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Insider Only Morning Pirates Buzz: Presley coming up & Reactions from Huntington, Draft experts on selection of Mark Appel

The Pirates intend to callup left fielder Alex Presley for tonight’s game. Presley was sent to the minors on May 16, after batting .220 with 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s, including a .246 OBP and .305 slugging percentage in 34 games with the Pirates.
Presley batted .309 in his first 19 games this season but slumped badly leading to his demotion, going 3-for-42 with 1 extra base hit in his last 15 games with the big club prior to being demoted.
Pirates GM Neal Huntington said at the time that Presley was not being intelligent at the plate and that the team “optioned Alex out to get him going.” “We need to get him back to being intelligently aggressive where he attacks his pitch or works the count when he does not get a good pitch to hit, ” Huntington said on May 16.
Presley has responded, hitting .303 (10-33) with 4 home runs, 10 RBI’s and a double in his last 10 games with Triple-A Indianapolis. Presley has also walked seven times, posting a .415 on base percentage and 1.112 OPS.
A corresponding move is expected to include sending Gorky’s Hernandez to Triple-A or Jose Tabata going to the DL.
The Pirates are getting rave reviews for the selection of Mark Appel in the first round who fell into their lap at No. 8. The team also selected outfielder Barrett Barnes in the supplemental round with the 45th overall selection. As a junior this year at Texas Tech University, Barnes hit .325 (67-for-206) with 17 doubles, six triples, nine home runs, 49 RBI, 53 runs scored and 19 stolen bases in 55 games. He was rated by Baseball America as the 21st-best position player available in the draft. The same publication
also tabbed him as having the “Best Raw Power” in the Big 12 this season.
In his career at Texas Tech, Barnes became only the second player in school history to bat .300,
record 500 at bats, score 150 runs, collect 200 hits, 50 doubles, 30 home runs, 100 RBI, 100 walks
and 50 stolen bases, joining Texas Tech alum Clint Bryant from 1993-96.
He ranks fifth in school history in doubles (51), runs (171) and total bases (371), sixth in walks
(113), seventh in at bats (637), ninth in home runs (33) and tied for ninth in hits (203). He also
became the fourth player in school history to earn All-Big 12 honors in three consecutive seasons;
he was second-team in 2010 and first-team in both 2011 and 2012.
In his first year at Texas Tech, he was named the Big 12 Freshman-of-the-Year after hitting .341
(74-for-217) with 19 doubles, 14 home runs, 53 RBI, a .641 slugging percentage and a .465 onbase

GM Neal Huntington on Mark Appel – “We stayed true to our agenda. ‘Best player available.’ We’ve done that. “Stuff, size, strength, durability … Mark’s the package.”
Jim Callis, Baseball America (via twitter when Pirates selected Appel) – “Pirates on Appel. Wow, didn’t see that one at all. Hard not to grab that talent at 8 though. May eat up most of $6.6 mil budget”
Keith LAW, ESPN “I don’t know exactly why Appel fell, as I have no evidence from any source that Appel put out an actual bonus demand at any point. Did teams shy away because they didn’t know the signability? Did they anticipate a high demand, but never ascertain it? Regardless of the reason, it’s now on the Pirates to find out what the demands are and figure out a way to pay for him, because picking eighth in a weak draft should not land you a clean-delivery college starter who can reach 97 mph and shows feel for a slider and a changeup. By the way, Appel refusing to do the team’s conference call after the selection gets my vote for Non-Issue Issue of the Week. He doesn’t work for the team. He doesn’t have to do their conference call. Hey, sign me, and I’ll do two conference calls.”
Jason Churchill, ESPN Prospect Insider – “Appel, rumored to be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick, may have the highest upside among the college arms in this draft. He offers velocity into the upper 90s and brings an average-or-better changeup to nearly every start. Appel has a chance to be a No. 1 starter and can now be added to the Pirates’ stable of arms that already includes Jameson Taillon and last year’s No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole. Appel could see the big leagues by 2014, but something to think about here is Pittsburgh’s draft pool and how much of that Appel will swallow once he signs on the dotted line.”
Baseball America – “The Pirates didn’t expect Mark Appel to be there at No. 8, not when the Stanford righthander was projected to go in the first four or five picks. But Appel was No. 3 on BA’s latest Top 50 and fourth on the BA 500. He’s a 6-foot-5 pitcher with a solid frame, fastball up to 97 mph, plus changeup and above-average slider. The fastball tends to be true, but Appel’s control has been good enough for him to be the Cardinal’s ace all spring. He’s finishing strong, getting Stanford to super regionals with a 10-1, 2.27 season that includes a 127-26 strikeout-walk ratio in 119 innings. Appel joins an organization that also includes power righthanders Jameson Taillon, the No. 2 overall pick in 2010, and Gerrit Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The Pirates’ future rotation could be quite imposing if Appel signs, but he wasn’t expecting to slide to the eighth selection. The Pirates have a bonus pool of just under $6.6 million; much of that may wind up going to Appel”

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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