Three Bay Area players in the spotlight during MLB draft 

Now that Andrew Luck’s on his way to the Indianapolis Colts and Nneka Ogwumike’s officially the WNBA’s top pick, it’s time to gear up for Monday’s Major League Baseball draft. 

If the Houston Astros choose Stanford’s Mark Appel with the first pick, the Cardinal would have the distinction of producing No. 1 selections in three professional sports this year. But it’s possible that Appel won’t even be the first Bay Area pitcher chosen now that USF’s power right-hander Kyle Zimmer is cruising up mock draft boards.

Stanford’s all-purpose man, Stephen Piscotty, is also projected to be a first-round choice.

Here’s a breakdown of the Bay Area’s three likely first-round picks (click on the photo to the right to see pictures of the three players):

Mark Appel

School: Stanford

Draft projection: Top 5 (No. 1 on ESPN’s mock draft board)

Vitals: 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, throws right-handed

Notable numbers (prior to this weekend’s NCAA Regional): Appel has lived up to his billing this season going 9-1 with a 2.37 ERA. He’s thrown four complete games while striking out 116 batters in 110 innings of work.

Tools: Appel throws a fastball that runs up to 98 mph (generally 93-96), a major league slider in the high 80s and a change-up in the low 80s.

Coach’s take: “He can pitch,” Cardinal pitching coach Rusty Filter said. “Most guys his age with big arms can’t throw three pitches at any time, any count. He’s a pitcher that just happens to have a good fastball.”

Kyle Zimmer

School: USF

Draft projection: Top 10

Vitals: 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, throws right-handed

Notable numbers: Zimmer didn’t receive enough support from the Dons’ bats to pile up a lot of wins over his two seasons as a starter, but his strikeout-to-walk ratio (104 to 17) this season has scouts salivating.

Tools: Zimmer’s a four-pitch hurler with a fastball that can hit 99 mph on the gun (usually 94-97), a power curveball, a slider and a change-up that runs in the high 70s, low 80s.

 Coach’s take: “Kyle’s most impressive tool is his mind and his ability to understand the game, make adjustments and continue to improve as a player,” Dons’ coach Nino Giarratano said.

Stephen Piscotty

School: Stanford

Draft projection: First round

Vitals: 6-foot-3, 215, throws right-handed, bats right-handed

Notable numbers (prior to this weekend’s NCAA Regional): Piscotty has been Stanford’s iron man, playing in each of the Cardinal’s 167 games over the past three seasons. In his tenure, he’s batted .336 while scoring 121 runs and driving in 130. Piscotty has only struck out 66 times in 678 at-bats on the Farm.

Tools: Piscotty’s greatest asset might be his versatility. As a freshman, he split time between first base and left field. Last year, he started all 57 games at third base and this season he moved into the pitching rotation after Stanford struggled to find a reliable third starter.

Coach’s take: “He’s one of the better hitters in college baseball,” coach Mark Marquess said. “He’s competitive, he doesn’t strike out and he’s hitting the ball for more power now.”

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Paul Gackle

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