CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: No-Hittin... (05/09)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: The Wee... (05/06)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: The Lon... (05/10)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Mailbag: The S... (05/10)

May 10, 2013

BP Unfiltered

Dissecting the Draft: Mark Appel (Player Report)

by Nick J. Faleris

Mark Appel | RHP | Stanford University
Ht/Wt: 6-5/215 | B/T: R/R | Age at Draft: 21y 11m

Grading Out:






















Overall Future Potential:


Adjusted OFP:


Appel in 140 characters or less:

Sturdy build w/smooth actions; potential for three + or better offerings, pot. ++FB; improved command; good workload; front-end w/high floor.

Physical Description:

Nice broad, physical frame with durable build; solid athlete, controls limbs; solid flexibility; solid actions off mound. 


Appel is clean to a fault in his delivery, historically losing some deception but making up for it this year with more consistent execution and better overall command.  The ball is still shy of “difficult to pick up,” but his sequencing is less predictable this spring than it was in 2012, and there is more deception in his release on his secondaries.  Appel paces well throughout his mechanics and has had no difficulty regularly repeating his delivery.  On occasion, he will drop his arm slot for both his slider and changeup, causing both offerings to lose deception.  Out of the stretch, the Stanford ace is 1.20 to 1.28 to home, and alters timing such that base runners have a difficult time getting quality jumps.   


Fastball –  The heater is a true plus to plus-plus offering, sitting 93-96 mph and climbing to 97/98 mph on occasion.  It is most effective down on the zone, traveling on a steep plane, and Appel can turn over the two-seam to produce arm side run.  He holds velocity into the late innings and moves the pitch around the zone with limited difficulty.

Slider – At its best, Appel’s slider can flash plus-plus, but more regularly vacillates between average and plus, depending on the game.  The pitch is a mid-80s weapon that displays tilt and late bite from the waist down, but can flatten out and soften higher in the zone.  He’s better spotting the pitch in the zone than inducing hitters to chase, but as he continues to improve his sequencing he should be able to utilize the pitch to expand the zone against advanced hitters, as well. 

Changeup – Another plus offering, Appel’s offspeed dovetails with his arm side fastball action and comes with arm speed and trajectory deception.  When clicking, he can produce late fade and tumble and a lot of empty swings.  A low-80s offering, the velo delta is more than adequate as a change of pace, and he is comfortable throwing the pitch in any count and in any game situation.


Appel has always graded out well, but this spring he has dramatically improved his aggression in the zone—a hole in his game that often limited the utility of his stuff in the past.  This spring, the senior standout has taken his game to the next level, dropping one-half of a pitch off of his average pitches-per-batter and working ahead much more consistently.  The results speak for themselves, as Appel has improved his strikeout rate, lowered his walk rate, and decreased his batting average against.  To the extent Appel has run into issues with his stuff on a game-by-game basis, he has reacted admirably, rotating his pitch selection to find the most effective weapon and battling.  Houston’s decision as to who they will select with the first overall pick in the draft is in all likelihood down to Appel and Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray—two collegiate arms with front-end stuff, impressive spring production, and a good chance to chew through innings.  Appel has less room for growth in his stuff than does Gray, but the strides he has made this spring in pounding the zone, and particularly the lower shelf, help assuage fears that Appel might lack the killer instinct necessary to headline a Major League staff.  He should be off the board in the first couple picks, and it would be a surprise if he were not a fixture in his draft org’s rotation by mid-2014.

Projected position: Front-end starter; #1/#2

Suggested draft slot: Early-1st Round; consideration for top 5 overall


Nick J. Faleris is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Nick's other articles. You can contact Nick by clicking here

Related Content:  Mark Appel,  Dissecting The Draft

2 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links


I saw Appel pitch in Houston against the Rice Owls this Spring, a game in which he flashed his plus stuff but never seemed to get comfortable. He also failed to back up a base more than once, which eventually led to 2 runs being scored. What is your take on his general makeup/ maturity?

May 10, 2013 14:59 PM
rating: 0
BP staff member Nick Faleris
BP staff

I was at the game as well -- it was not a good start for Appel. I'd say it's important to keep in mind that on field demeanor, particular in one-off instances, is seldom evidence of good or bad makeup.

I have seen a good amount of Appel over the last three years and will say that his overall approach has been more aggressive this year than in years past. In previous years I questioned Appel's desire/ability to take ownership of his stuff and just go out there and shove it for 9 innings. Those concerns have been somewhat quelled with his 2013 performance.

May 17, 2013 07:55 AM
You must be a Premium subscriber to post a comment.
Not a subscriber? Sign up today!
<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: No-Hittin... (05/09)
<< Previous Column
BP Unfiltered: The Wee... (05/06)
Next Column >>
BP Unfiltered: The Lon... (05/10)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Mailbag: The S... (05/10)

Premium Article Raising Aces: Walker on the Wild Side
Premium Article Painting the Black: Pedro Alvarez's Trip Fro...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Thursday, Apri...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: April 17, 2015
Going Yard: How Bryant Can Crush
The Call-Up: Kris Bryant
Premium Article Rubbing Mud: So You Want to Trade Your Draft...

MORE FROM MAY 10, 2013
Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Due Diligence
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, May 10
Fantasy Mailbag: The Stanton Waiting Game
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week Seven
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: May 10th, ...
Premium Article The Call-Up: Burch Smith
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Four Hot Hitters

2013-05-14 - Premium Article Scouting the Draft: Middle Infielders to Kno...
2013-05-10 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Due Diligence
2013-05-10 - BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Jonatha...
2013-05-10 - BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Mark Ap...
2013-05-07 - Premium Article Scouting the Draft: Corner Infielders to Kno...
2013-05-06 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Identifying Our Tiers
2013-05-02 - BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Clint F...

2013-05-11 - BP Unfiltered: Mark Reynolds and a Very Susp...
2013-05-10 - BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Jonatha...
2013-05-10 - BP Unfiltered: The Longest Plate Appearance ...
2013-05-10 - BP Unfiltered: Dissecting the Draft: Mark Ap...
2013-05-06 - BP Unfiltered: The Week In Albert Pujols Pla...
2013-05-06 - BP Unfiltered: Why The Angels, Blue Jays, an...
2013-05-03 - BP Unfiltered: The Flimsy Case Against Clay ...

2013-06-11 - Baseball ProGUESTus: Does Declining to Sign ...
2013-06-06 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Three Roads from Which...
2013-06-06 - Draft Coverage
2013-06-04 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Pairing and Parsing 1-...
2013-05-30 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Examining Kris Bryant
2013-05-17 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Profiling Prep Arms
2013-05-10 - Premium Article Dissecting the Draft: Due Diligence