Mark Appel’s first professional stop lasted five innings and after a pair of rookie-ball appearances the Astros have promoted the No. 1 overall pick to low Single-A.
Appel is headed to Quad Cities of the Midwest League, where last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Carlos Correa, has been playing (and thriving) all season. Chad Thornburg of MLB.com notes that only four previous minor league teams have had two No. 1 picks on the roster at the same time, although it seems likely that Appel’s stay in Quad Cities may be a short one as well.
Correa has been overshadowed somewhat by the guy picked one spot after him last year, Byron Buxton, but the 18-year-old shortstop is hitting .325 in 69 games against full-season competition to establish himself as one of the best infield prospects in baseball.
Jake Arrieta‘s bat is in midseason form already. The Cubs’ ace swatted a solo home run to center field off of Zack Greinke in Thursday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition game, his first homer of the spring.
The blast went 465 feet, according to MLB.com’s Daren Willman.
Arrieta has hit two home runs in each of the past two seasons. Madison Bumgarner (eight) and Noah Syndergaard (four) are the only other pitchers to match or exceed his output in that department.
Greinke, meanwhile, is hoping to bounce back after a miserable 2016 season. He finished with an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA in 26 starts in his first year with the Diamondbacks.
Angels first baseman Luis Valbuena will miss the next four to six weeks with a strained right hamstring, Pedro Moura of the Los Angeles Times reports.
Valbuena, 31, signed a two-year, $15 million contract with the Angels in January and was on track to get the lion’s share of the playing time at first base. While he’s out, however, C.J. Cron will handle first base on a regular basis. When Valbeuna returns, the two will likely form a platoon.
Last year with the Astros, Valbuena hit a solid .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances.