Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fallen Appel, Part Two

As for yesterday's deadline to sign picks from this year's MLB amateur draft, Joey Porter's Pit Bulls are not at all upset that the Pirates didn't sign their first-round draft pick, Mark Appel.
Almost as soon as they drafted him, it seemed Scott Boras and Appel had no interest in doing anything other than pushing the boundaries of the new rules and trying to maneuver the Pirates into over-spending.  
Scott Boras with an agenda?  Shocking!  After being drafted, Appel promptly declined to speak to the media -- it all seemed very calculated -- and then he stunk up the College World Series. 

Hard to say why, but Joey Porter's Pit Bulls never had a good feeling about Appel.  He seems like a prima donna.  And, not that we know anything, but for some reason, the gut feeling says he's got future arm-elbow-shoulder problems written all over him.  And, looking at his college stats, he didn't really dominate the competition in college.  Feel free to argue.
Maybe Appel will eventually turn into a great pitcher, but we're glad the Pirates held their ground and didn't give in to the demands of Boras, which would have cost the Pirates their first-round pick in next year's draft and other penalties, as well.  Caving in would have set a bad precedent for future years.  Now, because the Pirates did not sign Appel, they will get the ninth overall pick in the 2013 draft in addition to their regular allotted first-round pick.  It's supposed to be a deep draft, too.

We don't pay a whole lot of attention to this stuff, or spend a lot of time on it -- really, we don't, honest -- but Joey Porter's Pit Bulls took a few minutes this morning to look at a couple or news reports and blogs, and it was interesting to see what the Pirates paid to some of their later draft picks.  It seems they had a contingency plan, which was to take the money that would have gone to Appel and use it to sign lower-round picks that would otherwise have gone to big-time college programs.  

The amounts paid to two of these guys caught the eye: The Pirates gave $300,000 to their 16th-round pick, a high-school shortstop named Max Moroff, who had made a commitment to play at the University of Central Florida.  Supposedly, this amount is approximately equivalent to slot money for a fifth-round pick.
Also, and more interestingly, the Pirates paid $400,000 to their 17th-round pick, Hayden Hurst, a high-school pitcher from Florida who is a lifelong Pirates fan and whose father hails from Monroeville.  That sounds like a lot of money for a 17th-round pick and, in fact, it is reported to be the second-highest amount paid to any player taken after the top 10 rounds.  Hurst is 6'5, 235 pounds and had an offer to play at Florida State. 
Hurst had Tommy John surgery as an eighth-grader.  Think about that for a second.  And the surgery was performed by Dr. James Andrews, the top surgeon in the world for this procedure.  I don't know about you, but when I was an eighth-grader, well ... 

It will be interesting to watch how the respective careers of Mark Appel and Hayden Hurst play out over the years. It would be ironic if Hurst becomes a top-of-the-rotation starter in the big leagues.

The Jacksonville Times-Union had the following article about the Hurst signing:

Two high school baseball players from the First Coast beat the signing deadline on Friday and reached deals with the Major League Baseball teams that drafted them last month.

Menendez infielder Avery Romero, a third-round pick of the Miami Marlins, signed a contract for $700,000 with just seconds to spare  before the 5 p.m. deadline. Bolles right-handed pitcher Hayden Hurst pulled the day’s biggest surprise when the 17th round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates reached a $400,000 deal to play for his favorite team.

Baseball America said that Hurst’s deal was the second most for a player taken after the 10th round.

Hurst said that he was prepared to forgo his scholarship to Florida State and play junior college baseball for a year so that he could be eligible again for the 2013 draft. The Pirates initially offered Hurst $200,000 last month and then increased their offer to $250,000. At 11:30 Wednesday night, the team called back with the offer that Hurst wanted.

He flew up to Pittsburgh on Thursday and signed at 3:50 p.m., just over an hour before the signing deadline. Hurst’s father is from Monroeville, Pa., less than an hour from the ballpark.

“I’m so blessed to be given this opportunity,” Hurst said. “When we first had this conversation [with Pittsburgh] I thought I was headed to college. The money wasn’t there. My dad was in tears when he first heard [the final offer]. He wanted nothing more than for me to be a Pirate. My mom was the same way.

Here an excerpt from the following article from a Florida paper about the shortstop, Max Moroff. This was written after he was drafted but before hie signed ...

Trinity Prep’s Moroff drafted by Pirates
By Chris Boyle | June 14, 2012
For Max Moroff, Trinity Prep's standout everyday shortstop, the 2012 MLB Draft was a whirlwind of emotions.

But when both the Baltimore Orioles and the St. Louis Cardinals failed to agree to terms with Moroff, he slipped into the third day of the draft.

"I was a bit disappointed. I got calls in the fifth round, but I turned it down because of the money factor. I got calls in the seventh round, but it just wasn't enough money for me. That's definitely why I slipped," Moroff said.
His disappointment finally turned to relief when the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the 16th round, pick No. 496 overall.

Moroff admitted that he hoped to be a Pirate after working out for them in a pre-draft combine, citing top-notch facilities and a bond with the coaching staff.

"The fields, where the players stay, the cafeteria, the locker room - it's really the nicest thing I've ever seen," Moroff said. "I talked to some of the coaches down there and they really seemed like good guys. They definitely know what they're talking about. It just seems like an overall great organization."

A prized recruit for the Knights, Moroff hit .397 with five home runs, 23 RBIs and 37 runs scored during his senior season at Trinity Prep. He reached base in nearly 60 percent of his at-bats, walking a team-high 30 times.