Scouting Reports: South Carolina




2007 MLB Draft 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, the Tigers have a stable of arms as deep as any in the country. They have two starters--Daniel Moskos and David Kopp--and two relievers--Stephen Clyne and Alan Farina--who should be drafted in the first five rounds.

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