Jim Callis on the Padres’ 2010 Draft
Houston Slemp
Houston Slemp
MadFriars.com
Posted Jun 20, 2010
John Conniff


Jim Callis of Baseball America is one of the most highly respected members of the media for his depth of knowledge concerning the MLB Draft and prospect coverage. He appeared on MLB.com’s draft coverage to add his wealth of insight. Now, MadFriars.com cornered Callis for his views on the San Diego Padres draft.

What was your overall impression of the Padres’ draft?

Jim Callis: I really liked the draft and thought Karsten Whitson was a good value at number nine. We had him as the second best high school pitcher in the draft after Jameson Taillon. Gyorko was a very strong college bat, we were a little surprised to see him still around where the Padres got him. I liked Cates, who was a bit overlooked, but he has a good arm. Really, you can go up and down all of the Padres selections and there just were a lot of solid picks.

Did you see any major differences between the new regime and the old one?

Jim Callis: Last year, they went more high school, but before it was very college heavy. Jason McLeod [the Padres assistant general manager] was about taking the best player while I thought many in the previous regime didn’t really believe in high school player or were just more comfortable with college guys.

You were one of the few guys that had the Padres taking Karsten Whitson, what made you think they would take him over the others?

Jim Callis: [laughs] I don’t want to give away any of my sources. I just spoke with a ton of people, and it just made sense based on what players would be available.

There has been much speculation about the second round pick Jedd Gyorko. Nearly everyone likes his bat, but no one is really sure where he will end up defensively. What did you think of the pick and where will he eventually play?

Jim Callis: He was one of the better pure hitters on the Cape last summer and there was a short supply of college bats. He’s not a shortstop and they announced him as a second baseman. I’m not sure if he has the quickness to play second and I see him fitting in more at third, but he has more value at second. You always want to start a player at the position that he has the most value at and see what happens.

What did you think of the third pick, Zach Cates?

Jim Callis: We had him ranked pretty high, where they took him – more of a catcher as a freshman, had a good fall – some days 95-97 can get stronger with the velocity, plus fastball, good change and secondary pitches that need to develop.

After the first three picks, what other ones really stood out for you?

Jim Callis: If they can sign A.J. Vanegas, we had him as a potential sandwich pick, which would be a tremendous value. If Tommy Medica, a catcher they took out of Santa Clara, bounces back from an injury, he is a tremendous value. We thought B.J. Guinn, a shortstop out of Cal, was very good athlete and would go a little higher. Miguel Pena is a polished lefty and Sean Dwyer was one of the best prep hitters in Florida this year. Again, most of their double-digit picks were very solid.

The Padres drafted a few players, specifically in John Barbato, Vanegas and Jose Dore that are expected to be tough signs. One, do you think they will sign the three players and two, how good do you think they really are?

Jim Callis: My guess is Vanegas will be a really tough sign because of his Stanford commitment. I’m not sure about the other two because I’m not familiar with the types of bonuses they were seeking before the draft. Barbato and Dore are good, but we didn’t have them ranked as potential first round or sandwich picks.

Who would be your sleeper pick out of the draft?

Jim Callis: After the first ten, I would go with Houston Slemp. He played at a small Oklahoma junior college but he has a quick bat from the left side, some power but is really more of a left fielder. He is really an interesting pick.

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