It’s Still Way Too Early, but There’s a Bit of Mark Appel-Chicago Cubs Draft Buzz

stanford mark appelAlthough it is still too early to prognosticate – beyond the caveat-filled, educated guess stuff – about the Chicago Cubs’ 2013 Draft and their number two overall pick. While amateur seasons are finally underway, a great deal can still change between now and the June Draft. Indeed, if you follow draft prospect info on Twitter, we’re seeing the see-saw already – one day, it’s quite obvious that college lefty Sean Manaea is the best pitcher available in the draft. Then, someone like Jonathan Gray from Oklahoma comes out of nowhere (at least in terms of the top of the Draft) and is flashing ridiculous stuff, and enters the national conversation. And then an already-hyped high school positional prospect like Clint Frazier goes off at a heavily-scouted game, and he’s the obvious guy at the top.

This dance will continue for the next couple months. It’s fun to follow, so long as you keep in mind that things can and will change on a regular basis.

When it comes to the Cubs’ pick, all we know is this: if there’s an obvious, sure-thing, dominant college starting pitcher available, the Cubs will take him. Otherwise, they’ll take the best available positional player. President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein has said as much, with openness and vigor, and has strongly suggested a general preference for positional players in the first round of a draft.

Right now, there are some quality college arms who will go near the top of the Draft, but we don’t yet know if any of them will become the guy who is so obviously going to be successful that the Cubs can’t pass him up.

But is Stanford’s Mark Appel going to become that guy?

You know Appel’s story: as a dominant junior last year, he was believed by most to be the best college arm in the Draft, but he slipped to 8th due to signability concerns (that slipping includes the Cubs passing up on him at 6, though they were pretty in love with Albert Almora). Those signability concerns were justified, as Appel ultimately refused to sign with the Pirates for a shade under $4 million. Now in his senior season, Appel will have less leverage in the 2013 Draft, and may have to destroy college hitters all year to keep himself in the conversation at the top (a great pitcher like Appel is expected to put up very good numbers as a senior, for obvious reasons – he needs better than very good numbers).

So far, the numbers have been there. Through 30 innings, Appel has a 1.20 ERA, has struck out 43, and has walked just six. Heck, he’s given up just 17 hits.

If the Astros don’t take Appel, will the Cubs decide he’s their guy? No one can yet say for sure, but Phil Rogers suggests it could happen.

ESPN’s Jim Bowden goes a step further, saying, “one Cubs evaluator told me if Stanford right-hander Mark Appel is sitting there at No. 2 in this year’s draft, he won’t get by them.” Say what you will about Bowden or Rogers, but that’s a pretty authoritative take right there, coming straight from a Cubs source.

So, I guess at the end of this, we can conclude only that (1) it’s early, (2) Appel’s been pretty great so far, and (3) the Cubs might be interested in Appel in the two-spot (and one source says they’re taking him if he’s there).

Not earth-shattering, but useful info as we descend into the madness of draft season.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

153 responses to “It’s Still Way Too Early, but There’s a Bit of Mark Appel-Chicago Cubs Draft Buzz”

  1. Rice Cube

    Depends on how much the Cubs think they have to pay, I think. Signability is a big deal especially with the #2 pick, you have to have someone there. If the Cubs perceive that Appel wants too much I think they pass and go with someone else. But Appel is a senior and has less leverage. It’s a tough question.

  2. TWC

    Hmm… maybe I should go to see a couple of Stanford games this spring. Looking at the schedule, Appel’s probably pitching their first game back from their college break on 3/22.

  3. waittilthisyear

    this is the wise, frugal move for the front office to do. however, if they do indeed draft Appel #2, i feel as though they will be passing on the next big thing (i dont have a specific player in mind) and trolls will point and say “nananana you picked appel instead of (future star)”

  4. King Jeff

    Could Appel potentially pull a JD Drew and play in the international league for a year before re-entering the draft, or did they eliminate that loophole? I am fairly concerned that he is going to be a tough sign again.

    1. Grant

      I believe it’s possible, but is the difference between #1 slot and #2 slot so big that it would be worth putting off a big pay day for a year and risk an injury or poor performance that could result in a worse draft position? He can’t go back to college for a year (where he’d be facing some kids 2-4 years younger than him, padding his numbers). Also, realizing that getting more money means being with the worst team in baseball, if I were Appel, I’d consider taking a little less to be on a team with what appears to be a bright future and the possibility of ending a century-long championship drought.

    2. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Another factor to consider. Apparently Appel’s family is extremely wealthy, so if he doesn’t NEED money, he will have more leverage.

  5. CubFan Paul

    Does anyone know what his pitching repertoire is? two/four seam guy, heavy cutter, sinkballer, sharp slider? plus offspeed everything?

    1. Cedlandrum

      Two seam and four seam. Also throws a slider and is working on being more consistent with his change.

  6. Jp3

    Would rather have Appel than Stanek, he’s been getting a lot of love in the mocks lately. He just doesn’t look to be dominant like Appel can look at times. Can’t blame Appel for not wanting to be a Pirate:). Also was his agent Boras? If so, yikes

    1. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

      Yes, his advisor (wink, wink) is Boras. I like Appel because he would be quick to the majors, but Boros scares me. I just hope the Cubs have a pre-draft ‘deal’ so they can sign him quick. But June is a long ways away.

    2. wvcubsfan

      If Stanek keeps pitching like he has his first three starts he might be on the board when the Cubs pick in the second round.

      As an Arkansas fan I really hope that doesn’t happen because the Cubs fan in me knows that he’ll be taken by the Astros with the first pick of the second round.

  7. JulioZuleta

    One thing that I will say from following them at a distance the last 2 years is that Manea’a manager seems to be much more responsible in terms of limiting pitch count. I saw he was pulled in the fourth the other day at 80-something pitches. On the other hand, it’s been pretty normal to see Appel reach upwards of 130-140. He threw 149 pitches in a start last year leading up to the draft, which just infuriates me. That’s incredibly selfish of the manager, adn is worth keeping an eye on. After 4 years of that abuse, he’ll have an awful lot of mileage on the arm.

    1. Jono

      That’s a great observation

    2. Scotti

      There is a difference between 130-140 pitches in college and 130-140 pitches in the pro ranks. In the pros the guy has to bounce back in five days. In college he typically has to bounce back in seven days. That difference is the same as the difference between Roger Clemens with, or without, steroids (the reason older pitchers take steroids is to be able to bounce back quicker).

      There is pitcher abuse in college but generally it is when a pitcher is used too frequently.

    3. Edwin

      Does Mark Appel’s pitch count differ from what other college pitchers like David Price went through?

      1. Scotti

        Per here are some of Price’s pitch counts his final year: 127, 137, 125, 120, and 128… (posted May 9th 2007)…

  8. Cedlandrum

    Well the one thing you get with MA is that he is very consistent with his mechanics, so he should move very quickly through the system. He might be a guy that only needs this year and part of next in the minors.

  9. Abe Froman

    I’d like to see them draft Appel if he’s there and be upfront with what they are willing to pay. If they can’t reach an agreement, fine, they will have the third pick next year and most likely another very high pick.

  10. loyal100more

    wasnt mark prior a former #2 over all pick

    1. Edwin

      Yep. I can’t wait for the lazy writers to have fun making that comparison if the Cubs draft Appel.

  11. preacherman86

    What are Sean Manea’s stats thus far? A rising 6’5″ lefty with good stuff and less mileage on his arm is more intriguing than either of Appel or Stanek in my opinion.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      3 G 16 IP 1.69 ERA 8 H 7 BB 24 SO 2 2b

    2. Cedlandrum

      true, but I think if he has a hammer down season that stros should and will take him.

      1. DB Kyle

        I’m pretty happy with the way the whole draft is developing. We can all have our preferences (and I hope our front office does), but right now it’s clear that there will be plenty to choose from at the top of the draft. Appel, Manaea, Frazier are all worthy No.-2 picks right now, and a few guys on the periphery seem like they could still take a step forward as well.

      2. preacherman86

        good point, though I think Appel is the more sure fire prospect with all the successes and track record, might be too sure fire to pass on, as well as high school prospects. For some reason the best bat at the high school level is so intriguing to teams that they jump at that opportunity. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Frazier (with 4 bombs in 4 games) or Meadows (5 tool stud) go to an Astros team that prefers a smaller dollar figure, and would presumably get that from those two over Appel or Manea. Not to be forgotten Manea is a junior and could play the same game Appel played if he so chooses, I just think the package is good enough to play the game, whereas the Pirates, similar to the Astros in payroll and money, were not going to pay the premium on Appel. I guess I’m hoping that Appel outperforms Manea slightly this year, with a better track record, and one of the high school bats explodes this year, and the Cubs are left with a tough choice of Appel and Manea or Manea and h.s. bat. Which if they are looking to hit the lottery should be Manea.

        1. DB Kyle

          I don’t think the Pirates thought for a second they were going to sign Appel. Once he got past No. 2, nobody was going to be able to meet his demands. Whoever picked him was just passing and getting the replacement pick this year.

          1. Jeff

            So why did they waste their draft pick on him, if they didn’t think Appel would sign? That makes no sense at all.

            1. DB Kyle

              It wasn’t wasted. Because they didnt sign their pick last year, they get a replacement pick this year one spot later in a deeper draft.

              1. preacherman86

                i heard this year was a weaker draft actually, though maybe I’m off in that?

                1. DB Kyle

                  Weaker at the top, but possibly better at the back of the top 10.

  12. loyal100more

    i think prior went right after mauer

  13. Joshua Shapiro

    I think the Cubs will be trying to compete by 2014. With a rotation possibly of Garza, Samardzija, Ed Jackson and Appel + . It could be possible. A team that shelled out all that money for Soler (albeit before the new rules) isn’t afraid of investing if the talent is there.

  14. preacherman86

    Also, keep your eyes on a kid named oscar mercado, a ss out of a florida high school. Seems like every year a very toolsy shortstop rockets up boards before the draft and this kid might be the one to do it this year. Wouldn’t be shocked to see him become a top 5 with a stellar showing this season in his leagues.

  15. Joshua Shapiro

    The other aspect of the upcoming draft is that it’s supposed to be very deep at catcher with some top tier bats possible. That’s an area the Cubs need to upgrade the pipeline on too, but probably in the second rd.

  16. DB Kyle

    Huge Appel fan at this point. He’s taken the one drawback he had (a little iffy on strikeouts) and proven that he can improve it this season.

    I’m generally very anti-pitcher with high first-round picks, and I don’t trust guys who show up out of nowhere in their draft year, so that punts out Manaea.

    Appel or Frazier would be fine with me. I’d expect both to sign for around slot.

    1. DB Kyle

      The great thing with Appel is that he’ll be 22 before he ever throws a pro pitch and almost 23 before his first full season. If he’s healthy up to draft day, then he’s already past most of the years where you worry most about arm injuries.

    2. Edwin

      It’s tough, because the turnover rate on pitching prospects is just so bad in general, that it seems foolish to draft one #2 overall. A position player would probably be a safer bet.

      On the other hand, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, and this could be one of the better chances to get a legitamate “impact” arm in the farm system. I’d be happy if they took Mark Appel. The nice thing is that Appel would have a chance to contribute as soon as mid to late 2014, 2015.

      1. JB88

        I think you raise good points. If I had an overall organizational philosophy, I would want a ton of depth with pitching and shoot for high-talent hitters in the first round. Given the burnout rate of pitchers, it just seems like a higher percentage bet to go after hitters than pitchers in the first.

        1. Scotti

          Given the cost (and flame out rate) of top free agent pitchers, the scarcity of trade-available top pitchers and the fact that, once a pitcher loses “it” then “it” is most often lost for good or at least several years (whereas a positional player can shift positions, play DH, etc.)… It makes sense to draft top pitching talent when you can (high in the draft, id needed) and, subsequently, hire top positional talent through the free agent process.

          Would you rather lose $5-10 million on a drafted pitcher or $100-150 million on a free agent pitcher who likely will get a contract that is paying him for past, and not future, performance? Yes, with the pick you lose the actual pick (turn in the draft) if he busts. Yes, with the FA you are more likely to get something back (if you’re lucky a couple years before he busts/degrades). But the difference in cash is STARK, and as I said, you just don’t get many opportunities to trade or sign top pitchers anymore–teams lock those guys up.

          Even Edwin Jackson cost 4/52 and he’s been league average for his career. There may be some upside to Jackson yet but he isn’t a #1 or even a #2 and we had to shell out $52 million on a four-year guaranteed contract (insurance will typically only cover the first three years of a pitcher’s contract).

          Remember, Samardzija cost us $10 million. Garza cost several top prospects (and fewer and fewer teams would even do that now).

  17. JB88

    Given the MO of this front office, anyone talking to Bowden and telling him definitively what the Cubs will do is not connected with or employed by the Cubs baseball operations.

    1. DB Kyle

      Really? Because it’s been a huge leak-fest for the last year, and the front office constantly preaches honesty with the fans.

      Scouts talk in all organizations. They just do.

      1. JB88

        What leaks? Seriously. Name a leak that has been attributed to the Cubs’ FO and not some other FO or agent. The Cubs’ FO is buttoned up tight—which is part of the reason that guys like Sullivan and Levine are even snarkier now than they used to be; i.e., they are pissed that they aren’t getting leaks from the Cubs anymore.

        And, frankly, who cares what some random scout says. Unless that scout happens to be Epstein, Hoyer, or McLeod, what a random scout says can’t/shouldn’t be taken as gospel in any organization, let alone the Cubs.

        1. ETS

          Dejesus had bought a house in chicago a long time before it broke that he was coming to the cubs.

          1. frank

            His wife is from Chicago.

        2. DB Kyle

          If your’e just going to decide that any leak doesn’t come from the Cubs, then it’s going to be pretty hard to list any leaks coming from the Cubs. But there’ve been a lot of leaks, many of which made the most sense coming from the Cubs (especially the Sanchez leak. The argument that it came from the agent never made any sense).

          1. JB88

            That logic is beyond faulty.

            And I thought it was pretty well known that the Sanchez leak came from his agent in order to get Detroit re-engaged. If I’m wrong, I’ll concede that one.

            1. DB Kyle

              That was the consensus of Cubs fans who seemed to rather kneejerkingly want to assume that it couldn’t possibly have come from the front office.

              But it never made a lick of sense. If the agent wanted to get Detroit reengaged, then the leak would have said “Cubs nearing deal with Sanchez.” The only party that had incentive to leak that the deal was “done” and not “close” was the Cubs.

              1. JB88

                Maybe it was the Cubs. But that still doesn’t justify your comment that it has been a giant “leak-fest.”

                Listen, leaks do happen and they happen strategically. If the Sanchez leak was made by the Cubs (which I still doubt, given the writers who were credited with breaking the story), then there was a strategic reason for that leak.

                But what is the strategic upside of the Cubs leaking on March 12th that they are selecting Appel at 2? There is just no upside to that. First, at #2, they don’t have the first pick in the draft so they need to be strategic about the information they release. Second, if it is revealed on 3/13 that Appel is their guy, their leverage goes out the window for getting Appel signed to a team-friendly deal. Third, if the Cubs leaked that now, it also gives them less credibility when watching other prospects or offering them leverage in negotiations with other prospects.

                There are just so many reasons why someone of influence in the FO wouldn’t want to say it that it calls into doubt the crediblity of both the person to whom this quote is attributed and Bowden for posting it.

                1. DB Kyle

                  I’m perfectly willing to buy that it could have been a strategic leak, or that it could have been a scout with no real authority shooting the breeze.

        3. JB88

          I’d also add that the likelihood that someone in the Cubs said that to Bowden is reduced even more given the fact that it is March 13th, nearly three months before the draft.

          It is just so highly unlikely that someone of importance said that to Bowden that I’m frankly pretty surprised that he included that information in his article.

          1. DB Kyle

            Well, I don’t think anyone thinks it’s gospel to the point that there’s literally no chance. If Appel hurts his arm or something between now and then, then they wouldn’t still draft him.

            It’s likely coming from a scout who is familiar with the organization’s internal discussions, knows they like Appel a lot, and is projecting.

            1. JB88

              I will return to my first comment in this thread then: Given the MO of this front office, anyone talking to Bowden and telling him definitively what the Cubs will do is not connected with or employed by the Cubs baseball operations.

              And I will add this caveat: if that person was employed by the Cubs, that person has little to no say over who the Cubs draft.

              In other words, this, IMO, is a complete non-story. And given the author of the story, it isn’t terribly surprising.

              1. DB Kyle

                At the very least, we know of one leak that came from a Cubs employee definitively: Marmol leaking the Haren trade.

                1. hansman1982

                  So, “leak fest” to 1 for sure and 1 probable.

                  1. DB Kyle

                    And quite a few possibles where the primary reason it’s being discounted is that “the Cubs don’t leak.”

                    1. DB Kyle

                      The Soler deal leaked almost six weeks before it was official, for example.

                      Pretty much everyone in baseball knew the Cubs were focused on Almora last year

      2. Jono

        Since my name isn’t displayed here, Im willing to write this: my brother is an agent who strictly deals with baseball players. This is a very secretive front office. The public only knows a small fraction of what theyre doing. And they only tell us things well after they become official. You might disregard what I write, but it’s the truth. And the leaks we’ve experienced so far have not come from the cubs front office. Saying otherwise is 100% factless speculation

        1. Edwin

          Isn’t that begging the question?

      3. hansman1982

        If I remember correctly, the only leak attributable to the Cubs FO was Marmol/Haren.

        1. DB Kyle

          That one came from Marmol.

          1. Rebuilding

            It could be that the Cubs love Manaea and leaked this to put some doubt in the Astros mind. The fact is we will never know

          2. hansman1982

            Which I “blame” our front office for.

            In the end, it didn’t really matter as with most leaks. Draft picks and/or IFA interest may matter slightly more.

            1. preacherman86

              Just gonna throw this out there, this many posts discussing “leaks” over a speculative pick in the draft upcoming THIS SUMMER, is a waste of time, space and finger energy. Bottom line is this, Appel is throwing lights out right now, what’s not to like? To say they don’t like Appel is more revealing than saying they do anyway. Everyone likes Appel at this point, its just a matter of liking him more than the rest. Which isn’t confirmed or denied. It’s a non-leak, the guy is throwing at the highest level against the toughest competition of the draft class top 10. OF COURSE HE IS LIKED BY ALL!!! Also, everyone liked him last year, just not enough to draft him over the guys they did, for a variety of reasons. If you don’t like what you are seeing from Appel right now as a prospect you are a bad scout and not doing your job, he is a legit prospect, just maybe not the one the Cubs like best

  18. Idaho Razorback

    I don’t want Appel period. I’m partial to Stanek as he pitches for my Hogs. I saw Stanek pitch on tv last year and he was dominate.

    1. ETS

      I Like Manaea but I think just because he is left handed. I haven’t seen him throw in person or anything.

    2. wvcubsfan

      Sure hopes he gets that form back. So far he’s the 3rd best starter on the team. Granted they still have one heck of a starting rotation. Now if they could just hit the ball against real D1 schools.

  19. Jim

    If the Cubs decide to take the highest available position player at #2 is there really a stand out candidate? Austin Meadows? Clint Frazier? Kris Bryant? I know you take the highest available player at that pick no matter what your depth is, but this Kris Bryant intrigues me. Great size, plus power, takes walks, and play 3B which is seemingly an endless black hole for the Cubs system over the years. He could also move to the outfield.

  20. macpete22

    I could see him getting past the Astros because of money reasons, so I’ve heard. I’d be happy if they indeed do decide to draft Appel

  21. dw8

    I’ve got my eyes on Friday April 26th in Eugene.
    By then I should have some write up capabilities, too.

  22. Cubbie Tim

    What happened to Hayden Simpson?

    1. DB Kyle

      Two possibilities.

      One is that the Cubs saw him on an unusually high velocity day during his spring season and thought they had found a hidden gem that nobody else was scouting, and turned out to be wrong.

      The other is that the mono he fought going into his pro debut permanently ruined his velocity.

    2. Jeff

      Who????? Oh, you mean the draft pick that could have been Mike Olt…lol

  23. Luke

    I’d contest that Appel was clearly the best college pitcher going into the 2011 draft. He fell primarily because of signability, but I’m not so sure that KC or Baltimore would rather have had Appel, signability aside.

    I’m not convinced he’s the best college pitcher in this draft, either. He looks like a solid No 2 or No 3 starter in the majors to me, and he won’t need long in the minors, but if I’m taking a pitcher at #2 overall, I want someone with true ace potential. I just don’t see that with Appel. At least, not so far.

    There is a long way to go before the draft, but right now I’d rather have Manea or a position player.

    1. DB Kyle

      I feel like a lot of the Appel criticisms come from being in the spotlight so long that people just want to find faults with him. If Manaea had been in the spotlight for that long, I suspect he’d have a laundry list of complaints similar.

      1. Edwin

        I’m sure at the very least someone will end up complaining about either Appel or Manea’s throwing mechanics, and how either one or the other is destined to be an injury prone bust. It’s just how draft coverage goes, I think. At this point I’d think it would be pretty tough to be able to accurately tell the difference between the two.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Economists cannot agree with each other about what a good economics system is, and they sometimes use actual data to support their arguments. So, for any pitcher deemed to have good mechanics by one scout, you will surely find numerous scouts who think that he has bad mechanics.

    2. MightyBear

      I’d be happy with Appel or Manea.

    3. Norm

      I don’t think it was signability…the Astro’s simply thought Correa was the best player. More than a few did.
      There has been reports that if the Cubs had the first pick they still would have picked Almora.

      But once Appel fell and lost many millions of dollars and the 2013 draft being noticeably weaker, THEN he became a signability issue. He took a chance and it will likely pay off…barring injury.

      1. DB Kyle

        After everybody in the first eight picks or so makes their selection, there are suddenly a bunch of leaks about how they would have taken that guy No. 1. That’s just something teams say.

        1. DarthHater

          Except that quite a few folks were saying that the Cubs would take Almora at No. 1 BEFORE the 2012 draft took place. But why let a little thing like facts get in the way of a perfectly good preconceived opinion?

          1. DB Kyle

            Ha. You’ve fallen into my trap. Now let’s go back to the “Cubs never leak anything” discussion :)

            1. DarthHater

              Checkmate. :-) But I never had a dog in the “Cubs never leak” fight, so I have no problem with that.

          2. Edwin

            “Further, Goldstein was on the radio last night and said an executive told him that if the Cubs were picking first, they might pick Almora. That’s how much they apparently like him.”

            “and many have speculated that the Cubs would take Almora even if they had the first overall selection in Tuesday’s draft”

            For starters, the “Many have speculated” is pretty general, and unsubstantiated. We don’t know if “Many” means Cubs front office, or if it means Bleacher Nation followers. It’s probable that all Jordan Campbell was doing was referencing kevin Goldstein, except inserting the phrase “many”.

            For the first claim, again it’s a “might” take him, and it’s from an unamed exec, who is probably just throwing a quote out there. The point is that these types of quotes are cheap, and easy for teams to make, because it’s so unlikely that a team actually has to make that choice. It’s a cheap way to get fans excited about a prospect, and smooth things over with the prospect’s ego.

            The Cubs would easily rather tell Almora that they wanted him all along, as opposed to telling him that they actually wanted Appel but didn’t sign him due to signability issues.

  24. Kramden

    Taking a pitcher that high in he draft scares me. Seeing too many injuries that show up early and cost development time. Almost hoping the Astros take Appel and leave the Cubs to choose the best positional player in the draft. Less risk to take pitchers in Round 2 and beyond.

    1. Edwin

      Less potential for a potential star pitcher too. I agree, in general drafting a pitcher in the first round seems like a waste, but I think every once in awhile exceptions need to be made.

      1. TheDynastyStartsIn2016

        The ultimate risk/reward scenario.
        I’d guess most of the ‘ace’ pitchers over the last 20 years have been high draft choices.
        I’d also guess that most first round ‘busts’ over the last 20 years have been pitchers.

        1. Edwin

          That’s my impression.

      2. MightyBear

        Agreed. Strasburg.

        1. MightyBear

          GD it. I was agreeing with Edwin and using Strasburg as an example.

          1. hansman1982

            And that’s what you did.

            Prior would be the other exception. Theo has already said that if there is a sure-fire TOR guy at the top, they’d take him.

          2. Edwin

            I don’t see why it’s a big deal. I agree with myself over 60% of the time, every time.

      3. DB Kyle

        Tim Wilken was some podcast yesterday and he described the Cubs’ philosophy on that. He said there’s usually only around eight “ace” pitchers in the majors at any given time, so your odds of drafting one is very small and you don’t really need one to win.

        You do, however, need several middle of the order hitters, and those are much harder to find late than No. 2 pitchers (though neither is actually *easy* to find late).

  25. Kirbs414

    I’m about to start my senior year in high school baseball, still waiting for the Cubs scouts to come out and give me a look. I find it hard to believe they could miss a player like me! :)

  26. Marc N.

    Appel is the guy I hope falls to two, but Austin Meadows’ set of tools and size is interesting in the HS crop. Appel has been nasty this year.

    I’m very leery of Clint Frazier. He’s riding a “zomg we needs to find all the Mike Troutz” wave and as the 6′ non-projectible HS CF he gets the call for this draft. Hes already popular for being a ginger as if that matters. Every HS HR he’s hitting this year is an event on Twitter….its just a bit over the top to me. I’d be surprised if he was legtimately an option at two.

    1. Marc N.

      Take yesterday’s game for example. Clint Frazier hit a really long HR. Keith Law is the only guy who pointed out that K and other out in the two PAs he made before that. It’s HS FFS in the first place how serious should I be taking his HR production?

      I’m being harsh maybe because the internet consensus is that Frazier is the big deal guy. I still wonder about the “is he really great or is he great for this draft” perspective/issue. This draft isn’t very strong at the top – Callis said the 2012 HS crop is better than the top guys here so far – and draft creep is just as real as prospect creep.

      1. JB88

        Frazier is 15-25 on the season with 6 HRs and 18 RBIs already. Frazier hit .424 last year with 24 HRs, 58 RBIs, and 14 SBs. Kid can rake.

        As a comparison, Meadows is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with one home run and six RBIs this season. Last year, Meadows hit .390 with four homers, 28 RBIs and 19 steals.

        Meadows is a lefty and will likely stay in CF, but Frazier’s bat seems more projectable to me. And he reminds me of Braun as a hitter (though obviously the two played different positions in HS).

        1. Marc N.

          You just fed me HS bating lines. Worse is that it’s a combined 42 ABs between them and then junior year numbers. How should I be valuing this? Why should I be valuing to an extreme end his HR production against HS pitching? Are these even DSL stats’ level as far as predictive power?

          There’s tons of questions…makeup…what showcases and how’d he do…where is he in five years when he’s not a HS and twitter ginger sensation…how do his baseball tools project….

          1. JB88

            Everything you have written on this subject is exactly true of Austin Meadows, who is a HS player who you are seemingly fawning over. Every hitting statistic favors Frazier, save SBs.

            If you are going to throw out projectable questions, that holds true for basically every HS player out there. And you are clearly not advocating not selecting a HS player. Basically, it appears that you are arguing for the sake of arguing and have some strange disdain for redheads.

            Done with this back and forth because just arguing that HS numbers don’t matter is awfully silly when all we have is HS numbers off of which to compare Meadows to Frazier.

    2. JB88

      For what it’s worth, Frazier isn’t exactly a flash in the pan. He’s been on a lot of people’s prospect radar for a couple years now. His hit tool to me looks superior to Meadows’, but I sincerely doubt he’s a CFer long term.

      1. Marc N.

        Yeah he’s been around a while relatively speaking, but the top HSer talk really got its start after he hit the oppo double in the AFLAC game. Meadows seemed to take a hit just for the hell of taking a hit.

        The bat speed isn’t even Baez type exciting and Baez went 9. Not a blanket damning statement, but just more for the “is he great for this draft or all drafts” running through my head.

        1. JB88

          I hear what you are saying, but I think your question in the last sentence is more a product of a weak 2013 draft. I will say this about Frazier though: kid took 31 walks last season. I couldn’t tell you how many of those were intentional, but 31 walks in a short HS season suggests he’s got a good eye.

          I just think between Frazier and Meadows, Frazier is the safer bet. Sure Meadows is toolsy, but I don’t see one tool where the kid is spectacular. I still think (and probably hope) the Cubs select a pitcher, but if a pitcher doesn’t emerge as a No. 2 candidate, I hope the Cubs select Frazier.

          1. Marc N.

            31 walks in HS suggests he took 31 walks in HS. I take nothing out of a HS batting line.

            Personally think Meadows’ tools are way more wow in the long term than Frazier’s with the disadvantage of having less present HR power (again at 18 in HS, not a big deal to me).

            1. hansman1982

              That’s better than 3 walks.

              As it says in Moneyball: If the kid can walk, then why isn’t he taking walks? (the inverse being potentially true here)

              1. Marc N.

                Who took 3 walks and at what level of ball?

            2. JB88

              That might be true, but there is a huge difference between the power numbers that Frazier is putting up and those that Meadows is putting up. All things equal, I take Frazier over Meadows. Maybe it is just personal opinion, but I have a feeling that Frazier is a star down the road.

              1. Marc N.

                You’re still taking HS power numbers here. Unless there’s some study out there to show that HS power numbers (or any numbers in HS) have any kind of long term relevance, and there isn’t, then it’s just trivia. I don’t see the HRs and think “oh, he’s got great pro power potential” because there’s a half dozen questions to need to follow up that number. What level of HS competition are we talking here? What kind of stuff is he facing? He’s 6’0 and doesn’t seem to have any major projection moving forward – how does that affect his power projection in 5 years? He said he wanted to prove he had pro power this year. Has he changed his swing and approach to do it? How does that project in the long run? Will they have to change the swing back? There is no face value with HS numbers.

                1. Randy

                  You know I remember everyone talking about Bryce Harpers power numbers when he was in HS and look where he is now. Fraizer is getting projected to go higher than Meadows in the draft and is starting to get Trout comparison’s. I know those don’t go a long way with prospects, but I doubt scouts are bringing up his name just to fool people. He has a rocket for an arm, plus speed, and most are saying the best bat speed in the draft. By the way Meadows and Fraizer are playing against the a lot of the same competition and will even have a game against each other this year. I think it is funny when everyone says that this year is a weaker draft and yet if you look at it, there will be most likely be just as many stars that come out of this year than last.

                  1. Marc N.

                    I have no clue what Bryce Harper hit in high school. I still have known he exists since he was 15. Frazier isn’t even on the same planet as Harper when it comes to talent.

                    That this is a weak draft makes the conditions perfect for some one like Frazier to catch helium. Hes even got a schtick as the ginger guy. He’s not as good a prospect as either one of those guys.

                    1. Cam

                      Trout wasn’t anywhere near as highly thought of coming out of HS as Frazier is. Trout’s stock exploded during his time in the minors.

                      Incidentally, how do you know Frazier’s bat speed isn’t even up to pars with Baez’, which is a high bar to reach anyway? I’ve read a few notes suggesting Frazier’s bat speed is as good as it gets. It certainly looked good on the first homer he hit Thursday which one on-looking scout said went as far as any he’s seen at the HS level.

                      What makes you sure Meadows has better tools or projection? The fact that he’s a taller?

                    2. fromthemitten

                      in response to what Cam said about Trout being not highly rated it was because he played baseball in New Jersey, which doesn’t have year round leagues so they didn’t have enough scouting data on him. he was still good enough to be a 1st round draft pick.

                    3. Cam


                      I didn’t say Trout wasn’t highly rated. I said he wasn’t as highly regarded at the time of his draft as Frazier is and will be. Obviously, Trout was rated quite high.

  27. Grant Jones

    The problem with Appel is that I have heard he is already from a wealthy family, but he still wants X million dollars to feed his ego, which I have heard is big. But hey, if he can produce he could be worth it. I will wait it out to make a decision on who I like in the draft for the Cubs.

    1. Edwin

      I don’t understand. Are you saying that players from wealthy families should agree to play for less money than players from poor families? What does his families wealth have to do with anything?

      As far as ego goes, I’m pretty sure that’s something that all high draft picks have. From what I hear, Baez also has quite the ego.

      1. hansman1982

        I wonder, do you need the ego to be good or does the ego come about because you are good?

    2. DB Kyle

      Not only do I not consider a large ego a negative, it’s practically a prerequisite for being a great athlete.

    3. Norm

      There is a good chance that his draft payday is the biggest payday he ever receives. The difference from #1 to #6 or #8 is pretty significant.

  28. Matty Ice

    I say take Appel. Offer him 1-2 million under slot, if he says no let him pitch in the independent league and then have two top 5 picks in 2014.

    1. Norm

      And lose what, $4-$5M of your draft pool money?

      1. hansman1982

        That, in theory, you wouldn’t have anyway because you would have spent it all to get Appel signed.

        Fretting about not being able to sign your 1st round draft pick because you’d lose the slot money is the wrong thing to be worried about.

        1. Norm

          It’s a BIG thing to be worried about. You’re talking the difference in selecting, at worst, the #2 player on your board or not having a 1st round pick at all and losing that money to try and make up for it in later rounds.

  29. scoobypop5

    Talked to Appel at the Housont airpost

  30. scoobypop5

    Said maybe he’d get the chance to play w both Jackson’s in CF in same year (brett’s brother is Stanford cf)

    1. DarthHater

      So he thinks he’ll get drafted and immediately start either at Iowa or in Chicago, eh? Gotta like a guy with confidence. :-)