Astros promote No. 1 pick Mark Appel to Class A

Scott Halleran

The right-hander made quick work of Low-A ball, and will now test his mettle at Quad Cities alongside last year's No. 1 pick, shortstop Carlos Correa.

The Houston Astros didn't wait long to move right-hander Mark Appel up the minor-league ladder. The club promoted the recent No. 1 pick to Class A Quad Cities on Tuesday, and the right-hander will join the team Wednesday in time for their six-game homestand, reports Chad Thornburg of MLB.com.

Appel, 21, made just two starts at Low-A Tri-City before the Astros deemed him ready for the next level. The 6'5 right-hander pitched a grand total of five innings in those two starts, but struck out six and walked none while allowing two runs to cross the plate, which apparently was enough for Houston to punch his ticket to Quad Cities.

Appel is on a strict pitch count in his first go-round in professional ball, but the Astros won't reveal exactly what his limits are. Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said that the plan is to move the right-hander through several levels over the next three months, and that the best-case scenario is that Appel would join the starting rotation in Houston by Opening Day next season.

When Appel joins fellow top pick Carlos Correa in the River Cats clubhouse on Wednesday, the squad will become the first minor-league team ever to have consecutive no. 1 picks on the same roster, and just the fourth farm club to have two top picks from any year.

Correa, just 18, has been demolishing the Midwest League for Quad Cities all season. The young shortstop is batting .325/.416/.460 with five home runs in 69 games with the club, which could put him in line for a promotion before the season is out.

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