Stanford's Appel should hear his name called early in draft 

A year after electing to return to Stanford after he was chosen in the first round by the Pittsburgh Pirates, Stanford ace Mark Appel is once again expected to be one of the top picks as the Major League Baseball Draft starts today.

The Houston Astros passed on Appel, who is Stanford's career strikeouts leader, at No. 1 last year, opting for shortstop Carlos Correa from Puerto Rico and signing him for $4.8 million, the smallest amount for a No. 1 pick since 2006.

Appel was selected by Pittsburgh at No. 8 but didn't sign and could end up with Astros, who own the No. 1 pick again, this time around. Only Tampa Bay (2007-08) and Washington (2009-10) have had the top selection in consecutive years.

Appel is a hard-throwing right-hander with a fastball in the mid-90s. He was 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 130 K's in 106¹⁄³ innings this season for Stanford.

Today, the draft will hold the first two rounds and new competitive balance rounds. Rounds 3-10 will be held via conference call with teams Friday, and rounds 11-40 on Saturday.

The competitive balance rounds give 10 teams with lowest revenues and 10 teams in smallest markets opportunity to obtain additional picks through lottery, which was held in July. Lottery determined six picks immediately after first round; remaining eligible teams went into another lottery for six picks after second round.

Teams must sign their drafted players, other than college seniors, by 2 p.m. on July 12.

— Staff, wire report

WHEN: Starts today, 4 p.m.

FORMAT: Rounds 1 and 2, today, 4 p.m.; rounds 3-10, Friday, 10 a.m.; rounds 11-50, Saturday, 10 a.m.

TV: MLB Network (first day only)

FOLLOW: www.mlb.com

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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