Rising and sliding draft prospects

Updated: March 31, 2012, 3:37 PM ET
By Keith Law

I saw Mark Appel in Tucson on Friday night at Hi Corbett Field, the new home of the Arizona Wildcats (and old spring home of the Colorado Rockies). Appel showed the raw stuff that has him in consideration for the first overall pick, but had the same trouble missing bats that I've seen him have in the past.

Appel was 95-97 early in his outing and pitched at 94-95 even later in the game, at times showing a plus changeup and an above-average slider. But his location was inconsistent on all three pitches, and his tendency to leave the two offspeed offerings up in the zone was behind most of the 12 hits Appel gave up in 8-plus innings of work. (He never should have gone out for the ninth, but eight innings is only a half-day's work in the minds of Stanford's coaching staff.) He did throw several changeups in the 80-82 range with good tumble, but when he doesn't finish the pitch and get it down in the zone, it's like a BP fastball, and Arizona hitters had no trouble turning on it.