Full Circle: Houston Picks Mark Appel No. 1

Mark Appel is heading home. The Houston Astros selected the Stanford flamethrower with the No. 1 pick in the 2013 MLB Draft. Cardinal baseball has its first-ever top selection, while Stanford sports as a whole can now boast three no. 1 overall picks over the course of the past two years.



For over a year, he's been caught on the emotional roller coaster of the most unpredictable draft in professional sports, so Thursday's announcement from MLB commissioner Bud Selig certainly brought a tremendous feeling.

The Houston Astros selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the first pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, bringing a stressful selection journey full circle with the senior right hander -- a Houston native -- on top.

"When I saw Houston had the first pick, I was like, man, that can't be a coincidence," Mark Appel told The Bootleg in an interview before last year's MLB Draft, in which he was projected to be picked by the Astros at No. 1. "I can definitely see God's hand in that."

It turns out that Appel was not picked first in that 2012 draft. He wasn't selected second, either, or even third. The flamethrower became a victim of several prearranged deals that were sparked by the MLB's new collective bargaining agreement rules, and he fell all the way to the Pittsburgh Pirates at no. 8.

Appel ultimately turned down the big money to return to Stanford and graduate, taking heat from scores of disgruntled fans in the process.

"The bottom line is, I turned down $3.8 million to get my college degree," Appel told ESPN.com's Tom Keown before the draft. "If you want to criticize me for that, so be it."

It's impossible to rationally fault him now. The hometown Astros have selected Appel No. 1 overall, after all. This is the first time ever that a Stanford baseball player has been taken with the first pick of the MLB Draft. It just happened one year later than many expected.

"Last year was a different circumstance," Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "We couldn't pass on the opportunity this time."

Prior to today's selection, Appel executed his return to school with perfection. On the strength of improved fastball location and further refinement of his slider and change-up (a third plus pitch), he improved statistically in 2013. Appel posted a 2.12 ERA this past season while striking out a career-best 130 batters and walking only 23. He broke Stanford's career strikeout record, finishing with 372 on his college career. To add icing onto the cake, he will receive his Stanford diploma in Management Science and Engineering 10 days from now.

"My goals were to finish my degree, become a better baseball player, person and teammate," Appel said. "I accomplished those things."

After living his early life in Houston, Appel moved to Danville, CA and attended Monte Vista High School, where he was basketball teammates with Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, who was recently drafted in the second round by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Appel improved remarkably over the course of his college career, evolving from bullpen work his freshman year to his position as the NCAA's most dominant starting pitcher as a senior.

Mark Appel: Four Years of Steady Improvement
Year
ERA
Opposing BA
Strikeouts per IP
2010
5.92
.295
0.68
2011
3.02
.277
0.78
2012
2.56
.213
1.06
2013
2.12
.203
1.22


Now that he's been selected, Appel's monetary reward can also be examined: $7,790,400 dollars are slotted for the 2013 MLB Draft's no. 1 pick. That's nearly $4 million more than the amount Appel turned down after the 2012 Draft.

"This is a surreal moment for me," he said. "Knowing I'm going back home [to Houston]."

The fairytale ride likely won't end here: Several experts have publicly stated that Appel is already ready for big league action. His journey is only beginning.

Stanford's hot streak, meanwhile, is only seeing its temperature increase. Appel becomes the third Cardinal athlete to be selected as a top draft pick in the past 60 weeks. Andrew Luck (NFL) and Nneka Ogwumike (WNBA) were both selected no. 1 overall last year. Remarkably, both are also from the Houston area.





David Lombardi is the Stanford Insider for The Bootleg and FOX Sports Next. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com.

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up)!


The Bootleg Top Stories



\r\n\r\n\r\nFor over a year, he's been caught on the emotional roller coaster of the most unpredictable draft in professional sports, so Thursday's announcement from MLB commissioner Bud Selig certainly brought a tremendous feeling.

\r\n\r\nThe Houston Astros selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the\r\nfirst pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, bringing a stressful selection\r\njourney full circle with the senior right hander -- a Houston native\r\n-- on top.
\r\n
\r\n\"When I saw Houston had the first pick, I was like, man, that can't\r\nbe a coincidence,\" Mark Appel told The Bootleg in an interview\r\nbefore last year's MLB Draft, in which he was projected to\r\nbe picked by the Astros at No. 1. \"I can definitely see God's hand\r\nin that.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt turns out that Appel was not picked first in that 2012 draft. He\r\nwasn't selected second, either, or even third. The flamethrower\r\nbecame a victim of several prearranged deals that were sparked by\r\nthe MLB's new collective bargaining agreement rules, and he fell all\r\nthe way to the Pittsburgh Pirates at no. 8.
\r\n
\r\nAppel ultimately turned down the big money to return to Stanford and\r\ngraduate, taking heat from scores of disgruntled fans in the\r\nprocess.
\r\n
\r\n\"The bottom line is, I turned down $3.8 million to get my college\r\ndegree,\" Appel told ESPN.com's Tom Keown before the draft. \"If you\r\nwant to criticize me for that, so be it.\"
\r\n
\r\nIt's impossible to rationally fault him now. The hometown Astros\r\nhave selected Appel No. 1 overall, after all. This is the first time\r\never that a Stanford baseball player has been taken with the first\r\npick of the MLB Draft. It just happened one year later than many\r\nexpected.
\r\n
\r\n\"Last year was a different circumstance,\" Houston general manager\r\nJeff Luhnow said. \"We couldn't pass on the opportunity this time.\"
\r\n
\r\nPrior to today's selection, Appel executed his return to school with\r\nperfection. On the strength of improved fastball location and\r\nfurther refinement of his slider and change-up (a third plus pitch),\r\nhe improved statistically in 2013. Appel posted a 2.12 ERA this past\r\nseason while striking out a career-best 130 batters and walking only\r\n23. He broke Stanford's career strikeout record, finishing with 372\r\non his college career. To add icing onto the cake, he will receive\r\nhis Stanford diploma in Management Science and Engineering 10 days\r\nfrom now.

\r\n\r\n\"My goals were to finish my degree, become a better baseball player, person and teammate,\" Appel said. \"I accomplished those things.\"
\r\n
\r\nAfter living his early life in Houston, Appel moved to Danville, CA and attended Monte Vista High School, where he was basketball teammates with Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, who was recently drafted in the second round by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Appel improved remarkably over the course of his college career, evolving from bullpen work his freshman year to his position as the NCAA's most dominant starting pitcher as a senior.

\r\n\r\nMark Appel: Four Years of Steady Improvement
\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
Year
\r\n
ERA
\r\n
Opposing BA
\r\n
Strikeouts per IP
\r\n
2010
\r\n
5.92
\r\n
.295
\r\n
0.68
\r\n
2011
\r\n
3.02
\r\n
.277
\r\n
0.78
\r\n
2012
\r\n
2.56
\r\n
.213
\r\n
1.06
\r\n
2013
\r\n
2.12
\r\n
.203
\r\n
1.22
\r\n
\r\n
\r\n
\r\nNow that he's been selected, Appel's monetary reward can also be\r\nexamined: $7,790,400 dollars are slotted for the\r\n2013 MLB Draft's no. 1 pick. That's nearly $4 million more than the\r\namount Appel turned down after the 2012 Draft.
\r\n
\r\n\"This is a surreal moment for me,\" he said. \"Knowing I'm going back\r\nhome [to Houston].\"
\r\n
\r\nThe fairytale ride likely won't end here: Several experts have\r\npublicly stated that Appel is already ready for big league action.\r\nHis journey is only beginning.
\r\n
\r\nStanford's hot streak, meanwhile, is only seeing its temperature\r\nincrease. Appel becomes the third Cardinal athlete to be selected as\r\na top draft pick in the past 60 weeks. Andrew Luck (NFL) and Nneka Ogwumike (WNBA) were both selected no. 1 overall last year.\r\nRemarkably, both are also from the Houston area.

\r\n\r\nTweet\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n
\r\n
\r\nFollow\r\n@DavidMLombardi\r\n
\r\n
\r\nDavid Lombardi is the Stanford\r\nInsider for The Bootleg and FOX Sports Next. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com.\r\n
\r\n
\r\n

Are you fully subscribed to The\r\nBootleg? If not, then you are missing out on\r\nall the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our\r\naward-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in\r\nStanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com\r\n(sign-up)!

","mobileBody":"Follow @TheBootleg For over a year, he's been caught on the emotional roller coaster of the most unpredictable draft in professional sports, so Thursday's announcement from MLB commissioner Bud Selig certainly brought a tremendous feeling. The Houston Astros selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the first pick in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft, bringing a stressful selection journey full circle with the senior right hander -- a Houston native -- on top. \"When I saw Houston had the first pick, I was like, man, that can't be a coincidence,\" Mark Appel told The Bootleg in an interview before year's MLB Draft, in which he was projected to be picked by the Astros at No. 1. \"I can definitely see God's hand in that.\" It turns out that Appel was not picked first in that 2012 draft. He wasn't selected second, either, or even third. The flamethrower became a victim of several prearranged deals that were sparked by the MLB's new collective bargaining agreement rules, and he fell all the way to the Pittsburgh Pirates at no. 8. Appel ultimately turned down the big money to return to Stanford and graduate, taking heat from scores of disgruntled fans in the process. \"The bottom line is, I turned down $3.8 million to get my college degree,\" Appel told ESPN.com's Tom Keown before the draft. \"If you want to criticize me for that, so be it.\" It's impossible to rationally fault him now. The hometown Astros have selected Appel No. 1 overall, after all. This is the first time ever that a Stanford baseball player has been taken with the first pick of the MLB Draft. It just happened one year later than many expected. \"Last year was a different circumstance,\" Houston general manager Jeff Luhnow said. \"We couldn't pass on the opportunity this time.\" Prior to today's selection, Appel executed his return to school with perfection. On the strength of improved fastball location and further refinement of his slider and change-up (a third plus pitch), he improved statistically in 2013. Appel posted a 2.12 ERA this past season while striking out a career-best 130 batters and walking only 23. He broke Stanford's career strikeout record, finishing with 372 on his college career. To add icing onto the cake, he will receive his Stanford diploma in Management Science and Engineering 10 days from now. \"My goals were to finish my degree, become a better baseball player, person and teammate,\" Appel said. \"I accomplished those things.\" After living his early life in Houston, Appel moved to Danville, CA and attended Monte Vista High School, where he was basketball teammates with Stanford tight end Zach Ertz, who was recently drafted in the second round by the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles. Appel improved remarkably over the course of his college career, evolving from bullpen work his freshman year to his position as the NCAA's most dominant starting pitcher as a senior. Now that he's been selected, Appel's monetary reward can also be examined: $7,790,400 dollars are slotted for the 2013 MLB Draft's no. 1 pick. That's nearly $4 million more than the amount Appel turned down after the 2012 Draft. \"This is a surreal moment for me,\" he said. \"Knowing I'm going back home [to Houston].\" The fairytale ride likely won't end here: Several experts have publicly stated that Appel is already ready for big league action. His journey is only beginning. Stanford's hot streak, meanwhile, is only seeing its temperature increase. Appel becomes the third Cardinal athlete to be selected as a top draft pick in the past 60 weeks. Andrew Luck (NFL) and Nneka Ogwumike (WNBA) were both selected no. 1 overall last year. Remarkably, both are also from the Houston area. Tweet Follow @DavidMLombardi

Are you fully subscribed to ? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our award-winning website. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with (sign-up)!

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