsports.com. Thanks again.