Rising Star - RHP Mark Diapoules

Selected by the Cardinals in the 21st round of the 2006 draft out of Martin County High School in Stuart, Florida. Mark was signed by St. Louis as a draft-and-follow on May 21, 2007 after attending one season at Palm Beach Community College. The 19-year-old right-hander is off to a 3-0 start with a 2.08 ERA for the Quad Cities River Bandits.

The 19-year-old RHP Mark Diapoules (3-0-1, 2.08 ERA), a 6-2, 200-pounder from Palm City, Florida, is off to a very good start, in his first full season of professional baseball.

In his first six starts of the 2008 campaign, Diapoules allowed more than one run in only one outing, that game coming on May 20th against the Peoria Chiefs. He was roughed up for six runs—four of them earned, on five hits over 3.1 innings of work. After needing just five pitches to get through a 1-2-3 first inning, Mark gave up a three-run homer in the second inning that helped the Chiefs get out to a 6-0 lead.

The River Bandits offense rallied to tie the score at 6-6 and get Diapoules off the hook, although Quad Cities eventually lost, 10-6, in 10 innings.

Through his first five outings with the River Bandits, Mark had allowed just three runs over 22 innings of work while fanning 23. He did not allow more than one run in any of those appearances, as Quad Cities went 3-0 as a team in his starts and 4-1 in his five appearances.

After getting shelled in his sixth game, Mark came back in his next game, this last Saturday, and pitched five complete shutout innings, to pick up his third win on the season.

Last season Diapoules spent the entire 2007 season with the Johnson City Cardinals (Appalachian League), going 1-3 with a 5.91 ERA in 12 appearances (six starts). He struck out 34 in 35 innings of work, but also walked 17, hit 11, and threw eight wild pitches. His best outing of the year came in an August 11 start at Princeton, as Diapoules struck out eight and allowed just one run on two hits over five innings of work.

The one season Diapoules played at Palm Beach Community College, he led the team in strikeouts and innings pitched. He went 7-3 with a 3.20 ERA, 71 strikeouts, 26 walks, and 53 hits in 76 innings (12 appearances). His most dominant outing of the year came in a 4-1 win over Miami Dade on March 7, when Diapoules struck out 13 and allowed just three hits in a nine-inning complete game.

The scouting report on Diapoules, bodes well for him and his future with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He very solid, athletic, with a high 3/4 arm slot, nice and easy arm action, heavy fastball, late run and sink, good mechanics. He works quickly with good tempo, something that a lot of pitchers should try to adapt into their game plan.

Mark's fastball reaches 88 mph, which should impove some as he matures. He has a sharp and hard curveball and a quality change up. He induces a lot of groundballs, and that is the sort of things that will get you noticed in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

I've got Diapoules down as a 'Rising Star', meaning he is someone you should keep an eye on. He could break into our annual Top 40 Prospect Rankings at the end of this year and maybe even into the weekly Prospect Power Rankings, before the season is over.

Mark, who turns 20 Saturday, will try to pick up his fourth win on the season, on Thursday when the Quad Cities River Bandits host the Burlington Bees at Modern Woodman Park.

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