Editor’s Note: This scouting report is based off of Mark Appel‘s 2011 Cape Cod League debut appearance.
Stanford’s Mark Appel is one of the top pitching prospects in the 2012 MLB Draft. He profiles as a ground ball pitcher and should see an increase in swing and miss pitches once he fills out his frame and can snap the slider at a higher speed. He showcases three MLB average pitches, with two above average offerings at this stage. Additional weight and improved secondary offerings could make him the first selection in next year’s draft.
Height: 6′ 6″
Weight: 200 lbs.
Tall, limber, projectable right hander that is currently light in the pants. Roughly 200 lbs. on his 6’6″ frame. Can easily put on 25-30 pounds as he matures and I see a nice power pitcher that can sit at the top of a rotation.
Mark Appel‘s fastball sits easily in the 94-95 mph range and he dialed it up to 97 mph on his debut night. As with most of his arsenal, he commands this pitch rather well, keeping the ball down in the zone constantly.
The fastball was fouled off even in hitters counts when they knew it was coming. Guys had trouble getting square contact and even when hit hard, they were ground balls that would have been eaten up in the professional ranks.
I have seen him dial it up to 98 mph in other encounters and others have seen him hit 99 mph. With additional lower half strength and weight gain, he may sit in the 96 mph range with the four-seam fastball.
This pitch has real good tempo and action off of the fastball, making him effective in keeping hitters off-balance. The fade is even heightened from the arm slot and most likely will be his bread and butter offering outside the fastball as a professional.
Mark Appel‘s slider sat 81-82 mph, but was surprisingly tight. He works it out of the zone and away from contact, likely because of the offering’s speed. I have never seen him throw this inside on the right handed hitters and he hardly threw it against the left handed batters.
I think this pitch has solid room for improvement. Seeing the tight action, maturation could make this pitch sit better off the four-seam and enhance his arsenal.
This pitch was not utilized in his Cape Cod debut and it is a slight cross between two seam fastball and cutter. It sits in the 88-90 mph range mostly, but I have seen it ride up to 93 mph.
It’s a heavy ball with nice late lateral movement and he has plus command of the pitch. The ball sits well in the zone and is very tough for hitters to square up on.
This pitch could use some improvement with better rotation, but it is improving and an encouraging sign. Seeing the impressive circle change, it is wise to establish this pitch more often over a diet heavy in four-seam fastballs.
Mark Appel is a downhill thrower with nice easy action coming out from a lower 3/4 slot. He places no additional pressure on the elbow or shoulder at this stage, as everything falls in a correct path.
The lower half push could improve with the help of lower leg development in order to help sustain the foundation to late longer, arm speed in relation to the delivery. He has excellent stride length that enhances his pitches by cutting 6-7 feet before releasing the pitch.
He has a solid, full extension to go along with an effective follow through; these together help keep the ball down in the zone. His size allows for a very high release point that generates a nice downward plane action on all his pitches.
Mark Appel‘s command is the reason I rate him so high on the board. For such a large man on the mound, he remains on top of the ball well.
He constantly attacks down in the zone and to both sides of the plate with the fastball and change up, hitting the black at will. He maintains a clear understanding of his current ablity and locates pitches in and out of the zone. He can always improve his control of the slider, but he tends to cut off the plate mainly due to the speed of the offering.