The minor league transactions wire generally is not a great topic of conversation around ballparks, but a Saturday move by the Houston Astros (one that remotely effects the Modesto Nuts) caused chatter on a nationwide basis.
According to Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros are promoting Mark Appel from Lancaster to Double-A Corpus Christi.
One one hand, this shouldn’t raise too many eyebrows. Appel was the top overall pick in the 2013 draft out of Stanford, and Houston obviously is interested in getting their $6.35 million bonus baby to the majors as soon as possible.
But on the other hand, perhaps they could have waited until Appel displayed even a modicum of success in the California League.
In 12 starts with the JetHawks, Appel was 2-5 with a 9.74 ERA and the Cal League was hitting .372 against him. With many coaches believing that the jump from High-A to Double-A might be the most difficult step on baseball’s ladder, it will be interesting to see how Appel fares right away.
I’ve seen moves with prospects make just because the organization wants to pair the player with a specific coach – in this case putting Appel in daily touch with with Hooks’ Gary Ruby – but such assignments are rare, especially with so little time left in the regular season.
And how does this effect the Nuts? Well, Lancaster makes its only visit to Modesto on Aug. 4-5-6, and had to rotation held Appel would have pitched at John Thurman Field.