An intimidating force on the mound, Appel stands 6’5 and weighs 215 pounds.
He is a polished pitcher with an arsenal that includes a fastball consistently clocked between 93-95 mph. At times, he has the ability to reach back and find that extra velocity that can make a pitcher special. Reports suggest Appel has reached 98-99 mph on occasion. In his start against Oregon last weekend, the radar gun had his top speed at 97. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Appel was still registering 93 mph.
Appel also features a plus slider that ranges from 86-88 mph. Against righties, the slider starts out with a trajectory towards your body and bites away from the hitter. When facing lefties, Appel throws the slider with two purposes. In numerous times last weekend, Appel seemed to throw his slider as a set-up pitch. It started in the middle of the plate and dove towards the lefty hitter’s feet. If the hitter did not bite, Appel followed with a fastball on the outside corner. He also tried to back-door the slider to lefties in an attempt to catch them off guard.
His changeup is also a quality pitch, but wasn’t featured as prominently as the slider. Reports suggest the changeup sits anywhere between 83-85 mph. In his start against Oregon two weekends ago, Appel went to the changeup with runners at first and second in the bottom of the fifth. He struck out the Pac-12 leader in home runs, Ryon Healy, with an 83 mph changeup. He followed that with a strikeout of Ducks cleanup hitter Mitchell Tolman, with another 83 mph changeup.
Appel’s delivery is exactly what you’d like to see. He stands tall and straight on the mound. The only potential hitch in his delivery comes as he prepares to raise his left leg. He tucks his body into a curl, which could potentially wear on his back as he ages. It will be interesting to see if he straightens up more once working in the minor leagues.
Most projections have Appel battling with Oklahoma’s Jonathan Gray for the top selection in the 2013 draft.
After striking out 13 in a win at Arizona State on Friday (7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, BB, 13 K), Appel is 8-3 with a 1.56 ERA in 86.1 innings pitched. He has 106 strikeouts compared to just 15 walks.
You can see Stanford’s Mark Appel in the video below from his start against Oregon on April 26, 2013.