Fresh off being drafted first overall by the Houston Astros in the first-year player draft, Mark Appel has faded into the dense jungle of talent that is the Astros’ farm system. Now talks have already begun about Carlos Rodon or whoever else the Astros might draft first yet again next year.
When Appel was first drafted, some sports analysts made bold claims that he’d be in MLB by September. That was rather silly, but seeing Appel in MLB come 2014 would not be terribly surprising at all. Obviously, when looking at a guy’s numbers at Class-A ball, it’s nearly impossible to determine how those will translate all the way up in the majors, but Appel has shown some really positive signs.
First of all, he rarely walks batters. In 33 innings of work, he only walked nine. That kind of stuff is easily translatable to the majors. He also gave up very few home runs (two), another aspect that can carry over to higher levels.
At 22-years old, Appel isn’t all that young for the youngest team in the league. Given that the Astros have expressed a need to fill the back end of the starting rotation behind guys like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer and Brad Peacock, Appel is one strong Spring Training away from taking the short road to the pros and bypassing the majority of the minor league system.
He throws in the upper 90s and already has very good control over his off-speed pitches, it’s just a matter of him putting it all together. Don’t be at all shocked if the Astros end up slotting him into the fourth or fifth rotation spot come April. If not then, then definitely at some point during the 2014 season.