Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/13/12

There you have it. Mark Appel will be returning to Stanford next season instead of becoming a Pittsburgh Pirate. The Pirates will get the ninth overall pick in next year’s draft as compensation for Appel (in addition to whatever pick they normally end up with at the end of the year).

This is unfortunate. It’s a shame for the Pirates, who drafted the best player available at their turn and weren’t able to sign him despite offering all they could. This isn’t a money issue at all — $3.8 million was the absolute maximum the Bucs could have offered Appel without losing a first-round pick next year (which, by all accounts, would have been a horrible decision). You can thank MLB’s new draft spending restrictions (which failed miserably in this case) for allowing Appel to fall this far and for restricting the Pirates’ ability to sign him.

I don’t understand this move from Appel’s perspective, either. Sure, he’ll get to finish a wonderful education at Stanford and will have a chance to make more money next season, but there’s also a very high chance that he’ll make less–and a small chance he could make A LOT less. Even if he does get drafted in the top-10 again and sign a big bonus, he’ll be a year behind in his development compared to what could have been.

This is a bummer for the Pirates but isn’t the end of the world. Appel would have been a very nice addition to the system, but it’s already rich with pitching and there’s the ninth pick next season to fall back on. All the Pirates lose, essentially, is a year of development and the opportunity to sign a guy they had no business drafting in the first place.

Read statements from Neal Huntington and Mark Appel here.

The Pirates also did not sign a few other early-round picks that were demaning over-slot bonuses: P Walker Buehler and OF Brandon Thomas. Tim, as always, has the details. Obviously, this doesn’t look like a very good draft at all for the Bucs.

The Pirates can draft Appel again next year if he signs a waiver allowing them to do so.

Also, a quick note: In Thursday’s post, I said next year’s draft class was reportedly rumored to be “more talented.” That seems to be a point of contention today, with people like Keith Law saying that it’s actually weaker than this year’s (which was weak in its own right). Anyway, there’s a long way to go before all that shakes out.

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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