Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros pitcherMark Appel
plays for the Salt River Rafters during an Arizona Fall League game against the Surprise Saguaros at Salt River Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Appel wasn’t sharp on Thursday night against the Mesa Solar Sox, but he got the job done. And then some. Appel went five innings, recorded four strikeouts, and allowed just one hit in what will be one of his last outings of 2014. With the Arizona Fall League season set to conclude in just over a week, Appel is making his case to be in Houston’s rotation at some point in 2015.
While the tall righty only allowed the one hit, he did hit two batters, and was called for a balk in the early innings. Even with these missteps, Appel lowered his ERA in the Fall League from 3.43 to 2.77. To close out his outing on Thursday, the Astros’ #2 prospect worked consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and fifth.
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In a piece by Brian McTaggart on Thursday, one quote from Appel stood out. When asked if he thought he would reach the majors next year, the 23-year old said, “I don’t think it’s completely unrealistic. I think a lot of things can happen in this game that are out of my control. Whether I’m in the big leagues or not, my goal is to work hard and be the best pitcher that I can be and don’t let them have an excuse for keeping me out of the big leagues.”
In the same piece, Appel suggested that confidence is a key for him. “My last outing, obviously, wasn’t great. If I were to sum it up, I would just say I lost a little confidence later on with my fastball and obviously the command wasn’t there. When the confidence is there, the command is there.”
With the confidence he showed on Thursday night, and the confidence he exuded by saying he could be in Houston in 2015, Mark Appel could very well be on the path to becoming the player the Astros felt they were drafting #1 overall in 2013.