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MLB Draft Preview: South Carolina

Draft : : State Preview
Allan Simpson        
Published: Friday, May 03, 2013

In the weeks leading up to the draft, Perfect Game will be providing a detailed overview of each state in the U.S., including the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Puerto Rico. These overviews will list the state's strengths, weaknesses and the players with the best tools, as well as providing scouting reports on all Group 1 and 2 players as ranked in Perfect Game's state-by-state scouting lists.  Please visit this page for all of the links to Perfect Game's 2013 Draft Preview content.



South Carolina State-by-State List

South Carolina colleges have collectively been among the most productive in the nation in terms of churning out high-end talent for the draft year after year. In 2012, a record 14 players from in-state colleges were selected in the top 10 rounds, including Clemson third baseman Richie Shaffer in the first round.

This year, the draftable talent in the South Carolina college ranks is the thinnest in memory, with the possibility that no more than 2-3 players will be taken in the first 10 rounds, and possibly none in the top five. Fortunately, the high-school talent is more plentiful than usual, led by projected first-rounder Nick Ciuffo, and there is a distinct possibility that more prep players could be scooped up in the initial 10 rounds than were drafted altogether a year ago (4).


STRENGTH:
High-school talent
WEAKNESS: College talent
OVERALL RATING (1-to-5 scale): 2

BEST COLLEGE TEAM:
South Carolina
BEST JUNIOR-COLLEGE TEAM: Spartanburg Methodist
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEAM: Lexington

PROSPECT ON THE RISE: C.D. Pelham, lhp, Lancaster HS.
As a previously-unknown, 6-foot-4 lefthander who almost overnight came out throwing his fastball in the low-90s (with reports of the pitch touching 95), Pelham caused quite a stir among scouts in the Carolinas midway through the 2013 high-school season. It’s unclear what kind of an impact Pelham’s sudden emergence will have on the draft because he is so raw in his overall development as a potential pitching prospect, but he became a must-see arm for cross-checkers in the weeks leading up to the draft.

WILD CARD: Tyler Webb, lhp, University of South Carolina.
The 6-foot-6 Webb has earned the close scrutiny of scouts this spring on the basis of his dominant 2013 season as the closer for South Carolina, but most are wary of his history of elbow injuries, advanced age (23 in July) and fluctuating velocity on his fastball this spring that may stem from a heavy workload. Through 21 appearances for the Gamecocks, Webb had a 0.59 ERA, 14 saves, seven walks and 44 strikeouts in 30 innings, and .170 opponent batting average—dominant numbers by any measure, and ones that may prompt a team to take an early-round stab at Webb.

BEST OUT-OF-STATE PROSPECT, South Carolina Connection:
Daniel Palka, of, Georgia Tech (Attended high school in Lyman)
Top 2014 Prospect: Grant Holmes, rhp, Conway HS
Top 2015 Prospect: Clate Schmidt, rhp, Clemson University

HIGHEST DRAFT PICKS

Draft History:
Kris Benson, rhp, Clemson University (1996, Pirates/1st round, 1st pick)
2008 Draft: Justin Smoak, 1b, University of South Carolina (Rangers/1st round, 11th pick)
2009 Draft: Chris Owings, ss, Gilbert HS (Diamondbacks/1st round, 41st pick)
2010 Draft: Kyle Parker, 1b, Clemson University (Rockies/1st round, 26th pick)
2011 Draft: Taylor Guerreri, rhp, Spring Valley HS, North Augusta (Rays/1st round, 24th pick)
2012 Draft: Richie Shaffer, 3b, Clemson University (Rays/1st round, 25th pick)

2012 DRAFT OVERVIEW

College Players Drafted/Signed:
23/21
Junior College Players Drafted/Signed: 4/4
High School Players Drafted/Signed: 4/1

BEST TOOLS

Best Athlete:
Jacob May, of, Coastal Carolina University
Best Hitter: Nick Ciuffo, c, Lancaster HS
Best Power: Nick Ciuffo, c, Lancaster HS
Best Speed: Jacob May, of, Coastal Carolina University
Best Defender: Nick Ciuffo, c, Lancaster HS
Best Velocity: Akeem Bostick, rhp, West Florence HS
Best Breaking Stuff: Tyler Webb, lhp, University of South Carolina
Best Pitchability: Tyler Webb, lhp, University of South Carolina


TOP PROSPECTS, GROUPS 1 and 2

GROUP 1
(rounds 1-3)

1. NICK CIUFFO, c, Lexington HS
A left handed hitting catcher with significant power potential, solid-average arm strength and take-charge skills beyond his years, Ciuffo has first-round ability in all phases of his game. This year’s crop of prep catching prospects is unusually deep, but Ciuffo has been everything he was cracked up to be this spring—and maybe more—and rates at least an even chance of being taken off the draft board first among his peers, probably late in the first round. For more on Ciuffo, see David Rawnsley’s Draft Focus feature.


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