Oct. 14, 2014; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark 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
Marl Appel-RHP (ETA 2015). Lisa with Nolan Writin’ pointed out that the Astros have had the number one pick for the last 20 years. While that is terribly incorrect, Mark Appel was the second recent number one pick in 2013 draft. While his career might have gotten off to a rocky start, he is still on track to join the Astros in 2015. Appel struggled with High-A Lancaster, but turned his year around after promotion to AA and in his stint in the Arizona Fall League. He is the pride of the Astros pitching prospects, and should be a top of the line starting pitcher.
2014 Stats (2 teams): 3-7/ 6.91 ERA/ 83 IP/ 78 SO/ 1.596 WHIP.
From MLB Pipeline (30th overall);
Scouting grades: Fastball: 70 | Slider: 65 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 60
Dec 8, 2014; San Deigo, CA, USA; Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister talks to media at the MLB Winter Meetings at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Thompson-RHP (2015). Thompson had a great year in 2014, and has a fastball that sits in the low-90’s, should develop into a #2 or #3 starter for the Rangers. Thompson was drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Tigers, but was traded to the Rangers for Joakim Soria. He became the Rangers top pitching prospect after the trade.
2014 Stats (3-teams): 10-5/ 3.12 ERA/ 129.2 IP/ 130 SO/ 1.23 WHIP.
From MLB Pipeline (83rd overall);
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
According to Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Top Prospects, Appel is 35th-overall while Thompson is 47th-overall.
Looking at last year’s stats, you might think that Thompson wins this round by a landslide, but Mark Appel has the better makeup. This match-up is too early to decide, because if Appel pitches like he did in Arizona, the doubts of 2014 will be forgotten.
Next: Round 3: Velasquez versus Alfaro