Questions for Baseball America's Jim Callis

Jim Callis is the editor of Baseball America, regarded by nearly everyone in baseball as the last word on the minor leagues, amateur baseball and one of the best available sources for the major league draft. We caught up with Jim again this year to get his views on the Padres' 2011 draft.

What was your overall opinion on the draft?

Jim Callis: I thought it was a solid draft and it will be interesting to see if they can sign some of the high-end selections that they made. The group they have doing the draft with Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod always did a good job in Boston.

I'm not sure if they had the same budget in San Diego as they did with the Red Sox, but they were pretty aggressive.

Much was made of the Padres taking Cory Spangenburg in the first round. Many people predicted this would be the pick how much of it was based on they believed he could be signed as opposed to his actual value.

Jim Callis: It helped. He was a guy that they really liked and on more than a few boards after Rendon he was considered the best pure hitter. I think it was more of a case that they really liked him and knew that they couldn't get him at #25.

A bunch of teams probably would have taken him before they got a shot with their second pick in the first round. He made it pretty clear to everyone that he wanted to sign and sign quickly so that also helped him out.

Where do you see him playing?

Jim Callis: I really don't know. Many think he ends up in the outfield and with his speed I can see him in center.

The Padres took some tough signs in the next two picks in Ross and Kelly. Do you think they will be able to sign them and how did Baseball America see their talent?

Jim Callis: When you take guys that high you have to think that you are going to be able to sign them. When you believe it's a bigger risk you do it later in the draft.

The catchers, Austin and Hedges are kind of in the same category as the pitchers – tough signs. Do you think the team will be able to sign them both and which is the better one?

Jim Callis: Again, I don't think they took them not to sign one. When you go that high it's not a hedge your bet kind of thing and I think most would like Hedges.

After about the first six picks which ones stood out for from the Padres?

Jim Callis: Not anyone that jumps out and say wow, but again some very solid picks where they selected them. I like Cody Hebner out of Washington State and also Mark Pope out of Georgia Tech.

For pure tools I like Kyle Gaedele out of Valparaiso and RHP Matt Wisler was the best high prospect in Ohio. For really late rounders Burch Smith of Oklahoma and Matt Stites of Missouri stand out; both I think could have been selected much higher than they were picked.

Casey McElroy from Auburn is really an interesting prospect – good college stats in the SEC but not exactly a projectable body. Could you see him possibly in the Jedd Gyorko mode?

Jim Callis: He's ok, McElroy is like 5'7 or 5'8" and Gyorko is much bigger. But where they picked him in the 11th round is good; not too much risk.

If you had a sleeper pick in the draft, who would it be?

Jim Callis: If it is based on where they were picked it would be either Burch Smith or Matt Stites.

For a pure sleeper I would probably go with Justin Hancock who is out of a junior college in Illinois that was taken in the 9th round. I'm pretty sure not many San Diego fans have heard of him but he really has a good fastball that sits around 91 to 93 and he has brought it up to around 95.


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