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Astros close to signing No. 1 pick Mark Appel

Jun 14, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

Mark Appel AP AP

Last year, after falling from projected No. 1 pick to No. 8 pick Mark Appel and agent Scott Boras played hardball with the Pirates, turning down $3.8 million to go back to school for his senior season.

This year Appel went No. 1 overall to the Astros–who passed on him in 2012–and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reports that the two sides are already close to a deal.

As a senior Appel can take his sweet time negotiating because the normal deadline doesn’t apply, but according to Passan “one club source expects Appel to be signed by the middle of next week.”

No word yet on the money, but the slot amount for the No. 1 pick is $7.8 million or more than double what the Pirates offered Appel last year. Returning to Stanford for his senior season carried a ton of risk for Appel, but it’s tough to argue that it didn’t work out exactly as he (and Boras) planned.

After experiencing his first draft as the Astros’ pro scouting director former Baseball Prospectus writer Kevin Goldstein talked to Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller about life behind the scenes and how the decision to draft Appel came down to the wire. Interesting stuff, so check it out.

  1. specialkindofstupid - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    Good for both parties. As a college senior who by all accounts is already pretty polished, Appel could be in the majors next year if things break right. And getting him signed as quickly as possible helps make that happen.

    • valarmorghuliss - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM

      If service time wasn’t an issue he would be starting for the ‘Stros next week, and starting Opening Day next year.

      • dondada10 - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM

        I think that’s exactly why he’s signing early.

        The sooner he signs, the sooner he makes his debut and starts his service time.

        If he makes his debut in September, he’ll almost definitely break camp in 2014 and be a Super 2.

      • Caught Looking - Jun 14, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        There is no way he will be a Super Two if he debuts in September 2013 and makes the team out of Spring Training next season. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service needs to have accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season.

  2. thon - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:22 PM

    Wasn’t much the Pirates could’ve done differently, but Appel sure would be a nice fit next year along with Cole and Tailion. Appel and Miguel Sano are carrying on the proud tradition of Buccos “what ifs.” Thankfully this one was more about circumstance than judgement (Moskos over Wieters).

    • valarmorghuliss - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      You don’t want a 22 year old pretending to be 20 and still striking out 30% of the time vs single A pitchers.

    • tcostant - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      If they really though he was special, they could have paid him $7M mast year and lost their first round pick this year knowing that they would be picking much high in 2013. Even with the dollars extra that would have needed to pay MLB and the loss of a draft pick; it still would have been cheap for the level of pitcher they were getting. In retrospect, that may have been the right move.

  3. albertmn - Jun 14, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    I wish Appel luck, and hope they get a deal soon. For the sake of the Astros and their fans, I hope Appel develops into at least a solid major leaguer. I hate to see teams struggle for too long.

    Although, I wouldn’t cry for Yankee fans if they went in the dump for 4 or 5 seasons. But, even then, I wouldn’t want them to struggle for as long as say the Pirates. I really want the Pirates to at least finish .500 one of these years and maybe even make the playoffs. Their fans that have stuck through it all deserve at least a little more hope and something good to root for.

    • jeffa43 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:04 PM

      Well said… Cole looks like a good one for years to come. As far as the Astros struggles, they have been a lot more painful 2007 to 2012, than this year. In that time we signed no draft picks, and spent a lot on free agents… ( paying them for prior accomplishments) that was suicide. The halos have used the Astros recent past as a instruction manual.

      Astros will be very good, and for a long time. They have followed the Rays and Tigers path. Youth & development with in. Stros fans should embrace this season (here me stex52?).

      Halos have 4 last place minor league teams and ranked last (should have gave Harvey that extra 500k$.
      Astros have 4 first place minor league teams.

      Appel will join 2 6’4″ flame throwers who are 22 & 20, Jordan lyles & Foltynewicz who throw 97 & 101.
      Lyles 5 straight MLB games with 2 runs or less, Foltynewicz will be up soon as he is flying through the minors.

      Cosart, Singleton, Springer will all be up soon. Astros are closer to the playoffs than the halos, and are being built for a long successful stretch. Halos will be really, really bad for a long time.

      Hope the Bucs make a run as well, good fans over there

    • jeffa43 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:30 PM

      Appel will be in the show this year, and it could be sooner than you think.

      Springer as well.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:01 PM

        Considering Harold Reynolds said July of this year, A, no he won’t, and B, almost positive he won’t be up this year either. The guy had a long season (threw 106IP already, and stanford hasn’t had a game since 5/26 so he’s rusty).

  4. tcostant - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    Lets not spin this like a genuis move. Appel was set to go #1 overall last year, but Scott Boras indicated to the Astros that #1 slot money wasn’t enough and they would need to spend an amount that would would make them loss their pick the following year (this year now) or he would return to college. So the Astros were smart, not Boras who scared enough teams to make his client fall last year.

    • apmn - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:39 PM

      It was a calculated risk. I dislike Boras as much as the next guy, but this turned into a win-win for the Astros and Appel. Give Boras a little bit of credit for a winning gamble.

      • tcostant - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:47 PM

        I don’t see how he “won” he would have been on the Astros last year if he would have signed for #1 overall slot last year (basicly what he is taking this year, with a little year over year inflaction). He would have been in the majors already with the bonus in the bank, drawing a major league salary and accrueing Major league service time. Now it will be a year later to arbritation and free agency.

  5. onbucky96 - Jun 14, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    Scott Boras has horns and hooves.

    • jeffa43 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:09 PM

      Boras molests collies…

  6. ironman721 - Jun 14, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    As a Pirates fan, this is not exciting news but I do wish the kid well. As for Boras, well not so much…and he does molest collies.

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