|Jim Callis' Quick Take|
|I think the Pirates really wanted California high school third baseman Josh Vitters to get to them at No. 4. Clemson lefthander Daniel Moskos was a legit top-10 pick, though I'm surprised the Pirates would spend this high of a choice on a player they plan to use in relief, even if he becomes a closer. Arkansas righthander Duke Welker (second round) really started to come on toward the end of the spring.|
PITTSBURGH--Dave Littlefield has a saying he uses often.
"You never hear anybody say they have too much pitching," the Pirates general manager says. "You can never have enough of it."
Thus, the Pirates selected lefthander Daniel Moskos from Clemson with the fourth overall pick in the first round of Thursday's draft.
That came despite industry-wide speculation that the Pirates would draft a hitter in the first round this year. The talk was prompted by the Pirates' recent history of first-round pitchers having arm operations, including righthander Brad Lincoln, the top pick last year, who had Tommy John surgery in April.
However, the Pirates couldn't resist the lure of picking Moskos, who starts Friday for Clemson against Mississippi State in the Starkville super-regional. Moskos is 3-5, 2.91 with six saves in 26 games (nine starts) this season.
"We're really excited to be able to pick Daniel Moskos," Pirates scouting director Ed Creech said. "We see him helping our major league staff in the near future."
The risk of Moskos having arm problems would seem less since he has been used primarily as a closer during his three years at Clemson.
"Knock on wood, I've never had an arm problem and I certainly feel like my arm is still fresh because of the way I've been used in college," Moskos said. "I don't think what's happened in the past with some of the Pirates' pitchers has any effect on my situation.
"I still feel strong at this point of the season. I feel good about trying to get us back to Omaha and then beginning my professional career with the Pirates."
One major league reliever who Moskos has been compared to is Atlanta lefty Mike Gonzalez, who spent the first four years of his career with the Pirates before being traded in January. Moskos has a fastball that reaches 95 mph and an outstanding slider.
"I think he has the talent to close in the major leagues," Creech said. "I really like his aggressiveness. He really goes after hitters. He's a great competitor."
Moskos, for his part, is hoping to be a major league starter.
"If I had a choice, I'd prefer to start," Moskos said. "It makes it a lot easier to get in a routine as far as conditioning and throwing on the side.
"I know being a reliever usually makes for a faster track to the big leagues, but I'd been willing to wait the extra time to get there if it meant a long career as a starting pitcher."