Picking Appel(s)

Consider for a second if Andrew Luck fell in the draft to the Miami Dolphins at the 8th pick. A player with pro caliber skills and huge upside dropping from the projected 1st pick in the draft, plummeting out of the top 5, and falling into the lap of the Dolphins. Well that obviously did not happen. Andrew Luck went 1st overall to the Colts and all was right in the sporting world. However, the same cannot be said for fellow Stanford Junior, Mark Appel. Although not a once in a generation prospect, like Luck was dubbed, the Cardinal ace was projected to be the number 1 pick throughout the season and go to his hometown Astros.

In his junior year, Appel went 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA and fanned 127 in 119 innings. He only allowed 26 walks and opposing hitters posted an abysmal .210 against him this season. Stanford is headed to the Super Regional’s in this year’s College World Series spearheaded by Appel’s strong right arm.

The stars were aligning for the stud RHP heading into tonight’s MLB draft; he was going 1st overall and heading to his hometown of Houston to play for the Astros. However, all this changed when commissioner Bud Selig announced that the Astros had selected SS Carlos Correa with the first pick of the draft. From there on pick after pick rolled by yet Appel’s name remained at the top of the board for undrafted prospects. Finally, with the 8th pick in the draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Mark Appel and added depth to a team already loaded with pitching prospects. Both Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole already rank in the Top 10 of the Top 100 prospects and each are having an All-Star season in High-A ball in the Florida State League. The addition of Mark Appel just bolsters this future pitching staff and gives the Pirates a very real chance at the best rotation in baseball in the near future.

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!