Is it just me, or do Pirates pitching prospects make bad first impressions?
Last year Gerrit Cole was tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Then he pitched in the Futures game and was hit hard. That game, of course, was the first game that most Pirates fans got to see Cole.
Tonight, Mark Appel started in the super regional game against Florida State. The Pirates drafted Appel earlier in the week, so for most Pirates fans, this was the first chance to see the number one pick. And just like Cole, Appel bombed, giving up seven runs in the fourth inning.
The start really doesn’t mean much, just like Cole’s start in the Futures game didn’t mean anything. In fact, the bad performance could be a good thing. Appel threw 48 pitches in the fourth inning. That’s a crazy amount of pitches. The Pirates will pull a prospect once they reach 30, no matter what the situation.
It’s not uncommon for college pitchers to see high pitch counts, especially in big games like this. In Appel’s last start he threw 122 pitches. So if this bad outing leads to the loss that helps eliminate Stanford and end their year, that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. If Appel is no longer subjected to high pitch counts, that will be a good thing.
There were things that Appel can eventually work on. He had trouble repeating his delivery in the fourth inning, and his control was horrible that inning. The Pirates do well instructing young pitchers in those areas, so I’m not too concerned by Appel in the long term.
As for the impact of this start, it’s not going to have any affect on the negotiations. The Pirates won’t suddenly get a discount, just like they wouldn’t have had to pay more if Appel went out and tossed a gem. I think the two sides will go down to the deadline, due to the Scott Boras factor, and I still think Appel signs. And hopefully the new, earlier deadline will allow us to see Appel throwing in the system this year — ideally with better results than tonight.
Links and Notes
**Only two more days to get the 2012 Prospect Guide for $8! Use the code “DRAFT” on the products page of the site.
**The Pirates won 4-2 against the Royals. Kristy Robinson’s notebook looks at the game, and looks at how this team feels different than last year’s team.
**Prospect Watch: Yamaico Navarro has a nine game hitting streak, Ramon Cabrera homers, plus Jeff Locke and Jameson Taillon start.
**The Mid-Season Top 20 Prospects, with the new draft picks included.