Astros Minor League Report: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not for Double-A Christi Hooks

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Feb 26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Mark Appel poses for a picture during photo day at Osceola County Stadium Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Who’s Not: Mark Appel

Unlike the rest of the Astros top pitching prospects, Mark Appel hasn’t had a great career in the minors so far. He has struggled in Lancaster as well as Corpus Christi, and has yet to show that same dominating stuff on a consistent basis that caused the Astros to take him with the #1 overall pick in the MLB Draft.

So far in Corpus Christi this season, Appel has a 5.2o ERA and a 3-1 record in 10 games started with 18 walks allowed (most by any Hooks pitcher), a 1.62 WHIP, and 32 strikeouts compared to 55 hits allowed. He has sort of taken the opposite road from Velasquez, as Appel actually pitched very well in the Arizona Fall League before getting roughed up a bit in Double-A this season.

I don’t think that there’s much stock to put into that fact, but it’s worth noting.

The bottom line is that I think I can fairly say that Mark Appel has been the biggest disappointment for the Corpus Christi Hooks so far this season. When he was drafted, many scouts and analysts thought that he could be an MLB pitcher by 2015.

If he keeps pitching the way he’s pitching now, there’s really no good reason for Jeff Luhnow to even promote him to Triple-A. I will gave Appel his due and say that he has been changing up his delivery a bit and had a nice rebound start earlier this week, where he gave up only one unearned run through five innings and three strikeouts.

However, I don’t see a place for him with the Astros with guys like Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, and Vincent Velasquez tearing it up right now.

If he wants to be the ace for the future in Houston, Mark Appel needs to realize that there’s plenty of competition for him to beat out in the Astros organization and step up his game very soon.

Next: Who's Hot Part 2