It is always special to hear your name called by Bud Selig at the MLB Draft. It became even more special for Stanford's Mark Appel.
The right-handed pitcher was the No. 1 overall pick by his hometown Houston Astros and was one of several Bay Area players taken on Thursday.
"It's incredibly special," said Appel, who spent the first 12 years of his life living in the Houston area. "Both my parents were born there and raised there. All my family lives there. It's very exciting."
Appel moved to the Bay Area when he was 12 and later attended Monte Vista High School in Danville.
Appel was selected eighth in the 2012 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates but was unable to reach a contract agreement. He returned to Stanford for his senior season and went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA while striking out a Pac-12 Conference-best 130 in 106¹⁄³ innings.
"My goals were to finish my degree, to become a better baseball player. ... As far as that goes, I think I accomplished those things," he said. "No matter what happened in the draft, I knew I had done everything that was in my control to put myself in the best situation possible."
Stanford coach Mark Marquess had nothing but praise to bestow upon his former pitcher.
"[Appel] ranks right up there with the elite pitchers to play for Stanford," Marquess said. "He has not only been an incredible performer and leader on the field, but a great human being off the field."
He is the highest draft pick out of Stanford since 2006 when Greg Reynolds was selected second overall by the Colorado Rockies.
After the first round, the Bay Area players started to fill up the draft board.
St. Ignatius pitcher Matt Krook, who was predicted as a first-round pick in some mock drafts, had to wait a bit longer but was taken at No. 35 by the Miami Marlins in the competitive balance round.
The Oregon commit has a low-90s fastball and held a 1.84 ERA in West Catholic Athletic League. Krook said on Monday that even if drafted, he would take some time before deciding whether to go to Oregon or to the minor leagues.
Stanford outfielder Austin Wilson was selected at No. 49 by the Seattle Mariners. Wilson only played 31 games (28 starts) and hit .288 with five home runs and 26 RBIs.
Cal catcher Andrew Knapp went four picks later at No. 53 to the Philadelphia Phillies. The first-team All-Pac 12 player led the Golden Bears with a .350 batting average, eight home runs, and 41 RBIs.
The final two regional selections came in the second compensatory round when the San Diego Padres took Serra High School outfielder Jordan Paroubeck at No. 69 and the Colorado Rockies took USF pitcher Alex Balog at No. 70.
Paroubeck was the West Catholic Athletic League Player of the Year and hit .407 with seven home runs and 32 RBIs.
Balog has a mid-90s fastball, a sharp slider and carried a 3.63 ERA this season.