No. 1 pick Mark Appel will make his pro debut Friday

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Mark Appel is scheduled to make his professional debut Friday with a start for low Single-A Tri-City less than a month after the Astros drafted him No. 1 overall.

Appel, who agreed to a $6.35 million signing bonus that was nearly $1.5 million below the recommended slot amount for the No. 1 pick, has been working out at the Astros’ spring training complex for the past couple weeks.

When asked about Appel’s timetable, general manager Jeff Luhnow told¬†Chris Abshire of MLB.com: “We’re not going to set any schedule on him, but we will assess him after every game. We don’t want to create too many set expectations for Mark.”

In other words, he’s a 21-year-old college senior and if he dominates low-minors hitters like he should the Astros could move Appel pretty quickly through the farm system. He’ll be on a pitch and innings count, but Luhnow and the Astros have declined to reveal any specifics.