By Sam Fisher
Stanford senior ace Mark Appel was selected No. 1 overall by the Houston Astros in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Thursday.
Appel was selected eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates in last year’s draft, but decided not to sign for a reported $3.8 million dollars. Instead, Appel returned to Stanford for his senior season, dazzling with a 10-4 record and a 2.12 earned run average. Appel also struck out 130 hitters to become Stanford’s all-time career strikeouts leader.
Under the system introduced by the MLB for last year’s draft, each pick has a slotted value for the signing bonus. Teams that exceed the total bonus pool allotted — the bonus pool is the sum of the slotted value for all of a team’s picks — face penalties including taxes and potential loss of draft picks.
Last year, the Pirates reportedly offered Appel $1 million above slot to reach the $3.8 million mark. The slot value of the first overall pick is just under $7.8 million; it looks like Appel’s decision to come back to Stanford will pay off monetarily.
Appel has made no secret of his desire to play in Houston. Though Appel went to high school in California, he grew up in Houston and his parents moved back to Houston this spring.
In the second round, the Seattle Mariners picked junior centerfielder Austin Wilson at No. 49 overall. Wilson was listed as a top-15 prospect by ESPN’s Keith Law and a top-30 prospect by Baseball America. The slot value for the 49th overall pick is $1.1 million.
Should Wilson decide not to sign with Seattle, he would be eligible to play for Stanford in 2014. The deadline for underclassmen to sign is July 12.
After the conclusion of the second round Thursday night, the MLB Draft will continue Friday with rounds three through 10. The final 30 rounds will take place on Saturday.
Junior first baseman Brian Ragira, senior relief pitcher Garrett Hughes, junior pitcher A.J. Vanegas and junior shortstop Lonnie Kauppila are the Stanford players most likely to be drafted after Appel and Wilson.
Contact Sam Fisher at safisher ‘at’ stanford.edu.