Appel Declines Comment After Fall To Pirates

PITTSBURGH—It wasn't quite as historic as when the apple fell next to Sir Isaac Newton but the Pirates were thrilled to have Stanford righthander Mark Appel fall to them with the eighth overall pick.

It had been speculated for weeks that Houston would use the first pick on Appel. Instead, the Astros opted for Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa and Appel kept sliding until the Pirates went on the clock.

"One of the beautiful things about the draft is that you attack every player like he's going to be your pick," Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said. "We knew the projections were that Mark would not be on the board by the time we picked but you just never know what might happen in the draft.

"You do your work, your preparation and study a player and if you like the player you take him, even if it's doubtful he is going to be there for you. We're extremely excited about having the opportunity to bring him into our organization."

Appel might not be quite as excited after slipping, which will likely cost him in terms of a signing bonus. He declined to participate in a conference call with the Pittsburgh media, instead issuing a brief statement through the Pirates' media relations department that said nothing about being excited to join the organization.

It read: "I'm currently concentrating on winning a national championship and finishing my academic endeavors at Stanford. I will address the possibility of a professional career in due time."

Stanford is scheduled to face Florida State in a super regional this upcoming weekend.

Appel is 10-1, 2.17 in 119 innings. He has allowed 92 hits while striking out 127 and walking 26.

The Pirates might have a hard time signing Appel under MLB's new draft rules. The Pirates have been allocated $6.563 million to sign their 11 picks in the first 10 rounds.

Appel is advised by the Boras Corp. It would seem likely that Scott Boras would ask for a significant bonus in spite of Appel's slip.

If the Pirates spend big on Appel, they will be forced to either go cheap on the rest of their picks in the top 10 rounds or agree to pay penalties for exceeding the bonus pool. The penalties start at 5 percent of the total expenditure and go all the way up to forfeiting first-round and second-round picks in the next year's draft.

Huntington didn't answer directly when asked if Pirates owner Bob Nutting had given him the OK to exceed the bonus pool, instead saying "it was business as usual and that's to have the best and deepest draft possible."


• Catcher Tony Sanchez, the Pirates' first-round pick in 2009, was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis after hitting .277/.370/.390 in 40 games during his second season at Double-A Altoona. Sanchez failed to homer in 141 at-bats.

• High Class A Bradenton righthanders Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole, the Pirates' first-round draft picks in each of the previous two drafts, were selected to play in the Florida State League all-star Game.