MLB.com's Jim Callis on the Draft

In the third segment of our four-part series we speak with Jim Callis, formerly of Baseball America who now writes for MLB.com who along with John Manuel of Baseball America, was also part of MLB's television coverage this past week.

Many mixed reviews have come in on Trea Turner. What were your thoughts?

Jim Callis: I've heard a lot about this too and really it's kind of a question of is the glass half full or half empty. His swing can get a little long, but we also saw improvement as the season went on.

He is one of the fastest guys in the draft and he can play and stay at shortstop, which isn't something you can say about everyone. I don't think he's a gold glove guy, but he can make the plays.

I thought he went about where he should in the draft and I could see his batting pick up if he's hitting down lower in the order and doesn't have the same responsibilities that comes with batting third in the lineup as it did when he was with the Wolfpack.

Michael Gettys is seen as a tremendous athlete with dubious hit tools. ESPN's Keith Law gave him about a 10% chance of learning how to hit and gave him a 35 on the hit tool evaluation. Is he that rough?

Jim Callis: I can't speak for Keith but there are quite a few people that didn't see him barrel up the bat to good pitching either. The reason why he was drafted was because he is about as good an athlete as there was in the draft and can play center field.

I'm not sure if I could put a percentage on whether or not he will hit but I would worry about his bat more than Trea Turner.

Also not everyone is sure about Zech Lemond's health. Additionally, is he a relief pitcher or a starter?

Jim Callis: I really liked this pick. He didn't pitch a ton at Rice. He began this year as their closer and moved into the rotation when on of their starters went down with Tommy John surgery. The interesting thing is his stuff played just as good as a starter - he was sitting in the low to mid-90s and had a big spike curve ball.

The bad news is that they didn't stretch him out which means after throwing around a maximum of 30 pitches as a closer he suddenly went to throwing over 100 pitches. Understandably he developed some elbow problems but all the medicals did check out from what I have been told.

He has less milage than the other Rice guys and I think they will try him as a starter. Just the Padres are going to be a little more careful with him.

How do you see the two college outfielders, Nick Torres and Austin Bousfield. How do they compare?

Jim Callis: They are both solid college outfielders. Torres is more of the corner guy while Bousfield is a centerfielder/leadoff type. They are the types of selections that you see in the middle rounds, neither are reaches and both will have to pick up parts of their games to fully realize their potentials to have a chance at the big leagues.

Can you tell us a little bit about seventh round pick Ryan Butler?

Jim Callis: He has really good size at six-foot-six, 230 lbs. but is still kind of new to pitching. His changeup is better than his breaking ball and so he is still figuring out some things on the mound.

He's been at three different schools, already had Tommy John surgery but has touched 96 since the surgery. Good velocity, size - but just hasn't pitched as much as someone else his age.

Which players drafted after round 10 did you like?

Jim Callis: The best guy they took was Cobi Johnson in Round 35 but he is nearly an impossible sign. Logan Jernigan of NC State was a nice pick in the fifteenth and if Jason Jester of Texas A&M, who was taken in the twenty-third can get back to where he was he could also be an interesting pick.

Finally, what was your take on the drafting of Johnny Manziel. Any reason why they had to take him so relatively early, if at all?

Jim Callis: I wouldn't have done that because the competitor in me would always want to be taking the best player that I could for each and every round. At where he was taken in the draft (Round 28) it is tough to find guys that are really going to help your club, but you never know.

As far as the Padres catching some grief over it, it does happen. The Rockies took Michael Vick a few years ago in the thirtieth round, but no one really gave them a hard time about it.

The bigger point I think is that this is a quarterback, which is a year round job. He's not going to be playing baseball so I really don't have any idea of why they would do it.


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