If history is any indication, the desire to flex one’s mental muscles is nearly impossible to resist. It often isn’t enough to simply be the smartest guy in the room, you must make sure everybody else knows you’re the smartest guy in the room.
The Houston Astros front office is full of very smart guys. The kind of people who sometimes struggle to keep it simple in the face of more complicated options. Rather than indulge this need to get cute, the Astros did what appears to be the simple, straight-forward and natural thing with the first pick in last night’s amateur player draft: they selected the best player available.
Rather than select a comparably talented player who might save them a few bonus pool dollars, the Astros picked the player most had at the top of their lists: Mark Appel. No zigging where others would zag, no brazen rejection of consensus opinion, the Astros chose the guy they, and everyone, liked best. Simple.
Mark Appel was the number one player on most draft boards, as the big Stanford product has all the makings of a future ace. The big right-hander features a fastball which sits in the mid-to-upper nineties, touching 99 on occasion. His slider and changeup are also considered better-than-average offerings, with the changeup looking like the kind of pitch he could throw to both lefties and right-handed batters alike.
The Pirates famously drafted Appel last season as he fell to the 9th pick given his considerable signing bonus demands. Appel didn’t sign so this was his final kick at the draft can. As a college senior, he has a little bit less leverage in terms of commanding an above-slot bonus but he is also freed from the July 12th signing deadline.
The rest of the top five went pretty much as anticipated, with the Cubs taking slugging third baseman Kris Bryant, the Rockies selecting Jonathan Gray, the pitcher from Oklahoma who recently failed a drug screen, testing positive for Adderall. The Twins selected the top prep arm in the draft class in Kohl Stewart and Cleveland rounded out the top five by selecting Clint Frazier, a high school outfielder from Georgia.
The full list of first round picks is below:
|1||Appel, MarkMark Appel||Houston Astros||Right-handed pitcher||Stanford|
|2||Bryant, KrisKris Bryant||Chicago Cubs||Third baseman||San Diego|
|3||Gray, JonathanJonathan Gray||Colorado Rockies||Right-handed pitcher||Oklahoma|
|4||Stewart, KohlKohl Stewart||Minnesota Twins||Right-handed pitcher||St. Pius X High School (TX)|
|5||Frazier, ClintClint Frazier||Cleveland Indians||Outfielder||Loganville High School (GA)|
|6||Moran, ColinColin Moran||Miami Marlins||Third baseman||North Carolina|
|7||Ball, TreyTrey Ball||Boston Red Sox||Left-handed pitcher||New Castle Chrysler High School (IN)|
|8||Dozier, HunterHunter Dozier||Kansas City Royals||Shortstop||Stephen F. Austin|
|9||Meadows, AustinAustin Meadows||Pittsburgh Pirates||Outfielder||Grayson High School (GA)|
|10||Bickford, PhilPhil Bickford||Toronto Blue Jays||Right-handed pitcher||Oaks Christian School (CA)|
|11||Smith, DominicDominic Smith||New York Mets||First baseman||Serra High School (CA)|
|12||Peterson, D. J.D. J. Peterson||Seattle Mariners||Third baseman||New Mexico|
|13||Renfroe, HunterHunter Renfroe||San Diego Padres||Outfielder||Mississippi State|
|14||McGuire, ReeseReese McGuire||Pittsburgh Pirates||Catcher||Kentwood High School (WA)|
|15||Shipley, BradenBraden Shipley||Arizona Diamondbacks||Right-handed pitcher||Nevada|
|16||Crawford, J. P.J. P. Crawford||Philadelphia Phillies||Shortstop||Lakewood High School (CA)|
|17||Anderson, TimTim Anderson||Chicago White Sox||Shortstop||East Central CC (MS)|
|18||Anderson, ChrisChris Anderson||Los Angeles Dodgers||Right-handed pitcher||Jacksonville|
|19||Gonzales, MarcoMarco Gonzales||St. Louis Cardinals||Left-handed pitcher||Gonzaga|
|20||Crawford, JonathonJonathon Crawford||Detroit Tigers||Right-handed pitcher||Florida|
|21||Ciuffo, NickNick Ciuffo||Tampa Bay Rays||Catcher||Lexington High School (SC)|
|22||Harvey, HunterHunter Harvey||Baltimore Orioles||Right-handed pitcher||Bandys High School (NC)|
|23||Gonzalez, AlexAlex Gonzalez||Texas Rangers||Right-handed pitcher||Oral Roberts|
|24||McKinney, BillyBilly McKinney||Oakland Athletics||Outfielder||Plano West High School (TX)|
|25||Arroyo, ChristianChristian Arroyo||San Francisco Giants||Shortstop||Hernando High School (FL)|
|26||Jagielo, EricEric Jagielo||New York Yankees||Third baseman||Notre Dame|
|27||Ervin, PhillipPhillip Ervin||Cincinnati Reds||Outfielder||Samford|
And the rest
Pick by pick instant reaction for ESPN Insiders [ESPN ($)]
Full MLB.com coverage. Mind the pom poms and reckless comps. [MLB.com]
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Rockies gonna rock
— Jason Parks (@ProfessorParks) June 6, 2013
Struggling team fresh off receiving multiple career years needs player coming off career year to restore career year form. [#NATITUDE]