Somehow, the Houston Astros were able to scoop up a former No. 1 pick in Mark Appel the second time around. The Astros took Appel No. 1 in the 2013 MLB Draft, as the organization continues to build one of the best farm system’s in baseball. However, Appel is just the tipping point, as Houston is going to get better and better for years to come.
Appel was placed in Low-A to start his minor league career. He split his time between the New York-Penn League and the Midwest League in 2013. He managed to start 10 games and record a 3.79 ERA with a 7.8 K/9. There is a lot of hope for Appel, who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round a year prior to his No. 1 selection. The decision for him to go back to Stanford helped him slide up the draft board to Houston.
The 21 year old is not expected to hit the rotation for another year, and at that point, Houston might feature him as a No. 1 or No. 2 starter. He can absolutely bring the heat when he needs to and change speeds between his changeup and slider, however, scouting reports suggest that he still needs time to develop his two-seam and four-seam fastballs.
Houston may not be able to win right now, but with Appel at the top of the rotation for years to come, they are going to be a viable contender in the American League West.
For now, he will get a crack to pitch in spring training and hone on his skills.