Former No. 1 pick Appel promoted to Triple-A

Right-hander was 2-1 with 2.17 ERA in his past five starts at Double-A

Former No. 1 pick Appel promoted to Triple-A

ANAHEIM -- The Astros on Wednesday promoted right-handed pitcher Mark Appel, their No. 2-ranked prospect by MLB.com, to Triple-A Fresno. Appel was 5-1 with a 4.26 ERA at Double-A Corpus Christi, but he was 2-1 with a 2.17 ERA in his past five starts.

Cast your Esurance All-Star ballot for #ASGWorthy players

Appel, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 Draft, told MLB.com on Monday he believes he can contribute at the Major League level. He began the year in Corpus Christi's rotation with Lance McCullers and Vincent Velasquez, both of whom were promoted to the Major Leagues recently.

"My goal is to get to Houston to help the big league team out, and I have confidence that I can get big league hitters out and go deep into games and help the team win," Appel said. "Whenever the Astros feel that time is correct, I want to be ready. That's really the best answer I can give.

"I'm working hard here in Double-A, and I'll continue working hard and having fun and competing all the way up until they decide to send me somewhere else, and then I'll work hard there. The process stays the same wherever I am. The work I put in stays the same wherever I am. I believe I can really help the team out. That's really what the goal is for this season and long term."

Meanwhile, outfielder Brett Phillips (No. 6-ranked prospect) has been promoted to Corpus Christi after hitting .320/.379/.588 with 15 homers and 53 RBIs in 66 games for Class A Lancaster. The Astros also promoted right-handed pitcher Akeem Bostick to Class A Lancaster after he went 3-1 with a 1.50 ERA in eight games (six starts) at Class A Quad Cities. In 42 innings, he had allowed 29 hits and three walks while striking out 33.

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.