That the Pirates took Mark Appel with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2012 MLB Draft wasn’t much of a surprise. That he was available was the surprise.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington has many faults, but an unwillingness to take the best overall player in the draft isn’t one of them. His selection of Stetson Allie in 2010 hasn’t worked out, but Allie was the highest-profile player on the board at the time. The same is true of Josh Bell in the second round in 2011.
The difference between Appel and those players (well, besides Appel being a first-rounder) is that this year, the Pirates won’t be able to lure Appel with piles and piles of money, unless they’re willing to pay the steep price of the loss of their top pick next year. However, if Appel doesn’t sign, they will get the No. 9 pick in the 2013 Draft. So they can offer Appel a reasonable amount of money, and if Scott Boras won’t take it, too bad — the Pirates will effectively just get the pick again next year.
We’ll see if Appel ends up signing, but I love this pick for the Pirates — Appel is a mature college pitcher with three good pitches. He has top-of-the-rotation potential and the chance to get through the minors recently. If he signs, he’ll be a great complement to two other potential aces in Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon.
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