The Astros will sign right-hander Mark Appel on Wednesday afternoon, the team announced. Houston selected the Stanford senior with the first overall pick in this month's amateur draft.
“Drafting and signing Mark Appel was a top priority for our organization this year,” GM Jeff Luhnow said in a statement. “We are an organization focused on winning championships in the future and we expect Mark to be a big part of that effort.”
“Mark has been one of the premier talents in college baseball for the past few years, and he cemented that status this spring with his best season yet,” added scouting director Mike Elias. “He possesses a bulldog mentality, an ideal pitcher's frame, an elite track record, and he commands three plus pitches -- everything we look for in a pitcher. We feel the potential is there for him to become a mainstay at the very forefront of our rotation for a long time.”
Slot money for the first overall pick is $7.8 million, but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Appel and the Astros agreed to a signing bonus between $6 and $6.5 million on Saturday. The right-hander is represented by Scott Boras.
Appel, 21, turned down a $3.8 million offer from the Pirates as the eighth overall pick in last year's draft. He returned to school and went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA and 11.0 K/9 in 106 1/3 innings across 14 starts this spring.