Mark Appel Newsbeat
Friday, August 29, 2014
A great way to clarify your organizational chain of command: Give Nolan Ryan some vague “executive” job. History proves it!
General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager Bo Porter are at odds, according to multiple major-league sources.
Porter expressed his frustration with Luhnow to owner Jim Crane in a conversation earlier this month, sources said…
Porter’s frustration stems from a lack of input and from his belief that Luhnow engages in excessive second-guessing of his in-game management, sources said… Those critical of Luhnow say that he keeps a small circle, communicating mostly with director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal and others while rarely consulting the team’s on-field staff, executive advisor Nolan Ryan and special assistant to the GM Craig Biggio…
Crane could attempt to broker a peace between Luhnow and Porter, and Ryan’s son—Astros president of business operations Reid Ryan—also could play a role in such discussions, sources said…
An unannounced visit by [2013 #1 overall pick Mark] Appel to Houston prior to his promotion contributed to the friction between Luhnow and Porter, sources said; Luhnow initially did not make Porter aware that Appel would throw a bullpen session for pitching coach Brent Strom. Porter then had to explain the situation to his players, a number of whom were seething, believing that Appel did not warrant his promotion and was receiving special treatment… Rival executives say it is not unusual for a team to summon a prospect for a session with a major-league coach. Porter, though, grew upset because Luhnow did not inform him in advance that Appel would work with Strom.
The disagreement over Appel was just one flashpoint between Porter and Luhnow, sources said. The question now is whether their relationship can be salvaged – and whether Crane will want to replace one or both.
Crane might resist any change, not wanting to admit that he made a mistake with either hiring. But it’s difficult to imagine the Astros starting the 2015 season with the same management team.
Saturday, August 23, 2014
He still can’t be more of a disaster than The Apple...
Mark Appel’s 2014 Statistics
At High-A [Lancaster]: 44.1 IP, 9.74 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, 74 Hits, 11 BB, 40 K
At Double-A [Corpus Christi]: 26.1 IP, 4.10 ERA, 1.48 WHIP, 28 Hits, 9 BB, 24 K...
Ron Shah of Baseball Prospectus saw three of his starts with Lancaster this season and was very critical of the profile he displayed during those starts. Shah reported that Appel sat 92-93 with the fastball and touched 94, but “mostly just grooves the offering over the plate.” Shah is more optimistic about the changeup, noting its deception and grading it as a future 60 offering (on the 20-80 scale), but is down on the slider. He grades this offering as a present 45 with a future grade of 50… A MiLB.com report after Appel’s scoreless Double-A debut noted that he began the game throwing his fastball in the 96-97 range and recorded all four of his strikeouts on the slider. His velocity in that start dipped to around the 90 MPH range later in the outing, but it is still encouraging to see the highly touted righty regain some of the form that was absent earlier this season.
Appel is a tricky case, as his terrible numbers in High-A are largely due to a four-run difference between his ERA and FIP, a .414 BABIP, and one of the most hitter-friendly home parks in the Minor Leagues. However, even if we remove his fluke of an ERA, many questions about the profile remain… the realistic expectation at this time is that he will be a low three or high number four starter in the Major Leagues… I’d have a tough time ranking such a player as high as 34 and would probably bump him down to about the 45-55 range, depending on his performance in his final few starts this season.
for his generous support.
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