The Houston Astros have signed their number one overall draft pick and hometown boy, Mark Appel. The team is hoping that the right handed pitcher out of Stanford will emerge as a star for the team. Perennial bottom feeders, Appel brings high hopes to the franchise, with management as high as Commissioner of Baseball Bud Selig hoping he can become a core for the team to build around.
Appel grew up in Houston, living on the west side of the city until the age of twelve. At that point his family moved to California, and he eventually attended Stanford University. The Astros had an opportunity to draft Appel last year, but passed on him and instead selected Carlos Correa eighth overall. Appel turned down a $3.8 million offer from the Pittsburg Pirates an instead played his senior season at Stanford.
The decision turned out to be a good one for Appel, posting a very successful stat line during his senior season. He posted a 10-4 record with a 2.12 ERA, and four complete games. At just 21 years old, he has the potential to anchor the Astros rotation for well over a decade.
While at a Diversity Business summit put on by the MLB near the Astros’ Minute Maid Park, Commissioner Bud Selig had nothing but praise for the Astros’ decision to draft the hometown Appel. Explaining that “I look forward to the day when players like Carlos Correa and a hometown pitcher, Mark Appel … will be among those who form a new core as successful as Bagwell and Biggio.”
High praise from a man so high up in the baseball world.
The hometown Appel grew up a fan of the Houston Astros, and has lived out his childhood dream by signing with the team. When asked by reporters what it was like to return to his hometown and play for the team he grew up rooting for he answered, “Growing up in Houston I came to games at the Astrodome and at Minute Maid,” he said. “That was the dream. It was every kid’s dream to play for your home team and now it’s a reality. It’s still surreal. I don’t think it’s sunk in.”
Appel has the ability to help the Astros avoid another 100 loss season, they currently have suffered two straight, and appear headed towards another this year. At 6’4″ and 195 lbs, he has the size to be an effective pitcher in the Major Leagues.
As far as his pitching arsenal is concerned, he features a mid 90s fastball, along with a rapidly improving change up. His devastatingly effective slider remains his put away pitch, one we will see countless batters helplessly fanning at for the next several years.
The Astros have accomplished one of their main goals for the year in signing the hometown draft pick Mark Appel. The team hopes that he is the missing piece in their seemingly never ending rebuilding process.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express