Mark Appel: Cause For Concern?

Stanford righthander Mark Appel entered the season as the No. 1 prospect on Baseball America's Top 100 list for the 2012 draft. With the top billing comes added scrutiny. Appel has premium stuff—including a fastball that touched 98 mph and a nasty slider—but just hasn't dominated like top pitchers from other years.

In fact, of all the college pitchers over the last 10 years who were drafted in top 5 picks or ranked as one of the top 5 picks in Baseball America's Draft Preview, Appel had the second-lowest strikeout rate during each pitcher's sophomore season.

PITCHER YEAR IP H BB SO ERA H/9 SO/9
David Price 2006 110 92 43 155 4.16 7.5 12.7
Stephen Strasburg 2008 97 61 16 133 1.57 5.7 12.3
Brian Matusz 2007 123 98 37 163 2.85 7.2 11.9
Drew Pomeranz 2009 95 85 37 124 3.40 8.1 11.7
Tim Lincecum 2005 104 62 71 131 3.11 5.4 11.3
Trevor Bauer 2010 131 121 41 165 3.02 8.3 11.3
Gerrit Cole 2010 123 92 52 153 3.37 6.7 11.2
Justin Verlander 2003 116 94 43 139 2.40 7.3 10.8
Chris Sale 2009 89 83 27 104 2.72 8.4 10.5
Danny Hultzen 2010 107 75 24 123 2.78 6.3 10.3
Jeff Niemann 2003 137 96 35 156 1.70 6.3 10.2
Kyle Gibson 2008 87 86 23 96 3.84 8.9 9.9
Bryan Bullington 2001 108 106 19 119 3.50 8.8 9.9
Mike Pelfrey 2004 115 86 24 125 2.18 6.7 9.8
Jered Weaver 2003 133 87 20 144 1.96 5.9 9.7
Phillip Humber 2003 128 102 39 138 3.30 7.2 9.7
Andrew Miller 2005 97 78 52 104 2.98 7.2 9.6
Brad Lincoln 2005 102 124 25 106 4.76 10.9 9.4
Greg Reynolds 2005 51 51 17 51 5.08 9.0 9.0
Daniel Moskos 2006 54 44 21 54 2.52 7.3 9.0
Brandon Morrow 2005 25 32 20 25 9.36 11.5 9.0
Tim Stauffer 2002 146 110 34 140 1.54 6.8 8.6
Kyle Sleeth 2002 118 115 41 113 2.97 8.8 8.6
Luke Hochevar 2004 63 52 23 60 2.86 7.4 8.6
Mark Appel 2011 110 114 29 86 3.02 9.3 7.0
Aaron Crow 2007 118 109 33 90 3.59 8.3 6.9

This year, Appel is 2-1, 3.68 with 26 strikeouts and eight walks over 22 innings. Most of that damage came last night against Fresno State. Appel did pitch a complete game and struck out 11, but also gave up seven runs on eight hits.

"The thing about Appel is he's gotten a lot better every year," an American League scout said. "He's got exactly what you're looking for with a pitcher up that high—he has the size, pitchability and the big tools.

"With his tools, all the scouts want more. But I think we're starting to nitpick a little bit. He uses his changeup and he's got that nasty slider and a plus fastball, so a lot of guys are making weak contact and getting cheap hits that they're not going to get at the next level."

That said, Appel does still have room for improvement.

"His fastball is fairly true," the scout said. "There's not a lot of deception and when it's up, it's pretty straight. And he's a great control guy, so if kids are geared up to hit 95, they can hit him a little bit. He throws a lot of strikes, and he needs to work on commanding it and hitting his spots a little more. When he wants to pitch in, he really needs to get it in there. But people forget this is a guy that was throwing 87-91 in high school, so he's still growing into his body and learning how to pitch down in the zone."

College | #2012 draft #Stock Report

Add a Comment

comments powered by Disqus