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Baseball America mock draft has Astros taking Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with No. 1 pick

May 10, 2012, 5:47 PM EDT

Mark Appel AP

Jim Callis of Baseball America just published his first mock draft with about four weeks to go until the actual picks start on June 4.

The whole thing is worth reading, as Callis gives plenty of analysis along with the projected picks, but to whet your appetite he has the Astros selecting Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the No. 1 pick and the Twins taking Georgia high school outfielder Byron Buxton with the No. 2 pick.

This year’s draft lacks a clear-cut top choice and the consensus seems to be that the overall level of high-end talent is lacking, but Appel has been the most talked-about college player since before the season started and Buxton is widely viewed as the high schooler with the most upside.

  1. WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 10, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    It’ll be nice to have a #1 pick that won’t be hyped to death, at least.

    • paperlions - May 10, 2012 at 7:58 PM

      Yeah….the Nats are so disappointed that they had to draft Harper and Strasburg.

      • stex52 - May 11, 2012 at 8:35 AM

        I’m with you, Paper. I wish the second coming of Ted Williams was the first draft pick, personally.

        But for Houston for the next three years or so, it is much more about depth. If they get a #2 pitcher or a young and extremely athletic center fielder for the price of a #1 choice, it’s a cheap investment compared to the free agent market. What they do with all those other picks to build a decent prospect system is more important.

      • stex52 - May 11, 2012 at 8:45 AM

        The thing that surprised me about Buxton, though, is they took George Springer last year, and he is doing rather well at high A. I’m not the expert, but it seems to me that they have enought problems that they could spread the draft by position some.

      • paperlions - May 11, 2012 at 8:46 AM

        I think the Astros will go with Buxton instead of Appel, the two are close, Buxton is a HS kid…and how close the player is to being major-league ready shouldn’t matter to the Astros, and position players seem easier to project and have far less injury concern that pitchers. Buxton seems like the highest ceiling option….and that is really what the Astros need.

      • paperlions - May 11, 2012 at 8:50 AM

        Yeah, but there is a 4 yr difference in their ages, Springer may be ready to move to a corner by the time Buxton is ready.

      • stex52 - May 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

        Useful thoughts, all. I am a little unpersuaded by Appel as the first choice myself. I just wish it was an infielder. They have Singleton coming up, but the prospects are largely missing beyond that.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 11, 2012 at 11:09 AM

        Not at all what I meant, paperlions.

  2. Ben - May 10, 2012 at 6:11 PM

    Upside? The Twins don’t want none of that.

    • jgraening - May 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Exactly. Isn’t there some mid-level college pitcher that can throw 85-88 and pitch to contact? That’s right up their alley.

  3. El Jefe - May 10, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    I swear…. if the Twins draft another toolsy outfielder I may just have to find a new favorite team.

    • zackd2 - May 10, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      Would you prefer another low-K-pitch-to-contact SP?

      • Ben - May 11, 2012 at 1:57 AM

        We could turn a toolsy outfielder into a low-K-pitch-to-contact SP!
        He’d have to be scrappy though. And play the game right. Whatever that means.

  4. mjay424 - May 10, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    If I’m the Twins or any team in the top 5, I’d be happy if the Astros took Appel, for two reasons. First, outside of Mike Mussina, what Cardinal pitchers have excelled?

    Two, Appel’s number indicate he’s a no. 3 or 4 starter. Nice, but hardly overwhelming to me.

    A lot of better prospects are on the board and I’d guess most Houston fans would be disappointed if their team took Appel.

    • jwbiii - May 10, 2012 at 9:45 PM

      Unlike Mike Mussina, Jack McDowell and Jim Lonborg won Cy Young Awards.

  5. mjay424 - May 10, 2012 at 8:18 PM

    sorry, meant Appel’s numbers (plural) indicate he is not a top-of-the-rotation or no. 2 starter.

  6. jkaflagg - May 11, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    Once the Astros secured the top pick, you just knew you would hear things like ” no clear cut top pick” and “lack of top-level talent”……as the Nationals have proven, you not only need to suck but also suck in the optimal draft years……

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