According to Jim Bowden, former major-league general manager and current radio host for ESPN radio, the Houston Astros are planning to take Stanford right-hander Mark Appel with the first-overall pick in Monday's first-year player draft.
This is the first time the Astros have selected first overall since 1992, when they chose Phil Nevin. The good news is that Nevin turned out to be one of the more productive players of the 1992 draft. They were leaning in another direction according to the Associated Press:
When the Houston Astros make the first selection today in the June baseball draft, they are expected to select Central Florida outfielder Chad Mottola No. 1.
Mottola played in 59 major-league games, so the Astros dodged a bullet. The bad news is they took Nevin over Derek Jeter. The worse news is that they traded him for 21 innings of Mike Henneman before Nevin did anything in the majors.
Appel throws in the upper-90s, and his stuff has never been in question. But he wasn't dominating college hitters as expected, causing his draft stock to slip just a little. He had a progressively better 2012 season, though, going 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 116/24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 110 innings, good enough to put him atop John Sickels' latest mock draft .