Astros set Minors debut for No. 1 Draft pick Appel

Astros set Minors debut for No. 1 Draft pick Appel

HOUSTON -- In a quick turn of events, inquiring minds will not have to wait long to see No. 1 overall Draft pick Mark Appel pitch at the professional level.

Appel, who agreed to a contract with Houston two weeks ago, will make his first pro start Friday with Class-A Tri-City. On Tuesday, he was working out at the Astros Spring Training facility in Kissimmee, Fla., and he will report to the club Thursday.

For a top selection, Appel has moved through the post-Draft process with efficiency. The Houston native agreed to terms, including a $6.35 million signing bonus, just 12 days after being drafted and will be on a roster by Independence Day.

General manager Jeff Luhnow said the organization had an approximate timetable for Appel's starts.

"We're not going to set any schedule on him, but we will assess him after every game," Luhnow said. "We don't want to create too many set expectations for Mark."

Appel will be on a strict pitch count, but Luhnow and the organization continue to decline revealing what that number is or how many innings the former Stanford standout can pitch.

Luhnow has previously said he expects Appel to make multiple stops at the Minor League level this summer while not ruling out a spot for him on the Houston roster to begin next season.

"I would never put limitations on a player with his talent," Luhnow said. "We will know the answer when the time comes. All indications are that he's a player who could move very quickly through the Minor Leagues."

Chris Abshire is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.