Astros Top Prospects (Part 4): The Top Five

5 of 6

Astros Second Ranked Prospect

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

#2 Mark Appel RHP – (Stock stayed constant, #2 in 2014)

During spring training, Mark Appel did not make it easy for the Astros to have to demote him. Appel showed a more compact delivery that had Astros fans seeing the potential of the former number one overall pick by the Astros. So far this year, Appel has started off well, compared to his start last season at Class-A Lancaster. His numbers improved once he got the surprise promotion to Double-A that rubbed some of the Astros players at the time, especially when he made a stop at MMP to pitch in front the Houston coaching staff.

2014 Lancaster: 2-5/ 9.74 ERA/ 40 strikeouts in 44.1 innings pitched.

2014 Hooks: 1-2/ 3.69/38 strikeouts in 39 innings pitched.

As you can see, Appel struggled in what is typically known as a hitter’s park in Lancaster. There are many suspicions as to what lead to the slow start, but the common belief was that he was not healthy at the beginning of the year. As the season progressed, he got more into a groove on the mound and was able to dominate in the Arizona Fall League.

Here is a scouting report from MILB Astros Top Prospects;

"But Appel, following a restart at extended spring, actually finished his first full season strong, striking out almost a batter per inning at Double-A Corpus Christi after pitching to a 9.74 ERA with Lancaster. In the Texas League, he was 2-5 with a 3.69 ERA in seven games. He then struck out 24 batters in 31 innings in the Arizona Fall League. At Spring Training this month, Appel allowed seven runs in 10 2/3 innings."

He has started 2015 in Double-A Corpus Christi, and he has a record of 2-0 / 1.93 ERA/ 11 strikeouts in 14 innings. He probably won’t stay long in Double-A, and it is unclear when he will make his MLB debut.

2014 Stats: 3-7/ 6.91 ERA/ 78 strikeouts in 83.1 innings

Affiliate Starting in 2015: Double-A Corpus in the rotation

MLB Pipeline ETA: 2015

Top 100: # 30 according to MLB Pipeline

Ceiling: Gerrit Cole

Floor: Dan Straily

Position blocker: Roberto Hernandez

Next: Astros First Ranked Prospect