According to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, the Astros are close to a deal with first overall pick Mark Appel. The deal is said to be worth about 6.3 million dollars, which is under the slot value of 7.79 million dollars. Appel has received considerable accolades across baseball. Keith Law ranked Appel the number 1 prospect in the draft. Jonathan Mayo also called him the best prospect in the draft. Baseball America had him listed at number 2, behind the Rockies’ Jonathan Gray.
Appel, a Stanford product, has the potential to be an ace for the Houston Astros. His fastball sits in the mid 90s, and can touch 98. He also has the ability to maintain his velocity throughout the game. He has gotten progressively better every year at Stanford, and has the potential to be in the majors soon, possibly in only a couple of years.
Appel dominated at Stanford, where he posted a 10-4 record with a 2.12 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 106 innings, while only throwing 23 walks. He counters his impressive fastball with a hard biting slider and a changeup, although his command of these pitches is not great. He has elite fastball command, though, and the command of his breaking stuff will come.
Congratulations to the Houston Astros here, because Appel has the potential to be one of the best pitchers in the game.