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2012 MLB Mock Draft: ESPN Has Astros Selecting Stanford's Mark Appel

The Houston Astros have a lot of pressure on themselves since they have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLB Draft. In a prior mock draft, the Astros were projected to take high school standout Byron Buxton out of Georgia.

In ESPN's latest, they have the Astros being more conservative and taking Stanford pitcher Mark Appel:

The Astros' decision is still apparently up in the air, but the general feeling is that they'll take the college arm over the higher-upside, higher-risk outfielder, Byron Buxton ... or that they'll take the best player who'll cut a deal below the $7.2 million slot figure and transfer the money to later picks.

Here is a scouting report of Appel:

Has command projection with all three pitches. Solid understanding of the nuances of the game. Quick feet on pickoff move and gets off the mound well to field his position. Strong competitor that attacks with his best stuff. Improved consistency and pitching intelligence that should come with experience could vault him to another level. Once stuff and command come together, he has an outside chance to become a top of the rotation starter and consistent All-Star caliber pitcher.

Most projections out there have Appel going No. 1 overall, and he looks to be the likely selection for the Astros.

For more on the Astros and the 2012 MLB Draft stay tuned to this StoryStream, check out Crawfish Boxes and Minor League Ball. For more from around Major League Baseball check out Baseball Nation.

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.