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2012 MLB Draft: Pirates Select Mark Appel

With the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft, the Pirates have selected Mark Appel out of Stanford.

What a perfectly Neal Huntington-y pick. I like this a lot. In the worst-case scenario, Appel doesn't want to sign, and the Pirates get a similar pick next year. The Pirates drafted the guy who nearly all mock drafts had going with the first overall pick. He's got three good pitches and could conceivably move through the system very quickly, which should work especially well this year since, if he signs, he'll actually get to pitch before the season ends.

If the Pirates hadn't picked Appel, I'm not sure what they would have done. The rumors about guys like David Dahl and Chris Stratton were just a little depressing. A Lucas Giolito pick would have been a lot of fun, but there's tremendous risk there. The risk of not being able to sign the player is mitigated by the fact that the Pirates would get the No. 9 pick in 2013, in what will quite possibly be a better draft. Also, negotiations should be a lot easier than they've been in the past, due to the new draft system. If the Pirates had passed on Appel due to signability, I think that would have been a bad move on their part. WTM, in the comments, is concerned about Boras making the Pirates pay so much that they lose their first-round pick next year. I don't think that will happen. Huntington will know that pick is too valuable, and they have a solid backup plan if Appel won't sign.

Whatever problems I might have with Neal Huntington, I love that he's willing to make splashes like this. Leaving aside the complicated case of Giolito, the Pirates got the best remaining player, and arguably a player who should have gone higher. Very nice work. If Appel signs, the Pirates get an excellent complement to Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon. If he doesn't, people will whine, but it's really not that big a deal. We've seen the Pirates take these kinds of gambles before with players like Josh Bell, Stetson Allie and Tanner Scheppers. Sometimes they work out, sometimes they don't. But Huntington does seem to understand that in the draft, he needs to get stars, and again, he's reaching for the sky here.


1. Carlos Correa, Astros
2. Byron Buxton, Twins
3. Mike Zunino, Mariners
4. Kevin Gausman, Orioles
5. Kyle Zimmer, Royals
6. Albert Almora, Cubs
7. Max Fried, Padres
8. Mark Appel, Pirates
9. Andrew Heaney, Marlins
10. David Dahl, Rockies
11. Addison Russell, Athletics
12. Gavin Cecchini, Mets
13. Courtney Hawkins, White Sox
14. Nick Travieso, Reds
15. Tyler Naquin, Indians
16. Lucas Gioltio, Nationals