According to Jon Heyman, The Astros and former Stanford pitcher Mark Appel have reached a deal in the neighborhood of $6-6.5 million. If that money range is correct then the Astros have saved quite a bit of money for the number one pick overall in the draft, which came with a $7.79 million slot allotment. A $1.29 million savings would allow the Astros to spread that money out to the rest of the draft picks who have not signed. Austin Nicely in particular was expected to be a pretty tough sign even for a 10th round pick.
Now that Appel has signed, the question becomes where is Appel placed. He's advanced enough that I could see him going straight to Class A Quad Cities, like Nolan Fontana did a year ago, to join the Astros number one pick from the 2012 draft, Carlos Correa. Appel would join the likes of Lance McCullers Jr. and Vincent Velasquez, which would give Quad Cities one of the more dreamy rotations in the Astros minor league system.
Update: Brian T. Smith is saying to hold off on downloading our new Astros App(el).
#Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said "nothing's changed" with Mark Appel talks in last 24 hours and sides don't have a deal. #MLB— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) June 15, 2013
#Astros' Luhnow said he expects negotiations with Mark Appel to begin in full next week and his statement from Friday still stands.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) June 15, 2013
Appel said draft day he didn't expect negotiations to begin in earnest until after he graduated from Stanford. Commencement's Sunday.— Brian T. Smith (@ChronAstros) June 15, 2013
Full story from Brian T. Smith
I know a lot of people dislike Jon Heyman, however, that's mostly for when he tries to be a baseball analyst not when he's a baseball reporter. When he's a baseball reporter he's usually a sure thing, but we'll just have to wait and see.
Jim Callis tweeted this Saturday evening:
#Astros & No. 1 overall pick Mark Appel still finalizing details, but bonus will be $6.35 million. More at http://t.co/hZqVHVwPw8 shortly.— Jim Callis (@jimcallisBA) June 16, 2013
Some details still need to be worked out/finalized/negotiated but that pretty much seals it that Appel will be joining the Astros organization sooner rather than later.
Welcome home Mark!