Mark Appel is officially a member of the Houston Astros. The team announced the signing of the top pick in the MLB Amateur Draft, who grew up in Houston, at a press conference that took place at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday. Appel reportedly will receive a $6.35 million signing bonus, according to an ESPN report, $1.44 million less than the maximum slot value.
The 21-year-old pitcher from Stanford was 10-4 this past season with a 2.12 ERA. He had 130 strikeouts in 106.1 innings pitched and allowed a .203 batting average to opponents.
Both the Astros and Appel come out on top in the deal. The Astros gambled by passing on Appel last season in favor of Correa and a year later get a potential franchise pitcher that they sorely need, with their current rotation ranking dead last in the MLB with a 4.68 team ERA. Appel, on the other end, was selected No. 8 overall in 2012 by the Pittsburgh Pirates but balked at their $3.8 million dollar offer. He now has $2.55 million reasons to believe he made the right choice.
Whether Appel lives up to mile high expectations remains unknown but what matters is that the ‘Stros signed him and their gamble paid off; an encouraging sign considering they had to deal with Appel’s agent, Scott Boras. The Astros, who own a league worst 27-45 record, can count this as the biggest win of the season.