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2017 State Draft Report: South Carolina

updated_state_rating_five_star Solid, not spectacular
Rating compares this year’s group to what a state typically produces, not to other states

The past two years in South Carolina have been solid, if not spectacular, and this year’s class appears to be more of the same although South Carolina righthander Clarke Schmidt has a chance to be the first player from the state drafted in the first round since Grant Holmes in 2014.

South Carolina had a player selected in the first round every year from 2006 to 2014, but has missed on the last two classes. Even after undergoing Tommy John surgery, Schmidt has a chance to get the state back to that level. After Schmidt, fellow TJ survivor and Gamecock righty Wil Crowe gives the class another top arm.

Clemson doesn’t have any elite talent in this year’s class, but it offers plenty of depth, with four top 500 players, headlined by catcher Chris Williams, who succeeded 2016 Reds second round pick Chris Okey this season. Again, it’s a college-heavy class for South Carolina.

BA 500 Scouting Reports

1. Clarke Schmidt, RHP, South Carolina (32)
2. Wil Crowe, RHP, South Carolina (47)
3. Charlie Barnes, LHP, Clemson (108)
4. Chris Williams, C, Clemson (118)
5. Tyler Johnson, RHP, South Carolina (155)
6. William Gaddis, RHP, Furman (159)
7. Carmen Mlodzinski, RHP, Hilton Head (S.C.) HS (172)
8. Logan Chapman, RHP, Easley (S.C.) HS (201)
9. Chase Pinder, OF, Clemson (279)
10. J.P. Sears, LHP, The Citadel (289)
11. Bailey Ober, RHP, College of Charleston (300)
12. Billy Cooke, OF, Coastal Carolina (373)
13. Alex Eubanks, RHP, Clemson (382)

2017 Draft Map

14. Alex Destino, OF, South Carolina
15. Madison Stokes, SS, South Carolina
16. Trent Autry, RHP, Florence-Darlington (S.C.) JC
17. Bryar Johnson, RHP, Carolina Forest HS, Myrtle Beach, S.C.
18. Tyler Jackson, RHP, Clemson
19. Paul Campbell, RHP, Clemson
20. Adam Scott, LHP, Wofford
21. Joseph Benitez, LHP, USC Aiken
22. Connor Riley, RHP, USC Aiken
23. D.J. Neal, OF, USC Sumter
24. Corey Stone, LHP, Mid-Carolina HS, Prosperity, S.C.
25. Ward Hacklen, OF, Dutch Fork HS, Irmo, S.C.

Alex Destino, OF, South Carolina

Scouts were interested in Destino out of high school in the Asheville, N.C., area, as he had present physicality and a fastball up to 92 mph. He had a difficult spring on the mound and had a strong commitment to South Carolina, where he had made just two appearances on the mound. Instead, the lefthanded batter has focused on his duties at the plate and in the outfield. hitting 26 home runs over three seasons. Plus lefthanded power is now Destino’s calling card, and he can bang hanging breaking balls and average velocity. Scouts have their doubts about his ability to hit plus fastballs, but his power will get him drafted. He’s played mostly left field for South Carolina, as he’s a modest athlete and below-average runner but has at least average arm strength.

Madison Stokes, SS, South Carolina

Coming out of high school in 2014, Stokes had the soft hands, athletic actions and strong arm to play a quality shortstop, although there were concerns he would have to move off the position thanks to being a below-average runner. Three years later and that has yet to be the case, as Stokes started 47 games at shortstop for the Gamecocks this season. The pressure’s on him to stick there, as his bat hasn’t been impressive, hitting only .224/.312/.339 this season. He broke his right wrist in mid May after being hit by a pitch.

Trent Autry, RHP, Florence-Darlington (S.C.) JC

Autry threw four complete games this season with Florence-Darlington, leading the team in innings pitched (75), while striking out 115 batters and walking 31.

Bryar Johnson, RHP, Carolina Forest HS, Myrtle Beach, S.C.

A Coastal Carolina commit, Johnson sits in the upper 80s and can touch 90-91.

Tyler Jackson, RHP, Clemson

A redshirt graduate student who transferred from USC Aiken, Jackson was extremely solid for the Tigers as a start this season, throwing 83.1 innings and posting a 3.56 ERA. He had held opponents to the lowest batting average (.249) of any of Clemson’s other three starters and has an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6-6, 215. He walked just 10 batters the entire season for a 1.08 BB/9.

Paul Campbell, RHP, Clemson

Campbell is an undersized righty with a live arm, getting his fastball up into the mid 90s, but settling in the 91-92 mph range. He’s got a breaking ball in the mix as well, but will need to improve his control, potential with some mechanical tweaks in the future.

Adam Scott, LHP, Wofford

Scott has shown better command this season, and his BB/9 mark is down from 4.08 as a sophomore to 2.31 as a junior. His strikeout rate is up as well. The 10.41 K/9 is the highest he’s had in three years and an 8.1 inning outing vs. Pitt in early March only served to help him in that regard. He struck out 17 batters and walked one, allowing two hits on 119 pitches.

Joseph Benitez, LHP, USC Aiken

Benitez led USC Aiken with 135 strikeouts over 116.1 innings and also walked just 23 batters. That’s good for a 5.87 K:BB ratio.

Connor Riley, RHP, USC Aiken

Riley struck out an insane 130 batters in 83 innings during his senior year at USC Aiken, but he’s small at just 6-0 and can be hot or cold on the mound as far as his control is concerned.

D.J. Neal, OF, USC Sumter

Neal was drafted in the 32nd round by the Braves in 2015 after showing elite athleticism and the power to profile as a corner outfield bat. He didn’t sign and instead joined Steve Spurrier’s football team at South Carolina, before transferring to USC Sumter to get back on the diamond, where he hit .331 in 46 games.

Corey Stone, LHP, Mid-Carolina HS, Prosperity, S.C.

Stone is an athletic lefty gets his fastball into the upper 80s and can touch the low 90s. He’s got a breaking ball, but doesn’t spin it well currently, but he was also three-year starting quarterback for his high school team. A South Carolina commit, Stone could take several steps forward after getting off the gridiron thanks to his athleticism.

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