Guest Post: Scouting Report on Mark Appel

Guest Post: Scouting Report on Mark Appel

Kevin Gallo is a longtime reader and contributor here on Cubs Den.  What you may not know about him is he is an aspiring scout and avid amateur baseball fan.  Kevin does a lot of legwork and has seen many of the Cubs potential draft picks including Lucas Giolito, Max Fried, and Kyle Zimmer.  He's also had conversations with scouts and has even spotted some top Cubs personnel in the stands.

Recently Kevin got a chance to see Mark Appel and was kind enough to write up his report and share it with me...so I'll share it with all of you...

I also added a video courtesy of Bullpen Banter.

Pitcher name:  Mark Appel

HT: 6’5

WT: 215lbs

Throws: RH

Physical:  Appel is tall, limber and loose-limbed.  He looks like he could gain about another 10 to 15lbs.  This could help him gain endurance and ability to maintain his velocity into the later innings.

Mechanics:  His mechanics are smooth and easy.  He throws from a 3/4 arm slot with good arm action.  I have heard that he had problem from other scouts repeating his delivery, but this was not the case on Friday.  He was able to stay on top of his pitches and had very repeatable mechanics.

Fastball:   His fastball started at 96-98 in the 1st inning.  It has good life and he had very good command of it.  In the 2nd inning He started using his 2 seamer.  His velocity dropped to 92-93 mph range but had a sinking action which was very effective.    His was able to maintain his velocity at 92-95 mph through the 7th inning when he was lifted.  His 4 and 2 seamers were both very effective pitches and rarely missed with them throughout the game.

Secondary Pitches:  Appel’s secondary stuff was also very good, his slider (84-86mphs) show signs of being a plus pitch.  It had a hard bit and is without a doubt a possible swing and miss pitch. It is still a little inconsistent and at times looked a little more like a slurve.

He had good arm action on his Changeup (82-83 mph) and looks like it is developing into a good above average pitch.  He threw it with good command and had some swings and misses with it.

Summary:   He showed good command over most of his pitches throughout the whole outing.  His body shows the ability to hold velocity through the game.   If he can gain a little more weight he may gain a little more velocity and keep it though the whole game. The secondary stuff is what will decide his fate.  If his Changeup continues to develop and he can be more consistent with his Slider, you are looking at a front end starter.   If these things don’t happen he looks to be a # 3 to 4 starter.   I don’t see him not being able to start at the next level.

Filed under: Guest Post

Tags: Mark Appel, scouting report

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  • Good report, keep em coming! With the way the season is unfolding I'm starting to feel like a Cleveland Browns fan...always looking forward to the draft. Speaking of, are there any Bryce Harper type-can't miss-obvious #1 prospects for the 2013 draft? It looks like the Cubs may be competing for that #1 overall next year.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    I don't think there's any can't miss guys. There's a couple of nice prospects, but as of now, nobody has emerged at what I'd call a can't miss.

  • Looks really good, is he a sure fire pick for the Cubs?

  • In reply to Curtis Shaw Flagg:

    There's a chance he falls. There are two sure fire top 5 picks in Byron Buxton (OF) and Mike Zunino (C). After that there are 3 pitchers (Gausman, Appel, Zimmer) who will go in the top 7 or 8. There's a chance the Cubs get one of those pitchers -- or none of them.

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    Good stuff Meynard!

  • The need pitching in the minors, but everything being equal they
    should take an everyday player with their 1st pick then pitching

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    True, but it's very possible that the best available player will be a pitcher.

  • John - Thanks for posting the scouting report from Mr. Gallo on your blog. The Cubs have a high draft pick this June, and it is interesting to learn more about the possible options.
    A couple of questions that will help me understand scouting reports on pitchers.
    Arm Angle - Mr. Gallo writes that Appel throws from a 3/4 arm slot. This might sound like a stupid question, but is there a commonly accepted definition of 3/4 arm slot. For example, Marmol seems to drop down a little lower than other pitchers who are described as 3/4 (maybe Weaver with the Angels?)
    Is a straight "over the top" arm slot preferred to a 3/4 delivery when scouting young prospects? What are the pluses and minuses of a 3/4 arm delivery (example movement, velocity, susceptibility to injury)?
    Secondary pitches - Scouting reports on amateur pitchers always refer to their secondary pitches. When does a prospect typically develop an above average secondary pitch? Does a high school pitcher need good secondary pitches to be an elite prospect or are those pitches typically taught in the low minors of professional ball?
    Velocity - Scouting reports also always mention velocity, and typically elite prospects are in the mid 90's. It seems to me that movement is as important as velocity. Is it difficult for a scout to gauge movement from the stands? Even with good seats at a small minor league park, I don't feel like I have the same view as a catcher or batter. Is movement "scoutable" by eye, or do scouts need to look at swing and miss quantitative data

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Great questions!

    Marmol has all kinds of arm angles, some of them 3/4 and some of them less than that. I think a lot of times, you'll see 3/4 used when a guy is neither overhand or side-armed.

    Some say 3/4 arm deliveries tend to work better with 2-seamers which have more movement and also with sliders. I don't think there's much difference with velocity.

    High school pitchers can have good secondary pitches before they even reach the pros. In fact, you usually like the guys you draft early to have at least 2 somewhat advanced pitches. For most young pitchers, it's the changeup that they have to develop once they join the pros. Usually their stuff is good enough at the amateur level where they don't need a change up.

    Movement is always desirable as many hitters can hit a straight 94-95 mph fastball. 2 seam fastballs tend to have more downward movement (some call them sinkers) while 4 seamers tend to be straighter, but sometimes can ride in or out on hitters.

    A scout who has been trained and experienced can get a good feel for movement with the naked eye...but they also use modern tools like video and data.

  • Hi, this is Kevin Gallo, let me answer your question. Marmol would be considered to have a low 3/4 arm slot. Appel had a standard to high 3/4 slot. The stanards of measurement for arm slots are as follows submarine, sidearm, 3/4 and over the top. Is there a preferrence? No, not really from talking to scouts.
    All pitchers are different and one arm can have great movement from 3/4 and none from over the top and the reverse can be true. As for injuries throwing a baseball over hand is an unnatural motion for the human body. So the arm slot really doesn't factor in between 3/4 and over the top. For a pitcher,arm slot is really a preference where repeatability is more important in mechanics. I could go into a lot of detail but I don't think I will have the space to do so.
    Seondary pitches: Some amateur players already have above average secondary pitches ( especially college pitchers) before they enter the professional ranks. Does a high school pitcher need good secondary pitches to be an elite prospect? Yes and No, he has to show the ability to throw secondary pitches to an above average performance. Let me use a prospect as an example Max Fried has a very good Curveball (may even be the best curveball in the draft), but it is inconsistant. This keeps it from being called a true plus pitch right now, but it has the potential to be a true plus pitch. To answer your question the pitches are not taught at the low minor leagues they are refined there.
    Velocity: Yes movement is as important as velocity in my opinion too, but the ability to change speed even on your fastball is just as important. As Justin Verlander has showed this year. Sometimes having that extra juice to get a hitter out helps. A combination of movement and velocity is the best recipe. Movement is a very tricky thing to gauge even from the stands. There are a few things involved to gauging movement. One, is the scouts eyes. Sometimes you can see it but most of the times you can't. Second, would be how well batters are squaring up the ball with the bat (it isn't just swings and misses). If batters are continuously making weak contact and just not getting the head of the bat on the ball, you can bet the pitcher has some movement on the pitch. The third and best tool is video, it is alot easier to see movement in slow motion. There are pitches like the curveball and slider where you can see movement from the stands, but for pitches like fastballs and changeups it is more difficult. I hope I answered your questions.

  • In reply to WickitCub:

    This is absolutely excellent. Thank you Kevin for the report and the follow-up. Thanks Rosemary for the excellent questions.

  • What about a guy like McCullers? He throws consistent high 90s with a good slider and reasonably developed change (for a HS guy). Why would he not go higher in a year like this, when there are no clear impact pitchers without questions.

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Scouts don't like his delivery and don't think he can make it as a starter.

  • Is it a high effort delivery or hard to repeat? Or both?

  • In reply to SVAZCUB:

    Neither. Appel has a nice easy delivery. Very repeatable.

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