Appel still flirting with No. 1 status
Stanford right-hander Mark Appel began the season as perhaps the top candidate to go No. 1 overall. Since very early in the schedule, Appling County (Ga.) High School outfielder Byron Buxton, who has been the top prospect in Keith Law's Top 50 Draft Prospects from the get-go, has moved to the front of that line.
Buxton and his teammates finished their regular season Saturday and will start a playoff run next weekend. He entered that final game batting .566 with a .663 on-base percentage, 14 doubles and 28 stolen bases, not to mention a perfect 6-0 record and two strikeouts per inning from the mound.
Appel, however, continues to tease scouts with big velocity and signs of improved command and offspeed stuff. The 6-foot-5, 215- pounder went seven strong innings Friday night at UCLA, allowing eight hits and an earned run. He did not walk a batter and struck out 10. For the year, Appel is 6-1 with a 2.73 ERA and 81-20 K/BB ratio in 79 innings of work.
"He's the [Gerrit] Cole of this draft," said one scouting supervisor. "You have to look down the road a little bit more than you'd like," on a college pitcher, "but the raw ability is there and he's learning to pitch this year." There are times when Appel looks the part of a No. 1 pick and others when he appears to be quite the risk in the top half of the top 10.
To read the full scouting report from the weekend in college baseball, sign up to become an ESPN Insider.