Here is the second part of my three-part series of interviews with Jim Callis of Baseball America.
I asked Jim if both prep players, shortstop Manny Machado and pitcher Jameson Taillon are available when the Orioles select third in the draft on Monday, which player would he take?
“I’d take Taillon. Either one would be a fine pick, but I think Taillon’s ability is more rare than Machado’s. Nothing wrong with a possible five-tool shortstop, though,” Callis said.
Machado is considered the top prep position player and Taillon is considered the clear top high school pitcher and maybe the best pitcher among all players.
Machado is a 6’2, 180-pound right-handed hitter from Miami’s Brito High. He hit over .600 as a junior and batted .367 last summer for the USA under 18 national team. He is a Scott Boras client.
The 6’6”, 225-pound Taillon went 8-1, 1.78 in 11 games for the Woodlands High in Texas this year. Over 62 innings, he walked 21 and fanned 114. He is represented by the Hendricks brothers.
He has a mid 90’s fastball that has touched 99 and a power curve, both considered clear plus pitches.
Here is Callis’ take on Taillon:
“I don’t think there are any concerns with him. Talking to area scouts in Texas, they wonder if he is better than Josh Beckett was, that’s how good they say this kid is.
“He has the best stuff of any pitcher in this draft, college or high school. He’s got a mid 90’s fastball that can be electric. Guys tell you his curve ball is an even better pitch, that it’s even more devastating.
“He can be a little inconsistent at times, like some high school guys are. He doesn’t throw a changeup much, because that would only be giving the hitters a chance.
“He needs some polish, like any high school pitcher does. But he’s a big kid at 6’6” and you don’t have to project him, because his stuff is already great. The delivery is pretty easy and he’s pretty co-ordinated for a big guy. He’s a pretty complete package.
“I think for a high school pitcher, he can get there pretty quick. Whoever takes him probably doesn’t sign him until August 15th, because he is not going to sign for slot. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s in the big leagues sometimes toward the end of the 2012 season.
“We saw how quickly Porcello made it to the big leagues and he’s been good for the Tigers. This guy has better stuff than Porcello does.”
That’s a pretty impressive scouting report that might leave most O’s fans hoping he is still on the board when their turn comes up Monday night, not long after seven o’clock.
Here is an earlier story I posted with comments from Jim Callis.
More draft coverage coming: Consider my blogs to be draft central over the next few days. Check the archives for other recent draft stories and coming up between now and the draft will be more stories with Jim Callis and Joe Jordan, plus an interview with Michael Taillon, Jameson’s dad.
I will provide any updates I get on the O’s possible first pick over the next several days and Monday check out this site often for some special draft-day coverage.
During our coverage this coming Monday afternoon, I’ll be taking calls live on-air here through our MASNSports.com website, so I look forward to talking with many of you then. Stay tuned!