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  • Twins MLB Draft Profile: Mark Appel, RHP

    Will the Minnesota Twins draft Mark Appel?Who IS This Guy?

    If you've been paying attention, you already know. Coming off an excellent junior season at Stanford University, Mark Appel was the consensus top pitching talent available in last year's draft, and was widely expected to go to the Houston Astros with the first pick.

    The Astros decided to pass rather than face the contract demands of Appel and his agent, Scott Boras. The Twins, and five other teams, did the same before the right-hander ended up going to the Pirates with the No. 8 pick. Pittsburgh offered $3.8 million, exceeding the slotted amount ($2.9M) by a significant margin, but still Appel turned them down and elected to return to Stanford for his senior year. He was the only player among 31 first-round picks that did not sign.

    It was a gamble, to be sure, but one that should pay off handsomely. In his third straight season as the University's Friday night ace, Appel stayed healthy and put up monster numbers, going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130-to-23 K/BB ratio in 14 starts. Over 106 1/3 innings, he held opposing hitters to a .203 batting average and allowed just two home runs. As MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo puts it: "A year ago, there may have been whispers about why he wasn't dominant, given his pure stuff. There has been none of that in 2013."

    And so the 21-year-old finds himself in a familiar position: He's got the credentials of a No. 1 pick, but Houston once again holds the cards. With college officially in the rearview mirror, Appel has much less leverage than he did a year ago but it's a safe bet Boras will still be prepared to play hardball.

    Since there are few questions about his playing ability, Appel's only chance to slip to fourth would seem to stem from his signability. Would the Twins be the team to step up and take him if he's there? They haven't historically been the type of organization that will aggressively go over slot to sign a high-profile name in the draft, but then again, they need pitching and this kid is a hell of a talent.

    Who Could He Be?

    At 6'5" and 215 pounds, Appel is lean and athletic with a clean, repeatable delivery. His featured offering is a power fastball, which he routinely throws in the mid-90s; it's also been said that he possesses the Verlanderian ability to reach back for a little more when he needs it, approaching triple digits. In addition to the heater, Appel offers a plus slider (described by some as a slurve) and a developing changeup with great potential.

    The fact that he dropped to eighth in last year's draft suggests that not all teams were sold on him to the extent they'd throw cost into the wind. Seems like that would never happen with a Justin Verlander- or Stephen Strasburg- type. Then again, Appel only further cemented his elite status with a tremendous senior year, in which he handled pressure and huge pitch counts (he threw 149 pitches in one April outing) with aplomb. He's got the makings of a top-tier MLB hurler.

    How Soon Could He Be Playing In Target Field?

    Appel is more highly regarded than Kevin Gausman or Michael Wacha, two prestigious college pitchers drafted in last year's first round who are already in the majors. It has been stated that Appel is "the lone player in this draft who could be ready for the majors right away," although the Twins -- in no rush at this point -- would surely start him in the minors. That said, it'd be no shock if he were sent directly to Double-A, putting himself in the mix for a potential debut later this year or early in 2014.

    Of course, that's a best-case scenario that assumes Appel experiences no trouble adapting to the pro ranks. And of course, given the presence of Boras, prolonged contract negotiations could be another factor delaying his timeline; as a college senior, the July 12th signing deadline doesn't apply to Appel.

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Messed Up Because…


    The slotted value of the No. 1 pick is $7.7 million, so Appel and Boras likely have their sights set on a signing bonus in that region, if not higher. The fourth pick, meanwhile, carries an assigned value of $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Twins would have to healthily surpass that figure in order to get Appel signed -- keep in mind that he turned down $3.8 million last year and is coming off a much better season.

    Under the new draft rules, each team has a bonus pool of money that they can use to sign all of their draft picks in the first 10 rounds, with stiff penalties incurred for going over. According to Baseball America, the Twins have a total bonus pool of $8.2 million for this year's draft.

    Taking the aggressive steps necessary to bring Appel on board would probably leave the Twins with very little money to spend on their remaining nine selections, lessening their chances of hitting on draft picks in the rest of the high rounds.

    Given the depth of their success in last year's draft, which yielded not only Byron Buxton but also thriving prospects like Jose Berrios, Adam Walker, Tyler Duffey and D.J. Baxendale, would it be wise for the Twins to essentially put all their eggs in one basket?

    If The Twins Draft This Guy, They Nailed It Because...


    He's worth it. Appel might not be an uber-prospect of the Strasburg ilk but he has the hard-throwing ace profile that the Twins have desperately sought to add to their pipeline. By joining Alex Meyer, Kyle Gibson and Trevor May, Appel would give the Twins high-level pitching depth that would become the envy of many organizations, and would significantly accelerate their rebuild timeline.

    Unfortunately, for that very reason, it seems incredibly unlikely he'll still be there for the taking by the time that fourth pick rolls around.

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    This concludes the Twins MLB Draft Profile series. We hope you learned a few things to help prepare you for the next few days! You can find the rest of the entries below:


    This article was originally published in blog: Twins MLB Draft Profile: Mark Appel, SP started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      If we can get him for around 6 million (and draft him obviously), I'd call that a huge win.
    1. Otwins's Avatar
      Otwins -
      Why would anyone offer more than the slot money. He has no leverage unless he wants to go for his masters degree at Stanford. I still think he losses money holding out for a year even though should get 2-3 million more this year. The reason I feel that way is a pitcher only has so many years and he used one of his in college. He can only move up seven picks in the draft. He ends up losing a year later in his career when (if he is as good as everyone thinks) he will be making way more than the 2-3 million extra he will make this year. He pushed his arbitration clock and free agency back a year by staying in school. With ace free agent pitchers getting 150 million dollar deals he should have signed last year. This is the only prospect that I have read about that I hope the Twins do not get. If it is already all about the money then he isn't staying in Minnesota anyway. Remember the picture of Jose Berrios when he was drafted by the Twins. I hope we get more guys that feel that way.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Zero chance Appel will be available when the Twins select.
    1. Wanklenuts's Avatar
      Wanklenuts -
      I agree. After reading each profile, I really wanted the guy I just read about, with the exception of the Georgia OFs and McGuire. I hope Appel doesn't fall to the Twins because he isn't worth giving up the rest of the draft. I'm hoping for Gray or Stewart.
    1. Red Bull's Avatar
      Red Bull -
      Quote Originally Posted by Wanklenuts View Post
      I agree. After reading each profile, I really wanted the guy I just read about, with the exception of the Georgia OFs and McGuire. I hope Appel doesn't fall to the Twins because he isn't worth giving up the rest of the draft. I'm hoping for Gray or Stewart.
      Hes worth giving up as much money as he wants. Rarely do you find a pitcher that has a fasball in the mid to upper 90s with 3 other plus pitches. When you think of other pitchers with 4 plus pitches Verlander is the first name to pop into my head. Hes got so much potential its not even funny. If the Twins had a shot at him they better pay up and grab him. He could potentialy be a guy that wins a team 20 games by himself, how many guys in the league are capable of that?
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I doubt he'll be around at pick 4, but if he is I'm sure the Twins have had conversions with him and have decided based on his personality and make up whether he's worth the extra money. If he makes the rotation next year he would be worth it, but you have to remember the other players you might not draft or sign because of it.
    1. Blackjack's Avatar
      Blackjack -
      Can teams negotiate with a player before they draft him?? As in asking Boras "What would it take to sign him"?

      After reading thru all the reviews I hope the Twins pick Bryant, yes they need pitching but power like that doesn't come along every day. He could be in the middle of the Twins lineup for 15 years while a pitcher, especially a high school pitcher, is more of a crap shoot.

      Interesting article in the Sports Illustrated about Meadows and Frazier and Georgia baseball. They even mentioned Buxton a couple of times.
    1. Jeff P's Avatar
      Jeff P -
      So could someone explain why they think Appel will sign for something way over slot? He has so little leverage. I am not saying you low ball the guy but I would not pay over slot and no way I pay over 5% over slot. I just can't see him passing on the money to go play independent ball or wherever. And if he does you still get a high pick the next year, but if you go over you screw the rest of this year's draft (by picking a bunch of guys you can sign below slot) or you miss out on next year's draft by forfeiting a pick. All for a guy with so little leverage! It makes no sense.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Would be amazing if the Twins got him. Appel, Gibson, Meyer/Baxendale, Diamond, x......
    1. grover738's Avatar
      grover738 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeff P View Post
      So could someone explain why they think Appel will sign for something way over slot? He has so little leverage. I am not saying you low ball the guy but I would not pay over slot and no way I pay over 5% over slot. I just can't see him passing on the money to go play independent ball or wherever. And if he does you still get a high pick the next year, but if you go over you screw the rest of this year's draft (by picking a bunch of guys you can sign below slot) or you miss out on next year's draft by forfeiting a pick. All for a guy with so little leverage! It makes no sense.
      Agree. I don't see how Boras can demand over slot money. How does he put himself in a better position by holding out and delaying his big payday another year? If things go well, he could potentially start his arbitration clock in 2014 if he signs and starts playing, plus if you just sign and say all the right things you can make extra $ in endorsements. Or hold out, play indy ball (making nothing, maybe getting hurt) for most of 2013, then and at best be a mid summer callup next year, and get less money in endorsements because nobody likes you.

      Is there any example of a player being better off financially from not signing after their senior year? Was JD Drew a senior when he did his holdout? Did he end up better off? Someone write an article looking at college senior holdouts, that would be interesting.
    1. eagle's Avatar
      eagle -
      He's dominated the college ranks and has been durable. The Twins would be silly not to draft and over pay for him. They will have the money to sign him or trade if Boras becomes too big of a headache but to avoid a player of this caliber because of Boras would be insane. Get the best player available and move forward.
    1. grover738's Avatar
      grover738 -
      I'll also say that if he's available I hope the twins get him. If the plan is to contend in 2015/16/17, I don't think there is a player in the draft that would help more than Appel. Meyer/Appel/Gibson as 1-3 starters with Diamond/Worley/May/Baxendale/Hendriks fighting it out for the 4/5 spot with Berrios on the way. I'd take him over Bryant (we have offense coming) or Gray (doesn't seem quite as polished, I'd say Gray is a bigger risk)
    1. Wanklenuts's Avatar
      Wanklenuts -
      I wouldn't be willing to give up the rest of the draft for him. Now if he signs for a little over slot then he is definitely worth it. You make it sound like he is the greatest pitching prospect to come along in a really long time. I haven't been paying attention to the draft for that many years, but I don't see it. He is arguably the second best pitching prospect in this draft and was arguably the second best talent last year.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      If I remember correctly, if he doesn't sign he can play a year of indy ball and be a free agent. There's risk (injury), but I'd imagine if he said he wanted a 10M contract as a FA, he'd get it (or quite more) next year.
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      If I remember correctly, if he doesn't sign he can play a year of indy ball and be a free agent. There's risk (injury), but I'd imagine if he said he wanted a 10M contract as a FA, he'd get it (or quite more) next year.
      Wasn't there a similar case a few years ago of a player trying that, and having it backfire on him? At least back then, once you were drafted, you couldn't be a free agent until after the next draft was held - and if you got drafted again the new team had your rights.

      Has that changed with the new CBA?

      edit: I found the player I was thinking about - Matt Harrington, who was drafted in 5 consecutive years (2000-2004) but ended up not signing for any of them. He played indy ball and finally, after not being drafted in 2005, he signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in late 2006, only to be released before the 2007 season started.
    1. Siehbiscuit's Avatar
      Siehbiscuit -
      If you go to Indy ball, you still are subject to the draft the following year. I believe he would have to go undrafted to become a FA.
    1. righty8383's Avatar
      righty8383 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Siehbiscuit View Post
      If you go to Indy ball, you still are subject to the draft the following year. I believe he would have to go undrafted to become a FA.
      Correct. Diehard is wrong on this one. Players used to be able to do that about 15 years ago. That was the 'loop hole' that Boras would exploit before MLB closed it. Now a player has to go back into the draft unless, as you say, he goes undrafted.
    1. panolo's Avatar
      panolo -
      I'm torn but....If by drafting Appel and signing him you basically ruin the rest of your draft I am not for it, unless he is Verlander 2.0. I think I would rather gamble on Gray or Stewart and get some better prospects in the top 10 rounds. I think last year was a prime example of how a good draft can quickly infuse a minor league system.
    1. grover738's Avatar
      grover738 -
      So last year Appel fell to the 8th pick? If this year he goes on the 4th pick (unlikely, but that's the scenario we're discussing) does he really think it will be worth it play a year of indy ball, just to potentially move up a spot or two in the draft? He may go backwards, by the time he would be drafted next year he'd be almost 24 years old with five+ years of pitching on that arm. He has no leverage. If he does fall to the twins, I doubt he gets more than 10% over slot.

      So I see no way picking Appel will "ruin" the rest of the draft. Keep in mind we'd likely have to pay Stewart at least as much as Appel. Stewart has as much leverage as you can possibly have. Stewart comes with way more risk but not much if any more upside, and he won't help the twins until 2016 at the earliest.

      If Appel is there at the 4th pick the twins have to take him. Offer him slot value, maybe a tad over. Boras is aggressive, but not stupid.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      Quote Originally Posted by Red Bull View Post
      Hes worth giving up as much money as he wants. Rarely do you find a pitcher that has a fasball in the mid to upper 90s with 3 other plus pitches. When you think of other pitchers with 4 plus pitches Verlander is the first name to pop into my head. Hes got so much potential its not even funny. If the Twins had a shot at him they better pay up and grab him. He could potentialy be a guy that wins a team 20 games by himself, how many guys in the league are capable of that?

      They had their chance at him--and passed. Consider if The Twins did draft him last year at #2. Revere probably doesn't get traded, so no Worley or May.
      Hicks is likely tearing-up AAA pitching (completely unaware that a river of cold water awaits in Minneapolis). Given the tone of the posts asking for Gibson to be promoted--multiply that by 10 for Appel's promotion.
      The Twins would still be selecting 4th Thursday--but with more options in their direction. Assume that the "Big 2" are taken, as well as Kohl Stewart.
      They could go college pitcher (guy from Nevada), HS pitcher (Bell), HS "toolsy" OF, Moran (3B), or under-slot and hope to draft some HS pitchers would are 2nd-4th round choices now, but "overpay" to loadup on pitching (with an eye towards trading Appel before free agency--yet having the pitching at advanced levels). All very interesting.

      True, Appel might have refused #2 money (I really doubt that!) and the Twins select 4th and 5th. That's the worst case scenario--and it's an unlikely one at that.

      Instead, we earnestly hope that Buxton becomes the next Kirby Puckett, but with lots of speed (though not as much charisma).
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