June 6, 2013
A Conversation With Mark Appel | Appel Content With Choice to Return
No Regrets About Draft (ESPN) | Payday Delay (Sports Illustrated)
STANFORD, Calif. - With the first pick of the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, the Houston Astros selected Stanford right-handed pitcher Mark Appel.
"This has been such a surreal moment for me and my family knowing that I'm going back home to Houston," Appel said.
The All-American pitcher becomes Stanford's highest draftee and 13th first-round pick since 2000.
"Our program could not be happier for Mark Appel," Stanford head coach Mark Marquess said. "Mark ranks right up there with the elite pitchers to play for Stanford. He has not only been an incredible performer and leader on the field, but a great human being off the field."
"In Mark's decision to return to Stanford for his senior season, he wanted to earn his degree and improve as a pitcher. He was able to do both, which is a testament to his work ethic and dedication to being a true student-athlete."
Appel, who returned to The Farm for his senior season after being drafted eighth overall by Pittsburgh in 2012, finished his degree in management science and engineering in March and is set to participate in Stanford's commencement later this month.
Appel is the 11th Cardinal player drafted by the Houston organization, a crop which includes current Astros catcher Jason Castro, who was the 10th overall pick of the 2008 draft.
Appel joins the elite Cardinal company of fellow Houston-area natives Andrew Luck and Nneka Ogwumike as No. 1 overall picks. Luck went first overall to Indianapolis in the 2012 NFL Draft while Los Angeles chose Ogwumike to open the 2012 WNBA Draft. Each of the three finished their degree before leaving for the professional ranks.
Even more, Stanford now joins LSU as the only schools to produce at least one No. 1 overall pick in the MLB, NFL and WNBA drafts.
The only 2012 first-rounder not to sign a professional contract, Appel is one of 17 players selected twice in the first round since 1965. Former Stanford standout and current Philadelphia outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. was selected out of high school by Seattle in the first round (28th pick overall) of the 2002 draft but did not sign a professional baseball contract, becoming the highest selection and the only first-round draft pick from 2002 to attend a four-year college. After his junior season at Stanford, Mayberry was taken 19th overall by Texas in 2005.
Thursday evening's selection also makes Stanford's assistant coach Rusty Filter the only collegiate pitching coach ever to directly mentor two No. 1 overall picks. During his time at San Diego State, Filter helped shape Washington ace Stephen Strasburg into the top choice of the 2009 draft.
The Pac-12 has produced 28 first-round draft picks since 2006 and has seen at least one player come off the board in the first round every year during that span. Appel is the 199th Pac-12 player ever drafted in the first round, and the second conference player in three years chosen first. UCLA's Gerrit Cole went to Pittsburgh with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011.
Appel leaves Stanford as its career leader in strikeouts (372), while ranking fourth in innings pitched (377.2) and sixth with 28 wins.
During his senior campaign, Appel fanned a conference-best 130 batters while going 10-4 in 14 starts and tossed four complete games. He issued just 23 walks and allowed 17 extra-base hits in 106.1 innings. The Pac-12 Scholar-Athlete of the Year and a two-year Friday night starter for the Cardinal, Appel is in contention for a number of other national postseason awards, including the Senior CLASS Award.
Appel averaged 7.6 innings per appearance, 11.0 strikeouts per game and boasted a 5.7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 2013. He held opponents to a career-low .203 clip in 14 appearances and only twice allowed more than three earned runs.
Appel held a 0.96 ERA through his first six appearances and walked only seven batters in as many appearances from Feb. 22-April 12. Appel logged five straight double-digit strikeout performances (Feb. 22-March 28) and totaled seven such outings on the season.