Interview with Mark Appel

I recently corresponded with Mark Appel via email, and was more than impressed with his attitude and politeness to a start-up blogger. I will just reprint the conversation below. However I first want to remind readers that Mark will be opening the season tonight at home against the Vanderbilt Commodores at 5:30 PT. This should be an amazing match-up, and I am going to try and watch. After the game a scouting report of Appel and recap of the game will both be posted. Bro Scouts can’t thank Mark enough for taking time out of his day to reply to us, we will be rooting for him tonight!

A: What do you think was the major difference between Mark the pitcher as a freshman and as a sophomore?

Mark Appel:  I would say faith is the biggest thing that changed from my freshman to sophomore year. Faith that the things to come in this life are taken care of and are in my best interest, whether that is playing baseball or not. Once I figured that out, it really freed me from all the worries and anxiousness of not performing well or what the coaches thought about me. One of my favorite verses is Romans 8:28 which states, “For we know that God causes all things to work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose.” So when you think about it like that, nothing can really stress you out anymore!

A: What was it like pitching in the Cape Cod league playoffs? 

MA: The Cape was a great experience and the playoffs were the pinnacle of that experience. The fans, the atmosphere, the talent. It was all so exciting and just so much fun. We went out there without any expectations and the results took care of themselves (almost made it to the championship series).

A: Do you think about the MLB draft all? Or about the chance to play for your hometown Astros?

MA: Honestly, not really. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus is talking about worrying and finishes with verse 34 saying, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” If any emotions come from it, it is more excitement than anything, but right now, the season is first and foremost and the draft will come when it comes. It is just a blessing to be playing the sport I love and I am just so thankful for God giving me the talent to play, my parents for supporting me to get to where I am now and where I am going, and also Coach Marquess, Stotz, and Filter for giving me an opportunity to play at Stanford University.

A: What attributes do you bring to the table as the “ace” of a pitching staff?

MA: I hope that I bring more attributes off the field than I do on the field. I know that for our team to do well, we need leaders in the clubhouse that bring encouragement and support for each other, and I hope that I can do that, while also doing the best I can on the mound.

A: Finally, a situation: 2-2 count, bases loaded, you desperately need an out, what are you throwing?

MA: Well, I never know who might be reading this, so I’m going to have to say it depends on the batter (haha). But I’ve definitely been working on being comfortable to throw all 3 pitches in a situation like that to go for the K!

Who is Mark Appel?

The early favorite for the number one pick in the 2012 MLB Draft?  Yes.  The staff ace of a top-five Stanford Cardinal team with title hopes?  Yes.  A devout Christian?  Yes.  A 6′ 6″ twenty-year old with a cannon for a right arm?  Yes.  If you are a casual baseball fan than you probably haven’t heard much about Mark Appel, yet. This draft class does not have the same hype as the Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg years, but don’t count out the talent of Appel, whose skills haven’t even peaked yet. I think that he has the highest ceiling of any pitcher taken in the last few years.

Mark was born in July, 1991 in Houston, Texas but later moved to California. He attended Monte Vista High School where he played baseball, and as a senior was drafted in the 15th round by the Detroit Tigers. However, Appel decided to accept a scholarship to attend Stanford and is currently majoring in Management and Science & Engineering. As a freshman, while working mostly out of the bullpen  Appel struggled. Over the course of 38.0 IP, Mark posted a 2-1 record with a 5.92 ERA, and a 26 SO/19 BB ratio.  Opponents batted .295 against him.

Everything seemed to change after that freshman year, as Appel clearly developed better control. As a sophomore, Mark went 6-7 in 110.1 IP, working as the Cardinal’s Friday night starter. He worked is ERA down to 3.02, with a 86 SO/29 BB ratio and opponent batting average of .277. These are good, but not fantastic stats. However his stuff, and performance in the famous Cape Cod League had led to Appel’s status as top RHP on the draft board.

Mark Appel will be taken in the first round of the MLB Draft, on June 4th. My guess is that he will be an Astro. Expectations are high, and he has a great supporting staff at Stanford. I will be adding a Mark Appel Tracker page to this blog to keep track of his starts and stats. I also reached out to Mark with a few quick questions and I will post his responses very soon. He is also fairly active on Twitter if you want to follow him: @mappel26. Check out this page for Bro Scout’s full scouting report on this future ace.