The second time around, everything always works out, right?
Not necessarily, of course, but it did for Mark Appel, who spurned the Pirates a year ago and wound up becoming the number one pick in 2013.
The Astros couldn't pass up the elite righty two years in a row, spending big to get themselves one of the best college arms in the draft.
Appel became the first Stanford player to be drafted with the first pick in the MLB draft, and the third Stanford pitcher to be taken in the first round in the last four years (Drew Storen to the Nationals in 2009 and Chris Reed to the Dodgers in 2011).
All in all, Appel will now become the crown jewel of the Astros' farm system - he's an elite player who could make it to the majors rather quickly. However, it'll be interesting to see how the Astros choose to approach Appel's development, because there's no real reason to bring him up to the majors in the next year or so. Houston won't be challenging to make the playoffs for a while, but they at least have the core of their future team in order now. They have Appel, last-year's first overall pick, SS Carlos Correa, second baseman Jose Altuve, and some other young talents that will help the Astros begin the tough road to a turnaround - including another former Cardinal.
The Astros have a little history of taking Stanford players with their first overall pick - in 2008, the Astros took catcher Jason Castro with the 10th overall pick, and he's blossomed this season into a darn good player. (He's hitting .272 with 8 home runs.)
The next Cardinal taken in the 2013 draft was rightfielder Austin Wilson, who was seen as a first-round talent, but slipped to the second round before the Mariners took him with the 49th overall pick.
WIlson is indeed an elite-level prospect - he's got the kind of power in his bat and in his arm that makes him look like a pro rightfielder already - but he struggled with an elbow injury this year and his value probably dropped because of that.
The Mariners have had some serious trouble developing good college hitters into good pros over the past couple years, so I wouldn't be shocked if Wilson decides to gamble on himself and return to Stanford next year. His leverage in the draft is higher this year, though, and he might be able to squeeze a few extra bucks out of the Seattle organization, which I think would induce him to sign with the Mariners.
Next up in the draft will probably be first baseman Brian Ragira, who is seen as one of the top 20 corner infielders in this draft, and then AJ Vanegas, the Cardinal's closer. Both should go sometime today in the top 10 rounds.