Diamond Notes: A Tip on the Cap

By: Austin Alexander – September 24, 2012 The baseball cap is part of the baseball uniform, period. Case closed. It is as much a part of tucking your jersey in, running the bases aggressively and saying yes sir to your coach. Now, in softball they wear visors (sometimes), others have ponytails. They wear ribbons and pigtails and shorts on the field… shall I go on? But in baseball we wear caps, and that honor should be held with a high appreciation of being a part of a team that wants you to be a part of their mission. While you may see a closer in Tampa Bay with a mis-directed bill, a HR Derby winner with his hat on backwards or some West Coast first rounder with his locks flowing… Keep in mind you are not them, not even close. At least, not anytime soon. When I was a coach, I often held court on how to properly wear a baseball cap, even had a station in camp on this, and the rules are very simple: -No hair showing under the bill of cap -Wear it with the bill forward unless you are a catcher… that is catching at the moment, not just walking around -Wear it straight, meaning bill is pointing in the same direction as your eyes -Quick helmet reference: REMOVE THE ‘attaboy’ STICKERS! -Not in the game, but your job is to play catch with an outfielder? Please don’t forget your cap and be hatless! -Flat bills… Email me if you find a coach with one -Roof top, inverted ‘V’ style…Email me if you find a coach with one Seems simple, right? It is amazing how many amateurs violate a simple code. Perhaps you did not know, now you do. What’s the point? Don’t be a Bozo, respect the uniform you play for… and once you accomplish something in this great game, you can disrespect it at that point, while ill-advised even then, at least you will have millions in the bank. Until then, strong suggestion, wear the baseball cap with a proud appreciation for the team you represent.

2012: MLB Draft Breakdown

By: Austin Alexander, June 4-6, 2012 In a year that professional scouts will admit there was less draftable prep talent in South Carolina than recent years, only four young men managed to have their names called over the three-day event. But the more you peer into this year’s draft, the event itself took on a very different look due to drastic changes within the rules pertaining to signing players and by reducing the draft by ten rounds, thus affecting who and how many in-state guys were selected. The longer you follow the draft, the more you think you understand it. Just the opposite is true, however! Any baseball sage will tell you it is really a crapshoot! Many variables come into play when you sit back and look at the picks, the rounds they fell in and the names that get passed over. One term people must understand is “signability”. Especially near the top of the draft. In many cases, most of the players selected in the first 4-7 Rounds are similar in ability. Maybe in the Top 15 Rounds? Conventional wisdom tells you that the first pick in the draft must be the best player and that the last pick is the 1,530th best player in the country. Not so. A player’s signability can vault him near the top of the board; low signability can force that player to fall through the draft entirely. Scouts often spend more time researching a player’s signability than they do evaluating their talent. We’ve all heard of clubs that take a kid in the top two rounds and cannot come to terms with him. Sometimes it is because the area scout has not done his due research or he would have known better than to select that player that high in the draft. But it has also happened before that a player and his family or advisor was not truthful as to their dollar figure. Sometimes a player’s “advisor” or his known desire to attend school will force his draft stock to fall, though he may be a first rounder ability-wise. A couple of examples: In 2006, Florida University first baseman Matt LaPorta fell to the 15th round and 433rd pick of the draft. It was believed LaPorta was a sure-fire first-rounder but in the days before the draft he hired agent Scott Boras to represent him. Boras’ reputation with big-leaguers is well-earned as he has some of the top clients in the game. But, some big league organizations had begun a trend, however, of steering away from his players in recent drafts to avert expensive, drawn-out negotiations. As high school seniors, South Carolina products Justin Smoak and Reese Havens were projected to go high in the draft. In the moments leading up to early picks for the Boston Red Sox, both were contacted once more in an attempt to agree to terms before they were selected. Both declined lucrative deals citing that their intention was to play college baseball. As a result, Smoak fell to the 16th round, Havens to the 29th. Both were later selected in 1st Round as college juniors out of USC. In each case, though for opposite reasons, these players had a “low signability” tag, thus falling to lower rounds. Clubs have until midnight of July 13th (up from August 16 in 2011) to agree to terms with a draft pick. Some of the early rounders will forego the drama and sign quickly so they can begin their journey to the big leagues. Others will drag it out until the deadline in an attempt to drain every penny out of a club. Many players chosen will continue to be under the watchful eye of the organization that selected them in case they make a significant jump during the summer, in which the club may, then, offer a contract or “up the ante” in an attempt to sign the player. Draft picks are made largely on a players present “tools” and how he “projects” down the road. Many selections will turn the heads of baseball people. More selections will blow the mind of casual fans because the layman only sees black or white, ie. base hit versus out, win versus loss. Understand, just because a pitcher strikes out Tanner English does not automatically vault that arm to prospect status. If a good high school pitcher beats Dillon High School with Jamie Callahan on the mound, it does not mean he will see his name on a draft board. When a “punching judy” flairs one into the outfield off of Erich Knab, that does not guarentee that he will even play past high school. If a fast runner steals two bases off of David Houser, it does not necessarily mean he has a future in professional baseball! See where I am going with this? Scouting is not a science. Players do get over-scouted and some do get over-looked. By in large, however, these guys who scout for a living are good at what they do. VERY good, in fact! They run up tens of thousands of miles riding the countryside away from their families looking for the next Steven Strasburg and Josh Hamilton. Sure, they’ll miss on guys from time to time but they are still smarter than most of us and their eyes keener than you can imagine. Did they find the next MLB All-Star in our state in 2012? Only time will tell. Below we have broken down the 2012 Draft: *Note: Players accounted for either played high school or college baseball in South Carolina this spring. Selected Day 1 (1st Rd) Day 2 (2-15 Rds) Day 3 (16-40 Rds) Total SC Players 1  18 12 31  College players 1 15  11 27 HS players 0  3  1  4  Pitchers 0  10 6 16  Catchers 0 2 2  4  Infielders 1  3  2 6  Outfielders 0  3  2  5  Division I 1 12  6  19  Division II 0 1 1  2  Junior College 0 1 3  4   NAIA  0  1  1  2 HS 4A 0  1  0  …

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MLB Draft Preview: Prep Seniors – 2012

Compiled By: Austin Alexander – June 4, 2012 The workouts have concluded, the notes have been made, scouting miles have been logged and final organizational meetings have been had… and now it’s finally draft time! As we mosey around South Carolina throughout the calendar, we are often asked to make predictions on the upcoming draft, who will be taken, which round will they go in, who is most signable, etc. We’ve asked a few questions of our own to some ‘bigwigs’ and threw in our two cents as well. But this year is a different animal altogether… Check out the drastically new draft rules: 2012 Draft  The entire process has always been a crapshoot, even for those making the final decisions so we aren’t going to take a stab at which round, but below is what we did come up with regards to who has a chance to be drafted this week. Admittedly, every single scout that we spoke with said we would learn alot from this draft to be a little more bold with our prognostication in future years. Our crystal ball comes with far less confidence than past years, but here it is:  -Palmetto State Players Receiving Pro Interest this Spring-  Name  High School  Position  Signed  *Erich Knab  Carolina Forest  RHP  Sptg Methodist  *Jamie Callahan  Dillon  RHP  South Carolina  Wales Toney  TL Hanna  RHP  Clemson  Steven Duggar  Byrnes  OF  Clemson  David Houser  AC Flora  C  Tennessee  Alex Cunningham  Byrnes  RHP  Coastal Carolina  *Kwinton Smith  Dillon  OF  South Carolina (FB)  Maleeke Gilbson  Laurence Manning  OF  Clemson  Tyler Jackson  Wren  RHP  South Carolina  Nathan Helvey  Fort Mill  RHP  C of C  Jason Smith  Gilbert  OF  Citadel  Connor Owings  Gilbert  INF  Coastal Carolina  Andrew Cox  Belton-Honea Path  OF  Clemson *Have been picked so far in 2012 Draft  More Info… Monday night 60 picks, Tuesday Rounds 2-15, Wednesday Rounds 16-40

A Champion’s Tribute: AC Flora Falcons

By: Andy Hallett – Spring, 2012 “Run to the Title” Going into the season, we had high expectations, as we always do. However, this season would see us ranked Pre-season #1 in the SCBCA poll. Never during my tenure have we been ranked the #1 team going into the season. This would put added pressure on our young team a… The new DP website is here. For all the great DP content, subscribe. If you have any login/subscription issues, please contact our support team. Your feedback on the new experience is appreciated as well. Username Password Remember Me     Forgot Password

A Champion’s Tribute: Gilbert Indians

By: Will Cheatham – Spring 2012 The Gilbert Indians 2012 State Championship run began on Day 1 of the off-season. Being an outsider and looking in during the 2011 campaign, I knew that as a team, they felt as if they had underachieved, and maybe had not laid it all out on the line. I met with each of our pitchers individually to deter… The new DP website is here. For all the great DP content, subscribe. If you have any login/subscription issues, please contact our support team. Your feedback on the new experience is appreciated as well.

Gary Carter: The Kid

By: First Lieutenant Myles Alexander – January 20, 2012 My freshman year in college I became friends with Gary Carter’s daughter Christy. She was on the tennis team. We had a small group of us friends that hung out a lot. When Gary Carter came to visit Charleston he offered to take the group out to eat after church. So we all piled into a couple of cars and went to church and then out to dinner at Folly Beach. After getting many strange looks and interrupted by fans, we then went to one of our friends parent’s house that afternoon and visited. The whole time Gary was so very kind, patient and genuinely seemed interested in what we were doing. I could tell he enjoyed getting to know Christy’s friends. Two of us in the group played baseball and he enjoyed talking a little about that but he was more interested in hearing what we had to say than talking about his own experiences. Never once did he bring up anything about himself unless we asked him. It was only one day but I will always remember it and how friendly and humble he was. All the images you see of Gary Carter have one common theme. He is always smiling. He was no different in person. He always will be one of the "Good Guys" in Baseball, and in Life, who did it the right way and always did it with a huge smile on his face. A man who has truly loved life and was blessed to play the game we all love at its highest level. But more than that he went on to use his status to help so many, starting the Gary Carter Foundation. (www.garycarter.org) We could all learn from Gary Carter’s example. Use the talents God has given us as a means to help others, and leave a legacy that will far surpass our baseball career. No one will remember what our batting average was. What they will remember is how we treated others and how we made a difference in other’s lives. Did we make our surroundings and the people around us better? That’s what life is all about. Baseball is an avenue to impact others for the better. My thoughts and prayers go out to Christy and the entire Carter family during this very difficult time. May his pain and suffering be kept to a minimum and may the family have peace to spend time with their husband, father and leader during these final days. I know one thing is for sure, Gary Carter will keep on smiling forever.