Pirates 1st Overall Pick Mark Appel: Pittsburgh Savior or Stanford Bound?

Friday June 15, 2012

Ryan Hotz (MLB reports Intern Candidate): Mark Appel just concluded his Junior season as a pitcher at Stanford University. He had a 10-2 record with a 2.56 ERA over 123 innings. He also had 130 strikeouts and only walked thirty batters. That gives him a 4:1 k:bb ratio. Mark is like fellow Stanford classmate Andrew Luck in that he is a hot commodity and one of the best players in their respective sports in the country. Appel had a career record of 18-10 at Stanford in his three seasons.


Appel was drafted 8th overall last week by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB Draft. Many expected him to go first overall but his draft stock dropped because his agent Scott Boras wanted a bigger signing bonus than Stephen Strasburg got. Let that sink in for a minute. Houston and six others skipped over Appel before the Pirates drafted him. He has not been thrilled about where he was selected and has made it very clear. He said the following in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article last week “I’m currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time.” This is someone who just got drafted and he pretty much is saying I could care less. He seems like he would be happy waiting another year and being drafted then after finishing school. I am not saying possibly finishing school is a bad choice, but he seemingly has no interest in becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate.


The Pirates are in a bind themselves, as they can only spend $6.56 million on all of their top 10 round draft picks due to the new collective bargaining agreement. The expected value of the #8 overall selection is $2.9 million as compared to the #1 pick which is around $8 million (Carlos Correa). Both of these came from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as well. That means either the Pirates will not be able to sign many of the players they drafted, or that they will lose someone as special as Appel. That decision is one the Pirates seemingly have made the wrong choice on constantly the past 20 years.


My opinion is that Appel will sign if he feels that he is getting enough money for his talents. That means Pittsburgh will lose some draft picks, but if they can sign him they should be able to live with it. Appel is certainly a special talent and worth all the money he gets. Appel signing with the Pirates would be good for baseball. Look at what the Strasburg and Bryce Harper signings have done for them; it has help completely turn around the bad fortunes of their franchise. If Appel chooses not to sign (which I feel will be the case), then the Pirates have just made another poor decision that could stunt their growth as a franchise.


The best thing about baseball right now is that many teams have locked up their star “homegrown” players over the past 2-3 years long-term. The term “homegrown” means that they came up in the system with that particular franchise. The Reds have with Votto and Bruce.  The Brewers have with Yovani Gallardo, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart. That is why smaller market clubs are doing better because they are holding on to their big players long-term. The Pirates have even done that by signing Andrew McCutchen long-term. I hope that Appel signs so that baseball over the long haul can be better in Pittsburgh.

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Posted on June 15, 2012, in On the Verge: MLB Prospects and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. IF he doesn’t sign the Pirates get 9th overall in next years draft which projects to be much deeper than this, the Pirates won’t be losing either way.

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