Well, it finally happened. After most draft pundits assumed that the Astros would take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel at the top of the 2012 draft, Houston went with Carlos Correa. They just had to wait a year to pick up Appel with the first pick in the 2013 draft.
Appel, 21, went back to school after being selected with the No. 8 pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had an outstanding year with Stanford, going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 106 innings. Appel features a mid-90's fastball that he commands very well with two plus-plus secondary pitches, a slider/curve and a changeup that may be one of the best in this draft.
Appel is represented by Scott Boras and is from the Houston area. College seniors have a longer signing deadline than other draftees, but it's likely that Appel signs quickly. The slot value for the No. 1 overall pick is $7.2 million.
Earlier today, Tim De Block made the case for drafting Appel at the top. His best comparisons: