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:
There have been 11 Stanford right handed pitchers drafted in the first round, none with the first selection. They've combined to produce 175.8 WAR, which is an average of 14.65 WAR.
Some of the more successful pitchers drafted are, Jack McDowell, Rick Helling, Jeremy Guthrie and Mike Mussina.
Mussina is especially interesting because he was underrated his entire career and of the 175.8 WAR sum he had 83 of it. Even if Appel becomes something similar to Jeremy Guthrie, who currently has 18.7 WAR, that's still pretty good. Is it worth a number one selection to get a Guthrie? Of course not, but neither is the floor of any other player in this draft.