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Friday, February 02, 2018

Mark Appel’s Retirement Highlights Challenges Of Scouting | BaseballAmerica.com

A huge bust.

Baseball America’s Appel scouting report for 2013 (compiled from conversations with teams’ scouts) is even a little more glowing than his 2012 report.

Appel picked up where he left off last year, after he turned down $3.8 million from the Pirates as the eighth overall pick. As a senior, he fine-tuned his stuff and graduated with a degree in management science and engineering. He shows everything scouts look for in a frontline pitcher. He’s 6-foot-5 and 215 pounds with a clean delivery, and he is a solid athlete who played basketball in high school. Appel’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and gets as high as 98 mph, and he holds his velocity deep into games. His slider is a plus pitch that generates swings and misses with its sharp, late break. Under Stanford pitching coach Rusty Filter–who was Stephen Strasburg’s pitching coach at San Diego State–Appel has gotten a little more downhill with his fastball and has improved his changeup as a senior, and it should be at least an average third offering. Appel has improved every year at Stanford and dominated as a senior, and he should move quickly through the minor leagues.

Appel signed quickly with the Astros, but that’s when the evaluations almost immediately changed. Pro scouts who saw him pitch in the Midwest League that summer were almost universally unimpressed, as we documented at the end of the season.

Scouts who saw Appel’s first starts as a pro weren’t as overwhelmed. His numbers were fine, as he went 3-1, 3.79 in 10 starts between short-season Tri-City and low Class A Quad Cities. He struck out 33 and walked nine while allowing 36 hits in 38 innings.

On a good night, scouts saw a pitcher who could run his fastball up to 96 mph and pair it with a good slider. But on other nights, Appel looked hittable with an 88-94 mph fastball, a below-average changeup and an inconsistent slider.

Appel would add and subtract velocity from his fastball to try to deceive hitters, and he tried to mix his pitches. But he would often tip his changeup and throw too many hittable fastballs. And when he ran into trouble, he didn’t seem to have a backup plan.

“I don’t know what he has as an out pitch to get (major league) hitters out on a consistent basis,” an American League scout said.

Appel also did not impress scouts physically. Some said he had a soft body, while others said he had a thick but unathletic build.

Jim Furtado Posted: February 02, 2018 at 08:08 AM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mark appel, scouting

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   1. John Northey Posted: February 03, 2018 at 11:54 PM (#5618878)
Reads like he needed a far better pitching coach to tell him 'screw everything, just throw the #1 hard' Playing with speeds in A ball is a bad idea from what I've read. That is the time to build endurance and consistency with the fastball. Especially if you are a #1 pick thus can have a 5.50 ERA and no one will care as long as the K's are there. When you have mastered your fastball and can place it almost anywhere you want, as you reach AA/AAA then you piss around on speeds. Not in low A. If you are a 40th round pick then sure, go nuts and change speeds in low A as you need flashy numbers across the board to climb up. But not a top pick.
   2. Lars6788 Posted: February 04, 2018 at 03:39 AM (#5618891)
Reads like he needed a far better pitching coach to tell him 'screw everything, just throw the #1 hard'


Easier said than done - it reads like Appel's stuff wasn't there on a consistent, start by start basis - whether or not he was going to have the mindset of a hard throwing ace prospect.
   3. McCoy Posted: February 04, 2018 at 07:26 AM (#5618897)
If the best college pitcher can't cruise through A ball then you know that guy is in trouble. He was almost 22 when he started in the minors. If he can't locate his fastball by then he better throw 100+ mph out else he's got serious problems.

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