Mark Appel - Image Courtesy: Pittsburgh Pirates

With the eighth pick in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel. The right-hander was one of the top prospects in the draft, but fell unexpectedly to the Pirates. There were rumors that his adviser, Scott Boras, was pushing him down in the draft with high demands, which could make his negotiations interesting.

The 6′ 5″ right hander entered the year as the top prospect in the draft, and has drawn comparisons to Justin Verlander. Appel throws his fastball in the 92-95 MPH range, and has touched 98-99 with Team USA. He throws a hard slider and a circle changeup. His fastball is currently a plus pitch, and he’s got a lot of potential with the other two pitches.

Appel has had similar problems to what Gerrit Cole saw in college. His stuff makes him a potential ace down the road, but he’s elevated his fastball and over-thrown his pitches in college, which has resulted in him being too hittable. He’s fallen from the consensus number one prospect in the draft, but he seemed to be a lock to go in the top five.

His addition makes the Pirates pitching depth much stronger, giving them three guys with number one upside. Appel could move quickly through the system, and could join Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon to give the Pirates three potential aces. However, with Scott Boras, it will be interesting to see how the negotiations go.

Check back later for more on Appel, as well as updates on the 45th overall pick.