Most of the final mock drafts published before tonight's MLB Draft had Mark Appel going No. 1 to his hometown Houston Astros. A few had the junior righthander slipping to the Twins at No. 2. I don't think anyone saw Appel going eighth to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but that's exactly what happened.
So Appel failed to follow in the footsteps of fellow Houstonians Andrew Luck and Nneka Ogwumike as No. 1 picks. It would've been an unprecedented triple, and after reports surfaced last night that the Astros would take Appel, it seemed like a foregone conclusion. Instead, Houston went with 17-year-old shortstop Carlos Correa, a product of the Puerto Rico Baseball Academy who has Troy Tulowitzki-like potential.
Minnesota selected high school stud Byron Buxton, Seattle took Florida catcher Mike Zunino and Baltimore took LSU righty Kevin Gausman. Kansas City then selected USF pitcher Kyle Zimmer, meaning Appel wasn't even the first righthanded pitcher from a school in the Bay Area to come off the board.
Appel's slide was the biggest surprise of the first round. Pittsburgh finally put an end to the madness. The Pirates have put together a potentially dominant rotation through the draft over the last three years. They took Jameson Taillon with the No. 2 pick in 2010 and UCLA righty Gerrit Cole with the first overall pick last year. Now they'll add a guy who was the favorite to be the 1-1 coming into the draft. Why did Appel fall? It probably had a lot to do with the fact that there's a new draft spending limit, he's represented by Scott Boras and he isn't considered a 100% can't-miss prospect.
Maybe Appel will show the seven teams that passed on him what they'll be missing with a dominant performance in the Super Regional.
UPDATE: The St. Louis Cardinals selected Stephen Piscotty with the 36th overall pick.