Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 6/19/13

MIAMI - OCTOBER 22: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig takes questions from the press prior game four of the Major League Baseball World Series between the New York Yankees and the Florida Marlins on October 22, 2003 at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images)
HOUSTON (AP) -- Mark Appel received high praise from MLB commissioner Bud Selig on Wednesday when the No. 1 overall pick signed with the Houston Astros. Speaking at a MLB diversity business summit at a convention near Minute Maid Park, Selig praised Houston's rebuilding efforts. He then likened Appel, a right-handed pitcher, and Houston's 2012 No. 1 pick, shortstop Carlos Correa, to two of the franchise's greatest stars, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell. "The Astros are on their way to building the foundation that every club needs for sustained success and I believe this club has the right people in place to execute their very sound plan that is going to bring winning baseball back to the fans of Houston," Selig said. "I look forward to the day when players like Carlos Correa and a hometown pitcher Mark Appel ... will be among those who form a new core as successful as Bagwell and Biggio were for so many years." Appel, a polished and well-spoken Stanford graduate, was left speechless when told of the commissioner's remarks. "That's, uh, it's very nice words that he said," he said, shaking his head. "Just hearing that comparison is pretty special, especially being a hometown Houston guy. Bagwell and Biggio were two of my favorite players and knowing that Bud Selig sees me and Carlos Correa as potentially the next Bagwell and Biggio is exciting." Terms were not disclosed but Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said it was "the most significant investment" the Astros have ever made in an amateur player. The 21-year-old Appel was 10-4 with four complete games and a 2.12 ERA this season. He had 130 strikeouts in 106.1 innings pitched and allowed opponents a .203 batting average. Appel is an Astros fan who grew up in West Houston before moving to California at the age of 12. The Astros had a chance to draft him last year but instead went with the 17-year-old Correa from Puerto Rico. Appel slid to Pittsburgh at No. 8 last year but turned down a 3.8 million offer and returned to Stanford for his senior season. Appel said when he rejected the Pirates, he wasn't thinking about potentially being drafted by Houston this season. When it happened, he could barely believe how well everything worked out. "Growing up in Houston I came to games at the Astrodome and at Minute Maid," he said. "That was the dream. It was every kid's dream to play for your home team and now it's a reality. It's still surreal. I don't think it's sunk in." The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Appel will be a welcome addition to the hard-luck Astros with his mid-90s (mph) fastball, nasty slider and improving changeup. "Drafting and signing Mark Appel was a top priority for our organization this year," Luhnow said. "We are an organization focused on winning championships in the future and we expect Mark to be a big part of that effort." Astros amateur scouting director Mike Elias raved about Appel and believes he will be a key piece in turning around this franchise which has lost 100 games in back-to-back seasons. "This is what we believe is going to be a high-impact addition to our organization," Elias said. "He is someone who has the potential to be a front-line starting pitcher for a very long time." Luhnow said that Appel will report to Houston's spring training facility in Florida next week and that he'll likely begin his professional career at short A Tri-City. He expects him to then move to Single-A Quad Cities and possibly Double-A Corpus Christi by the end of the season. He said he will be at major league camp next season, but that he wasn't sure when he could be pitching in Houston. "It's too early to speculate on timelines," Luhnow said. "We need to get him out there and get him pitching."
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Paul Millsap opts out of contract to become free agent

Ben Roethlisberger 'proud' of self-reporting 2015 concussion

Reporter responds on Twitter to LeBron calling him out at presser

Miguel Cabrera, Sam Dyson at odds over sign stealing accusation

Celtics were upset with talk focusing on Isaiah Thomas

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Revis will not face NFL discipline after assault charges dropped

Allen: Washington has had ‘constant dialogue’ with Cousins

John Wall won’t sign extension until he sees Wizards' plan

Columnist reacts to Bennett's planned 'boycott' of Seattle paper

Bucs publicly challenging Jackson to earn big paycheck

Celtics' Avery Bradley gets shooter’s roll, daggers Cavs in Game 3

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Box Score 5/19: Heartbreak in OT

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

Where did it all go wrong for the NBA second-round losers?

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Getaway Day: League leaders falter allowing new teams to surge ahead

Why wait? Our too soon Cavaliers-Warriors NBA Finals preview

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Best of Yardbarker: Gregg Popovich doesn't mince words

The 'Happy birthday to two of the NBA's all-time antagonists' quiz

The shortstop evolution continues to raise the ceiling

Three Up, Three Down: Astros dominate in every category

Sports & Politics Intersect: NBA power players continue to speak against Trump

The 'Rookies are running back to prominence' quiz

Gisele brings focus on Brady’s late career back to head injuries

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker