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Down On The Farm: Excerpts from Baseball America Chat with Jim Callis

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Here are some excerpts from Jim Callis' chat over at Baseball America on Wednesday afternoon, with some that fantasy owners should pay attention to:

Mike (Naples, Florida): Rizzo, Sands, Cox In what order would you rank them and why?

Jim Callis: Cox, Rizzo, Sands. I think Cox is the best all-around hitter and he plays the best defensive position. I'll take Rizzo over Sands because he's two years younger and I like his offensive potential better.

I guess 35 HRs and a .400 OBP isn't enough for Callis. Zach Cox has yet to hit major league pitching other than in the AFL, and how much power will Anthony Rizzo have hitting in Petco?

More after the jump:

Greg (Pittsburgh): Can Billy Hamilton be trusted to emerge as an elite prospect and how does he compare to Dee Gordon?

Jim Callis: Not sure how to measure degrees of trust, but Hamilton has the tools to become an elite prospect. There are some similarities to Gordon. Both can fly and both need to get physically stronger. Hamilton is maybe a half-step quicker, and Gordon has a better chance to stick at shortstop.

Gordon is closer, but read somewhere today that he may not be called up till mid-2012. 

SMK (Boston): Rubby de la Rosa has been impressive throughout the spring. What are your personal thoughts on him and what is his ultimate upside?

Jim Callis: He's one of the few pitchers around who can hit triple digits. His upside is as a No. 2 starter, but I think it's more likely he becomes a closer. He needs to be more consistent with his secondary pitches and command—like a lot of young pitchers.

I think the Dodgers will allow him to prove he cannot be a starter before moving him to the bullpen,. He was solid in a recent spring training start vs the Giants.

Mike (Virginia): With Rendon still unable to play 3rd base it looks like Cole is becoming a stronger candidate to go 1-1 to the Pirates. How does Cole's stuff compare to Taillon?

Jim Callis: It's not like Rendon won't be able to play third base—a very good third base—in the future, so that's not really a factor. Cole has enhanced his chances of going 1-1 by showing great stuff every time out this spring. He and Taillon have comparable fastballs and breaking balls, but Cole's changeup is significantly better.

It will certainly be interesting to see who the Pirates take with the first pick in the June draft this year. They definitely need more starting pitching to stop the streak of losing seasons.

Ben (Miamisburg, OH): Zack Cozart has had a solid spring for the Reds and his bat has steadily improved since being drafted. If he can continue the 15-20 HR power he showed last year what kind of big leaguer can he be?

Jim Callis: Gets the job done at shortstop and has more power than most at the position. Wouldn't surprise me at all if he emerges over Paul Janish and Edgar Renteria as the Reds' starter at short before the end of the season.

Cozart is an interesting player that fantasy owners should keep their eye on. He hits for power and can steal some bases, and plays solid D.

Tony (Albuquerque): How high does Bryce Harper make it this year?

Jim Callis: I think he'll split the minor league season between low A and high A. Because he's already on the 40-man roster, the Nationals almost assuredly will call him up in September.

But, when does he get called up for good? I see Harper making it to AA this year. Could be wrong.