Astros sign No. 1 pick Mark Appel

Astros sign No. 1 pick Mark Appel
June 19, 2013, 3:00 pm
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Astros introduce No. 1 pick Mark Appel

The Astros have signed the top overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, Mark Appel.

Appel was the eighth overall pick in 2012, but chose to go back to Stanford. The decision paid off. He improved his numbers, going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 106 1/3 innings. The Astros took notice.

"He went back to Stanford, had a tremendous senior year, improved on a very good junior year, and basically dared us not to take him," said Jeff Luhnow, the Astros' general manager.

Appel will sign his deal on Wednesday and the club will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. The press conference will be live on CSN.

"He's very durable," added Mike Elias, the Astros' director of amateur scouting. "He's large. We feel like he's still going to continue to get better. He's got everything that we look for, from a scouting perspective, when you're talking about a front-of-the-rotation starting pitcher."

Those are just some of the qualities that helped set Appel apart as the No. 1 pick for the Astros.

"In the case of Mark, we really feel like the way he did it, went out and dominated, basically, for four years in the Pac-12, in a very good program, gives him a good chance of being able to move pretty quickly, get to Houston, and be part of our rotation in the next three years," Luhnow said.

Appel was born in Houston and lived here until he was 12. He still has plenty of family around the area.

"I think it's just a great story overall that he's a local kid who grew up around here, played Little League around here, and he's come back home," Luhnow said.

The Appel agreement comes two days after the Astros signed second-round pick Andrew Thurman. Twenty-three of their 40 picks, and seven of their top 10 selections, have come to terms.