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Mark Appel is the top-ranked player in the draft … again

Feb 1, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT

Mark Appel AP

Baseball America just released its pre-season ranking of the top-50 players for this year’s draft and Stanford right-hander Mark Appel tops the list.

Of course, Appel topped the list last year too and leading up to the draft many people expected him to go No. 1 to the Astros, but then Houston passed and he fell all the way to Pittsburgh at No. 8.

Appel chose not to sign and headed back to Stanford for his senior season, but guess which team picks No. 1 again this year? Houston. If they didn’t want him last year it seems unlikely that the Astros would want him there this year, although in general it’s considered a weak class of prospects and Appel no longer has much negotiating leverage.

The rest of Baseball America‘s top five are Indiana State left-hander Sean Manaea, Georgia high school outfielders Austin Meadows and Clint Frazier, and Arkansas right-hander Ryne Stanek.

  1. prosourcetalk - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:00 PM

    God I hope he falls to the Pirates again

    • geoknows - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM

      Can’t see him getting past the Red Sox, personally. (No, I’m not a Sox fan.)

      This is the first time that I’ve seen Appel ranked ahead of Sean Manaea by anybody. Perfect Game has Appel third, behind Manaea and Ryne Stanek.

      • hk62 - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:44 PM

        I think the Astros see it that way too. Appel is rarely unhittable against equal comp – the other two are pretty consistently.

      • purnellmeagrejr - Feb 2, 2013 at 7:25 AM

        ” although in general it’s considered a weak class of prospects and Appel no longer has much negotiating leverage.” This seeems counter-intuitive to me. In a weak classs he would be more desired – not less. Can someone explain how this sentence makes sense?

      • lordtecmo - Feb 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        purnell… I would think since Appel is a senior and will have graduated at the time of the draft, the negotiation of returning to school instead of taking whatever money they offer is off the table.

    • tcostant - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      In the prior CBA the team needs to get the players approval to re-draft him in back to back years. The Nationals tried to get Crows approval to redraft him in 2009 and he never gave it. The team drafted Drew Storen and might have anyway, but Crow was there for that pick. Not sure the rule exist anymore.

  2. Stiller43 - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Shoulda signed with the buccos ya jerk!

    Can you imagine (if they pan out) having Cole, Taillon, and Apple in the lineup in a few years?

    Of course that wouldnt fix their meager offense, but this bucco fan who isnt old enough to remember their last season over .500 can dream, cant he?

  3. hodaghunter - Feb 1, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    I like this kid’s prospects but he’s getting some bad guidance from Boras on this. Boras is trying to break the bank (which is Boras’ job so I understand that) but this kid needs to realize that he’s better off getting paid to pitch and start his service time than to spend another year in college game hoping that things stay together and hoping to get through the season without injury or getting his stats killed…

    • Ben - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:34 PM

      Exactly right. It’s really short-term thinking. The difference between 7th pick money and 1st, 2nd, or 3rd pick money is significant, a few million more, but the payoff for hitting free agency a year earlier and a year young dwarfs the value of his draft bonus.

  4. paperlions - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:11 PM

    Appel’s problem is still going to be that the CBA caps spending, and that very few teams will have the ability to pay him $5M+. If he falls very far, most teams are just going to let him keep falling if they don’t think he’ll sign for slot, because they won’t have draft budget to sign him…..and expecting him to sign for anything like slot after the first few picks is risky, which would lead most teams to draft a guy they have more confidence that they can sign.

    In short, if he doesn’t get picked in the first few…’ll be interesting to see how far he falls….it could be really far.

    • js20011041 - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:31 PM

      In other words, Appel is being royally fucked by the owners.

      • obpedmypants - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        and the players.

      • paperlions - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:21 PM

        Yeah, it was the players that stood by and let the owners throw amateurs (both draftees and international amateur FAs) under the bus.

    • themohel - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:51 PM

      He is a senior this year, and will be out of college eligibility. This is why he has much less leverage – I think he would need to play independent ball if he doesn’t sign. He’s gonna have to sign for slot or not play.

    • brianabbe - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:14 PM

      What’s Boras going to tell him to do if his demands aren’t met? Go play independent ball for a year? He no longer has any leverage as a college senior essentially.

      No to mention, pitchers by definition lose value a lot faster than position players. There is simply a finite number of pitches in the shoulder/elbow. It’s a lot like being a running back. Get drafted and sign out of HS if you can to ask least reap some kind of reward, unless the offered bonus is south of what your college education would be (Under $100 K?). Otherwise, you’re tempting fate the longer you wait to sign.

      • paperlions - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:24 PM

        Oh, I agree….but I doubt he sees himself as worth less than he was last year, even though teams will view him that way since he’s wasting another year in college rather than developing as a pro….and development in the minors is much different/faster/better than in college. It’ll just be interesting to see what Appel’s stance is….people can blame Boras all they want, but the player still makes the decisions.

    • bolweevils2 - Feb 4, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      On the other hand, even if he doesn’t get picked in the first few picks, it might be worth drafting him because it’s a no lose situation. Either Appel sign for the slot value at that lower price, which would be a bargain. Or, he doesn’t sign and you get your draft pick pushed off to next year, which, since they say this a weak class, might be a good thing if next year’s class is better.

      • paperlions - Feb 4, 2013 at 11:16 AM

        Good point….that would be a potential no lose situation for a team….either Appel at a discount or pick in a class with more upside (potentially).

  5. obpedmypants - Feb 1, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    Is there any way for a truly elite prospect (one worth say a $10m signing bonus) not to get significantly underpaid in the new system? At best, Houston pays him a little over slot. But in all likelihood, Houston will be just budget for a good $5-6m prospect, and spread their extra wealth around in the later rounds. A few picks from there, an elite prospect needs a team to violate their slot budget, or he’ll be accepting pennies on the dollar.

    • weaselpuppy - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:21 PM

      The point is more that the previous rookie wage scale was massively inflated. Before the NBA reset their scale, Glenn Robinson as a guy that had never played a game got a contract bigger than Hakeem Olajuwon’s….no one was saying Hakeem was underpaid, just that the rookie scale was insane. Ditto football, no one says that Andrew Luck is being underpaid, it’s that Matt Stafford’s $60M contract, despite him being a great talent, was and is and will be killing the Lions and isn’t in line with veteran’s pay. And these are sports where the #1 pick comes in and in many cases is an All-Star in year 1 or 2….The previous wage scale for drafted players to MLB is dead, gone, buried. trying to use it as a reference for a current contract is dumb and that’s why the league as a whole gave the finger to Boras on this. The kid was the guinea pig in the experiment, and now he better wise up or risk losing a lot more than just the potential $2-4M he and his agent though (incorrectly) he deserved.

      • paperlions - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:26 PM

        Where is the evidence for this? There isn’t any.

        In any other job market you get to market yourself and let the market set your salary….if you really wanted to see how teams value amateur talent, they would do away with the draft and go back to “the good old days” when teams found and signed prospects on their own. The draft was already screwing guys by limiting their ability to negotiate with multiple potential employers, now it is just screwing them more.

  6. ironman721 - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:28 PM

    Boras is a disgusting human being and should be banned from sports as an example to d-bag agents. I hope The kid falls to Pittsburgh and gets even less money then they offered him last year.

    • jeffbbf - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:52 PM

      I’m no Boras apologist, but let’s be realistic. Boras can ask/demand anything he wants. All he needs is one moronic owner to agree to his demands or believe his bluffs. And he usually gets it. Blame the owners for their lack of restraint and/or business sense.

  7. thebadguyswon - Feb 1, 2013 at 6:35 PM

    Mark Appel is just not that special. The Pirates were right to pass last year.

    • paperlions - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:27 PM

      The Pirates were wrong to draft him if they didn’t intend to go way over slot….they are worse off now than if they had taken the next player on their board. They knew the price….drafting him when they weren’t willing to pay it was foolish.

      • thebadguyswon - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        Probably so. But the word was he was looking for around $6 million to sign. That’s absurd. The guy had convinced himself he was Mark Prior.

      • jwbiii - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:30 PM

        $6M is absolutely not absurd. Some sources, like Baseball America, listed him as the best prospect in the draft. $6M is under slot for the second pick.

  8. chuckleberry1974 - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    I think it’d be awesome if he fell all the way to the Orioles :)

  9. kelshannon19 - Feb 1, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    Go Carlos Correa?

  10. jsally430 - Feb 1, 2013 at 10:36 PM

    What boras doesn’t care about is of this guy would’ve blew is arm out in college there wouldn’t be a team giving him a supported salary

  11. sawxalicious - Feb 2, 2013 at 2:59 AM

    Not signing last year was a very bad decision by Appel. In the Pittsburgh organization he most likely would have had the opportunity to start his ML career earlier, and thus start his ML service clock earlier. The way salaries are going these days, that decision could end up costing him over 10 million dollars.

  12. kcrobert10 - Feb 2, 2013 at 12:35 PM

    This guy throws a ton of high pitch counts at Stanford buyer beware. It was a big reason the pitcher needing Royals passed on him for zimmer last yr.

  13. idolized1 - Feb 2, 2013 at 1:33 PM

    Obviously it would never happen, but I wish teams would all come together and agree not to draft this guy until the start of the 3rd round. Just to show him that the league does not revolve around him.

    Of course sometimes the talent is almost too good to pass up despite the attitude, but it would be nice to just see one athlete get “blackballed” by a league once for diva like behavior.

    • jwbiii - Feb 2, 2013 at 10:38 PM

      As you know, collusion leads to triple damages. I’m sure he’s gladly take the extra $20M or so plus legal expenses.

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