The Pirates didn't expect Mark Appel to be there at No. 8, not when the Stanford righthander was projected to go in the first four or five picks.
But Appel was No. 3 on BA's latest Top 50 and fourth on the BA 500. He's a 6-foot-5 pitcher with a solid frame, fastball up to 97 mph, plus changeup and above-average slider. The fastball tends to be true, but Appel's control has been good enough for him to be the Cardinal's ace all spring. He's finishing strong, getting Stanford to super regionals with a 10-1, 2.27 season that includes a 127-26 strikeout-walk ratio in 119 innings.
Appel joins an organization that also includes power righthanders Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, and Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The Pirates' future rotation could be quite imposing if Appel signs, but he wasn't expecting to slide to the eighth selection. The Pirates have a bonus pool of just under $6.6 million; much of that may wind up going to Appel.
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