Well that certainly didn’t take long. Two starts and that was it.
Mark Appel (Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports)
Following his start earlier in the day on Tuesday, the news came out that Mark Appel was headed to Quad Cities. There, Appel will join last year’s first overall pick Carlos Correa. This could go on to be the best A-ball team in minor league history as the two future stars share a clubhouse.
However, let’s not get too much ahead ourselves. Both players are still a few levels away from the major leagues and they have a lot of progressing to do. But Jeff Luhnow certainly was not kidding about the fact that Appel was going to progress through multiple levels of the Astros’ minor league system this season.
After his first professional start, Appel bounced back in a big way. But in all honesty, his debut really was not even that bad; especially when taking into account that it had been about a month since he last pitched in a competitive game.
Last Friday, the future ace needed 26 pitches to get through his first two professional innings. He gave up two first inning runs, one of which was earned. The opponents from Lowell managed three hits, struck out once, and did not walk.
Appel was rudely greeted as the first batter of his career hit a triple off of him. After a run scoring ground out, two more hits followed before the right hander settled in. After getting a strike out to end the inning, Appel only needed seven pitches to retire the side in order in the second inning.
Not only did that recovery show Appel’s potential, but it set the stage for his second and final start in Tri Cities.
Three innings, three hits, no walks, no runs, five strikeouts. I don’t care what level of baseball you are in, that is a pretty impressive performance.
So, on the heels of that start, Appel will take the mound again on Sunday for Quad Cities. While I think his stay there will be longer than just two starts, there is no doubt in my mind that Appel will end the season pitching in Corpus Christi. And that bodes well for seeing him in Houston next year. But let’s not try to get too far ahead of ourselves, as it has only been two starts.