MLB Draft 2012: Stanford RHP Mark Appel Among Candidates For No. 1 Pick

Stanford Cardinal RHP Mark Appel is currently among the leading candidates for the number one overall pick in 2012 MLB Draft. Houston will make that decision in early June, but in the meantime we follow Appel's 2012 season as he looks to prove his worthiness for the top pick. For more on Stanford, head over to Rule of Tree.

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Stanford Vs. Texas Recap: Mark Appel Strikes Out 10 In 7-2 Win

The No. 2 Stanford Cardinal won their series opener against the visiting Texas Longhorns on Friday with another lopsided win and a terrific outing for ace pitcher and top prospect, Mark Appel. The Cardinal improved to 5-0 with the win, while Texas fell to 2-3.

Appel, who is expected to place very high in this summer's MLB Draft, set a career-high with 10 strikeouts and carried a shutout into the eighth inning. He allowed three hits and three walks in the game and at one point retired a stretch of 10 consecutive batters. Texas loaded the bases in the top of the eighth, but Davis Schmidt was able to record the final four outs, for the first save of his career.

On the offensive end for Stanford, Jake Stewart had three hits, including his first home run of the season. Brian Ragira also had three hits, including two doubles and three RBI.

The two teams will face off again on Saturday at Sunken Diamond, beginning at 1:00 p.m. PT.

For all news and information regarding the Stanford Cardinal head over to Rule of Tree.

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Keith Law Top 50: Mark Appel Ranked No. 3

The start of college and high school baseball means we are officially on the road to the 2012 MLB Rule 4 Draft. ESPN MLB analyst Keith Law put together his first breakdown of the top 50 prospects one week into the season and described this year's class of players as wide open for the top pick. As players step up in the coming weeks, this top 50 list could very well change quite dramatically.

Law currently has high school center fielder Byron Buxton as his number one player and high school right handed pitcher Lucas Giolito at number two. Stanford Cardinal ace Mark Appel is sitting at number three at this point. Law is not yet sold on Appel as the number one overall pick in part because of some inconsistencies in his pitches and missing bats. In describing Appel, Law said:

He's an athletic right-hander who has touched 99 mph with his fastball but sits more low- to mid-90s while flashing an occasionally plus breaking ball; hitters see the ball well out of his hand and he doesn't miss as many bats as you'd like.

Appel has a long season ahead of him to prove his viability as the number one pick. The only people he has to convince are Houston Astros scouts and executives. As they hold the number one pick, their vote is all that matters. He has one win under his belt against Vanderbilt already and gets a second high profile matchup against the Texas Longhorns this weekend.

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Stanford Vs. Vanderbilt: Mark Appel Shuts Down Vanderbilt Offense In Win

Stanford ace Mark Appel opened his 2012 NCAA baseball season with a strong effort as the Stanford Cardinal had little trouble dispatching the Vanderbilt Commodores in their regular season opener Friday evening. Appel threw seven innings of two-hit, one-run ball as Stanford won 8-3. Appel enters the season as arguably the top prospect in the country and will look to build up his stock to secure the number one pick in this summer's MLB Amateur Draft.

Some scouts are questioning Appel's ability to miss bats a bit more frequently as opposed to pitching to contact. He did not strike out a ton of hitters on Friday, but he had little trouble with a Vanderbilt offense that returned solid hitters like Tony Kemp, Riley Reynolds, and Connor Harrel, among others. It is worth noting that Appel hit 93-97 mph in a 1-2-3 first inning.

The Cardinal jumped all over Kevin Ziomek, scoring five runs over 3 1/3 innings. Stephen Piscotty and Christian Griffiths got the scoring going quickly with solo home runs in the first and second inning, respectively. The Cardinal added three runs in the third on a walk, hit batter, single, fielder's choice and a pair of errors mixed together as Vanderbilt struggled to play clean baseball.

At that point the game was well in hand, although Stanford added three more insurance runs in the fifth, sixth and eighth innings. The Commodores added a pair of runs in the ninth but it was too little, too late. The two schools will return to action Saturday at 1:00pm PT at Sunken Diamond.

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