Share This Page

Pirates select Stanford pitcher with 1st pick

| Monday, June 4, 2012, 8:32 p.m.
ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with their top pick in Monday's draft. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
CaseyValentine/Stanfordphoto.com
The Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the eighth overall pick in the draft Monday. (Courtesy of Stanford University)
Zach Sanderson/StanfordPhoto.com
The Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the eighth overall pick in the draft Monday. (Courtesy of Stanford University)
CaseyValentine/Stanfordphoto.com
The Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the eighth overall pick in the draft Monday. (Courtesy of Stanford University)
Zach Sanderson/StanfordPhoto.com
The Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the eighth overall pick in the draft Monday. (Courtesy of Stanford University)
CaseyValentine/Stanfordphoto.com
STANFORD, CA - March 25, 2012: Stanford vs USC baseball at Sunken Diamond. Stanford won 4-2.

Pirates general manager Neal Huntington must have felt like Sir Isaac Newton during the Major League draft on Monday.

An Appel fell in his lap.

Stanford junior right-hander Mark Appel, regarded as the top pick on many draft boards and a consensus top-five selection, slid to the Pirates in the first round, at No. 8 overall, in the MLB First-Year Player Draft.

“We projected him much higher,” Huntington said, “as the rest of the industry did.”

Appel was at the top of Baseball America's mock draft, but pick by pick the hard-throwing 6-foot-5, 215-pounder slid down the board. When the Pirates' turn came, they didn't hesitate. Huntington said there were “a couple players we thought about taking very strongly,” but in the end, Appel was the choice.

“We said we would stay true to the board and take the best player on the board,” Huntington said, “and we've done that.”

The Pirates took Texas Tech outfielder Barrett Barnes, a 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, with the supplemental first-round pick at No. 45 overall.

Appel, 20, is poised to join last year's No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole, 21, and ‘10 No. 2 pick Jameson Taillon, 20, as part of a gifted, young Pirates' pitching staff of the future.

“There's no way Appel could have continued to slide,” MLB Network analyst John Hart said. “He's too good of a talent. He's too close to the big leagues.”

First the Pirates must sign Appel, represented by prominent agent Scott Boras. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Pirates have roughly $6.56 million to sign the first 11 picks — Cole got an $8 million signing bonus last year — or face harsh penalties for going over the budget amount. It remains to be seen what chunk of the Pirates' allotment it will take to sign a once-projected No. 1 pick.

“We are going to attack this draft to get a deep and talented draft class,” Huntington said. “This draft is not about one player.”

Appel, who went 10-1 with a 2.27 ERA this season, grew up in Houston until he was 12, so going to the hometown Astros at No. 1 was expected. But the Astros took Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa and when three pitchers — LSU's Kevin Gausman, University of San Francisco's Kyle Zimmer and California prep star Max Fried — went in picks 4 through 7, Appel fell to the Pirates.

“I try not to think about (where I will be picked) too much because I can't control who picks me in the draft,” Appel told ESPN.com before the draft. “All I can control is how I go out and perform every week.”

Huntington wasn't concerned about the slide — “I'm not in their draft rooms and not sure why they picked who they did” — and said the Pirates' scouts had prepared as if the Pac-12 strikeout leader would be there at No. 8.

“You attack every player as though they are going to be available at your pick,” Huntington said. “I'm not sure there was a start this year that we missed. We've done our due diligence.”

The 40-round, three-day draft resumes today with rounds 2-15. The Pirates' second-round pick is No. 69 overall, followed by a third-rounder at No. 103.

John Grupp is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jgrupp@tribweb.com or 412-320-7930.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.