Pirates’ top pick Mark Appel rocked in College World Series

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It’s been a rough week for Stanford’s Mark Appel.

On Monday night he fell to the eighth spot in the MLB Amateur Draft after being mocked by most experts to go in the top three.

And he was selected by an organization (the Pirates) that he clearly isn’t thrilled about joining.

Now his dream of an NCAA championship is in jeopardy.

Appel was shelled for seven runs (five earned) over four innings Friday in Game 1 of Stanford’s first-round matchup with Florida State. He yielded five hits and walked four while throwing only 55 of his 95 pitches for strikes.

His upside remains sky-high and his body of work with the Cardinal speaks for itself, but you can bet Pirates management was watching the rough outing. And may bring it up in negotiations with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras.

Stanford must now win two straight games over the Seminoles to advance to the second round.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.