TROY, NY- Mark Appel, who was taken with the first overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft by the Astros, will make his professional debut with the Tri-City ValleyCats on July 5th against the Lowell Spinners.
Appel, a Stanford University graduate, was selected as the first pick by Houston on June 6th, after a senior season in which he went 10-4 with a 2.12 ERA for the Cardinal. In his four years at Stanford, Appel set the school record for strikeouts, with 372.
Appel will be the highest drafted player, and fourth first round pick of Houston in the past six years, to appear with the ValleyCats. In 2008, 10th overall pick Jason Castro, another Stanford product, played in 39 games with the ValleyCats. 2008 38th overall pick Jordan Lyles also pitched in two games that season for the 'Cats. Two years later, George Springer, the 11th overall pick of the 2011 draft, appeared in eight games in Tri-City.
The Astros held a press conference on June 19th to announce the signing of Appel, during which Houston General Manager Jeff Luhnow said he "would like to see" the right-hander begin his professional career with the ValleyCats. Tuesday's announcement made it official that July 5th in Tri-City will mark the start of Appel's journey through the minor leagues on the way to Minute Maid Park in Houston.
Appel, a Houston native, was drafted by the Pirates with the 8th overall pick in the 2012 draft, but opted to return to Stanford for his senior season. That gamble paid off, as his hometown team couldn't pass on him with the first choice in this year's draft. During his introductory press conference, Appel announced "I guess I'm home."
The 6'5", 215 pound hurler will join Tri-City as one of the most decorated college pitchers in recent history. His honors over his time at Stanford include two First-Team All-Pac 12 selections, a First-Team All-American nod from Louisville Slugger in 2013, and the 2013 Pac-12 Baseball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award recipient.
Tickets are expected to go fast, and are available for purchase by calling the ValleyCats box office at 518-629-CATS, online at tcvalleycats.com, or by visiting the Joseph L. Bruno Stadium box office.