Appel & the Astros
There are things to like about the Houston Astros.
But there’s also plenty to be unhappy about, starting with a 42-63 record through 105 games.
So it’s disappointing to read about a clubhouse culture where the “veteran presence” has a problem with a minor league prospect getting promoted from Single-A to Double-A and throwing a bullpen session for front office members and the major league coaching staff at Minute Maid Park this weekend.
Mark Appel, the number one overall pick in the 2013 draft, has struggled with the Single-A Lancaster Jethawks in the notoriously hitter-friendly California League. Appel’s home ballpark is the second worst for pitchers in the league, likely contributing to his 2-5 record and 9.74 ERA this year.
Considering what the Astros invested in Appel, are you really surprised that the team would want to have senior officials take a look at how he’s throwing? Or that they’d want to move him to an environment that they hope will be more beneficial to his development? Who cares if that bullpen session happened at the major league ballpark before an Astros game?
Yes, Appel is getting preferential treatment – he received a $6.35 million signing bonus as the number one draft pick in baseball last year. The Astros are not going to invest that kind of money and treat Appel the same way they would a 20th round pick that got a $50,000 bonus.
That’s kind of the way things have been going forever in baseball.
The Astros’ current players should focus more on improving their own game, or some of them might find someone getting promoted to the majors to their jobs.