Skip to content

Astros top pitching prospect Mark Appel lit up in return to rotation at High-A Lancaster

Jun 1, 2014, 10:14 AM EDT

mark appel getty Getty Images

Mark Appel, the first overall pick in the 2013 MLB Amateur Draft, was demoted from the starting rotation at High-A Lancaster on April 25 and sent back to extended spring training after posting ugly numbers over his first four appearances. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow offered optimism at the time, telling the Houston media that the young right-hander was simply struggling to adjust to the unique piggyback-start system being used at Lancaster.

But that is clearly not the only thing wrong here.

Appel returned to Lancaster’s rotation on Saturday night and got shelled for 10 runs on 10 hits — including three homers — over just 1 1/3 innings in a loss to the Dodgers’ High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. He now owns an 11.93 ERA in 14 1/3 frames this season.

The 22-year-old recieved a $6.35 million signing bonus from Houston after being drafted out of Stanford University in June 2013. The belief was that he could be major league-ready by late 2014.

That’s obviously not going to be the case.

  1. tbird05 - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Sounds fishy…I wonder if there is any velocity issues. Kids stuff is too good, and he is too smart to not be able to figure out A ball.

  2. imnotyourbuddyguy - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:27 AM


  3. thebraso - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:39 AM

    Velocity was not an issue 94-95 last night. Just don’t think he has the mental makeup at this point. He comes off as soft.

    • tbird05 - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:40 AM

      Like Tommy Hanson soft?

  4. bronco58lb - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    In Appel’s defense, the game was at Lancaster, arguably the most friendly hitter’s venue in professional baseball. High altitude, dry air and routine 30 mph wind gusts blowing out.

  5. proudlycanadian - Jun 1, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    I want to blame his agent; however, in this case, I have to give the famous agent a pass.

    • Black Dog - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      They drafted Appel over Kris Bryant, who is ripping it up in the Cubs system.
      Imagine a Springer/Bryant 3-4 combo for the next decade. Woulda shoulda coulda.

  6. professor30 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I’m pretty confident that I could do better than an 11.93 ERA, for a lot less money too. How can I get a hold of Jeff Luhnow, anybody.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      First of all, you have to hire Boras and let him prepare a thick binder on you.

      • classicfinder - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:05 PM

        It also wouldn’t hurt to get a gift basket from Derek Jeter and an arm from Mariano Rivera.

  7. onbucky96 - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    Too bad. Karma can be a biiiiiiitch. Draft prospects, DO NOT LET SCOTT BORAS REPRESENT YOU.

    • cohnjusack - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:43 AM

      Huh? Why not? From what I just read, the guy is with $6 million and has never thrown a pitch above high-A ball.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:27 PM

      Yes, by all means don’t hire the agent that has consistently, with a few missteps, gotten his clients the most money and best contracts and list many if not most of the best players amongst his clients. You should definitely sign with Jay-Z.

      • timmmah10 - Jun 2, 2014 at 9:45 AM

        Fans hate when players get paid, then go to the park, buy that $20 ticket and 5 dollar hot dog, then a 10 dollar beer to wash it down… then sit there and bitch that players make too much…

  8. lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:20 PM

    I, for one, could have used a better explanation of the “unique piggy-back start system”, if I am to understand its possible role in his struggles.

    Somebody got one for me?

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:16 PM

      • Walk - Jun 2, 2014 at 4:16 AM

        I am sorry, accidentally hit report instead of reply. Thank you for posting the link. If the story would have mentioned the former colorado attempt i would have understood it without having to read another story, but it was not a bad one to read and it provided a bit of information for future reference.

  9. nottinghamforest13 - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Todd van Poppel.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:38 PM

      Man, I wanted that guy to succeed. His name was so fun to say.

      • yahmule - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:54 PM

        This is why Bubba Starling’s long hitch-filled swing is such a shame.

  10. kingjoe1 - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    This was predictable. A number of clubs thought he was over-rated and that even best case scenario he would top out at a low #2

    • dan1111 - Jun 1, 2014 at 3:13 PM

      It’s too early to write him off.

  11. musketmaniac - Jun 1, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Karma, Pittsburgh waisted a top pick on this kid. but with some comical rule in Baseball we got compensated. crazy worked for us but stupid rule.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. C. Correa (2551)
  2. G. Stanton (2505)
  3. H. Ramirez (2484)
  4. G. Springer (2482)
  5. B. Crawford (2300)
  1. M. Teixeira (2281)
  2. H. Pence (2211)
  3. J. Baez (2203)
  4. J. Hamilton (2161)
  5. Y. Puig (2105)