The Pittsburgh Pirates selected right handed pitcher Mark Appel with the No. 8 pick of the 2012 MLB Draft. Appel was considered by most to be the top pitching prospect in the draft. The Stanford product is represented by Scott Boras, which created the typical signability concerns among many teams. Still, many projected Appel to go No. 1 overall to the Houston Astros, but the dominant right hander slid down within the top ten.
MLB.com draft expert Jonathan Mayo calls Appel the complete package, with a combination of three plus-pitches. More from Mayo:
Appel has the complete package of size, stuff and ability to throw strikes. His fastball is a plus pitch now, which sits comfortably in the mid-90s and the scary thing is there might be room for a little bit more as he matures and fills out. The ball explodes out of his hand with a free and easy delivery and his fastball has above-average movement to boot. He's got an outstanding hard slider with late tilt that he can bury down in the strike zone and his circle changeup is at above-average as well, bottoming out when his mechanics are right. He can throw all three for strikes and gets very high marks for his poise and aggressiveness.
Charlie Wilmoth of SB Nation's Pirates blog, Bucs Dugout, approves of GM Neal Huntington's willingness to go after the top prospect, regardless of the signability concerns:
What a perfectly Neal Huntington-y pick. I like this a lot. In the worst case scenario, Appel doesn't want to sign, and the Pirates get a similar pick next year. The Pirates drafted the guy who nearly all mock drafts had going with the first overall pick. He's got three good pitches and could conceivably move through the system very quickly, which should work especially well this year since, if he signs, he'll actually get to pitch before the season ends.