Callis on the draft

A tale of 2 pitchers
Down on the Farm

BA’s Jim Callis took a swarm of draft related questions today at his weekly ESPN chat:

Eric (Sierra Vista, AZ): Hey, Jim, sorry to pester you, but with Max Scherzer heading to Fort Worth, do you see him cashing in with the Nats like you saw last week? Was the departure of Mike Rizzo a big reason why the negotiations have deterorated?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:05 PM ET ) I think the biggest problem is just that the Diamondbacks and Boras valued him differently. Arizona saw him as a guy who wasn’t going to go higher than No. 11 (and might have slid through the first round otherwise), and Boras saw him as one of the top two pitchers in the draft. I don’t think he was that good, but if he pitches well at Fort Worth and shows he’s fully healthy, you could argue that he’s the No. 2 prospect in a 2007 draft bereft of college righthanded pitching.

Nigel (Palo Alto): Where do the Giants go with their early picks (they have a bunch). They need position players BADLY!, yet with the esception of Burris and Martinez-Estuve, they always draft pitching.
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:06 PM ET ) They have a greater need for position players. The Giants pick 10th, and given their history with Lewis-Clark State players, I’m hearing Beau Mills’ name associated with San Francisco.

Mike -Norhtboro,MA : Jim, where do you see David Price and Weiters going in the draft? Think the Cubbies would take the catcher?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:07 PM ET ) As much as you can be a lock seven weeks before the draft, Price seems a lock to be the No. 1 pick of the Devil Rays. Wieters figures to go No. 2 to the Royals or No. 3 to the Cubs.

Matt (New Orleans, LA): What are the draft prospects for Tulane pitchers Sean Morgan and Daniel Latham? Both have been solid this year (Latham since he arrived on campus), but Morgan has struggled the last few weeks with command issues.
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:08 PM ET ) Morgan reminds me some of Tennessee’s Sean Watson a year ago, and I can see him going late in the sandwich round or in the second. Latham is a senior with lackluster stuff. I can see him succeeding in the lower minors, but he won’t be a high pick.

Rene (El Paso, TX): Hey Jim, love the chats. Aside from Matt LaPorta, are there any other big power bats in this year’s draft?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:10 PM ET ) Matt Wieters has a lot of power and he’s a switch-hitting catcher. Beau Mills. Kyle Russell is close to breaking the Texas HR record, but still engenders mixed opinion. On the high school side, Jason Heyward (Georgia), Mike Moustakas (California) and Michael Burgess (Florida).

John (D.C.): Jim, you’re a GM. Give me your top 5 draft prospects taking everything into consideration such as upside, makeup, MLB readiness, and signability..
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:11 PM ET ) My gut feel Top 5, and I’m not going to worry about signability: David Price, Josh Vitters, Matt Wieters, Ross Detwiler and Matt Harvey just barely over Rick Porcello.

Paul: (Bird Island Mn): Top 5 HS pitchers in the draft this year and where do they go and how do they compare to other years propects.
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) It’s a good year for HS pitching, very good year. Matt Harvey (Connecticut), Rick Porcello (New Jersey), Madison Bumgarner (North Carolina), Blake Beavan (Texas), Phillipe Aumont (Candada) and Jarrod Parker (Indiana) all could fit in the top 20 picks.

Matt (Providence, RI): Would Alvarez be a consensus #1 if he were in the draft? [that’s Pedro Alvarez of Vanderbilt, who’ll be draft eligible next year]
 Jim Callis: (2:13 PM ET ) Yes.

Jay(NY): How does Price rate amoung former top 5 pitchers drafted over say the last few years?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:14 PM ET ) Very comparable to Andrew Miller. I think a survey of scouts would probably be split as to who was better.

mike(Miami): Will the Lions draft another WR at #2? Ooops wrong draft. Is La Porta a first rounder and who would you compare him to?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:16 PM ET ) You jest, but Calvin Johnson is the best player in the NFL draft. The Lions could do worse. LaPorta is a first-rounder, as his health, production, approach and defensive effort have all improved. He is a R-R first baseman though, not the most reliable of demographics though. John Manuel today compared him to Brian Dopirak, and that kind of works for me. Think of the Dopirak who tore up the Midwest League a couple of years ago, with better plate discipline.

Mike A. (SD, CA): Is Cole St. Clair this year’s Mark Melancon?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) That’s fair. First-round potential as a reliever, major health questions. Though I hear St. Clair threw three scoreless innings the other day, raising his IP total to seven at Rice.

Gordon (Fairfax): Who can I expect the Pirates to pick in the upcoming draft? (Please don’t say a college pitcher)
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:17 PM ET ) I think Josh Vitters, a high school third baseman from California, is a great fit for the Pirates at No. 4. He’s the best pure hitter in this draft.

Greg (LA): Seeing that NY and BOS have started to apply their financial muscle to the draft, do you see lots of players not being drafted early for “signability/Boros” reasons?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:19 PM ET ) Tough call. In our latest overall Top 30 Prospects list, eight of them are Boras clients, and that doesn’t include Scherzer. After the top three teams, I don’t see too many clubs in the upper half of the draft that like to go over slot money. But on the other hand, with the Red Sox, Yankees and Cubs getting financially aggressive in last year’s draft, I think we’ll see more clubs that see no personal benefit from slotting and do the same.

Raul (Grand Rapids): You see the tigers drafting the best player available in the first round? You think Dave Dombrowski and David Chadd will have another great draft?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:20 PM ET ) I do, as that has been their M.O. the last two years with Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller. I suspect the Tigers will get a guy who falls because of signability at No. 27.

Pete (Boston): In your top 30 prospects in this year draft, which of them are boras clients?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:23 PM ET ) In order of how we rank them: Wieters, Harvey, Porcello, Brackman, Tennessee OF Julio Borbon, LaPorta, Moustakas, Texas Christian RHP Jake Arrietta, Georgia RHP Joshua Fields, Alabama HS OF Kentrail Davis, South Carolina RHP Wynn Pelzer and Washington HS RHP Greg Peavey. Plus Scherzer, now with the Fort Worth Cats, if he re-enters the draft.

Dan (DC): Who do the Nats take – another high-ceiling/high-risk HS pitcher or a more ready for the majors now College pitcher? How much will having 5 of the tope 72 picks help?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:26 PM ET ) The Nationals have an affinity for New Jersey prospects (scouting director Dana Brown is from N.J.), and I wonder if they might pop Porcello there and pay a premium price. Porcello will be a better value than any college pitcher available there. I suspect between the extra picks this year and a likely No. 1 overall pick in 2008 (Alvarez), the system will get a nice infusion of talent.

ML (Asheville): Brackman- big star, big leaguer, or big bust?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:27 PM ET ) He’s been very inconsistent this spring. Opinions run the gamut, from a 7-foot monster capable of dominating hitters as a starter to a guy who might have to be a reliever. Huge ceiling, but there’s some risk there.

Jay (Lincoln, Ca): I read a mock draft that had the Dodgers drafting another high school lefty. Any reason to assume different, and do you think that another prep lefty is their biggest priority?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) Not sure where that was . . . The Dodgers pick 20th, and it’s too early to have much of a feel for what will happen that late. The HS lefty that would fit there would be Josh Smoker. The Dodgers will take the best guy available, they’re not afraid of high school guys and it’s a HS-heavy draft. I could see Indiana HS RHP Jarrod Parker there, too. Maybe California HS 3B Matt Dominguez.

Mike (Chicago): If you are the Cubs, and Price and Weiters are gone, who do you take at 3?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:29 PM ET ) I’d take Josh Vitters. My guess is they’d go for Brackman.

Ryan(Toronto): Jim, can you outline some possible picks for the Jays in the coming draft ?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:31 PM ET ) Their first two picks are at 16 and 21. I could see guys like Oklahoma State 3B Matt Mangini, Vanderbilt RHP Casey Weathers and Maryland LHP Brett Cecil there. [Cecil is filthy, lefty closer with a devastating Eric Gagne circa 2003 splitter-changeup hybrid]

Jay (Lincoln, CA): I forgot where the mock draft was, but it had the Dodgers going after Jack McGeary. What’s his upside/comparable player?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:36 PM ET ) He’s a polished pitchability lefty from Massachusetts. McGeary has a separated non-throwing shoulder that’s holding him back right now, and he has a commitment to Stanford. Can’t see him going to the Dodgers that high, at least not at this moment.

Dusty(madison): Like most years draft will the top pitcher slip? Can the brewers get brackman or price? If not who will the go after?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:37 PM ET ) Price won’t get past No. 1. Brackman might slide to the Brewers at No. 7, but I don’t see them taking him. I could see them popping a really good college LHP like Missouri State’s Ross Detwiler or Clemson’s Daniel Moskos.

Chris (Atlanta, GA): Any idea about possible picks at 14 for the Braves?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:38 PM ET ) Hearing a lot of athletic OF Jason Heyward, a HS guy from Georgia. And you know how the Braves like Georgia high schoolers. Makes a lot of sense to me.

JJ (California): You mentioned Mike Moustakas before.. How legit are the trio of Moustakas, Dominguez, and Coyle? Are they all going to get drafted in the top 8 or so rounds?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:43 PM ET ) Very legit, all Chatsworth High products. Moustakas and Dominguez are first-round talents. Bobby Coyle is a 6th-10th rounder.

Brett (NYC): Any thoughts on when Todd Frazier could go and to who???
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:46 PM ET ) He could go in the second half of the first round. He might get overdrafted a little bit, because there aren’t many good college bats this year and he’s one of the best. Not really a shortstop, but could be a third baseman or more likely an outfielder.

Chirs (Fayetteville, AR): What about Nick Schmidt? You think he will sneak in the top 10?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:52 PM ET ) No. We rank him in the 21-30 range, could go higher to a team that wants a safe college LHP rather than a higher-ceilinged high schooler.

Ian: Don’t follow college baseball but does the U of MN have any 1st round players?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:56 PM ET ) Not first-rounders, but RHPs Gary Perinar and Dustin Brabender should go in the first five rounds.

Joe (Cincinnati): True or False? The Reds will spend their first round pick on a Catcher?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:58 PM ET ) False. They pick 15th. Matt Wieters will be long gone, and I don’t think there’s another C worth taking that high. Oregon State’s Mitch Canham is more of a late first-rounder.

Steve vegas: Wes Roemer Potential #1 starter? Adkins where drafted?
SportsNation Jim Callis: (2:59 PM ET ) Roemer–no way. Great command, but ordinary stuff. He’s quite similar to another Titan, Jason Windsor. James Adkins of Tennessee looks like a supplemental first-rounder.

A tale of 2 pitchers
Down on the Farm