Mark Appel is still winless through 5 games started for the Corpus Christi Hooks. He recently threw his first professional complete game in a 4-1 losing effort against the Midland Rockounds.
Appel’s final line for the game was 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R (3 earned), 7 SO and 1 walk. The start raised his ERA in the Texas League to 4.10. Mark attacked the strike zone and threw 65 strikes against 33 balls for a total of 98 for the complete game.
The game only lasted 7 innings due to being a double header.
For this game, Rene Garcia was the Hooks catcher. Between the battery of Garcia and Appel there were 2 stolen bases and one caught stealing.
Appel has accumulated 26 1/3 innings through his 5 starts in the Texas League so far. His last two outings, however, have been encouraging as he has gone 6 innings in each start.
Overall his ERA is still relatively high considering the expectations for a #1 selection. Regardless, there are several statistics that are in his favor.
One of these is that his numbers against left-handed hitters in the Texas League are quite nice. Through 45 at-bats, lefties have hit just .200 and struck out 14 times. However, Appel’s only home run allowed in the Texas League was hit by a lefty.
Another encouraging statistic is comparing his WHIP (Walks plus Hits to Innings Pitched ratio) between his two professional seasons. Obviously his numbers in Lancaster were terrible. But in 2013, for the lower levels of the system, his WHIP was relatively solid at 1.18 for 38 innings pitched.
That figure skyrocketed during his time in the California League. While Appel was striking out roughly a batter per inning, his WHIP was 1.92. For a short time this ratio was actually above 2.00. But his Texas League WHIP, while it is still a little high, is at 1.40 so far.
Perhaps a useful comparison would be to look at how Dallas Keuchel did in the minor leagues. While Keuchel has a totally different pitching repertoire than Appel, I feel that WHIP is a good indicator of a pitchers’ ability. Dallas first pitched in Corpus Christi during the 2010 campaign and had a WHIP of 1.30 for his 53 2/3 innings pitched.
Appel is likely going to finish this season pitching for the Corpus Christi Hooks. His development may have been rough thus far but his arsenal should be able to translate well to the major leagues.
I am looking for Appel to finish this season on a good note. An offseason of rest is definitely deserved given the turbulence he has faced this season. Overall the guy the Astros selected should become the quality starter they envisioned soon next summer.