HOUSTON — Appel blossomed in his senior year on the mound. There had never been questions about his stuff, as his mid-90’s fastball and power slider/change were there since his sophomore season. But, for much of his junior season, scouts questioned why his excellent arsenal didn’t show itself more in his results.
That changed this season, as Appel developed a plus-plus changeup, commanded his fastball better and began to dominate his college competition. He struck out 130 batters in 106 innings this season, going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA. He’s not only one of the few pitchers in the 2013 draft who could turn into a true staff ace, but is also one of the most advanced players. That means Astros fans may not have to wait long to see Appel pitching in Houston.
When he does find his way to the big leagues, Appel will be making a homecoming of sorts, as the 21-year old grew up in the Houston area as an Astros fan.
“I have a lot of great memories. I do remember going to a few games in the Astrodome,” Appel said. “My dad’s work had season tickets they split up between a number of people and we got to go to a few games every year. I even remember when Minute Maid Park opened and how great of a ballpark that is. I remember playing Little League baseball at Post Oak Little League and the great summers I had with a bunch of great friends. I’ve gotten some calls and texts from those guys and kept in touch. The friendships and memories I created while I was in Houston were great and still even when I’m back to visit family, new memories have been created every single time.”
Under the new collective bargaining agreement in baseball, the Astros have $7.2 million to spend on the No. 1 overall pick and just over $11 million to spend on the top 10 picks. Houston can exceed the slot value for any pick, as long as they’ve saved money in other places. Teams that spend more than five percent over their draft pool face stiff penalties, including fines and loss of future draft picks.