URL Weaver: KISS Theory

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:

Pick Player Team Position School
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]

The real baseball teams played real baseball games last night, which means Yasiel Puig did something amazing. How about his first career grand slam? Sounds about right.

Lance Berkman attempts to take the fall for his manager, who may or may not have lost his fool mind last night against the Red Sox. [ESPN Dallas]

For those of us casting skeptical glances towards Tony Bosch, it turns out MLB has “tons” of witnesses in their Biogenesis case. [Newsday]

Matt Carpenter, kind of the best. [Fangraphs]

Rockies gonna rock

Struggling team fresh off receiving multiple career years needs player coming off career year to restore career year form. [#NATITUDE]