First Pitch: Why I Think Mark Appel Is A Lock To Sign

Every year it’s the same thing. The Pirates take a player who is a tough sign. Somehow each year is more difficult. Then the questions come in: Will they sign this guy?

I understood it after the 2008 draft. They took Pedro Alvarez, which was a foreign concept considering the previous group passed on Matt Wieters the year before.

I understood it in 2009. The Pirates went with a ton of over-slot prep pitchers. That was new territory.

In 2010 they took Stetson Allie in the second round, which was seen as a much harder sign than the prep pitchers the previous years.

Somehow they managed to get an even tougher sign in 2011 when Josh Bell told teams not to draft him, but the Pirates took him anyway with the second pick.

And now we’ve got Mark Appel, who entered the day as the likely number one pick, and ended up falling to eighth overall. The slot price for first overall is $7.2 M. The slot price for eighth is $2.9 M. And Appel is represented by Scott Boras.

This will undoubtedly lead to a month of “Will Appel sign?” questions. They might be straight up questions. They might be “Give a percentage of this happening” questions. But they’ll still come. You’d think this question wouldn’t be asked after all of the “impossible” signings the Pirates have made the last few years, but it’s still around. So let me give you my opinion now. It’s not going to change.

Mark Appel will sign. It makes no sense for him to not sign. Yes, it’s probably disappointing for him that he went from potentially getting $7.2 M to a pick with the slot price of $2.9 M. He’ll probably try to recover some of that money by going for an over-slot price. But here are the facts.

**Appel is coming off a junior year where he posted a 2.37 ERA in 110 innings.

**The 2012 draft class was widely seen as a weak group.

**The 2013 draft class is seen as much stronger.

Add all of that up. Appel doesn’t have many options next year. He could return for his senior year of college and re-enter the draft with less leverage. Or he could go to Indy ball and still get less leverage. And it’s not like he’s going to improve his stock. It’s hard to improve over a 2.37 ERA, especially when that came with a 9.4 K/9 and a 4.8 K/BB ratio.

The fact is that Appel fell to eighth overall in a weak 2012 draft class. What are the odds that he’d go in the top four in a stronger class next year? If the Pirates offered him $2.9 M, he’d have to go in the top four to get a significant raise. He’s looking at $1.3 M extra if he moves up to fourth, with a big risk of losing that much if he gets injured or has a poor season. Once again, the 2013 class is much stronger, which only decreases his odds of going in the top four next year. And if he wants number one or number two money, he’s being unrealistic. If there was a draft that he would have gotten that money, it would have been this year. But that didn’t happen. So why would it happen next year with a stronger class?

Appel has very little leverage. Whatever he thought his value was, and whatever he might have gotten is irrelevant. The draft order established his value. He doesn’t have a lot of options if he refuses to sign, and he’s more likely to see his value decline next year than he is to get a bigger bonus in a stronger draft class.

So I think Appel will sign. It could be for over-slot, but I don’t think it will be a significant amount. It probably won’t happen until the deadline. But I do think it will happen. Again, the Pirates have a pretty good track record with “impossible” draft signings. I don’t see why this one is any harder than the previous examples.

Links and Notes

**The Pirates were off today.

**Prospect Watch: Alex Dickerson hits two homers and goes 5-for-6.

**Draft Day One Recap: Pirates Add Another Potential Number One to the Mix

**Draft Day Two Preview

**Pirates Draft Mark Appel

**Pirates Draft Barrett Barnes

**Mark Appel Player Page

**Barrett Barnes Player Page

**The Draft Pick Signing Tracker

**Zack Von Rosenberg joins West Virginia

**Matt Curry placed on the DL with a hamstring injury

**Pirates will bid on Jorge Soler, Bidding Due Thursday. I don’t expect the Pirates to get Soler.

**Prospect Trends for the week ending 6/3.

Analysis

  • Boras is screwed and he knows it. He will kick, he will scream, and this deal will come down to the wire. At the end of the day he still signs, and not for anything significantly over the slot.

  • The new CBA definitely took leverage away from teams, but it took even more
    leverage away from players. So comparatively, the teams gained ground.

    No more of the ‘pay me more or else I’ll go to college’ threat from HS kids.
    No more smooth talking for more money from college picks.

    The actual negotiations will be shorter, and the signings will happen much quicker.
    The situation becomes ‘take it or leave it’.

    And I GUARANTEE that many HS kids will take their the MULTIMILLION DOLLAR signing bonuses, as opposed to going to college.

    As for those in college:
    Well, they can either complete their senior year and enter the next draft in hopes of more money. If that option is unavailable, they can try playing in an independent league and try to be signed as an amateur free agent. It happens, but it’s rare.

    This is what I’ve been saying for so long, and I’ve been flamed for it, but I finally think people are finally understanding it now.

  • Tim, any estimations as to how much Appel would get if he signed?

  • Tim, any estimations as to how much Appel would get if he signed?

  • Given that the deadline is much earlier and everyone involved is very constrained, why would does this have to go to the deadline? Why can’t everyone just see what the final number is going to be and get on with it?

    If he signs in July, will he play in the Pirates’ system this summer? I hope so. Hopefully State College. I’d love to see a quality college guy pitch for the Spikes.

    • Definitely.

      The quicker you sign, the more chances of playing minor league ball this year.

      Look at the Cardinal’s Kolten Wong. He was selected in 2011 and played in 2011.

  • I don’t know. It seems like his camp must have known the risks here and been willing to roll the dice. Had they just given the teams that picked earlier an indication that he wouldn’t be such a hard signing they he would have had lot more money available at those slots. If he was willing to roll the dice by playing hardball in this new capped draft era then why wouldn’t he roll the dice again by giving it another spin next year? Elite talents have elite egos. They aren’t going worry about the the perception that the 2013 draft class may be better.

    • “Elite talents have elite egos”.

      That’s one truth I just can’t argue against.

      However, Appel’s offers have already passed it’s peak and will only
      further decline if he doesn’t immediately sign. The remaining options
      (see below) will definitely yield a much smaller signing bonus:

      – take his senior year and come back in a stronger draft class in 2013

      – temporarily pitch in an independent league

      – play in a foreign country

      And if Appel uses his brain, he’d also realize:

      –> earlier signing

      –> earlier arrival in the big leagues

      –> earlier in the free agent market

      And the free agent market is where you truly make the big bucks.

      So at this point in time, it’s a debate whether this elite talent is also an elite numbskull.

  • I don’t know. It seems like his camp must have known the risks here and been willing to roll the dice. Had they just given the teams that picked earlier an indication that he wouldn’t be such a hard signing they he would have had lot more money available at those slots. If he was willing to roll the dice by playing hardball in this new capped draft era then why wouldn’t he roll the dice again by giving it another spin next year? Elite talents have elite egos. They aren’t going worry about the the perception that the 2013 draft class may be better.

    • “Elite talents have elite egos”.

      That’s one truth I just can’t argue against.

      However, Appel’s offers have already passed it’s peak and will only
      further decline if he doesn’t immediately sign. The remaining options
      (see below) will definitely yield a much smaller signing bonus:

      – take his senior year and come back in a stronger draft class in 2013

      – temporarily pitch in an independent league

      – play in a foreign country

      And if Appel uses his brain, he’d also realize:

      –> earlier signing

      –> earlier arrival in the big leagues

      –> earlier in the free agent market

      And the free agent market is where you truly make the big bucks.

      So at this point in time, it’s a debate whether this elite talent is also an elite numbskull.

  • We had an interview with Mark Appel in he beginning of the season. Check out http://broscouts.wordpress.com/ and see if this is the type of player that would hold out. It might be a tough sign with Scott Boras but I honestly believe that Appel is just concentrating on the CWS. Is he probably upset about dropping? Yes because he wanted to go to his hometown but I do think he will sign

    • Nice link….sounds like a good Christian boy. He can join Pribanic in Jesus Tweets. 🙂

  • I sure hope it works, but you never know.

  • One thing is for sure, it will take to the midnight hour on the last day to get this done.
    I was thrilled that he did not want to talk to the media, I realize he did not want to talk to any media people, but, if I was a Pirate, they would have to put it in my contract that I had to talk to anyone in the Pittsburgh media, why anyone in the Pittsburgh organization talks to anyone in the Pittsburgh media baffles me, their bashing is relentless.
    Their already coming up with Appel does not want to play for the Pirates, he fell because their is something wrong with him, the Pirates needed hitting!
    The Guard from Stanford that fell to the Steelers late in the first round was a steal for the Steelers, Appel fell to the Pirates and their is something wrong with him!

    • We’re Stanford East!!!!

      I try to ignore the Pgh Media bashers….

    • Thank God the ‘midnight hour’ is in July now. About 5 weeks from now….

  • One thing is for sure, it will take to the midnight hour on the last day to get this done.
    I was thrilled that he did not want to talk to the media, I realize he did not want to talk to any media people, but, if I was a Pirate, they would have to put it in my contract that I had to talk to anyone in the Pittsburgh media, why anyone in the Pittsburgh organization talks to anyone in the Pittsburgh media baffles me, their bashing is relentless.
    Their already coming up with Appel does not want to play for the Pirates, he fell because their is something wrong with him, the Pirates needed hitting!
    The Guard from Stanford that fell to the Steelers late in the first round was a steal for the Steelers, Appel fell to the Pirates and their is something wrong with him!

    • We’re Stanford East!!!!

      I try to ignore the Pgh Media bashers….

    • Thank God the ‘midnight hour’ is in July now. About 5 weeks from now….

  • I give Huntington mad props he took the best player on the board in the 8 slot its up to coonelly and boras to make it work.

  • Appel kind of avoided the Pirates. Took some heat from the Harold Reynolds and few others mlb network staff. He seems like he doesnt want to be a Pirate.

    • I didn’t realize that Reynolds was a former #1 pick. He used to be my 2ndbaseman in my old APBA Mail league.

  • agree

  • agree

  • Agree 100 %.

    • Seconded. The motion is passed.

      Btw, I’m of the opinion that Lee Young and I should have our own show. The last few days I feel like its been me and him back and forth

      • The Ian and Foo show….I like it. We could go on the Fan and be the voice of reason. lol

        • I’m interested to see how they’re talking about the Bucs this year. Moving back at the end of the week from NC. I’m still disappointed they didn’t go with Demaro for the pre/post game show.

          Who do they have covering baseball? I was always of the opinion that pretty much all of the guys on the Fan are more based in generalized sports knowledge or more towards football. They just don’t seem to have any true baseball people.

          Also, I appreciate the top billing on that show. I’ll take that. Maybe we could have an overnight show or something. Hang out with Meuller or Miller, or Mullen…..whatever his name is.

          • I got 97.3 on the web for the Allie interview. I’m out of the area. First time I heard the station. All I know about it otherwise, is what I read from bloggers.

            If its overnight, it’ll be the Ian and Ian show….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            • Hah! We’ll see what we can manage. I hope you have some radio experience though…I’ll need someone to tell me which end of the mic to talk into.

  • Agree 100 %.

    • Seconded. The motion is passed.

      Btw, I’m of the opinion that Lee Young and I should have our own show. The last few days I feel like its been me and him back and forth

      • The Ian and Foo show….I like it. We could go on the Fan and be the voice of reason. lol

        • I’m interested to see how they’re talking about the Bucs this year. Moving back at the end of the week from NC. I’m still disappointed they didn’t go with Demaro for the pre/post game show.

          Who do they have covering baseball? I was always of the opinion that pretty much all of the guys on the Fan are more based in generalized sports knowledge or more towards football. They just don’t seem to have any true baseball people.

          Also, I appreciate the top billing on that show. I’ll take that. Maybe we could have an overnight show or something. Hang out with Meuller or Miller, or Mullen…..whatever his name is.

          • I got 97.3 on the web for the Allie interview. I’m out of the area. First time I heard the station. All I know about it otherwise, is what I read from bloggers.

            If its overnight, it’ll be the Ian and Ian show….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

            • Hah! We’ll see what we can manage. I hope you have some radio experience though…I’ll need someone to tell me which end of the mic to talk into.

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