Appel was quick to share his excitement of being drafted by the Astros on Twitter:
The 21-year-old had already been drafted by two teams before the 2013 MLB draft, but his obligation to the Stanford Cardinal program took precedent. The Detroit Tigers selected him in the 15th round in 2009 out of high school. The Pittsburgh Pirates selected him at No. 8 overall last year.
Fortunately for the Astros, they won't face the dilemma of losing Appel because he just played his final season of college ball at Stanford.
Appel's three-year run as a regular starter at Stanford was impressive. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2011, he posted a 3.02 ERA with 86 strikeouts in 110.1 innings, via GoStanford.com. In 2012, he registered a 2.56 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 123 innings. Then, in his senior year, he boasted a 2.12 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 106.1 innings. The right-hander went a combined 20-6 in his last two seasons at Stanford.
Will Mark Appel make his MLB debut in 2014?
On Stanford's all-time list, Appel ranks first in career strikeouts (372), fourth in career innings pitched (377.2) and sixth in career wins (28).
Appel's numbers in his senior season with the Cardinal reflect his improvement. He's become a more aggressive pitcher and his off-speed stuff is better. His fastball regularly sits in the mid-90s and has been known to hit 99 mph. His changeup is his best off-speed pitch, sitting at 82-85 mph. His slider is also a plus-pitch, particularly against right-handers.
Appel's arm action is consistent with all three pitches now, which will be a tremendous help in his transition to the big leagues. Before, he had been known to tip his off-speed stuff.
Don't be surprised if Appel makes his MLB debut around midseason in 2014, if not earlier. He has the stuff and mechanics to succeed in the pros from the start.