Williams and Appel to Battle on Friday Night

Mark Appel and Trevor Williams face off in a highly anticipated matchup on Friday. - Appel (Melina Vestola US Presswire) Williams (ASU Athletics)

Stanford and Arizona State will give fans a treat on Friday night as Mark Appel and Trevor Williams will pitch in one of the most highly anticipated matchups of the season.

After taking down the Arizona Wildcats on Tuesday night, the Sun Devil baseball players could rest a little easier knowing they've got their ace on the hill on Friday.

Arizona State has enjoyed plenty of success in Trevor Williams' starts this season, as the junior right-hander has compiled a 5-3 record with a 3.30 earned run average this season.

Though the stats aren't as flashy as his sophomore numbers, Williams has consistently outpitched his opponents this season.

In fact, Williams has been the most exciting player to watch nearly every time he has stepped on the field this season.

But on Friday, this changes.

The Stanford Cardinal come to Tempe for a three-game series and they bring the top overall pitching prospect in the country with them.

The stage is set for the matchup of the year, as Williams will take on Mark Appel under the lights at Packard Stadium.

Last year, Appel was drafted eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates who offered him a $3.8 million signing bonus, but he rejected instant wealth to come back and pitch for the Cardinal.

The Stanford stud has been undeniably dominant this season, as his 7-3 record and 1.49 ERA indicate.

When Williams and Appel do battle, scouts from across the country will file into the stands and set up their radar guns and notepads. All eyes will be on two of the top prospects in college baseball, and it will all takes place in Tempe.

With such impressive resumes, we dive deeper into the profiles of the Friday night starters.

The Mark Appel File

It's no secret that Appel projects as a top of the rotation starter at the Major League level. The Pittsburgh Pirates desperately wanted Appel to sign, but like many Stanford athletes choose to do, he put his future on hold.

Right now, Appel has a three-pitch arsenal that he draws from that includes a power fastball, a hard slider, and a decent changeup. Appel loves to throw his slider to right handed batters as a strikeout pitch and will mix in his changeup against lefties.

Appel's biggest asset is his durability, as the 6-foot-5 workhorse has already thrown 78 innings this season and has a Major League body type. He's only allowed 57 hits this season, and opponents are hitting below .200 against him.

His four complete games lead the Pac-12, as the only other pitcher with at least three is Trevor Williams.

When Appel is drafted this summer, he will likely head to an organization in need of a superstar and that's exactly what scouts think he can become. His ability to make adjustments on the fly shows his maturity, and it won't take him long before he's pitching in ballparks built for 40,000 fans.

The Trevor Williams File

As impressive as Appel has been this season, Williams isn't far behind. The Sun Devil junior is an innings-eater and his long outings have allowed Arizona State to extend the bullpen on Sundays and in midweek games.

In the Pac-12, there's few pitchers that compare to Appel in terms of durability, but Williams averages more than seven innings per start.

While Appel will almost assuredly be drafted in the top three picks, Williams won't have to wait long to hear his name called either. The San Diego native proved his worth last season by recording a 12-2 record with a 2.05 ERA.

This summer, there's a great chance that Williams will go in the first 15 picks of the MLB draft and that's because of his excellent command.

Williams is a four-pitch guy, but he locates his fastball better than any of his other pitches. His four-seamer touches in the low to mid 90s and when coupled with effective off-speed offerings, he can be really tough to hit.

The junior mixes in a curveball, slider and changeup and when he's on with at least three of these pitches, Williams' is one of the most exciting pitchers to watch in college baseball.

What It All Means

Sun Devil fans are in for quite a treat this weekend. Trevor Williams is a leader in the clubhouse and takes immense pride in his Friday night starts, so expect him to be on top of his game.

For Mark Appel, it's rare that he has the opportunity to match zeroes against another top prospect. The Arizona State offense has been on fire of late, so Appel will need to bring his A-game to Packard Stadium.

Regardless of the outcome on Friday, baseball fans will see some of the best talent at the college level go at it in a televised matchup that has postseason implications.

For Sun Devil fans, seeing their team take down the Wildcats on Tuesday was sweet, but a Friday night win could be even sweeter.

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