State Report: Pennsylvania




THIS YEAR'S CROP
***** One for the books
**** Banner year
*** Solid, not spectacular
** Not up to par
* Nothing to see here
The Keystone State has just one Top 200 prospect for the third straight year, and once again there is little high-end talent in the state, though there is a bit of depth.

Prep righthander Renny Parthemore could be drafted in the top three or four rounds, but there might not be another player in the state drafted before the 12th. Even in a down year in 2008, Pennsylvania produced three picks in the top 12 rounds, and two in the fourth round. But this year's crop looks like the worst Pennsylvania haul this decade.

NATIONAL TOP 200 PROSPECTS

1. Renny Parthemore, rhp, Cedar Cliff HS, Camp Hill, Pa. (National Rank: 150)

OTHER PROSPECTS OF NOTE

2. Nate Reed, lhp, Pittsburgh
3. Darin Gorski, lhp, Kutztown
4. Chris Sedon, 2b, Pittsburgh
5. Steve Grife, rhp, Mercyhurst
6. T.J. Chism, lhp, LaSalle
7. Tarran Senay, of, South Park HS
8. Scott Kelley, rhp, Penn State
9. Gus Benusa, of, Riverview High, Oakmont
10. Jamie Walczak, rhp, Mercyhurst
11. Matt Cotellese, of, West Chester
12. Grant Kernaghan, rhp, Bloomsburg
13. Matt Adams, 1b/c, Slippery Rock
14. Derek Law, rhp, Seton LaSalle Catholic HS, Pittsburgh
15. Sean Barksdale, of, Temple
16. Addison Dunn, rhp, Warren Area HS
17. Nick Berger, of, Central Catholic HS, Pittsburgh
18. Seth Streich, rhp, Johnsonburg Area HS

SCOUTING REPORTS

RENNY PARTHEMORE, RHP, CEDAR CLIFF (PA.) HS

The top prospect in a thin Pennsylvania crop, Parthemore's biggest asset is his projectability. His 6-foot-5, 185-pound frame and his quick arm hint at his considerable upside, and he has reached 93-94 mph in the past, though he worked mostly in the 88-91 range this spring. Parthemore's 12-to-6 curveball currently rates as an average pitch and projects to be plus. He also shows good feel for a changeup, giving him a chance for three average or better pitches down the road. Characteristic of a cold-weather high school pitcher, Parthemore's command comes and goes, and he tends to have trouble getting over his front side in his delivery, but there are no major red flags in his delivery. Some scouts question his competitive fire, but he has top-three-rounds potential. At this stage, however, it seems more likely Parthemore will honor his commitment to Penn State, where he could develop into a first-round pick in three years.

Southpaws Highlight Weak Crop

Lefthander Nate Reed emerged as Pennsylvania's top prep prospect heading into the 2006 draft thanks largely to his arm strength and projection. But as one scout put it, he's been Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in three years at Pittsburgh, and he was wildly inconsistent as a junior this spring, going 4-6, 6.21. On good days, Reed pitches downhill with an 89-92 mph fastball, flashes an average curveball and shows feel for a changeup. Other times, he works in the 86-88 range with a below-average curveball and struggles to get hitters out. As a 6-foot-3, 180-pound lefthander with arm strength, Reed could be drafted in the 10-to-12-round range, or he could slip and return to Pitt for his senior year. He profiles as a reliever in pro ball.

Lefthanders Darin Gorski and T.J. Chism have also garnered interest. Gorski ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Atlantic Collegiate League last summer, when he went 7-0, 1.33 with 78 strikeouts and 15 walks in 61 innings. He followed that up with another strong spring, going 8-2, 2.17 with 100 strikeouts in 79 innings. Gorski has a big, physical frame at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, but he lacks plus velocity, working mostly in the 86-89 mph range and topping out at 90-91. His 12-to-6 curveball is usually below-average but flashes average at times, and his changeup projects as an average pitch. Gorski's greatest assets are his feel for pitching and durability, and he could sneak into the 10-to-12-round range.

Chism's numbers aren't pretty (1-3, 7.80 in 30 innings), and some scouts have seen him work around 85-86 mph and get hit hard. Others have seen him much better in relief, working in the 92-93 range with a promising slider. Chism is a good athlete with a quick arm, and some scouts project him to throw in the mid-90s with an average slider if he can make a couple of adjustments in pro ball.

Penn State senior righthander Scott Kelley split time between starting and relieving this spring and posted numbers similar to Reed's: 4-5, 6.03. Kelley is a bit undersized at 6 feet, 200 pounds, but he's got athleticism and arm strength. His fastball sits at 90-91 and tops out at 94, though it can be straight and up in the zone. Kelley's secondary stuff is below-average, and he figures to be drafted around the 15th round thanks to his arm strength.

A pair of Mercyhurst righthanders lead the small-college crop. Steve Grife, generously listed at 6 feet, 170 pounds, has plenty of effort in his delivery, but he has handled a starter's workload the last few years. He ranked as the No. 3 prospect in the Coastal Plain League last summer and went 5-1, 3.24 with 73 strikeouts in 67 innings this spring. Grife pitches off a plus fastball that he can run up to 94 mph. While his secondary stuff has improved since last year, his curveball and slider are still below-average at best. He has feel for a changeup, but he often slows down his arm when he throws it. He profiles as a reliever in pro ball, and it's unlikely a club will buy him out of his senior year at Mercyhurst. Teammate Jamie Walczak started 55 games as an outfielder this spring, hitting .357, but scouts prefer him off the mound, where he went 4-3, 0.93 with five saves and 23 strikeouts in 19 innings. He has limited pitching experience, so his secondary stuff is underdeveloped, but he does pitch with a 90-92 mph fastball. He has an athletic, physical frame at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, and he figures to be drafted in the top 20 rounds as an intriguing senior sign.

Bloomsburg's Grant Kernaghan is a righthanded version of Gorski. He pitches in the 86-88 mph range and touches 90-92 on occasion. He shows an average slider at times but struggles to repeat it, and he has a fair changeup. As a likely reliever in pro ball who lacks any plus pitch, Kernaghan could be more attractive as a senior sign next year.

A few college position players bear mention. Pitt junior Chris Sedon had a monstrous year for a 5-foot-10, 170-pound second baseman, batting .398/.449/.796 with 22 homers, 62 RBIs and 19 stolen bases. It's natural to compare Sedon to another undersized Pitt second baseman who hit for big power, Jim Negrych. Sedon lacks his predecessor's extended track record, and he profiles more as a line-drive hitter than a power hitter at the next level. Sedon is a slightly above-average runner who is a solid defender at second base with an adequate arm. He could be drafted in the 10th- to 15th-round range.

Outfielder Matt Cotellese led West Chester to the Division II College World Series as a senior this spring, batting .427/.471/.709 with 11 homers, 71 RBIs and 14 stolen bases. Cotellese has flaws in his approach—he tends to get out on his front foot early and struggles against good breaking balls—but he murders lefthanded pitching. The 6-foot-1, 200-pounder has a solid all-around tools package, with an average arm and average speed. Despite his big numbers, scouts aren't convinced he'll hit at the higher levels of the minors.

Slippery Rock's Matt Adams had a huge junior year, batting .495/.566/.853 with 14 homers and 64 RBIs. A burly 6-foot-3, 245-pound slugger, Adams has a good swing and a mature offensive approach to go along with solid-average to plus power. He's adequate at best defensively at first base, and he's well-below-average behind the plate.

Pennsylvania Preps Disappoint Again

It is unlikely any significant high school players will sign pro contracts this year, though a few have long-term upside worth mentioning. Tarran Senay is a gifted two-sport athlete who broke his wrist in his first football game last spring—yet played all fall before finding out it was broken. The injury hampered his production this spring, and he has not shown the plus lefthanded power potential he flashed last summer. He has played third base but profiles better as a first baseman or left fielder, as his arm is fringy and his speed is below-average. Senay has good makeup and plenty of potential, but power is his best tool and he hasn't shown it this spring, so he figures to wind up at North Carolina State.

Outfielder Gus Benusa generated a bit of buzz late in the spring, and some scouts had heard that clubs would consider him as early as the seventh round. Others aren't sold. Benusa has a mature 5-foot-11 frame and a good lefthanded swing. He profiles as an average hitter with fringe-average speed and below-average power. He's an average defender with slightly below-average arm strength. Benusa is committed to Duquesne but is considered signable.

Righthander Derek Law's father, Joe, reached the major league for four days in the late 1970s with the Athletics but never appeared in a game. The younger Law caught scouts' attention at the Perfect Game/World Wood Bat Championships in Jupiter, Fla., last fall, running his fastball up to 93 mph. He struck out 13 in a no-hitter in his first game this season, but his velocity has been down all spring, topping out at 88-90 and sitting in the 81-84 range down the stretch. His delivery needs work. His curveball and slider can both be better-than-average pitches when he's on, especially the curve. Law is committed to Miami Dade CC but is considered signable in the top 15 to 20 rounds.