Astros prospect Mark Appel was terrible at Single-A and then there was a weird quasi-controversy about him throwing a bullpen session in Houston, but now the former No. 1 overall pick is thriving at Double-A.
Last night Appel tossed eight innings of shutout, two-hit ball while striking out 10 and and walking one. And, according to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, the 23-year-old right-hander’s average fastball clocked in at 96 miles per hour.
Appel had an ugly 9.74 ERA in 12 starts at high Single-A to begin the season, but since a promotion to Double-A he’s made six starts with a 3.15 ERA and 34/10 K/BB ratio in 34 innings while allowing just one home run.
After scoring two quick runs against Astros starter Dallas Keuchel in Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuesday evening, the Red Sox offense threatened again in the third. J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts drew back-to-back two-out walks, bringing up Steve Pearce, who hits lefties quite well. With a 2-2 count, Pearce lifted an 81 MPH slider towards the Crawford Boxes in right field, a mere 315 feet away from home plate. Left fielder Tony Kemp, listed at 5’6″, ranged back, timed his jump and crashed into the scoreboard while holding onto the ball. The catch prevented two runs from scoring which would have extended the Astros’ deficit. Instead, the score remained 2-1.
Kemp’s catch will certainly be in the running for the best play of the postseason.