Mark Appel serves as a reminder, not all players are created equal
Jose de Jesus Ortiz had an interesting piece in the Houston Chronicle today. Apparently some of the Houston Astros players are upset that 2013 No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel was promoted to Class AA Corpus Christi. Appel was 2-5 with a discouraging 9.45 ERA in 12 starts at High A Lancaster of the hitter-friendly California League prior to his promotion.
The money quote:
"Unbelievable," one Astro said. "I’m not in a good mood. So now you get rewarded for having an 11 ERA? And you have two guys down there with 2 ERAs who can’t get called up?" the Astros player said on the condition of anonymity.
There is something very important to remember here — Mark Appel received a $6.35 million signing bonus. He rightfully will be treated differently than just about every other Houston Astros minor league player. The Astros are invested in him, heavily.
As a first-round pick, you will always be treated as special and given more opportunity throughout your career. As a 1-1 (first overall), you can multiply that treatment ten-fold. You will be given more attention, coaches will spend more time on you and you’ll be moved through the system more aggressively than the average minor leaguer. Once you get into an organization, all players are not treated equally. This is reality.
The Astros are right here. Appel is 23 years old and being drafted as a 1-1 college senior he should be spending almost no time in Class A ball. His strikeout rate of 8.1/9 and walk rate of 2.2/9 are both very respectable and maybe a change of scenery will suit him well.
Smart move here by the Astros front office. Current Astros players shouldn’t let this put them in a bad mood.