O’s Q&A w/ Jim Callis, Baseball America
Baseball America has been busy putting together their organizational prospect lists the last couple weeks; Baltimore Sports and Life has reached out to Jim Callis (Baseball America) for his thoughts on the Orioles prospects and both of our prospect lists.
BSL thanks Mr. Callis for taking the time to respond.
Baltimore Sports and Life: L.J. Hoes is a player that gained a lot of buzz within Baltimore in 2012. I have seen Hoes play plenty of times over the course of his minor league career and think he has above-average bat speed with a solid approach at the plate. I do not think there is very much power potential at all, with his load sapping most of this and him essentially being filled out physically. Would you agree? What would your expectations be for Hoes in 2013?
Callis: Hoes has good bat-to-ball skills but not a lot of power. His bat would have profiled better at second base had he been able to stay there defensively. I share your pessimism about his power, as I see him as the type of guy who could maybe hit .280 with 10-15 homers per year. That’s not enough to be a regular on an outfield corner. He does have some major league value, but it’s more as a platoon/fourth outfielder type. I could see him making the Opening Day roster, but it wouldn’t be any shock if he got more Triple-A time either.
Baltimore Sports and Life: I have Parker Bridwell in my top 10 Orioles prospects still, but noticed that Baseball America did not. From the people I talked to, Bridwell dealt with some growing pains (He literally grew 2 inches), but the stuff was relatively the same. Are you still sold on Bridwell down the road? What does he need to refine in order to regain his top 10 status for Baseball America?
Callis: I wouldn’t say I’m “sold” on Bridwell, but he has more upside than most Orioles pitching prospects. He’s very athletic and projectable but it’s time for him to start reaching some of that projection and translating it into results. He got knocked around in low Class A this year, and his stuff is still inconsistent. Even his fastball fluctuates from below-average (as low as 87) to plus (as high as 94). He’s still figuring out secondary pitches and command. While he’s still young, he’s also a long way from his ceiling.
Baltimore Sports and Life: Baseball America ranked Jonathan Schoop as the Orioles top positional player within the system. I would also agree with this ranking and had him at #3 on my list as well. The power potential is evident with Schoop, and the bat-speed is plus. However, there are serious concerns about contact. From my experience watching him, and others I talk to, he is struggling with the change up and curve ball. In return, his swing seems to have become a little longer than it was at the beginning of the season. Are you concerned like I am with the reports on Schoop? On the defensive side, what are your thoughts of him at second base?
Callis: I think it’s fair to say that Schoop’s stock has taken a bit of a hit from a year ago. You’re correct in assessing his bat speed and power, as well as his difficulties. He’ll probably always strike out some but he makes enough contact. He just needs to get a lot more consistent at the plate, and that has been tough because he has been pushed so aggressively. He’s only 21 now, and maybe he can catch his breath with a full season in Double-A in 2013. His range and speed are below average, so it’s very possible that he winds up at third base rather than the middle infield, which would put more pressure on his bat.
Baltimore Sports and Life: Glynn Davis has essentially gone from an undrafted unknown, to a top prospect in the Orioles system. I rated Davis as my #9 prospect, while Matt Forman said Davis just missed the Baseball America top 10. BA also rated Davis the best baserunner and best defensive OF within the system. My question to you is what does he need to work on with the bat and at the plate?
Callis: His tremendous speed is an asset on the bases and in center field, but Davis has a long way to go with the bat. That’s typical of a lot of minor league speedsters. He has very little strength, so higher level pitchers aren’t going to respect him enough for him to maintain his current walk totals. He also strikes out way too much for someone with his toolset.
Baltimore Sports and Life: The Orioles drafted Josh Hader in the 19th round of the 2012 draft. As a local kid from Old Mill, Hader has created some buzz around the area with his hot start in pro-ball. I was only able to see him pitch once this season, but loved what I saw from the LHP. I think he has the potential to be a solid LOOGY down the road, although there have been some that said he could start if he fills out his relatively wiry frame. What are your thoughts on Hader?
Callis: It’s way too early to consign Hader to being a lefthanded specialist. He can run his fastball into the low 90s and shows command of three pitches, so he definitely has the potential to start. The Orioles may have gotten a steal from their own backyard.
Baltimore Sports and Life: Jason Esposito had a rough season for the Shorebirds. From all reports, he struggled both offensively and defensively. There were also some off-field problems. I have been told by a few within the industry to give him another year to get acclimated with pro-ball before severely judging his play. He has definitely been a disappointment, especially since the defense has supposedly been sub-par as well. What are your current thoughts on Esposito?
Callis: I agree, you want to give guys a couple of years in pro ball before getting too harsh. But there’s no question his year was a major disappointment. A second-round pick from the SEC should be able to thrive in low Class A. But even as an amateur, there were questions about how he’d hit with wood bats against pro pitching because he struggled with quality fastballs and his power is more of the gap variety. The defensive struggles surprised me more, to be honest. I’ve never been a huge Esposito fan, never believed the first-round buzz he once generated. I think he’s one of those guys who doesn’t really profile great as a regular at any position.
Baltimore Sports and Life: I am a big fan of Clayton Schrader. I think he has a solid arsenal and is the best pure RP in the Orioles system. He still has control problems, but held his ground at Bowie for the most part. Where would you rank Schrader, and has your opinion changed on him any since last season?
Callis: I wouldn’t say my opinion has changed, but I still like him. I’m familiar with him from our draft coverage–I always have Texas and he came out of San Jacinto JC. He’s a short, stocky guy with effort in his delivery, but he has a 91-95 mph fastball and can get swings and misses with his breaking ball. He’s still the same guy, with a ceiling as a set-up man.
Baltimore Sports and Life: There is usually one prospect every year that creates buzz and significantly improves his stock within the system. In past years it has been players like Jonathan Schoop, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Glynn Davis. What prospect from the Orioles system do you think could possibly raise their stock in 2013?
Callis: I’ll go with shortstop Adrian Marin. The Orioles system doesn’t have much in the way of position players, and Marin conceivably could rank as their best by the end of 2013. He’s very athletic and has a solid base of tools.
Baltimore Sports and Life: Here are my top 30 Orioles prospects for the end of the 2012 season.
- Dylan Bundy
- Kevin Gausman
- Jonathan Schoop
- Nick Delmonico
- L.J. Hoes
- Parker Bridwell
- Mike Wright
- Branden Kline
- Glynn Davis
- Eduardo Rodriguez
- Bobby Bundy
- Adrian Marin
- Clayton Schrader
- Zach Davies
- Michael Belfiore
- Tim Berry
- Lex Rutledge
- Roderick Bernadina
- Devin Jones
- Tyler Wilson
- Jason Esposito
- Dan Klein
- Johnny Ruettiger
- Torsten Boss
- Juan Guzman
- Trent Mummey
- Hector Veloz
- Michael Ohlman
- Jaime Esquivel
- Miguel Chalas
What are your general thoughts on the Orioles system after taking a look at my top 30 list and with the BA list?
Callis: It’s a top-heavy system that falls off pretty quickly after Bundy and Gausman, though it’s impossible not to love two pitching prospects like that. Looking at the two lists, I’d say you’re a lot higher on Bridwell than we are and we like Christian Walker a lot more than you do. But the lists are very similar.