The Astros have a deal with No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel, the Stanford right-hander, sources said.
The Appel deal is expected to amount to somewhere north of $6 million -- probably between $6 million and $6.5 million, though the exact amount couldn't be confirmed.
Appel turned down a $3.3 million offer from the Pirates after being the No. 8 overall selection a year ago, gambling that he could improve his stock. The Pirates may have been willing to go to $3.8 million, but they were limited by their total bonus allotment.
Appel, a native of Houston, wanted to go there. "I'm coming home, I'm coming home! tell the world, I'm coming home," Appel tweeted on June 6, the day he was picked No. 1 by the Astros, leaving little doubt he was thrilled to go to the Astros.
Some expect him to be in the majors within a year or so.
If Appel's deal comes in the $6 million to $6.5 million range, as expected, it will leave the Astros some room in their bonus allotment since slot for the No. 1 pick is $7.79 million.
Appel improved his stock by going 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA for Stanford as a senior, garnering 130 strikeouts in 80 innings.