04 June 2012

Mark Appel RHP - Stanford

The Pirates made RHP Mark Appel the 8th pick in this year's first year player draft.  Projected to be taken number one by the Astros, Appel slipped all the way down to number eight where Huntington stuck to his word and took the best available player.  The Pirates have now drafted a RHP with their first pick in three consecutive drafts.  Most scouts see Appel as a can't miss talent ready for the fast track to the big leagues as a top of the rotation guy.  In his Jr. year at Stanford Appel went 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA and was striking out 9.5 batters per nine innings.  He had previously been drafted by the Tigers in the 15th round but chose to return to school.  With a consistent fastball of 94-95 topping out at 98 Appel has drawn comparison to Justin Verlander, which could be why the Tigers showed interest originally.   I must applaud the Pirates for sticking to their plan.  In no way would the pirates have gotten a player close to Mark Appel had they listened to the fans and went after a SS or C.  Bucco fans should be excited about the future and the Pirates commitment to build a championship caliber team in Pittsburgh.

"One of the downsides to the early season success for the 2011 Pittsburgh Pirates was that it put them out of their usual position at the top of the draft boards, which will make it nearly impossible to land a guy like Appel. The 6′ 5″ right hander is the top prospect in the draft, and has drawn comparisons to Justin Verlander." 
                     - Pirates Prospect