Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford University: Appel was something of an enigma entering this spring, having not quite lived up to his full potential in the past. He’s answered the doubters with a 10-1 record, 2.27 ERA, 127/26 K/BB and 92 hits allowed in 119 innings this spring, showing an improved slider and change-up to go with a 94-98 MPH fastball. His 6-5, 215-pound body looks like it should be durable, and he has the best combination of current stuff and pitchability available this year, according to most draft experts.
He was expected to go first overall to the Astros, so his slide to the Pirates is a bit of a surprise and possibly related to bonus demands. Still, this is early enough that signability shouldn’t be an issue. The Pirates have hoarded pitching in recent drafts, and adding Appel to the stable that includes Jameson Taillon and Gerrit Cole follows the principle of concentration of force.