Mark Appel and leverage in the draft

Last year when Mark Appel turned down the Pirates offer, which was well below what he was expecting to get, it seemed like Appel would not have any leverage in the 2013 draft. The reason for this is that he really has no other alternative. Unlike last year, he can't return to Stanford. He could sign with an independent team, but this isn't likely.

Jim Callis explains why he does in fact have leverage this year.

There are two good reasons that a team won’t take a hard line with Appel. First, he’s advised by the Boras Corp. Clubs legitimately fear that draftees, even college seniors, will walk away from a deal that Scott Boras doesn’t like.

Second, Appel could take a hard line with a club. Let’s say the Astros choose him and make him a take-it-or-leave-it $5 million offer. I agree, it would be silly to turn that much money down to re-enter the 2014 draft.

But Appel could decide not to sign until right before the July 13 signing deadline of 5 p.m. ET. Houston couldn’t risk spending the $2,790,400 they saved on his bonus to land other players until he was in the fold. If the Astros spent the savings before Appel signed, they’d risk losing their next two first-round selections, including the possible No. 1 overall choice in 2014.

I'm not sure I really agree with the first reason Callis mentions, but the second one is quite obvious when you give it some thought.

It is possible he falls in the draft like he did last year at which point he won't come close to getting the signing bonus he's wanting. More than likely, though, he'll be taken in the first two picks of the draft. The Astros will get first shot, but if they want to save some money and spend it later on like they did last year, Appel will be available for the Cubs and it's hard to imagine them passing him up.