Scouting Reports: South Carolina

THIS YEAR’S CROP
***** One for the
books
**** Banner
year
*** Solid, not
spectacular
** Not up to
par
* Nothing to see
here

As usual in the Palmetto State, most of the best draft-eligible talent can be found at Clemson and the University of South Carolina this year.

Behind the tireless recruiting of Clemson’s Kevin O’Sullivan and instruction of pitching coach Tom Riginos, the Tigers have a stable of arms is as deep as any in the country. They have two starters–Daniel Moskos and David Kopp–and two relievers–Stephen Clyne and Alex Farina–who should be drafted in the first five rounds.

The Gamecocks’ draft talent isn’t as notable, though they were performing just as well on the field. Harris Honeycutt got off to a hot start, winning his first seven decisions of the season and holding a 1.43 ERA in mid-April. He fell off from there, however, and he was never in the same prospect category of Clemson’s foursome. Live-armed Wynn Pelzer could be the Gamecocks’ only pick in the first five rounds this year. Jay Brown’s health (blood clot) cost him a chance to be drafted on the first day.

Other than a smattering of fifth- to 10th-round talent at College of Charleston and Wofford, there’s not much else to see in South Carolina this year. As usual, most of the best high school players will head for college. But the talent at Clemson alone makes it a decent year for the state.

National Top 200
Prospects

1. Daniel
Moskos, lhp, Clemson
2. David Kopp, rhp,
Clemson
3. Stephen Clyne, rhp,
Clemson
4. Brad Chalk, of,
Clemson
5. Wynn Pelzer, rhp, South
Carolina

Other Prospects Of
Note

6. Alan Farina, rhp, Clemson
7. Taylor Harbin, 2b, Clemson
8. Brandon Waring, 3b, Wofford
9. Alex Garabedian, c, College of Charleston
10. Oliver Marmol, ss, College of Charleston
11. Steven Neff, lhp, Lancaster (S.C.) HS
12. Keon Graves, 3b, Spartanburg Methodist JC
13. Arik Hempy, lhp, South Carolina
14. Trent Kline, c, South Carolina
15. Brian Schlitter, rhp, College of Charleston
16. Stan Widmann, ss, Clemson
17. Harris Honeycutt, rhp, South Carolina
18. Jay Brown, rhp, South Carolina
19. Travis Jones, 2b, South Carolina
20. Andy D’Alessio, 1b, Clemson
21. Phil Disher, c/dh, South Carolina
22. P.J. Zocchi, rhp, Clemson
23. Marquez Smith, 3b, Clemson
24. Brandon Miller, lhp, Emerald HS
25. Demetrius Washington, of, Silver Bluff HS, New Ellenton, S.C.

Scouting
Reports

Daniel Moskos1. Daniel Moskos,
lhp (National rank:
8)

School:
Clemson. Class:
Jr.
B-T: R-L.
Ht.: 6-1.
Wt.: 200.
Birthdate:
4/28/86.
Scouting
Report:
A Greenville, S.C., native, Moskos moved to
California with his family, but returned to his roots to attend
Clemson. He posted a 5.40 ERA in 21 relief appearances as a freshman,
then inherited the Tigers’ closer role as a sophomore and showed
potential. He ranked as the No. 3 prospect for USA Baseball’s college
national team last summer, when he amassed 35 strikeouts and a stingy
0.86 ERA in 21 innings. With feel for three potentially plus pitched,
he moved into Clemson’s rotation near midseason and profiles as middle
of the rotation starter in the big leagues. Stocky and compact, Moskos
pounds the zone with a 91-95 mph fastball that bumped 97 out of the
bullpen. He has a wipeout slider that has been up to 87 and also shows
a more conventional curveball that he tends to use earlier in the
count, just to keep hitters off balance. His changeup has fade, and he
mixed all four of his pitches extremely well. Moskos has solid-average
command of all of his stuff. He lacks projection and doesn’t hold
runners well. He joins Ross Detwiler and David Price as the cream of an
especially strong crop of lefthanders in this year’s
draft.

2. David Kopp, rhp
(National rank:
81)

School:
Clemson. Class:
Jr.
B-T: R-R.
Ht.: 6-3.
Wt.: 195.
Birthdate:
10/20/85.
Scouting
Report:
The Tigers’ pitching staff blossomed this
spring, and Kopp was one of four Clemson pitchers who could go in the
top five rounds. Somewhat enigmatic, Kopp has been inconsistent with
his control and velocity, but at his best he flashed
middle-of-the-rotation stuff. He stayed behind and on top of the ball
better during his delivery this spring and improved his direction to
the plate. His fastball ranges from 91-96 mph, sitting at 92. He gets
sink and run from his three-quarters arm slot, though he doesn’t repeat
his release point. His changeup is a weapon, but his 81-83 mph slider
shows potential of becoming a legitimate put-away pitch. He needs to
improve his mental approach and confidence, especially in tight
situations. Kopp has more upside than the typical college righthander
in this year’s draft, and he could be taken as early as the second
round.

3. Stephen Clyne,
rhp (National rank:
136)

School:
Clemson. Class:
Sr.
B-T: R-R.
Ht.: 6-1.
Wt.: 205.
Birthdate:
9/22/84.
Scouting
Report:
Clyne began experiencing arm trouble when he was
still in high school, and in an effort to avoid surgery, elected to
redshirt his freshman season in 2003. His arm never got back to normal,
and he had Tommy John surgery, costing him all of 2004. It wasn’t until
last fall that he began to show the stuff that made him a coveted
recruit. As a fifth-year senior, Clyne would create bidding interest
among multiple teams if Clemson’s season ended after the Atlantic Coast
Conference tournament, but the Tigers were a lock to go to regional
play, so Clyne will hope to make his money in the draft. He’s shown the
stuff to warrant a third- to fifth-round selection, with two hard
pitches and the profile of a setup man or middle reliever in the big
leagues. Clyne’s fastball sits between 91-94 mph with plus sink at
times, and his slider can be filthy, registering anywhere from 80-84
mph on radar guns.
He has limited feel for his changeup, and Clyne has a tendency to pitch
tentatively, and doesn’t always seem to have conviction in his stuff.
He’s around the zone, with solid-average
command.

4. Brad Chalk, of
(National rank:
139)

School:
Clemson. Class:
Jr.
B-T: L-L.
Ht.: 6-0.
Wt.: 180.
Birthdate:
1/20/86.
Scouting
Report:
Chalk was the catalyst of Riverside High’s 3-A
state title team in 2004, his second state title at the suburban
Greenville, S.C., school, and he also took a tour with USA Baseball’s
youth national team as an underclassman. He stepped in as Clemson’s
starting center fielder as a freshman and has been a sparkplug for the
Tigers each of his three seasons there. He knows how to get on base and
sticks to his slap-and-dash approach. He draws comparisons to Jason
Tyner but actually has less power. Tyner has no professional home runs,
while Chalk has never hit a college home run and doesn’t attempt to
drive the ball often. His plus speed doesn’t translate in games as well
as it could–he had stolen just eight bases this season and 31 in his
career at Clemson–making some clubs wary of how much value to place on
it. He has good plate discipline and works counts effectively. He’s a
plus defender with a solid-average arm. Chalk has been slowed by
occasional back trouble, including late this
season.

5. Wynn Pelzer, rhp
(National rank:
142)

School:
South Carolina. Class:
Jr.
B-T: R-R.
Ht.: 6-1.
Wt.: 195.
Birthdate:
6/23/86.
Scouting
Report:
Pelzer appeared to have a bright college future
when he was ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Coastal Plain League in
2005, the summer before his sophomore season. He’s something of an
enigma, though, as he hasn’t had the success his stuff would indicate.
He’s been used primarily as a reliever for the Gamecocks this season.
He works off two hard pitches: a fastball that ranges from 88-95 mph
and a slider that shows occasional depth and late snap. A popular
comparison is Tom Gordon, and if Pelzer can improve his command, he
could profile as a potential set-up man. He tends to leave pitches up
in the zone and works behind in counts. Pelzer’s upside is intriguing,
but because of his modest performance he’ll probably be drafted in the
third- to fifth-round
range.

Tiger Domination

Adversity struck Clemson’s program in March, when an MRI revealed the
pain in junior shortstop Stan Widmann’s
neck was the result
of a benign tumor in the vertabra at the base of the neck. He was off
to a .409 start but then had a 12-hour operation
to remove the tumor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Widmann was
expected to make a full recovery, but his baseball future won’t be
determined until 2008, after rest and rehabilitation. Had he stayed
healthy, he could have been drafted as high as the fifth round.

Widmann’s condition seemed to have an adverse affect on roommate and
middle-infield partner Taylor Harbin.
Harbin slid over to short from
second base in Widmann’s absence, and whether it was the pressure of
being more of a focal point
of Clemson’s lineup, stress over the health of his teammate or just a
case of draftitis, suddenly a player who had always performed slumped
miserably. His average dipped as low as .217, though he was up to .289
with a .344 on-base percentage by the end of the regular season as he
kept tweaking his set-up and stance. His most
significant shortcoming is his
dead-pull approach. He has solid-average bat speed, and even though
he’s
South Carolina’s high school career home run leader, his power grades
as average with wood. He’s an average runner. Harbin’s defensive skills
are fringe-average, and his best position is second base. Because of
his track record and ability to drive the ball, Harbin might be drafted
in the sixth- to eighth-round range, though if he falls much he could
come back to school as a senior.

Andy D’Alessio
was also a big-time power hitter in high school, and his
best college season was as a junior in 2006, when he hit .312 with 23
home runs and 85 RBIs. When he decided not to sign as
a 10th round pick by the Dodgers, he probably passed up the most amount
of money he’ll be offered in the draft. His average held steady this
year, but he had just 14 home runs, and he has a long, aluminum-bat
swing that doesn’t play in pro ball.

When Clemson coach Jack Leggett opted to move Moskos from the
back of the Tigers’ bullpen to the rotation near midseason, the Tigers
surged. Leggett figured that with Stephen
Clyne
and Alan Farina
pitching so well in set-up roles for Moskos, he could get more out of
all three pitchers by making the change. Farina is shorter and stockier
than
Clyne, but his stuff and profile, as well as his draft stock, are
similar. The biggest difference is that Clyne’s fastball has
better life and movement, whereas Farina throws in the low-90s with a
true fastball. He works from a high three-quarters arm slot, and his
delivery has some effort. Farina’s velocity and breaking ball have
improved from last season, in part because he lengthened his stride
and got better extension out front. He flashed a
slider that has touched 86, sitting at 83-84 with hard tilt. Farina was
pitching well late in the season and could be taken as high as the
third or fourth
round.

Harris Honeycutt
spent most of 2006 as South Carolina’s midweek
starter, but when Arik Hempy
went down and required Tommy John surgery,
Honeycutt jumped into the weekend rotation. He took off from there,
beating host Virginia in regional play and pitching well against
Georgia
in a super-regional victory, helping the Gamecocks get within one game
of the College World Series. He got off to a great start this season,
but later when he wasn’t spotting his pitches to both sides of the
plate as well and got hit hard. After winning his first seven
decisions, he lost his next five and his ERA was up to 3.78. Honeycutt
relies on plus command and feel for pitching. None of his pitches grade
as above-average, and he wasn’t expected to
drafted any higher than the eighth to 12th round, depending on his
signability. Hempy, meanwhile, is something of an enigma. He returned
to South
Carolina’s rotation this year and pitched well down the stretch, but he
has a violent delivery and is already 23.

A couple of third basemen from smaller colleges could be drafted in the top
10 rounds in Keon Graves and Brandon Waring.
Graves was named the top
prospect in the Coastal Plains League last summer, when he showed plus
bat speed and some juice in his swing. This season, his aggressive,
dead pull approach has depressed his stock, and he wasn’t making the
consistent hard contact scouts expected to see him against
substandard competition. He’s an adequate defender with plenty of arm
for third base. There is some projection remaining in Graves’ body,
which is a major reason he remains a prospect.

Conversely, Waring has blistered the ball this spring at Wofford but
is more of a mature-bodied, muscular player. He slugged 10 homers as a
freshman in 2005, and he hit four more last year before breaking his
wrist in early March. He has plus bat speed and
plus raw power, which he showed off during a series against Georgia
Tech by smoking a pair of home runs to the opposite field. Waring
ranked among the nation’s leaders in on-base plus slugging percentage at
1.388. He’s a dead-red fastball hitter and his swing has holes. He’s
especially susceptible to breaking balls down and away.

Alex Garabedian’s best chance to sign might have come and passed. He
was considered among the best high school catching prospects coming out
of Miami in 2004, and was drafted by the Yankees in the seventh round.
He attended Miami and transferred to College of Charleston following
his freshman season. Garabedian’s muscular frame and arm strength are
his best assets. He’s a below-average defender, though he works hard at
the craft and has shown gradual improvement in his receiving and
blocking. He has some juice in his bat, but there’s length to his
swing.

Teammates Oliver Marmol and Brian Schlitter
are also considered
eighth- to 12th-round talents. Schlitter has a power arm (he
touched 93 mph this season) but he’s inconsistent, with fringy
secondary stuff and a poor delivery. Marmol has good middle-infield
actions but little
offensive upside. He’s a plus runner and has a plus arm.

In the high school ranks, Steven Neff is the consensus top prospect,
but he won’t sign if he’s drafted in the eighth to 10th round, where his talent fits. He
doesn’t have a plus offering, but does have some room for projection,
making him worth following in college at South Carolina.

Draft | #2007

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus