San Diego Padres Talk, with Jim Callis
Jim Callis: It depends on how you have your board organized. Once you get past the second round team's draft lists are going to look totally different based on where they rank guys. On Peter Stonard in particular he might have been a supplemental first round pick to someone like the A's, probably more likely a second round pick so he cost himself a couple of rounds but they spent $280,000 on him. That is not a lot of money in the draft.
Denis Savage: Can you enlighten us on what the rules are for Draft and Follow players and who the Padres selected last year? Also, who is the best prospect of that bunch?
Jim Callis: The way the draft and follow process works is if you draft a layer one year and you don't sign him and he goes to junior college then you retain his rights and you can sign him during what is called the ‘closed period' which is from the time his junior college season ends, which varies depending on his team up until a week before the next years draft.
The same way it works is if you have a fifth year senior. A guy who redshirted at a four year college it is the same thing. Last year they signed seven draft and follows and Jared Wells was the most notable.
They also signed a lot of other guys they like: catcher George Kottaras, lefthander Danny de la O, a couple of outfielders Drew Macias and Chad Etheridge and two fifth year seniors who weren't JuCo guys, Michael Johnson, who was their second rounder the year before, and Brian Wahlbrink.
They put a lot of money into those guys last year.
Denis Savage: The Padres recently hired Josh Boyd as a Minor League scout. Since you worked closely with him, what can you tell us about him and how he got the job?
Jim Callis: I think you will get a guy that has a passion for scouting and will work very hard. It is funny because the Padres have the number one pick in the draft this year and Justin Verlander, right now, might be their guy, and he is in Josh's territory. So Josh could be the area scout for the number one pick in the draft this year in his first year with the Padres.
Josh was a guy who spent countless hours on the phone talking to people or going to games and meeting people and I think his enthusiasm and knowledge impressed Chief Gayton, the Padres scouting director. We had sent Josh to scouting school. He does have some scouting background and he impressed Chief who came to him with a job offer. Josh wanted to get into Pro Ball. I don't know if his long term goal is to be a general manager or a scouting director or what, but he is really looking forward to it.
Denis Savage: Since you brought up the subject of the number one overall pick, are there any position players who could go number one overall or are we looking at pitching alone?
Jim Callis: Yeah…there could be. Although it is really a pitching draft. The pitchers are much stronger than the position players. The top position players from college are Stephen Drew who is a shortstop and Jeff Larrish a first baseman and the top high school guy is Matt Bush. Some guys like him as a pitcher too.
My guess is that if they were drafting today they would go with Justin Verlander from Old Dominion. I would probably project a pitcher.
Denis Savage: One name that continues to dominate the fans eye is Alex Fernandez. He is a talented kid but not mentioned in any breath as a top prospect. My understanding is he is not 22 as he is listed. Do we have any confirmation on this?
Jim Callis: I don't think anyone believes that he is listed at 22. Most people in baseball think he is at least 25. Sometimes that is not necessarily fair to the player, but I am just telling you what people have told us. Nobody has ever really believed that age. It would explain his career. It would make his success easier to understand. Having success at such a young age in these leagues and yet the Mariners didn't seem to be real high on him and the White Sox were willing to trade him.
Denis Savage: Thanks to Jim Callis of Baseball America for sharing some insight into the Padres system. Stay tuned for more from Jim in the near future. If you have not done so, make sure you check out the 2004 Baseball America Prospect Handbook made available in February. You can order the Prospect handbook, which profiles the top 30 Padres, by going to Baseball America