Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford, College Senior
Appel is considered by most to be the best pitcher in this year's class after having the same distinction last season. He was a basketball player in high school so his baseball polish lagged behind. He threw 88-94 but had horrible mechanics. His time at Stanford has allowed him to gain consistency to his big 6'6" frame. He is currently 210 lbs+/- and could easily add 15-20 lbs more to add strength and durability. His command has come a long way, as has his consistency but he still needs work.
His fastball is a 93-96 mph pitch but can get up to 99. It didn't have much movement in the times I have watched him pitch. It looked rather hittable. His changeup is advanced. It can be a plus pitch and make hitters lunge at it but it didn't have a lot of movement in my viewings. It is a plus pitch that could get better with added movement. His slider is his best pitch. It has tight spin and looked very good on occasion. His command of it wasn't advanced and he didn't locate it well. I think all 3 of his pitches could play up with more innings and confidence in locating them to all 4 quadrants. He
My concern with Appel is that he has the potential to be dominant but lacks...um..something. He tends to be around the plate. He leaves balls up in the zone and almost throws too many strikes. He suffers from "pitch to contact" syndrome; an affliction that many Minnesota Twins fans are aware of. If a team has a good defense behind him and he pitches with a little more killer instinct as well as develops more with instruction and better competition, he could be a frontline starter.
If he doesn't gain those things and stays a similar pitcher, he may just be a #3 or 4 starter that you are always expecting more from. With that being said, he should go in the top 5 without any complications and is likely to be the #1 or #2 pick overall. I said basically this exact same thing last year. We will see how being a senior with no eligibility effects his draft stock and his signability.