There are some positive rumors swirling around the Houston Astros and top-prospect Mark Appel. According Evan Drellich of Chron.com, the Astros are looking to promote the young pitcher to triple-A Fresno in the immediate future.
This rumor comes on the heels of Appel’s dominating performance yesterday afternoon against the San Antonio Missions. The Astros’ number one pitching prospect hurled a complete game (seven innings) shutout, giving up four hits and striking out six batters. This improved his season record to 5-1, and he lowered his ERA to 4.26.
In 2015, Mark Appel was invited to Spring Training and did alright according to the reports out of Kissimmee. However, the Astros chose not to rush him to the major leagues and he reported to double-A Corpus Christi to start the season. This year, Appel has had a rough year with the Hooks. He’s thrown 63.1 innings, giving up 30 earned runs on 68 hits, including seven home runs.
However, over his past five starts the former Stanford Cardinal started showing more consistency, and has not allowed more than three runs in any game (seven runs total), and has struck out 24 batters in that stretch. He also threw five shutout innings back on June 3. Since May 22, when Appel had a 6.03 ERA, he’s lowered it to 4.26, finally finding the control that the Astros were looking for.
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One of the other major headlines for the 2013 number one overall pick is that he’s been leap-frogged by lower ranked pitching prospects in the Houston organization, like Vincent Velasquez and Lance McCullers Jr, who have made their Major League debuts this season. Given that Mark Appel has been slower to find success this season, the impending promotion to Fresno makes sense instead of moving him straight up to Houston.
Undoubtedly, the Astros are going to evaluate him closely to see if he can contribute to the big league team this year. As Drellich points out:
"The Astros are in need of starting pitching help in the majors and would love nothing more than to have Appel step in and aid the team. Lance McCullers Jr. has been more consistent (and also had more time in the bigs) than Vincent Velasquez, both pitchers who came straight from Class AA to the majors. The Astros want to assess what they have in-house before making a move for an outside pitcher potentially."
Stay tuned for more news from the Houston Astros. There have been quite a few moves this season with their minor league talent as the team is finally seeing it all come to fruition. Who knows what could come next.
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