Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking Neal Huntington’s First-Round Draft Picks Part One

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FORT MYERS, FL- MARCH 09: Mark Appel #66 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Minnesota Twins during a spring training game on March 9, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL- MARCH 09: Mark Appel #66 of the Philadelphia Phillies pitches against the Minnesota Twins during a spring training game on March 9, 2016 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

Number 13 – Pitcher Mark Appel

It was an easy choice when deciding who to kick this list off with. 2012 first-round pick Mark Appel checks in as a the worst first-round pick of the Neal Huntington era. Why? Because he never played a single game as a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.

Appel was arguably the best pitcher available in the 2012 MLB Draft. So when he was still on the board when the Pirates were selecting at number seven drafting Appel would seem like a no brainer, right? Well, things were not that easy.

A big reason the Stanford product was still on the board at number seven was due to teams being worried about signing him after he reportedly rejected a $6 million signing bonus the Houston Astros, who had the first overall pick, offered him in pre-draft negotiations. Despite these concerns, Huntington and the Pirates made the call to draft Appel. Unfortunately, the team was unable to sign him after he turned down a $3.8 million signing bonus.

Instead, he went back to Stanford and re-entered the draft in 2013. This time, the Astros did select him with the first overall pick and they were able to sign him. Appel would float around in the Astros minor league system before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in December 2015. Appel never would appear in a MLB game before announcing he was stepping away from baseball on February 1, 2018.

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