June 8, 2012; Tallahassee, FL, USA; Stanford Cardinals pitcher Mark Appel (26) in the fourth inning of game one of the Tallahassee super regional against the Florida State Seminoles at Dick Howser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Pirates, Mark Appel Showdown Lingers, What About Walker Buehler?

With mere hours until the signing deadline passes, the Pittsburgh Pirates should really get busy signing players.  The team started the day signing a pitcher, but he wasn’t named Mark Appel. 

Ohio State pitcher John Kuchno was signed for $125,000.  It will hit the pool for $25,000.  The clock is ticking Mr. Boras.  Kuchno throws hard, touching 95mph and has a plus to average curveball based on who you speak with regarding the Buckeyes skills. 

As we sit now, the Pirates have three players in the first ten that are still unsigned.  Obviously first-rounder Mark Appel, fourth-rounder Brandon Thomas and eighth-rounder Kevin Ross.

The Pirates should be active this afternoon and get some deals done. 

Jon Heyman said the one hope in getting Appel signed might be intervention in this interesting article.  The Pirates have experience dealing with Boras.  That much we do know. 

But never under the new laws of Bud Selig.  If the Bucs don’t sign Appel, it will piss a lot of people off, and could also bring lawyers into the situation.  Now that’s a lot of fun.

There is nothing to indicate Appel is about to change his mind, and the Pirates are believed very unlikely to raise their offer because it would mean the loss of a coveted 2013 draft choice, so the somewhat slim hope for a deal may rest on some sort of intervention by MLB higher-ups, or the ability to prove a flaw in the rules or how they were followed by other teams. There is no accusation or thought the Pirates did anything wrong.

Does Heyman have Boras in his ear telling him that teams colluded against signing Appel?  We never really thought about it that way. 

The Pirates covered their ass for the next few hours this afternoon back on the draft days.  We have to believe the line of thinking in all of this ballsyness by the Pirates was if Appel wouldn’t sign, other options in later rounds could be there for the taking.

The one pitcher we were dreaming about in that scenario was this guy.  Walker Buehler.  The team could give him over $800,000 today. 

We got some scoop on Buehler after the draft.  The word we received was Buehler was going to be very, very hard to sign. 

Shit. 

Not really surprising, but it doesn’t hurt to dream.  But as of 12:30pm, we doubt Buehler signs for that number.  Just in case you want to drool here is what we wrote when the Bucs grabbed him.

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Remember when you were little, and you would get in the toy aisle of your favorite store? So many choices – it was always so bright, each of those toys glimmered in your eyes. It was never easy to pick just one toy, was it? We think that’s the way the Pittsburgh Pirates view the MLB draft. The team picked a bright, shiny, expensive toy Monday night in Mark Appel, and then yesterday the Pirates grabbed another one.

The Bucs always pick expensive toys, and they did it again when they selected Walker Buehler in the 14th round. Baseball America rated him the 50th best prospect in the draft. He was named a 2012 Rawlings second-team All-American. He was supposed to go much earlier in the draft, but all of the rules have changed this year.

The right handed pitcher attended Henry Clay High School in Kentucky. He took a 16-12 record, 2.11 ERA and 234 strikeouts into Kentucky’s High School Region Tournament. As always, the career won-loss record is deceiving, which is quite apparent considering his career ERA is 2.11, with only 75 walks in 166 innings. He has seven losses over the last two years when his team has scored a total of three runs in those seven games.

He’s not a big guy, and he needs to put some weight on his 6’2″ frame. It’s obvious when you watch the video below, but he can still bring it. He throws a big curveball in the video, and it appears that his changeup has some sink. It’s easy to see this teenager really bringing it if he were to add about thirty pounds.

Buehler has committed to Vanderbilt, but if he went early in the draft it was thought he would sign. What happens now will be interesting: could the Bucs peel a few dollars back so that Buehler could get almost third round money?

It’s easy to pick out the big toys, getting them past the new cash register this year is a different story. But the Pirates have always seemed to make it happen in recent drafts. Let’s trust the Bucs can walk out of the store with both Mark Appel and Walker Buehler.

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Buehler is on twitter: @buehlersdayoff (the Vanderbilt background scares me quite a bit….)

Some raw video footage of Buehler is here:

Video of Buehler is here:


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Tags: Mark Appel Pittsburgh Pirates Walker Buehler