The 2012 MLB Draft kicks off this evening with first-year players being selected by teams around professional baseball.
The first four picks in this years draft will likely be a combination of four players that have emerged from the pack as the most talented in the pool: Stanford pitcher Mark Appel, Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton, LSU pitcher Kevin Gaussman and Puerto Rico high school shortstop Carlos Correa.
The Houston Astros have the honors of the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft, and should select Mark Appel.
The old saying goes that you can never have too much pitching, and Appel is just too talented to pass on, given his refined arsenal of pitches, composure, and ability to work batters at a plus level.
Originally from Houston, Texas, Mark Appel went 10-1 with a 2.27 era for the Stanford Cardinal this season, posting 127 strikeouts versus 26 walks (a ridiculous 10:1 ratio), and an obscene .91 WHIP. In simplest terms, Appel is the most dominant pitcher in the land– regardless of classification.
Appel was drafted out of high school in the 15th round in 2009 by the Detroit Tigers, and has continually caught the eye of scouts and improved his draft stock during his time in Palo Alto.
At 6’5″, 215 pounds, Appel has the prototypical pitchers frame and has many of the tools which scouts drool over. According to scouting reports, he consistently throws in the low-to-mid 90s, with velocity that can increase over the course of a long outing. Even more impressive is his command and control over a 11-5 curve-ball that has been described as one of the best seen in quite some time by major league scouts.
Position players are always available and incur a greater risk for teams willing to take them at the top of a draft. Pitchers aren’t always infallible either, but when a guy like Mark Appel comes along you have to grab him without thinking twice.
This is without a doubt the move the Houston Astros should make this evening, and anything less will draw some serious ire from a fan base that is tired of waiting to compete under the lights at Minute Maid Park.