Is Appel the right fit for the Cubs?

Is Appel the right fit for the Cubs?
June 2, 2013, 3:00 pm
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6'5, 215 pounds with a 96-plus-mph fastball.

A year ago, Stanford ace Mark Appel looked like the No. 1 overall pick in baseball's amateur draft. Instead, the Houston Astros decided he would be too expensive to sign and they passed. Six more teams followed suit, including the Cubs, for various reasons. Appel slid all the way to No. 8 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he eventually turned down the money and returned to college.

"I talked with my parents, I talked with my advisers, I talked with my coaches, some teammates. I talked with some guys that had signed and had been playing pro ball, some guys that got drafted and came back for their senior year. I felt really blessed with the wealth of resources to make my decision," Appel told Comcast Sportsnet.

Fast forward one year. Now, Appel and the Cubs might be the perfect fit.

[MORE: Cubs narrow No. 2 draft choices]

Pitching is the farm system's weakest link. Some of the latest mock drafts have the Astros taking third baseman Colin Moran from the University of North Carolina with the top overall pick. That would leave the Cubs with their choice of Appel and Oklahoma flamethrower Jonathan Gray.

Appel will be 22 years old in July. His senior season didn't disappoint as he set the Stanford career strikeout record with 372. His strikeout to walks ratio is 10-to-1 and he's developed a change-up that he thinks will only get better as he prepares for pro baseball.

"It's from the same arm slot as the fastball, so throwing it to righties is effective too," Appel said.

This will be a huge decision for the Cubs. They can't afford to miss on the No. 2 pick.

For more of our interview with Appel join us on the eve of the draft, Wednesday night on Sportsnet Central.