It shouldn’t be surprising if Mark Appel makes a meteoric rise to the major leagues in 2014. Yes, 2014.
Sure, the Astros could take the safe route and allow their top pick in the 2013 draft to incubate at Corpus Christi and Oklahoma City this season. That wouldn’t be a shock either. But college players drafted with the #1 pick of the draft often spend very little time in the minors. Especially pitchers.
Take these for collegians for example:
Gerrit Cole, University of California.
- Drafted first overall in 2011. The 23-year-old pitched 38 games in the minors and hit the majors approximately two years after he was drafted. Some projected he was ready before he got the call from Pittsburgh.
Steven Strasburg, San Diego State.
- Dominant in college, dominant in the minors, Strasburg stepped on a major league mound one year after he was drafted in 2009 draft. He had 11 games (55 IP) in pit stops with two minor league teams and that was enough.
David Price, Vanderbilt.
- He was in the majors about a year after he signed following the 2007 draft. The Vanderbilt ace showed his stuff in brief stints for three minor league teams before Tampa Bay’s top pitching prospect into a major league pitcher.
Baseball America will release its latest version of Astros’ top prospects on Monday. Appel was certainly considered for the top spot, and he certainly should be the Astros’ top pitching prospect when that list is revealed.
Jonathan Mayo has Appel ranked #4 behind Carlos Correa, Jonathan Singleton and George Springer. Like Appel, Correa (2012) and Springer (2011) are former #1 picks for the Astros. All three will surely be part of the next-gen Astros.
Correa continues to make Jeff Luhnow’s surprise 2012 pick look very good, especially when you consider the money saved helped to lure Lance McCullers with the second pick in that draft.
Meanwhile, can you remember a time in Astros’ history when the organization had as many players who could fit into a can’t miss category. We can debate the names on that list, and even though it’s a short list, reasonable minds could write as many 5-6 names on the list.
Barring injury, the only thing that should slow down Appel’s date with the majors is a desire to keep him away from Super 2 status and buy an extra year of team control. Otherwise, Appel could be wearing a jersey by the All Star break.
- What are the chances you’ll see Appel in an Astros’ uniform in 2014?
- BA releases its list Monday. Get your list in black and white today. Rank your top 5 in the organization. Here is BA’s list from last year and their 2013 mid-season update.
- Which one of these top 10 Astros’ pitching prospects is most likely to succeed in the majors: Appel, McCullers or Mike Foltynewicz?
- Finally, take a look at all the above compilations and make your own list of Astros’ can’t miss prospects. I encourage you to “grade” liberally and include more, rather than less, on your list.