May 19, 2019

Daniel Moskos: Pitcher Recalls Journey from High Draft Pick to Lengthy Professional Career

March 10, 2019 by · Leave a Comment 

There are no guarantees in baseball. Literally none. Professional players must fight and earn everything they achieve without exceptions. This includes former top draft picks like pitcher Daniel Moskos, who had a 12-year professional career and reached the majors leagues, but had nothing given to him along the way.

The left-handed Moskos was highly coveted while in college for the Clemson Tigers. So highly was he thought of that the Pittsburgh Pirates took him with the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft. A starter by trade, he transitioned to the bullpen during the 2009 season, and was called up to the Pirates in 2011. He appeared in 31 games in relief for them, going 1-1 with a 2.96 ERA.

Moskos was stuck in Triple-A the next season and was ultimately claimed by the Chicago White Sox off waivers. He has since pitched in the organizations of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Independent ball and in the Mexican League, but has not made it back to the big league to date. Injuries and personal issues have kept him off the field at various times, but he has kept pushing through it all.

Still just 32, he has accumulated a professional record of 48-37 with a 3.83 ERA. He is not currently pitching but is not officially retired either. He is currently working within the baseball world and still has a thing or two to prove if another team picks up the phone and gives him a call. Keep reading for more from the southpaw about his career in baseball.

Daniel Moskos Interview

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: My favorite player growing up was John Smoltz.  I was a huge Atlanta Braves fan, and I actually got the chance to meet him when I was about 5 years old, so I always thought that was really cool.  Plus, he would dominate as a starter and a reliever, whatever the team needed.

Can you please describe what your draft experience was like, being taken as the 4th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2007?: The draft was really stressful, but obviously worked out pretty well for me.  It is still a lot to handle as a 21-year-old kid.  Between playing baseball, going to class, and having to meet with scouts it was a lot.  So, when the day came, which was the day before our super regional series against Mississippi St., it was quite a relief.  I actually didn’t know that the Pirates were going to draft me, I found out when everyone else did.  I was fortunate enough to have my parents and my girl friend(now wife) with me.  For the record, I thought I was going to the Rockies.  The feeling of getting drafted was everything I thought it would be and more, just amazing.

Being a high draft pick, how stressful was the extra attention you received as you worked your way up the minors?: I didn’t really find extra stress with being a high draft pick.  Baseball is hard enough as is, so I simply focused on what I could control, which was to work on getting better one day at a time.  The Pirates were very good at focusing on the process, and not so much about the results.  The concept was to make you the best big leaguer you can be, not just be good in High-A, Double-A, or where you are playing.

What do you remember most about your major league debut?: I remember pretty much everything.  From my flight getting in that morning, to taking a cab to the field, shagging batting practice, my name getting called to warm up in the bullpen, and throwing my first pitch; a fastball that was a called strike to Carlos Gonzalez, lol.  It was a dream come true.

In your opinion, who was the most underrated player you ever played with or against, and if you are feeling bold, is there anyone you can think of who was overrated?: The most underrated player that I played with, at the time, was Josh Harrison.  Obviously, he turned out to have a really good career, and is super versatile, but when I played with him he was relatively unknown.  I always thought he was going to be a everyday regular that needed more recognition.  Not going to touch the overrated side, hahaha.

What is your favorite moment from your baseball career?: My favorite moment would have to be my big league debut.  I have a lot of great moments that I will always cherish, but the debut confirmed what I had always dreamed of as a kid.  I was a major league. It still feels surreal to say that, and I would never take it for granted.

What pitches did you throw, and what was your best weapon?: My repertoire was a two-seam and four-seam fastball, slider, and a changeup.  My best offering was my fastball.

Given how well you pitched for Pittsburgh in 2011 (and in subsequent minor league seasons) what are your thoughts on not having gotten back to the major leagues since?: Baseball is a game where opportunity is very important.  Unfortunately for me I got hurt at the wrong time.  My elbow started bothering me in spring training of 2012.  It nagged me all season and I had surgery that offseason.  Just a clean up procedure. The next year it still didn’t feel right, and my results showed that.  Then in 2014 it finally blew out on me, and I had Tommy John surgery.  It has felt amazing ever since, but I think it might have been too little too late.  The game is going younger, and I am getting older.  I believe that I can still get big league hitters out, but I guess major league organizations don’t agree.

What are your 2019 baseball plans and how long would you like to keep playing?: My 2019 plans were originally to go back to Mexico to play another year.  However, that all changed when I came to Driveline to train.  It’s a facility in Seattle that is changing the game of baseball, and they caused me to change the way I looked at my career.  So, I talked to some of the employees about the idea of me working with the company, and now I’m an employee of the company.  I still throw and keep myself in shape, if an MLB team comes calling for my services I would have to at least consider it.  Right now though, I couldn’t be happier with where I am at.

Who is a current or former player you wish you had the chance to pitch against, and how would you approach that at-bat?: Barry Bonds.  He’s the best hitter there ever was and probably ever will be.  My approach would be to hope he hits it at someone, lol.

Andrew Martin is the founder of “The Baseball Historian” blog where he posts his thoughts about baseball on a regular basis. You can also reach him on Twitter at @historianandrew or on Facebook.

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